GadgetsLab: Canon PowerShot D20

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  • Sensor: 12.1 Megapixels
  • Zoom and Optics: 5.0x Optical Zoom (28-140mm eq.)
  • Dimension: 70x112x28mm
  • LCD: 3-inch, 460k-pixel resolution
  • Weight: 228g includes batteries
  • Memory: SDXC
  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • Shockproof up to 5ft

What’s Hot:

  • Good still image and video quality
  • Rugged exterior

What’s Not:

  • No internal memory
  • No warning if you leave side   compartments open
  • Some noise in dark areas


  • The Canon PowerShot D20 is a good camera choice for those who need a tough waterproof camera to take on rough trips and outdoor adventures.

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The Canon PowerShot D20 is a waterproof camera meant to be taken outdoors on adventures. You don’t want to bring an expensive camera around when you’re riding the waves at the beach or climbing up a mountain. The Canon D20 is the friend you take on those adventures with you. On our recent beach trip, I took the rugged Canon PowerShot D20 with me for a test.

It’s waterproof up to 33 feet, shockproof up to 5ft, and temperature-resistant from 14°F to 104°F. It might be a bit bulky weighing 228g but I wouldn’t mind bringing a slightly bulky camera on-hand if that means it can take constant drops and minor bumps.

The camera is enclosed in a tough plastic black body with curved edges and a bright metallic accent. It comes in three different colors (yellow, silver, and blue) all of which are bright enough to help make the camera visible even under water. On one side it curves into a wave shape that helps your grip when you need to keep the camera still with both hands.

At the top you can find the Power, Shutter, and Playback button, and laid out on its back are round pebble shaped plastic buttons for Zoom, Menu, Function, and a similar textured tile for grip. You can also find here the silver Record Button. The buttons were fairly large and well spread-out. When you’re under water, it’s difficult to have to look at the camera buttons, so it helps that the buttons are easily distinguishable by feel. On the lower right is a latch where the provided lanyard can be attached. On its side, and bottom is a sealed door that encloses the battery/memory card compartment and the HDMI/USB ports. The D20 doesn’t have an internal memory so you better make sure to bring along your SD card with you. There is also no warning if you accidentally weren’t able to seal the door properly.

I brought the camera along with me when we kayaked, and the waves were pretty strong that day. It was a good thing the PowerShot D20 could take a good beating so I didn’t have to worry about the waves smashing into the device. The wrist strap will be particularly helpful too if you’ll be doing a heavy water sport. The D20’s body is a bit too rounded that it would easily slip off when you’re holding it with one hand so I probably wouldn’t risk bringing the camera around without a strap. Being the klutz that I am, it would have slipped off my hand already, but the strap comfortably secured the camera around my wrist.

The Canon PowerShot D20 has a 12-megapixel camera with a 5x optical zoom lens with a focal range of 5.0-25.0mm. It takes about 1.6 seconds to power, and around 2.2 seconds to load in-between shots. It allows you to take still photos, and video up to 1080p. I took photos mostly in Program Mode, and the image quality came out fairly well considering this is a point-and-shoot and it’s not meant for heavy photography. Even under the harsh light of the beach, the photos didn’t come out overexposed. It had a little trouble capturing fine details though, and you can see this when you zoom in on pictures. Some noise was also visible on dark areas of the photos.

You can preview photos in the D20’s 3-inch 460k-pixel resolution LCD. You can opt to change the screen’s brightness and I didn’t have any trouble with it even when I review photos it in the water. Under the very bright sun though, you’d still have to tilt a bit to see the images on the LCD. The screen display was clear and crisp, but I noticed that the photos you see on the screen isn’t exactly what you would see when you upload it on your computer. Some photos looked brighter in the camera display but would come out a little bit washed out on the computer.

Overall, the Canon PowerShot D20 is a point-and-shoot camera worth buying if you need a waterproof camera that you could also take with you on rough outdoor adventures. It also produces quality still images and video.

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First Published in Gadgets Magazine, May 2013

Words by Addie Mendoza