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Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Digital Camera Review

canon20120501ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers

If you’re the sort of person that’ll upsize your meals at the local takeaway restaurant or sift through all the features of a new product and toss it up with the price before you make the decision on which model to get just to be sure you receive the best value for your money, then you might have a hard time deciding on the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, when it’s brother, the SX260 HS is so close up the road. It may be a little hard to decide if you want slightly better specifications or a slightly cheaper price, because the reality is these two cameras differ ever so slightly.


Appearance and Functionality

canon20120501bf.jpgThe Canon SX230 has a sleek two toned plastic and metallic appearance. All the buttons are located within easy reach of your right hand and are positioned for maximum ease of use. The camera has no moulds or grips unlike the SX260 but as far as aesthetics go it looks and feels much the same and gives you much desire to pick it up and take it for a spin.

The menu navigation is sleek and professional. You can scroll through the menus with the handy, continuous, rolling scroll wheel or press in with the wheel at each imaginary edge if you wish to navigate with buttons. One main difference between the SX230 and the SX260 to note here is a slightly less luxurious approach to the controls that you miss out on for having those extra few dollars in your pocket. In plain terms it appears only to be a minor hassle when starting up and learning your way around. Once you’re familiar with the SX230 you’ll have no problems with it.

Specifically, unlike the 260, it has a lack of pictures on each edge of the dial which leaves you guessing which buttons changes which quick settings  (Flash, Self-timer etc.) It doesn’t help further that, once you manually close the flash with your finger, the unmarked flash button does not reopen the flash and on top of that it does nothing as slight as bring up a menu or display a message. However when you are familiar  with the SX230 these minor functional confusions will be little problem to you.


canon20120501bd.jpgImage Quality / Lens Quality

The quality of image in the 12.1mp PowerShot SX230 is quite good and can no doubt match that of the SX260. At this resolution you’ll be able to print and enlarge high quality images, wether it be photos of a family birthday to send to the in-laws or a photo of your ‘pride and joy’ sitting in your driveway ready to be driven, there’s plenty of quality to go around.

The SX230 HS handles low light as well as the higher range model does, with little to no grain and noise present from ISO100 to ISO800. Grain starts to make an unwelcome appearance at ISO1600 but doesn’t start to ruin the party until ISO3200.  

canon20120501bc.jpgThe zoom is impressive at 14x and the IS makes for some quality stabilized shots. The zoom is a little slow to get all the way from the wide 28mm equivalent to the 16x zoom however with a range like that you can hold your tongue, wait a couple seconds and let it do it’s thing.

The macro is good and provides crisp, focused images from only a few centimeters distance.
 The lens and image quality provides all-round use and all-round stability. It gives you all the options to crack the SX230 out on all occasions no matter the conditions. With flexibility like this you’ll rarely be out of place.

Skin tones are represented well in auto and colours appear vivid and natural.


canon20120501bb.jpgLCD Screen

The inclusion of a widescreen LCD on the SX230 gives it that sleek, modern top of the market feel to it that makes you know you’ve made a good decision. This screen is so wide it’s almost like comparing your great uncles 1980’s, clunky, 4x3, CRT television with your brand new Full HD, 50 inch LCD beauty. While the wide screen makes viewing 4x3 images seem small as they don’t fill up the whole screen, it makes viewing and taking videos all the more fantastic. With an incredible width of view it makes all the difference.
 The resolution of the screen is good and the colours are represented well. It provides a good and useful representation of the images you’ve taken and with the onscreen information in playback mode gives you a heads up about resolution, image size and exposure.



Video quality is great and the Full HD resolution makes all the difference. Image stabilization adds movie-like quality to your videos. This’ll smooth out your images and make them no longer shaky and almost unbearable to watch.

You can take videos from 320 x 240 for longer recording time up to the Full HD of 1920 x 1080 for that higher quality, stand-out image to show off on your HD television. Videos can also be recorded in iFrame mode which allows for easier editing and sharing.




The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS might be the perfect addition to your family if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper but just as powerful version to the SX260. This camera provides equal image and video quality and has many of the features present in the higher range model. It lacks in only slight variations with the specifications, physical appearance and functionality. When viewed stand alone, however, the 16x zoom, 12.1mp sensor, full HD video and wide LCD screen make it stand out from crowd. A worthy contestant to keep the competition scrambling for ground.




Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Pro Compact Digital / 5689 Camera Bag 


Recommended Retailer:

View / Buy The Canon Powershot SX230 HS  



Appearance rating 3.5 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4 stars
Value for money 3.5 stars
RRP (AUD) Body only $314.95
Effective Pixels 12.1 Mega pixels
Sensor Type
1/2.3 type back-illuminated CMOS
Image Sizes 4 Sizes / 4 Aspect Ratios
Lens 5.0 – 70.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 – 392 mm), Optical 14x. Digital Approx. 4.0x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined Approx. 56x, f/3.1 – f/5.9, 12 elements in 10 groups
Lens Mount
Resolution Settings: Stills 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
Resolution Settings: Video (Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 24 fps, (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps, (M) 320 x 240, 30 fps
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 1 – 1/3200 sec. (factory default), 15 – 1/3200 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode)
ISO AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
LCD Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G (TFT), 16:9 aspect ratio, Approx. 461,000 dots, Approx. 100%
Viewfinder -
Flash Yes, Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Hot Shoe No
White Balance TTL, Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Underwater, Custom
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom
Stills Format/s
JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Video Format/s MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]
iFrame. GPS LOG: LOG [NMEA 0183 message format compliant¹]
Video Recording Time/s -
Storage Type - External SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus
Storage Type - Internal
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible), HDMI Mini Connector (HDMI-CEC compatible) A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
Power Source AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC30
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-5L
Battery Life Approx. 210 shots
Approx. 240 min. playback
Dimensions 105.7 mm (W) x 61.6mm (H) x 33.2mm (D)
Weight Approx. 223 g (including battery and memory card)



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