From the clear images it snaps to its design, from its button placement to the accessories available for it, Canon has got a lot of things right with the ruggedised PowerShot D10 digital camera. It is a great feat considering it is the company’s first attempt at building cameras for adventurous users.

TheD10 is in no way a replacement for your high-end compact camera, such as Canon's own recently-released Ixus 990 IS - but it's a fun toy to take on your summer holidays - and you might find yourself breaking it out for some unusual creative projects too.

The Canon PowerShot D10 is waterproof to 10 metres, can survive drops up to 1m and temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius, and it is dustproof. It can be used underwater, at the beach or by the pool without fear of damage, and its bright LCD screen can be viewed adequately even in direct sunlight.

Its competitors are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1, the Olympus Mju Tough 8000, and the Olympus Mju Tough 6000. The Canon PowerShot D10 differs greatly to the Olympus and Panasonic cameras in its design. Instead of being slim and square, the D10 is chubby. Its lens sticks out from the body and is protected by hardened glass and a round frame. The round frame makes the camera easy to hold steady: you can grip it properly with your left hand without obscuring the lens (which was a problem with the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT1).

The button layout is simple and makes the Canon PowerShot D10 easy to use. The three things that we like in particular are the big buttons across the top for the power and shutter buttons; the three buttons above the screen that can be used to change mode; and the use of buttons instead of a slider to change the zoom. The shutter button is round and easy to press even if you are wearing gloves.

The lack of a rotational dial for changing the mode means you don’t have to fiddle when you want to go from auto mode to video mode, for example, and it also means that sand and grit can’t get in (which is a concern we have with the Panasonic and Olympus cameras). The use of buttons for zooming instead of a slider means that zoom movements can be made more precisely and again you don’t have to worry about dirt getting into the slider.