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Review: Canon Powershot D20

Price: $400 (street price)
A fine successor to the D10

The low-down: This 12-megapixel indestructible compact comes with a 28mm-140mm zoom and is a successor to the D10. Canon has replaced the weird but attractive body form with something more conventional in shape, although it still has some inexplicable curves and dents. It is waterproof to 10 metres and doesn't mind being dropped from 1.5 metres. It will work in temperatures down to minus 10C and is dustproof. The 75mm LCD is of reasonable resolution at 460,000 dots. Controls are fiddly and the two-button zoom control takes some getting used to. Autofocus is fast and exposure is generally good, with a tendency to overexpose low-contrast subjects.

Like: The image quality from this little camera is quite exceptional. At ISO400, there is no problem with either noise or noise reduction. Macro shots are soft but sharpen well without adding obvious noise. In fact, we were amazed at the image quality when we pixel-peeped at full size on a high-resolution monitor.

Dislike: The controls really are too small. You couldn't use the camera with gloves, except in full automatic mode.

Verdict: We liked the D10 very much and we like the D20 even more, although we wish Canon had kept the World War III ''army surplus'' look of the old camera. Buyers in this category are spoilt for choice, with excellent cameras from Olympus, Panasonic and Canon. As long as the glass in front of the lens is kept clean, these cameras can be treated roughly and they will laugh off any maltreatment. They are ideal family cameras, able to withstand anything the children can throw at them. The Canon is right at the top of the pile.