Canon PowerShot D30 Waterproof Camera Review

3.7
Expert Rating

The Canon EOS Rebel T6i – Best Budget DSLR camera has great specs, so this Canin model is off to a great start too. Canon’s third compact waterproof camera shows a major improvement in physical design over the first two versions, as well as a significant increase in the water depth in which it will work.

I must note that you should not confuse this Canon PowerShot D30 waterproof digital camera review with the Canon D30 DSLR camera that was released more than a decade ago. This D30 waterproof camera is nothing like the EOS D30 DSLR model.

Going from 33 feet of water depth in the two older models to 82 feet in this new model is the highlight of my Canon PowerShot D30 review. It also makes this model the best waterproof camera of 2016.

Overview

Summary: The Canon PowerShot D30 waterproof camera struggles a little bit with image quality, but its tough design allows it to be used successfully in harsh environments.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Compact, easy to to use, the D30 is a excellent deep waterproof camera.

Price: $299 from Amazon
Available: April 2014

What We Liked

  • Camera’s rubberized pads make it easy to hold D30 comfortably
  • D30 measures only about 1 inch in thickness
  • Camera works in up to 82 feet of water depth
  • LCD screen is a sharp display
  • Camera is extremely easy to use

What We Didn’t

  • Small image sensor hinders overall image quality
  • Limited to 12.1 megapixels of resolution, which is below average
  • LCD screen suffers from some sunlight glare problems
  • Camera limited to 5X optical zoom lens

Canon PowerShot D30 Key Specs

Image Sensor Type1/2.3-inch
Megapixels12.1
Optical Zoom Lens5X
Articulating Screenred-x-icon
Viewfinderred-x-icon
HD Videogreen-check-mark
Operational Water DepthUp to 82 feet
ISO100-3200
Avg Battery Life300 photos
Weight7.69 oz
Size4.3 x 2.67 x 1.08 inches
Price$299
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Design and Build

Canon PowerShot D30 review
The simple design of the Canon PowerShot D30’s buttons makes it easy to use this camera while diving.

The PowerShot D30 looks a lot like the best point and shoot camera options with a thin, colorful body, measuring about 1.08 inches in thickness. It has a limited number of buttons, which isn’t a bad idea with an underwater camera, as simple operation is important when shooting in a harsh environment under the water.

And even though the Canon D30 is a very thin camera, it’s easy to hold, whether you’re using it in the water or on dry land. Canon placed a rubberized thumbpad on the back of the camera and a larger rubberized pad for your fingers on the front, allowing you to hold the D30 in a pinching motion.

Similar to most thin underwater cameras, the PowerShot D30 includes a small optical zoom lens at 5X. It’s difficult to use a large zoom underwater, because of the lack of light, but the small optical zoom lens does limit the usefulness of the D30 when using it in normal shooting conditions on dry land.

The zoom lens housing doesn’t extend beyond the boundaries of the camera body. This feature allows the D30 to maintain the integrity of its waterproof case, without creating any areas where water could penetrate.

Canon gave the D30 a built-in GPS unit, which allows you to add location data to your images as you shoot them. This can be a beneficial feature for underwater photography, as you won’t have obvious landmarks to help you identify the location of a photo when shooting underwater.

Waterproof Features

The D30 offers amazing waterproof capabilities, allowing it to operate in water depth of up to 82 feet! Few waterproof cameras that have a thin design style, much like the best compact digital cameras, and can work in this type of water depth.

Beyond its waterproofing capabilities, the PowerShot D30 can survive a fall of up to 6.5 feet (2 meters). It will work in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 C), should you want to use the D30 while skiing or hiking in the winter.

Both the HDMI/USB ports compartment and the battery/memory card compartment are protected by latched doors that swing on a hinge. Both compartment doors are protected with rubber gaskets to prevent leakage while using this underwater camera.

Image Quality

Canon PowerShot D30 camera
The Canon PowerShot D30 camera has 12.1 megapixels of resolution and works in up to 82 feet (25 meters) of water depth.

One area where the Canon PowerShot D30 waterproof digital camera struggles versus others in its price range is in terms of image quality. Canon placed a 1/2.3-inch image sensor in this waterproof model, which is the smallest image sensor in physical size that you’ll find in digital cameras. The D30 also only offers 12.1 megapixels of resolution, which is well below average in today’s market.

The Canon PowerShot D30 manual control features are extremely limited. You’ll have a Program shooting mode you can use, but it only offers control over features such as ISO and white balance. Canon designed this model to be used in automatic mode most of the time.

Low Light Performance and Movie Mode

Most cameras with such small image sensors don’t perform well in low light. However, Canon gave this model HS (high sensitivity) technology, which allows the small image sensor to work a little better than expected in low light. This is an important feature to find in a waterproof camera, as the lighting conditions underwater can vary greatly.

The D30 offers a flash embedded in the corner of the front panel of the camera, which is what you’d expect to find in a basic camera. Unfortunately, there’s no option to add external flash units, which would help quite a bit with the dark conditions you’ll encounter in underwater photography. If you choose not to use the flash, you can increase the ISO to around 800 before you’ll notice significant noise (incorrect pixels) in the images.

You can shoot full HD movies with the Canon D30, but you’re limited to a maximum 24 frames per second. Canon gave this camera a large movie recording button on the top panel of the camera, making it easy to start and stop movie recording.

Battery Life

If you’re using the camera under normal shooting conditions, you can expect about 250 to 300 shots per charge. However, if you use the GPS feature quite a bit, the battery lifespan could be closer to 150 to 200 shots.

Because the D30 has no viewfinder, you’ll have to use the 3.0-inch LCD screen to frame all photos. The screen produces a sharp display, but it wasn’t quite as bright on the default setting as I’d like. Glare from sunlight when using this PowerShot camera outdoors forced me to increase the brightness of the display screen beyond the standard setting, which will further decrease the battery lifespan.

Wrap Up

This Canon PowerShot D30 tough camera review shows a model that has very strong waterproof and shockproof capabilities. Versus other compact waterproof cameras, the D30 offers above average tough features and amazing submersion skills. However, a small image sensor and only 12.1 megapixels of resolution hinder the Canon D30’s image quality. And its 5X optical zoom lens lags well behind other models in its price range, though in all fairness it is a tough camera. I wouldn’t recommend this model if you’re just looking for an everyday camera. But if you need a camera to use primarily for diving and outdoor activities or sports, while also using it occasionally on dry land, the PowerShot D30 is a solid camera for those who want an easy to use model.

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Kyle Schurman

Kyle has been a freelance writer for 20 years, focusing mainly on technology related topics. He's written product reviews, product overviews, how-to articles, product best of lists, and other types of articles.

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2 Comments

  1. It should be possible to use an external flash by using an optical cable.
    I’m looking for this camera with such solution for underwater photos.

  2. That is a pretty fine camera for $300, I would defiantly love to put it through its paces on a vacation. For waterproof, you really don’t need it to be super small. I remember lugging around those old underwater film cameras back in the 90s with those expensive lithium batteries. Anyway thanks, I think I will holdout for the next model.

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