Canon PowerShot D20 Digital Camera Review$349.99
By our count, there are no less than 15 new waterproof cameras in the 2012 model year. We've never seen the pool so crowded before. The industry is counting on these adventure-ready cameras to close the sales gap left where cheap point-and-shoots used to be. With so much competition, most manufacturers have to make a tough-cam that can survive some abuse and take a decent picture.
The Canon PowerShot D20 is a worthy option within the class. Image quality is very good by tough-cam standards. Outdoors, colors are realistic but still vibrant, and details are crisp enough for sharing online and making regular prints. Underwater photos are rich and punchy. The design and interface are approachable, it's responsive, and works reliably in any situation. And of course, it'll live through most outdoor adventures, or even just a day at the beach.
The crummy lens is the weak point. There are noticeable resolution problems at larger viewing sizes, and since the aperture starts at a sluggish f/3.9, it's more difficult than usual to take a crisp shot in dim lighting. The smooth, rounded design can be hard to handle, especially when it's wet. And while the GPS works pretty well, the feature set is missing some of the coolest extras offered in other tough-cams.
As we said, competition is stiff this year. The D20 is a solid outdoor camera, particularly well-suited to casual photographers who want a hands-off, user-friendly experience. Otherwise, there isn't much here to separate the D20 from the herd of tough-cams. It feels like Canon wrapped a regular ELPH in a waterproof, shock-resistant case, rather than designing an adventure-ready camera from the ground up. And with hit-or-miss indoor performance, it can't be an all-around shooter like a regular ELPH. We still recommend the D20 as a good beach camera, but it's worth considering other options.
Check out our 7-camera waterproof shootout to see how the year's best tough-cams compare.