If there's a tougher waterproof camera, I haven't seen it before. That's not to say it's perfect, but it's the point and shoot I'd take to cover an Aquaman vs Red October brawl.
The Waterproofing and Toughness:
It's rated to 10 meters, or 33 feet, without a case, making it just as pressure resistant as the Powershot D10. And there's a 30 meter case, optional, for deeper excursions, too, which the Canon doesn't have. It is the only periscoping internal zoom lens with a mechanized metal cover. Like the Pentax W80 and Canon Powershot D10, it can operate at down to 14 degrees F, making it ideal for winter sports. It's shock rated to a drop of 6.6 feet and crushproof to 220 pounds. It's heavy and almost completely metal. The screen and lens are coated with a water resistant substance, keeping droplets from getting in the way of clean shots. It's a monster. All it needs is a damn turret and you could send it into a warzone.
Now for the slightly sad part. Relative to other test shots by other waterproof cameras, the photos were, well, middling and grainy. I don't believe that picture quality is necessarily a main concern on waterproof cameras—water quality is a bigger determination here—but as an above water camera, there are better choices. I did find the multiple underwater modes for surf/snow on the ground (pumps exposure), the high speed and landscape under the sea, and video modes to be a nice touch. The camera is also dual stabilized using optical and high ISO to reduce shakes. The biggest problem I had was the focus lag which caused plenty of missed action shots. That was a negative thing for me in an otherwise great user experience. Oh, there's a beauty mode, which combines face detection with softening algorithms on camera—there's a cool animation with sparkles that it plays while it renders—that take wrinkles and shadows out of faces. Kind of works!
The Video-ooh No:
What the shit: The 640x480 pixel video looked kind of jittery at times and was washed out all the time and—the worst part—limited to 10 second clips. This, for me, is somewhat of a deal breaker. When you're outside, motion shots are a given. I need better video on this camera!
Yes, it uses XD cards, and a variation of ye old mini and micro USB, so I had to hunt for some gear to transfer shots.
The Bottom Line:
As tough as it gets, but photos are a little underwhelming and video fall way short. I'm definitely conflicted here.
The toughest point and shoot in the world.
Summermodo is a chance for Giz to get outside and test our gear where it belongs.