In terms of exposure modes, the Canon PowerShot D20 remains fully automatic in all modes, although a switch on top of the camera can be used to toggle between the snaptastic Smart Auto mode and the more user-adjustable (but still fully automatic) Normal Shooting mode.
Smart Auto mode is essentially a scene recognition exposure mode whereby the camera judges what’s in front of it before making the appropriate adjustments. The good news here is that the D20 has 32 such scenes programmed into it, whereas the D10 had only 18.
With the camera switched into Normal Shooting mode you’re able to choose between regular Program mode, a small number of individually selectable Scene modes (including direct options for Underwater and Snow) and a generous range of digital filter effects including Fish-eye, Miniaturisation and Toy Camera.
Movie enthusiasts are also well catered-for with the D20 able to shoot at a maximum quality setting of 1080p Full HD at 24fps, supported by 720p HD at 30fps and standard-def VGA movies at 30fps. In addition, there’s also the option to record Super Slow Motion Movies at 120fps or 240fps (albeit at vastly lowered resolutions) which is sure to appeal to snowboarding and surfing tricksters wanting to replay their exploits in slow motion.
In terms of design the Canon PowerShot D20 is markedly different from the D10. Not only is the flash positioned to the side of the lens rather than above it, the basic soap-bar shape of the D10 has been ditched altogether in favour of something much more asymmetric. It’s still pretty comfortable to hold though, and the larger-than-average buttons on the back should make using it with a pair of gloves – whether they be diving mitts or ski gloves – much easier too.
Indeed, one of the chief requirements of any camera that’s designed to be taken underwater or in an environment where gloves are a necessity is easy operation, and to this effect the D20 looks to have things just about right. The only minor criticism we have at this point is that the Playback and On/Off buttons are positioned quite close to the shutter button, which could cause some problems in thicker gloves.
Adding further to its overall ruggedised appeal, the PowerShot D20 comes supplied with a basic shoulder strap and a more robust Carabiner strap for secure and easy attachment to your person, regardless of your choice of outdoor pursuit. These are supplemented by a non-sinkable neoprene pouch for any potential camera-overboard moments.
Unfortunately, we’re not in any position as yet to make any comments about general performance or image quality as the D20 sample we managed to get a hands-on with is a pre-production model. Of course, we’ll look forward to putting a full review sample through its paces in due course though.
The Canon PowerShot D20 is a waterproof, shockproof and freeze-proof digital compact camera with built-in GPS. As such the Canon PowerShot D20 will primarily appeal to adventurous and active types looking for a camera that’s as home on the piste as it is underwater. Thanks to well-spaced and relatively large buttons it’s pretty easy to use and despite being fully automatic also offers a pretty good range of shooting options, including Full HD movie recording and Super Slow Motion video capture.