Canon PowerShot D10 review

Underwater Photography with a Canon PowerShot D10

Canon PowerShot D10 camera

After moving to the beautiful Whitsundays in Australia, the first thing we wanted to try out was underwater photography. I normally photograph with a Canon 5D Mark II, however soon found out the cost of an underwater casing for a DSLR is astronomical to say the least! Until I knew how often I was going to snorkel, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fork out that much money.  Then one afternoon while looking through the local camera store, I came across Canon’s first underwater camera, a PowerShot D10 for a very low cost of $520 Australian dollars. Amazon currently has the PowerShot D10 listed for only $259 USD. Since I was in the market for a handy walk around camera at the same time, I thought why not give it a try and boy, was I glad I did!

Lucky for us, Airlie Beach has a great lagoon where we could try out some test shots.

Underwater Photo taken with Canon PowerShot D10

Self portrait taken with a Canon PowerShot D10 Underwater Camera

Images on this page are resized for online viewing, but rest assured, the 12.1-megapixel CCD on this underwater camera captures enough detail for photo-quality poster-size prints. I won’t go into detail about other specifications as you can already read that over on the Canon Website.

Apart from it’s low cost, what else did I like about Canon PowerShot D10 underwater camera?

Great image and video quality both underwater and above water. I was definitely surprised by the sharpness of the photographs, as well as the brightness of the colours. Take this photograph below for example.

sample photo canon powershot D10

Sample photograph taken underwater with a Canon PowerShot D10

Even though Canon refers to it as an underwater camera, it also takes great quality above water shots as well. I’ve found it the perfect walk around point and click camera. It’s also easy to switch between underwater and landscape shots through the scene menu. Available scene choices include portrait, landscape, night scene, foliage, snow, beach, sunset, fireworks, aquarium, underwater, ISO 3200, long shutter, indoor, kids & pets, night snapshot, color accent, color swap and stitch assist.

landscape photography with Canon PowerShot D10

Example of landscape taken with a Canon PowerShot D10

I also like how light the camera is, yet it still feels really robust. It’s obviously build for the outdoors and well protected against drops. Canon states the camera is shock proof for drops up to 4 feet in height.

Before buying the underwater camera, I was concerned about it being a point and click, in that it was my understanding that there would be a short delay from when I pressed the shutter button, to when the photo is actually processed. Some time after the first few shots I stopped worrying about it, as I soon realised how instantly fast this camera is to focus and shoot. I have no problems taking sharp images while bobbing about in the water.

snorkel photography

Snorkeling in Airlie Beach Lagoon

Things I don’t like about the Canon PowerShot D10 underwater camera?

To be honest, the only things I don’t like about the camera has nothing to do with the technology itself, and more to do with myself usually shooting with an EOS 5D Mark II. One of my favourite settings on a DSLR is Aperture. I like to be able to choose the Aperture, hence controlling how much of the scenery is in focus. It would have been nice if this was possible with the PowerShot D10, as it is with other Canon point and click camera’s.

Another setting I would have liked to see, is the choice of RAW file format for images. Anyone who’s worked with JPEG format will tell you that they seem to deteriorate over time. Therefore, after transferring my images to Aperture (Apple software) I need to re-save them as TIFF’s before editing. Having said that, the JPEG images do transfer to my MacBook Pro in no time flat!

Underwater self portrait

Underwater self portrait photographed by John Hodgkin

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this camera can do when we go snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef in a couple of weeks time. Until then, I’ll keep practising in the lagoon :D

Before buying this camera, I recommend reading more reviews over at Amazon where it’s currently rated 4/5 stars from 323 fellow photographers.


Johann Renner September 21, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Have you ever tried CHDK? It is a great piece of software, which replaces the original firmware temporary (because it is stored in the SD card; it doesn’t replace the original firmware forever). I use it on my Powershoot SX10 IS and I can shoot in RAW and extend some of the camera settings which are limited by the original firmware.

As today (Sept. 21th 2010) D10 support is in beta, but you can try it out anyway!


Tanya Ann September 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

Thanks for that link Johann, I’ve never seen that software before, but looks good. Will try it out :)

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