The Canon PowerShot D20 replaces the popular albeit ageing D10 as the ruggedised, waterproof digital camera within the Canon PowerShot range. Due to be released at the end of April, the D20 will launch with a retail price of £349.
Fully sealed against moisture and dirt, and using a fully-enclosed folded lens design, Canon claims the D20 is waterproof to 10m. Should you want to dive even deeper then an optional WP-DC45 casing is also available, and for around £175 this will increase the D20’s useable depth to 40m.
In addition to waterproofing, the Canon PowerShot D20 has also been shock tested to a height of 1.5m, although Canon does not offer any guarantee against breakage should you actually drop – and break – your brand new D20 from such a height. Last but not least in the ruggedised department is freeze-proofing that enables the D20 to be used in temperatures as low as minus 10˚C.
The more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that so far, so very D10. However, the ruggedised specifications of the exterior are pretty much where the similarities end. Internally, the D20 is actually quite a different beast to its predecessor and comes with a generous number of hardware and specification upgrades.
For a start the new model comes with a host of built-in GPS abilities. Not only the ability to tag your photos with the location they were taken, but also to keep a track of your journey via the GPS logger function. Quite how draining all this will be on the battery remains to be seen (from our experience constant use of GPS tends to severely reduce overall battery life), but it’s a useful feature to have on board nonetheless and can, of course, always be switched off should battery preservation be more of a priority.
While overall resolution remains at 12.1MP, the D20 uses a 1/2.3in back-illuminated CMOS sensor rather than the CCD type sported by the D10. The PowerShot D20 retains the same DIGIC 4 image processor found in the D10, but sensitivity is increased by one stop to a maximum setting of ISO 3200.
On the front the D20 sports a 5x optical zoom (28-140mm in 35mm terms), which represents a pretty substantial increase over the D10’s 3x range. Maximum aperture is a bit slower though, at f/3.9 as opposed to f/2.8 on the D10.
As with all ruggedised cameras the lens is fully enclosed within the camera and protected by a plane of toughened glass. Folded lens designs like this do come with a bit of a reputation for compromising overall image quality, but it’s a necessary trade-off if you want to take your camera underwater without a dedicated housing unit.
On the back of the D20 you’ll find a 3in, 460k-dot PureColour II LCD monitor, which represents a fairly substantial upgrade over the 2.5in, 230k-dot screen found on the D10. Indeed, the screen on the Canon PowerShot D10 was always one of its weaker attributes, so the increased size and resolution is immediately noticeable and most welcome.