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.
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!
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.
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.