12.1MP | 28-140mm (5X) Zoom | $279/£269/€318

This is the first in a series of short underwater/rugged camera reviews on DPReview. We're testing the cameras concurrently, and once all six cameras have been reviewed, we'll publish a roundup of the class, comparing them directly.

While other camera manufacturers have been making rugged cameras for many years, Canon didn't enter the market until early 2009 (preferring to create optional waterproof housings for many of its 'regular' compacts instead). Canon's first truly waterproof digital compact camera, the PowerShot D10, had a rather unique (and chunky) design, but its solid performance photo quality earned it a 'Highly Recommended' badge in our 2009 Waterproof group test.

Three years later, the PowerShot D20 emerged, whose colorful, curvy but less bulbous design appears to have been be inspired by tropical fish. The D20 offers a host of improvements over its predecessor, that include the use of a CMOS sensor (which Canon touts as 'high sensitivity'), plus a 5X zoom lens (versus 3X), larger/sharper LCD, built-in GPS, and 1080p video recording. While the D20 can be submerged as deep as its predecessor underwater (10 meters), it's slightly more shock resistant and able to take a slightly higher drop than before (1.5 versus 1.2 meters).

Specification Highlights

  • 12.1 effective megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor
  • F3.9-F4.8, 28-140mm lens (5X)
  • Optical image stabilization with 'Intelligent IS' feature
  • 3.0 inch LCD with 461,000 dot resolution
  • Built-in GPS with logging function
  • Waterproof to 10m, shockproof from 1.5m, freezeproof to -10C
  • 1080/24p movie mode

While the D20 has the same number of pixels as its predecessor - that's 12.1 million - its use of backside illumination technology promises better low light picture quality. That said, the D20's lens is on the slow side, with a maximum aperture range of F3.9-F4.8. This compares especially badly next to competitors like the Pentax WG-3 and Olympus Tough TG-2 (at least at wide-angle) - so the sensor has its work cut out for it.

The PowerShot D20 features an F3.9-4.8, 5X optical zoom lens, with a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 28-140mm. The folded optics lens design allows the camera to stay relatively slim.

While its feature set is typical Canon, the PowerShot D20 has more than enough bells-and-whistles for casual everyday shooting and underwater use. On the next page of this review we'll take a look at at its design and some of the key features.


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