Canon Powershot D10 Review

June 20th, 2009 197 Comments   Posted in Digital Compact Cameras

The Canon PowerShot D10 represents Canon’s first foray into the all-action world of adventure cameras. The Canon D10 is waterproof up to 10 meters / 33-feet deep, freeze proof from -10°C / 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof up to 1.22 meters / 4 feet, and is fully protected from dust. More regular features include a 12 megapixel sensor, 3x zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilization, 2.5 inch LCD screen, and new Smart AUTO, Blink Detection and FaceSelf-Timer modes.

Ease of Use

The Canon PowerShot D10 is certainly very distinctive, with toy-camera-like looks that you’ll either love or hate. Our review model had a turquoise blue and silver colour scheme, which can be customised by purchasing an optional coloured Front Cover Set. This is a well-made digital camera with a sturdy metal body and excellent overall finish. It’s just about small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, featuring a 3x optical zoom lens that’s equivalent to a focal length of 35-135mm. The maximum aperture is a fast f/2.8 at the wide end and a respectable f/4.9 at the other extreme of the zoom range. The PowerShot D10 is quite bulky, measuring 4.9cms thick when turned off, making it more suited to a small camera bag than a trouser pocket, but it only weighs 190g without the battery or memory card fitted.

As with most Canon cameras that we’ve reviewed before, the PowerShot D10 is one of the better models around in terms of build quality. Even the tripod mount is metal instead of plastic and positioned centrally in-line with the lens. The only minor criticism is the lack of any handgrip on the front, with just a smooth, flat finish embossed with the Canon logo, making it more difficult to hold than it really should be. Also, changing cards or batteries is not possible while the camera is mounted on a tripod, because the compartment door hinge is too close to the tripod socket.

The Canon PowerShot D10 has relatively few external controls, 14 in total, which reflects the fact that this is quite a simple camera in functionality terms, with only limited photographic control on offer. All the controls are clearly labeled using industry-standard symbols and terminology. As this camera will spend quite a lot of its life underwater, it thankfully has large On/Off and Shutter buttons, and the optical zoom is operated by buttons on the rear, rather than a more fiddly push/pull lever. We would have liked the zoom buttons to have been a little bigger though for quicker access in more unfamiliar shooting environments.

Located on top of the PowerShot D10 are the Print Transfer, Camera/Movie and Play buttons, plus the On/Off and Shutter buttons, and on the bottom are the metal tripod mount and sealed battery compartment, which also houses the SD memory card slot. On the rear of the PowerShot D10 is the 2.5 inch LCD screen, with all the rear controls located to the right. You can directly access the various focus and flash options by clicking left and right on the navigation pad, whilst up and down are respectively used to set the exposure compensation and timer options. There is sadly no dedicated button for ISO speed, which is a commonly used feature, although you can work around this by optionally setting the Print Transfer button to one of 7 available options (which include ISO speed).

Virtually all of Canon’s compact digicams offer a few little known but advanced functions, and the PowerShot D10 is no exception. These well-kept secrets, which you usually only learn about if you read the user guide attentively, include auto-focus lock (AFL), autoexposure lock (AEL) and flash exposure lock (FEL).  To lock the focus on a subject for a series of consecutive shots, press the Left button on the four-way pad once while holding the shutter release depressed halfway. To lock the ambient exposure, do the same with the Up button. Flash exposure lock is achieved the same way when the flash is set to Forced On. AEL is available in Program, Quick Shot and Movie modes (you needn’t hold down the shutter release for AEL when you are in Movie mode though).

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Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

June 6th, 2009 54 Comments   Posted in SLR Lenses

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

With a crop factor of 1.6x it gives an equivalent length in 35mm terms of 96mm, very close to the 100mm of their most popular fixed focal length lens, the 100mm f/2.8 Macro. We take a look at its qualities and the thinking behind it.

Specification

  • Focal length 60mm
  • Max Aperture f/2.8
  • Min Aperture f/32
  • Filter size 52mm
  • Elements/groups 12/8
  • Closest focus 0.2m (1:1)
  • Dimensions 73×69.8mm
  • Weight 0.335kg
  • Hood ET-67B (Not supplied)
  • Mount Canon EF-S
  • Price (RRP) £319.99p

Build and Handling
As is normal with Canon’s mid range lenses the build of the EF-S 60mm Macro is certainly up to the job. Being a prime lens the operation is simple with only an AF/MF switch and a manual focus ring to control proceedings. The AF/MF switch is in the usual place, just to the left of centre near the mount. The mount is the EF-S that sports a white spot as opposed to the more normal red one of the standard EF mount. The lens can only be used on the 20D, 300D and 350D Canon cameras that support this mount.

Centrally placed on the barrel is a generously sized distance window, which is, by convention, marked in metres and feet. However, there is an additional row of markings indicating the reproduction ratios that you are achieving at that setting, ranging from full 1:1 through to 1:5 at the 0.44m(1.43ft) mark. For some, this may well prove useful and is a nice touch. The manual focus ring, which can be used to over-ride the autofocus without switching, is generous enough for even the largest of hands and, as is fairly normal for Canon lenses, is nicely torqued.

For a Macro lens, the autofocus is quiet and surprisingly quick, a product of the USM mechanism. All of the focussing is carried out internally giving the added advantage that the lens neither extends in length nor does the front element rotate in operation. This makes the use of filters in the 52mm thread a much simpler operation. There is provision for mounting the ET-67B lens hood, although this is an extra.

Optical Quality
One of the problems emerging with Canon’s EF-S series of lenses is that you don’t really know what you are getting in performance terms apart from going by the price differences. They all have the same nomenclature so the EF-S 18-55mm ‘kit’ lens is grouped with the excellent EF-S 10-22mm and no one will argue that that they are not worlds apart. This offering of the EF-S 60mm Macro, like it’s price, falls somewhere in between the two. Distortion has been well handled with a figure of –0.237% indicating a very slight pincushion that is almost undetectable with the Mk 1 eyeball.

Chromatic aberrations have been well sorted and are well within acceptable limits right across the frame and throughout the aperture range. Contrast is also well up to Canon’s high standard and is the area where they win a lot of their following, but, for a newly designed lens, the resolution is slightly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it is adequate for the cameras it is designed for and will give pleasing results, as it did for me. Where it does score well is wide open at f/2.8, which, along with the 7-blade diaphragm and the ideal focal length, bodes well for portrait photography and other areas where a nicely blurred background is required. Another plus is the ability to shut the aperture down as far as f/32, unusual on an f/2.8 lens and a bonus for those who want maximum depth-of-field.