Canon PowerShot D30 Review [Compact Waterproof and Rugged Camera]

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The Canon PowerShot D30 is a rugged compact that’s waterproof, shock-proof, freeze-proof and dust-proof. Launched in April 2014, the D30 is the third water-proof compact from Canon replacing the PowerShot D20 from 2012.

The newer model is water-proof to a depth of 25 meters, that’s deeper than you can go with most water-proof compacts. The D30 retains the 12-megapixel sensor and 5x / 28-140mm equivalent optical zoom of its predecessor along with its 3in / 460k dot LCD screen. So aside from a redesign and better sealing, there’s not really a great deal that’s new.

Water-proof PowerShots have been popular with beach-bound consumers ever since the introduction of the PowerShot D10 in 2009. Some of that popularity is likely due to brand loyalty – those who already very own a PowerShot opting for something familiar.

More: Best Point and Shoot Camera under $200

Canon PowerShot D30 Price

Canon creates only one water-proof PowerShot and the D30 is only the third upgrade to it in five years. Other manufacturers like Nikon and Olympus give several models and revise annually, so is Canon doing more than enough to keep up in the water? To find out I tested the PowerShot D30 alongside the similarly priced Nikon COOLPIX W100 and Nikon’s budget water-proof small, the Nikon COOLPIX W150.

The Canon PowerShot D30 is an underwater camera that was built to withstand the elements. This waterproof camera has the second-best maximum depth rating of 82 ft underwater. It can function at those depths for up to an hour. That is impressive for a waterproof camera.

In addition to its impressive optimum depth, the camera is also highly durable. If you are skiing or snowboarding in a blizzard, you can still pull the camera out of your pocket and shoot images. Its lowest operating temp is a fairly standard 14 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also shockproof with a maximum drop height of 6.5 feet. In case you are trying to snap a picture but the camera slips out of your hand, you can rest assured that it will continue to work. Its dust proofing means that you can bring it along as you move four-wheeling in the sand dunes. Wherever your adventures take you, this camera should be durable enough to handle it.

For our underwater testing, we attached each camera to a tripod and positioned it to capture images of our underwater test scene. The underwater image that the Canon D30 produced was good with vibrant shades. The underwater flash made the picture bright and very clear. There are little bunches of leaves throughout our test scene – more specifically violet and orange ones on the left aspect of the scene – that is not as detailed or razor-sharp as some of the best underwater images. When you zoom in on those areas, the lack of detail is further exploited. Although the color saturation was exceptional, details flaws led to its B+ grading.

Our dry-land image tests included capturing photos of our check scene in a controlled lighting environment. When we compared the Canon camera to our best dry-land image and the test scene itself, there was some noticeable grain (noise) when we zoomed in on the color box. Also, between the purple and reddish colored boxes in the bottom right corner, we noticed color bleed where separating lines aren’t crisp. That’s just one example – color bleed-through was visible throughout. The fact that this waterproof camera is only 12.1 megapixels could have something to do with the lack of picture sharpness when zoomed in. Image sensors that are 16 megapixels are considered regular in the waterproof camera world today.

The PowerShot D30 does a good job of accurately displaying gray, white and black squares throughout the test image. With cameras that can’t white balance properly, the dark and white squares will fade and light gray squares and white squares will look the same color. Separating these neutral shades is important to image sharpness, and this camera can do it.

This camera is packed with features, including face detection, image stabilization, GPS for image geo-tagging and 1080p video recording. The only really important feature this camera is definitely missing is Wi-Fi efficiency. Wi-Fi connectivity can make it easy so that you can upload photos from your camera straight to smart devices or sociable media.

Other top-rated underwater cameras we reviewed are a bit easier to navigate. There are a few different areas to navigate to get to specific menu options. This camera’s parameters are not all located within one menu, like other digital cameras. There are different menus for different camera parameters, which makes it frustrating to make parameter adjustments.

The Canon PowerShot D30 is one of the most durable cameras in our lineup. It can handle dust, dings, 82 foot of submersion and cold temperatures. On top of its toughness, it takes good pictures. It just boasts a 12.1-megapixel image sensor so the image quality isn’t as sharpened as some of the 16-megapixel cameras we reviewed, however the color saturation, especially underwater, was above average. This camera can handle more than just an average day at the beach.

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