Canon PowerShot D30 Review

July 21, 2014 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Canon PowerShot D30 is the newest digital compact camera in Canon's underwater line-up. Now waterproof to an impressive 25m and drop resistant to 2m, the built-in GPS system will let you know exactly where you were so clumsy. Add to that a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, FullHD video and HS system for low light photography, the D30 could be an adventurer's dream. Priced at around £240 / $330, the Canon PowerShot D30 appears to only be available in blue.

Ease of Use

There are lots of tough style cameras around at the moment – every manufacturer has one or two available at any given time. It's a two-sided coin because on the one side it makes it a bit of a minefield when buying a camera because there are so many. On the other side, though, you have all the manufacturers raising the bar on each new model in order to outwit the others.

Now, because of the way that the tough models are built, they have key features that can be improved on, such as waterproofing and toughness. It could be argued that this is the reason that the Canon PowerShot D30 offers even better protection than its predecessor.

The underwater protection is now set at 25m which is 82ft in old money. That's an impressive distance and takes you into deeper water than simply snorkelling. Maybe it's down to the design. The Canon PowerShot D30 has had another body change and is squared off where the fancy concave side was before. The edges have been rounded off and thanks to the bowl effect of the face, the lens juts out slightly in the top corner of the camera. We actually prefer this newer design. While the D20 certainly had a more avant garde approach to it's design, we think the more simplistic styling of the D30 will suit underwater explorers a lot more.

Olympus mju 9000 Olympus mju 9000
Front Rear

The sensor is the same 12 megapixel CMOS that we saw on the D20 so we're now expecting a poor dynamic range. Still, they've had a year to fix it, so maybe it will be ok. The HS system is designed to make the sensor more responsive in lower light, so we look forward to testing it in darker situations. The idea behind putting it on an underwater camera will be down to the gloomier conditions of sub-aquatic photography, especially as you can now go deeper into the water.

Rubber buttons are a thing of the past these days as the technology has evolved to allow for internal waterproofing which makes underwater cameras look like normal ones. However, to ensure you get an air of toughness – and to resist against salt water -  a degree of rubber has been used on the front and back to aid gripping when you're underwater. Rubber lining has also been applied to the battery door and port door to keep them safe and free from water invasion. It also seems that large buttons have been replaced with slightly smaller types and the navigation pad is also a more regular size although it does have a certain springiness to it because of the waterproofing.

GPS is great for logging the location of your pictures which you can then match up on Google Maps and sharing them with friends and family. The Canon PowerShot D30 has GPS built-in and can be adjusted in the Set-up menu. It has a similar sub-menu to the Flash settings menu except it toggles the GPS on and off and the GPS logger on and off.

Olympus mju 9000 Olympus mju 9000
Front Waterproof

Start up time from cold is fast from the Canon PowerShot D30 at 1.5sec. In all fairness, it sits roughly the same as most other digital compact cameras out today, but it's a general improvement in technology. There's only one continuous shooting mode, but it runs along nicely at 2fps (frames per second). It does run a  fraction slower than that, but you'd have to shoot over a long distance of time to notice the skip in time.

The typical Mode menu has been included on the Canon PowerShot D30 to make it easier to see. The options come up on the right side of the screen and you can choose Auto, Program and two Scene modes; Snow and Underwater. There's also a couple of video options. The Function menu is still on the left side of the camera and allows you to change the resolution, ISO, white-balance and other options. The dark grey with white font and orange highlight menu colouring reflects the Main menu.

There are two tabs that separate the main functions available in the Main menu. The Shooting tab is identified by a camera and accesses the options for shooting, such as the multiple focusing modes, i-Contrast, Wind filter and how long you can see the picture when you've taken it. There's also a sub-menu called Flash settings. It only has two options for red-eye, so there's nothing to worry about.

The second tab is the Set-up menu. Here you can choose to make changes to the Volume, other sound options, LCD brightness, formatting the card., date & time, languages or GPS settings – which is another sub-menu.

Olympus mju 9000 Olympus mju 9000
Top Battery Compartment

Reviewing pictures you've already taken can be done regardless of whether the Canon PowerShot D30 is switched on or off. Pressing the button with the blue arrow will bring up the most recent picture you've taken. You can scroll through by tapping the left/right buttons on the navigation pad. You can also zoom in using the zoom function then navigate around that picture. Pressing down on the pad will alter the amount of information on-screen. You can choose between no information, minimal information and all shoot information including a histogram to aid exposure.

The Playback menu has three tabs for Playback, DPOF and the previously seen Set-up menu. In Playback, you can create a slide-show, erase pictures, protect and rotate them, add i-Contrast and sort out red-eye from any flash issues. DPOF allows you to set certain pictures to print in a particular order.

Sadly, Canon don't use built-in chargers, instead opting for a separate charger and figure eight lead. For anyone looking to travel around with the Canon PowerShot D30, this will make it more problematic due to the extra bits to carry. There's also a small strap, which is a downgrade from the first model they brought out in 2009 as it was a long, metal cable. This is a flimsy, standard wrist strap. The camera also comes with a lithium ion battery. On the top of the camera box is a Quick Start Guide, European Warranty leaflet and several promotional leaflets

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3Mb.


Canon seem to be clipping their sensitivity range to ISO 1600 on the majority of their compact cameras, but, at least with the underwater cameras, they've added an extra stop of light to the ISO, taking the ratings to ISO 3200.

At ISO 100, the pictures are crystal clear with sharp edges, lots of detail in the shadows/.dark areas and not a discoloured pixel in sight. Noise does start to come in at ISO 200, but it would be unfair to criticise the Canon PowerShot D30 too much because it's only marginally noticeable at full magnification. In fact, we couldn't detect noise at normal viewing distances until we got to ISO 1600.

At full magnification, slight amounts of colour noise start to pop through noticeably at ISO 400. Edge detail is still good at this stage. Shadow detail starts to merge at ISO 800 and salt and pepper noise begins to make a nuisance of itself in midtones. The same issues get gradually worse until ISO 3200 where green colour starts to invade the midtones and fine detail is a thing of the past.

Still, when we look at the end result, our ISO 3200 test image is better than some others we've tested in the same price range and it's this kind of thing you have to look for. If flash isn't an option, then you need to use a higher ISO and that's where noise comes in as the noise to signal ratio is amplified. It seems that the HS system has been improved for the Canon PowerShot D30 and that's a welcome change.

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon PowerShot D30. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso200.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso800.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso3200.jpg


If you have a picture that was taken at low ISO, then adding some sharpening to your photos certainly helps. With a higher ISO, the noise in the picture simply exacerbates.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg

Focal Range

The Canon PowerShot D30 has a 5x optical zoom lens which is image stabilised. It starts at 28mm which then means it gives an equivalent of 140mm in 35mm terms.



focal_range1.jpg focal_range2.jpg


Chromatic Aberrations

We did find that chromatic aberrations are a problem with the lens system of the Canon PowerShot D30. It happens mostly on high contrast images, although it's easy to mistake lens flare with chroma. We managed to find it on areas without any direct light, though.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

chromatic1.jpg chromatic2.jpg

Chromatic Aberrations 3 (100% Crop)



The close focusing of the Canon PowerShot D30 is 1cm from the front glass. That's a very good close focus performance and will be helpful with insects and small fish that aren't shy. There's a great deal of image drop off, so make sure you get the subject in the centre sweet spot.


Macro (100% Crop)

macro1.jpg macro1a.jpg


There's no vignette on the test without flash. We did get some when fully zoomed though and when flash is used, vignetting is harsh at wide-angle. It settles down a little up to full zoom, but it's still noticeable.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (140mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Using red-eye makes absolutely no difference if the colour red in the eye is the wrong shade. This is because it's software that removes it and it doesn't recognise that tone of red.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Night scene mode on the Canon PowerShot D30 isn't easy to find, so keep an eye out. In the Mode menu, when you get to the Movie digest option, that's actually one of many modes that you have to scroll left and right to select.

Interestingly, once you've found it, it's also not the easiest mode to use. You see, we expected to get a decent, straightforward picture when we used the night shot. After all, the Canon PowerShot D30 is designed for use in gloomy situations and is why it has the HS system sensor. Taking a picture in Night mode ramps the ISO right up to ISO 3200, whereas taking a picture in Program mode with the ISO set to auto, the camera selected 1600. That uses a slower shutter speed, but if you're using something to keep the camera steady, it doesn't matter and you'll arguably get a better result, noise-wise.  We also took a shot at ISO 100 in Program mode, to see what the results would be. The maximum shutter speed is 1sec, so when we took our shot in the early hours, it simply wasn't enough to make an effective exposure.

Night Scene

Night Scene (100% Crop)

night_scene.jpg night_scene1.jpg

Night ISO Auto

Night ISO Auto (100% Crop)

night_program_isoauto.jpg night_program_isoauto1.jpg

Night ISO 100

Night ISO 100 (100% Crop)

night_program_iso100.jpg night_program_iso1001.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot D30 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 35 second movie is 147Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon PowerShot D30

Front of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Side of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Side of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Image Displayed

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Turned On

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Function Menu

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Shooting Mode Menu

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Main Menu


Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot D30

Rear of the Canon PowerShot D30 / Main Menu

Canon PowerShot D30

Top of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Bottom of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Side of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Side of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Front of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Front of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Side of the Canon PowerShot D30

Canon PowerShot D30

Battery Compartment


Canon have really pushed the boundaries on their tough cameras by increasing the integrity of the chassis. While the 2m drop is already matched in many tough cameras – and even bettered – the PowerShot D30 is unsurpassed in the depth that you can swim without an extra casing to protect the camera. It's certainly an easy camera to use as well, aside from the sneakier sub-menus that aren't immediately noticeable. The camera is very well laid out with the typical UI from Canon that makes it easy to make changes to functions without too much fuss.

We like the way that the design has altered so much from the D10 camera. In 5 years, we've gone from a pebble shaped camera with an external zoom and submarine style rivets, to a pretty normal looking camera. Although they've plundered somewhat from the Olympus school of camera design, it's not exclusive to them and serves a purpose to make the PowerShot D30 flatter thanks to the internal zoom system. It's possible that the way the camera is constucted contributes to the chromatic aberration problems we saw in the Performance section of the review. The image has to go through a piece of glass before hitting the first lens, then bounces off a mirror to direct through the zoom lens elements which are at a right angle. The mirror and external glass could be the culprits in this, but it would be impossible to tell without dismantling the camera and testing it again sans glass and mirror.

The image quality is of a good standard, though. Colours are punchy and aside from a little saturation being added, are true to life. It's interesting that Canon have been more reserved with their ISO availability. The maximum setting of ISO 3200 isn't the highest available on this type of camera, but we like to think that Canon have opted to retain an air of dignity and sacrificed consumer demand for maintaining their reputation for excellent image quality. The high ISO images do have their flaws, but if the PowerShot D30 had been allowed to rise to ISO 6400, then the Canon would have a bad show of performance.

The Canon PowerShot D30 is priced a little lower than other cameras in this range. That makes it great value for money, but as a travel camera it is flawed due to the external battery charging unit. It does have a lot going for it, though, so if you can work your way around the charger issue, it's a good camera to have.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 3.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Canon PowerShot D30.

Fujifilm FinePix XP60

The Fujifilm FinePix XP60 is a tough water, freeze, shock and dust proof 16 megapixel compact camera. The XP60 also offers 1080i HD movies, a 5x zoom lens and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. Read our expert Fujifilm FinePix XP60 review to find out if this is the right camera for all your family.

Nikon Coolpix AW120

The Coolpix AW120 is Nikon's latest all-action compact camera. The 16 megapixel Nikon AW120 has a 5x zoom lens (24-120mm), 3 inch OLED 921K-dot screen, built-in GPS and wi-fi, 8fps burst shooting and can record full 1080p video. Read our Nikon Coolpix AW120 review to find out if it's the right tough camera for you...

Olympus Tough TG-2

The Olympus Tough TG-2 is a new water, freeze, shock and dust proof compact camera for 2013. Boasting a fast f2.0 aperture high-speed lens, the TG-2 also offers full 1080p HD movies, a 4x zoom lens and a 3 inch OLED screen. Read our Olympus Tough TG-2 review to find out if it's still one of our favourite all-weather cameras...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 is a new freeze, shock, water and dust proof camera. The well-appointed Panasonic FT5 also features built-in GPS, wi-fi and NFC functionality, a compass, altimeter and barometer, 4.6x zoom, 1920x1080 full-HD movie recording and a 16 megapixel sensor. Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT5 review to find out if this is the best do-it-all camera for your family....

Ricoh WG-4 GPS

The Ricoh WG-4 GPS is a new shock, freeze, dust, water and crush proof compact camera with built-in GPS tracking. The Ricoh WG4 GPS also offers 16 megapixels, a 3-inch LCD, a 4x zoom lens, Full HD movie recording and built-in LED macro lights. Read our in-depth Ricoh WG-4 GPS review now...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon PowerShot D30 from around the web. »

Canon's latest waterproof compact follows on from some impressive predecessors, but can it match their performance both in and out of the water?
Read the full review » »

The Canon Powershot D30 is a waterproof, freezeproof and shockproof digital camera, with a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, a 3inch screen and geotagging via built in GPS.
Read the full review » »

The Canon PowerShot D30 ($329.99) is, from an imaging perspective, a very minor update to the older D20. Its lens, 12-megapixel image sensor, and image processor are the same, which is to say they're a couple of years old at this point. The real selling point of the D30 is its ability to survive the pressures you encounter at an 82-foot underwater depth—that's the best in this class by a good 20 feet.
Read the full review »



Type 1/2.3 type back-illuminated CMOS
Effective Pixels Approx. 12.1M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour


Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology


Focal Length 5.0 – 25.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 – 140 mm)
Zoom Optical 5x
Digital Approx. 4.0x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined Approx. 20x
Maximum f/number f/3.9 – f/4.8
Construction 12 elements in 10 groups (2 UD lenses, 3 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 single-sided aspherical lenses)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), Approx. 1.5-stop¹. Intelligent IS


Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (only available in Auto mode), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF, Underwater Macro, Quick
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock Yes
AF Assist Beam Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 1 cm (W) from front of lens in macro


Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre)
AE Lock Yes
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200


Speed 1 – 1/1600 sec. (factory default)
15 – 1/1600 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode)


Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom


Type sRGB


Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II LCD (TFT). Approx. 461,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels. Sunlight LCD mode.


Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/1600 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 30 cm – 3.5 m (W) / 1.0 m – 3.0 m (T)


Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), P, Movie Digest, Portrait, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Handheld Night Scene, Low Light (3.0 MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Underwater, Underwater Macro, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist
Modes in Movie Smart Auto (21 scenes detected), P, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Underwater, Snow, Fireworks, iFrame Movie, Super Slow Motion Movie
Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red)
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.9 shots/sec.(until memory card becomes full)¹²


Image Size 4:3 - (L) 4000 x 3000, (M1) 2816 x 2112, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480
16:9 - (L) 4000 x 2248, (M1) 2816 x 1584, (M2) 1920 x 1080, (S) 640 x 360
3:2 - (L) 4000 x 2664, (M1) 2816 x 1880, (M2) 1600 x 1064, (S) 640 x 424
1:1 - (L) 2992 x 2992, (M1) 2112 x 2112, (M2) 1200 x 1200, (S) 480 x 480
Resize in playback (M2, S, XS)
*XS is half the length and width of S
Compression Fine
Movies (Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 24 fps, (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps
Super Slow Motion Movie (L) 640 x 480, 120fps, (M) 320 x 240, 240fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
Movie Digest (L) 30fps
iFrame Movie (HD) 30fps
Movie Length (Full HD & HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.¹
(L) Up to 4 GB or 1 hour²


Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [Video:MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, Audio: Linear PCM (monaural)]
GPS Log LOG [NMEA 0183 message format compliant]


Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge
PictBridge Yes


GPS Yes¹ GPS tagging, GPS Logger, automatic time update
Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
My Camera / My Menu Start-up image and camera sounds customisation
My Category Image tagging feature
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x – 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi, Malaysian,Indonesian, Vietnamese


Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other HDMI Mini Connector (HDMI-CEC compatible), A/V output (PAL/NTSC)




PC & Macintosh Windows 8 / 8.1 / 7 SP1 / Vista SP2 / XP SP3
Mac OS X 10.7 / 10.8 / 10.9


Browsing & Printing ImageBrowser EX
Other PhotoStitch, Map Utility


Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6LH (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 300 shots (Measured with GPS features off)
Approx. 300 min. playback
More than 48 hours using only GPS Logger
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC40


Cases / Straps Neoprene Case SC-DC80
Travel Case DCC-2500
Silicone Jacket SJ-DC1
Float FT-DC1
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC40, Battery Charger CB-2LYE
Other Canon HDMI Cable HTC-100, Interface cable IFC-400PCU


Operating Environment -10 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Waterproof to 25m (IEC/JIS IP Protection Rating IPX8 equivalent)
Dustproof (IEC/JIS IP Protection Rating IP6X equivalent)
Shockproof to 2.0m drop (MIL Standard 810F Method 516.5)¹
Dimensions (WxHxD) 109.4 x 68.0 x 27.5 mm
Weight Approx. 218 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)
Zoom ¹ Depending on the image size selected.
Image Stabilisation ¹ Values at maximum optical focal length. Cameras whose focal length exceeds 350mm (35mm equivalent) are measured at 350mm.
AF Modes ¹ Some settings limit availability.
Continuous Shooting ¹ Under conditions where the flash does not fire.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
Movie Length ¹ The following Speed Class memory cards are required for maximum record time: (HD) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 4 or above. (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 Speed Class 6 or above. (iFrame) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 6 or above.
² Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
GPS ¹ GPS use may be restricted in certain countries or regions. Use of GPS should comply with the laws and regulations of the country and area in which it is being operated including any restriction on the use of electronics.
Operating Environment ¹ The shock resistant testing methods are unique to this product and do not guarantee against damage or malfunction of the product.
  • All data is based on Canon standard testing methods (according to CIPA Standards) except where indicated.
  • Subject to change without notice.

Your Comments

Loading comments…