Whether you want to enter the world of underwater photography or you simply want a camera that will stand up to the water during your outdoor adventures, a good waterproof camera is a solid investment. And thanks to all the improvements in camera technology over the years, even cameras that focus mostly on being waterproof take quality photos and videos at a decent resolution.
No matter what sort of camera you’re in the market for, it’s always a good idea to see what features a top brand like Canon has available. As you might expect, Canon offers a range of different waterproof cameras to allow you to take your love of photography with you wherever you go — even if that place happens to be 50 feet underwater. Not only are these cameras waterproof, but they also feature Canon technology that allows them to take high-quality pictures and videos in all sorts of different situations.
One popular waterproof camera from Canon is the Canon PowerShot D30. This camera is not only a fairly capable waterproof option that’s suitable for Open Water scuba divers; it’s a flat-out good camera no matter how you slice it. However, there are a lot of competitors on the market, so you’d be wise to take a look at all the different waterproof cameras in this price range before making your decision. We’ve put together a comprehensive Canon waterproof camera review for the PowerShot D30, including a look at its features and specs, how it performs underwater and how good the camera itself is. If you’re having a hard time choosing the best waterproof camera, this review should help you out.
What Is the Canon PowerShot D30?
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The Canon PowerShot D30 is, at the time of writing, the only waterproof camera Canon has available directly from its website. As far as specs and prices go, it’s nowhere near the top-of-the-line cameras you might expect from Canon, but it’s got some great features that make it a good choice if you need something waterproof. Although it’s designed to handle depths that go beyond what you can explore with Open Water scuba certification, the PowerShot D30 is also shockproof up to 6.5 feet which makes it a great option for hiking, fishing or any other outdoor use.
As far as the actual body and lens go, the Canon PowerShot D30 is basically a standard digital camera. If it didn’t mention its waterproof and shockproof ratings on the front of the camera, you might not even know this was a waterproof model. Unfortunately, this also means that you won’t get an insane photo and video quality with this camera. While it will give you good underwater still images and videos, especially for the price you’re paying, don’t expect the Canon PowerShot D30 to give you underwater camera quality like you see when professionals use expensive underwater cameras.
Canon PowerShot D30 Specifications
As far as the specifications go, the Canon PowerShot D30 is pretty much what you’d expect from a standard digital camera with a waterproof and shockproof body that makes it perfect for outdoor adventures. This camera is waterproof up to 82 feet and shockproof up to 6.5 feet, so both ratings are more than enough to handle regular outdoor use if you’re looking for a good hiking or fishing camera. However, the 82-foot waterproof rating means the Canon PowerShot D30 can go well beyond the 59 feet you can dive with Open Water scuba certification, so it should be fine for your needs unless you’re diving deeper than 82 feet.
The camera in the Canon PowerShot D30 is a 12.1 MP camera with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. After you’ve taken a beautiful picture with the camera, you can look at it on the 3.0-inch TFT color LCD monitor. The maximum aperture is f/3.9 (W) and f/4.8 (T), so you have a decent depth of field but not great. Two different shutter speeds – 1-1/1600 sec and 15-1 sec – allow you to shoot either regular or long exposure photos. You also get tons of technology and options for controlling exposure, white balance, and shooting modes, which include color swap, underwater, snow, super slow-motion movie, and fisheye mode.
The Canon PowerShot D30 can take images in 16:9 resolutions up to 4000 x 2248 and 4:3 resolutions up to 4000 x 3000, so the resolution will never be the primary problem when it comes to your image quality. As for videos, you can record at 24 fps in 1080p, 30 fps in 720p, and 120 fps or 240 fps depending on which super slow-motion mode you choose – 320 x 240 having the higher framerate and 640 x 480 having the lower one. You can play your videos back on the LCD monitor at 30 fps.
The SD card, SDHC card and SDXC card support allows you to insert a memory card in your Canon PowerShot D30 and easily expand the storage. Canon doesn’t mention how much storage capacity in a memory card can be supported, but the support for a range of SD card formats means you can probably use a fairly large memory card in this camera. Although this is a generally standard feature for a modern camera, it’s nice to know you can add a significant amount of storage to the Canon PowerShot D30 and easily swap out another SD card when you need more storage out on the water.
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Despite the fact that the Canon PowerShot D30 is a capable waterproof camera that can satisfy the needs of most certified scuba divers, this camera has an MSRP of just $329.99, and you can even find it for less at some retailers. While it won’t give you the most amazing performance in terms of picture quality, an 82-foot waterproof rating and a 6.5-foot shockproof rating with a 12.1 MP camera for $329 is a good value.
The thing about the price of this camera is that you can find cheaper underwater cameras from other manufacturers which, on the surface, appear to have better specs. However, cameras are tricky because determining whether or not a camera captures quality photos and videos isn’t as simple as looking at the megapixel rating or the resolution at which it captures photos and videos. A lot of different factors go into making a good camera, and you’re always better off paying more for quality. For example, there is a $59.99 20 MP underwater camera at Walmart from a brand called Ivation that gets a 3.5-star rating. While this may look like a higher-quality camera, chances are you’re getting better quality from Canon despite the lower specs.
As far as other high-end brands go, Olympus has a 12.0 MP camera called the Olympus Tough TG-5 that’s waterproof up to 50 feet and shockproof up to 7 feet. It’s capable of recording 4k video, but it costs $379.99, which is slightly higher than the Canon PowerShot D30. Nikon makes a 16 MP camera called the Coolpix AW130 that’s waterproof up to 100 feet and shockproof up to 7 feet with 5x optical zoom. This camera is currently for sale at Walmart for $328, but it’s only capable of recording full HD video like the Canon PowerShot D30 rather than 4k like the Olympus.
We offer this information to show that the Canon PowerShot D30 is about as good a value as you can expect to find in a waterproof camera. You might be able to find comparable models at a similar price point or slightly better models for a little bit more money, but you won’t find anything that blows this camera out of the water – no pun intended – unless you want to spend a bit more money.
How It Compares
There aren’t a ton of different waterproof cameras in the same price range as the Canon PowerShot D30, but for the most part, all of the models we compared it to are pretty similar in features. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be talking about how the Canon PowerShot D30 stacks up to the Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Nikon Coolpix AW130.
As far as the cameras go, the Nikon Coolpix AW130 takes the lead with a 16 MP camera compared to 12.1 for the Canon PowerShot D30 and 12 for the Tough TG-5. All three cameras are the same when it comes to the 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. The Tough TG-5 gives you the ability to record 4k video at 30 fps, which beats out the PowerShot D30 and the Coolpix AW130 by a fair amount. Also, the Coolpix AW130 is capable of recording 1080p video at 30 fps while the PowerShot D30 tops out at 24 fps. Fortunately, the PowerShot D30 makes up for that with the ability to record super slow-motion video at two different framerates, something that neither of the other cameras is capable of.
The waterproof and shockproof ratings of these three cameras vary quite a bit. The PowerShot D30 gives you an 82-foot waterproof rating and a 6.5-foot shockproof rating, while the Tough TG-5 offers a 50-foot waterproof rating and 7-foot shockproof rating. The Coolpix AW130, on the other hand, offers a 100-foot waterproof rating and 7-foot shockproof rating that beats both of the others. The 50-foot waterproof rating on the Olympus Tough TG-5 is a bit disappointing, but it’s still enough depth for most divers.
With the prices of these three cameras being pretty similar, it’s hard to argue for or against any one particular model. Each camera has different things it excels at, and the camera you choose will ultimately depend on the specific features you’re looking for. However, it’s safe to say that the Canon PowerShot D30 stacks up nicely to the competition.
Pros and Cons
Although the Canon PowerShot D30 is a good underwater camera, it has both pros and cons. Some of these may be minor problems for you while others may be huge annoyances, so this is a good tool for helping you make the right decision.
As far as the pros go, the Canon Powershot D30 has a nice waterproof and shockproof rating. The 12.1 MP camera rating and 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor give you good photo and video quality, and that’s reflected by the fact that you can record 1080p video and super slow-motion video at two different resolutions. Image resolutions of up to 4000 x 2248 give you the kind of quality you’d expect from a Canon camera. At just $329.99, this camera won’t cost you a fortune but will still give you everything you need to start capturing photos and videos underwater.
There are some cons, however. For starters, the Canon PowerShot D30 is only capable of recording 1080p video at 24 fps, which is a tad lower than the 30 fps standard which most cameras record at. The lack of 2k or 4k video recording is also a bit disappointing to see in a model in this price range, even though the framerate is already a bit low at 1080p. 30 fps playback means you don’t get the full benefit of your 120 fps or 240 fps super slow-motion video unless you’re playing it back on another device.
All in all, the Canon PowerShot D30 has its fair share of both pros and cons. If the cons outweigh the pros for you, you might want to consider looking at another underwater camera model.
Like we said before, the Canon PowerShot D30 isn’t going to give you the type of professional photo and video quality you see when scuba divers take an expensive camera underwater. However, the fact that you can record 1080p video and super slow-motion video with the Canon PowerShot D30 means you’ll get good enough quality for basic needs. Great waterproof and shockproof ratings make this a good camera for diving, fishing, hiking, or pretty much anything else you do in the great outdoors. The fact that you can get all of these features in a camera for a little more than $300 is great news if you want to start capturing underwater moments without spending a fortune on an expensive professional-quality camera.