Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Review

The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is a new travel-zoom camera that will replace the previous model, the SX210. There is a 14x, 28-392mm optical zoom lens with an integrated image stabilizer, a 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, a 3-inch LCD screen with 460k-dot resolution, a DIGIC 4 image-processing engine, a full 1080p HD Movie Mode with stereo sound and an HDMI output, as well as a Smart Auto mode with Scene Detection Technology and an Easy mode for beginners. Additionally, the camera has an Easy mode for those who

The only difference between the Canon SX230 and SX220 models is the addition of a built-in GPS in the Canon SX230 HS. Additionally, the Canon SX230 HS features a full range of manual exposure modes, 8.1 frames per second of burst shooting at a resolution of 3 megapixels, a Super Slow Motion Movie mode, and a burst shooting speed of 3 megapixels. The Canon PowerShot SX230 can be purchased for a total of £299, which is equivalent to $349.99, and it comes in either pink, blue, or black.

Lens & Sensor

The Canon SX230 HS features a lens that has a 14x optical zoom and a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 28-392mm (actual zoom range 5-70mm). The lens may be extended away from the body, despite the fact that it still leaves a very slight projection from the body even when the device is turned off. The lens has a maximum aperture range of f/3.1-5.9 and a minimum aperture that remains constant at f/8.0 across the whole length of the zoom. Additionally, the lens features optical image stabilization, which enables somewhat crisper photographs to be produced even in low-light environments.

The Canon SX230 HS employs a CMOS image sensor that is a typical 1/2.3-inch in size, and it has a total megapixel count of 12.8. However, the final image is cropped down to an effective size of 12.1 megapixels, which places the SX230 approximately in the center of the pack when compared to its current (2011) competitors.


The Canon SX230 HS does not include a viewfinder of any type and instead relies on the 3-inch LCD that is located on the back of the camera. This LCD has a resolution of roughly 460k dots. Because the LCD has an aspect ratio that is closer to 16:9 than the camera’s original 4:3, you will see black bars along the edges of your live view screen by default. This is similar to how some other current Canon models’ LCDs are designed. This keeps the different shooting setting readouts off the image, which helps in framing, but as a result, there is less screen real estate dedicated to your image than there is with cameras that feature a 4:3 3-inch LCD.


On the Canon SX230 HS, you’ll find both a conventional USB/AV port and a mini-HDMI port. The USB port has a slight hump in it to fit Canon’s AVC-DC400ST A/V cable, and the mini-HDMI port is smaller yet. The Canon SX230 HS, on the other hand, is compatible with the use of regular mini-USB connections for the transfer of data to and from the camera. One problem that we did run across was that when we tried to connect the SX230 HS straight to a Macbook, the computer would not recognize the Canon’s presence at all. Because of this, we needed to use a card reader. However, when I used the camera on a computer running Windows, it functioned well.


Despite being a member of the so-called “travel zoom” group of cameras, the Canon SX230 HS is not a very tough device. The telescopic lens, like the lenses on all of these other types of cameras, leaves the camera susceptible to damage from dust and other particles that may become lodged inside. Because the front of the lens is protected by a plastic lens cover, but the cover can easily be removed to expose the lens’s glass parts, it is risky to carry the camera in a backpack or pocket where keys or change can be carried, as this might easily result in the lens becoming broken. Overall, we have to advise putting the SX230 HS inside of a bag of some kind and exercising extreme caution while using the camera in environments that may contain moisture or dust.

Quality of the Image

In spite of the fact that it has a 14x zoom, we’ve found that lengthier lenses have a propensity to lower the overall image quality. This pattern is continued by the SX230, which, in the vast majority of shooting situations, produces images that are grainy, off-color, and distorted.


The SX230 HS produced detail levels that were above average; however, depending on the focal length that was being used, our findings were all over the place. At times, sharpness reached over 2200 MTF50s, which is pretty impressive; nevertheless, detail decreased below 800 MTF50s at longer focal lengths and in areas that were closer to the edge of the frame. In addition, there is a propensity for the edges to get oversharpened, which detracts from the realism of the exposures.

Image Stabilization

When zoomed in all the way, there is a significant amount of blurriness. In the big scheme of things, even the image that has been stabilized will not be particularly appealing, despite the fact that the optical stabilizer of the SX230 will produce a relative increase in sharpness. The results of our experiment are based on percentages of improvement, and this stabilizer does, in fact, raise the level of detail by an average of 52 percent.


When it comes to the precise reproduction of colors, Canon cameras often have a mixed track record, and the SX230 definitely falls into the latter category. Even with a smaller camera, the best we could get was a value of 3.82 for our margin of error, which is far worse than the norm. Particularly wrong were the flesh tones, with many different colors of yellow being green instead. A further discussion on how we evaluate color.

Due to the way in which computer monitors portray colors, the photos that have been displayed above may not exactly match the originals that can be seen on the chart or in the photographs that have been collected. It is important to remember that the chart is meant to be used for judging the relative color change, not the absolute colors collected.

Try out Sony’s HX9V, which was able to get an even better score than Canon’s powerful S100 compact, for more accurate color reproduction in a travel zoom camera.

Color Modes

The neutral color option produces the most realistic colors; nevertheless, this setting reduces saturation by more than 12 percent. The My Colors Off feature comes in at number two, however, using it will result in an approximately 10 percent increase in the level of saturation. We will not prevail.

A Perfect White Balance

The precision of the white balance is fantastic for certain applications, but it is imprecise for others. Tungsten lighting presents a challenge for the camera, as it does for most cameras; nonetheless, the automatic white balance is reasonably accurate while shooting in daylight or with fluorescent lamps. On the other hand, custom white balance is quite precise when working with tungsten light but can be somewhat inaccurate when working in daylight or CWF.

Noise Reduction

The SX230 has a highly unreliable noise handling system. Image noise reaches a full 1.00 percent as early as ISO 200 and continues to climb exponentially from that point on, ultimately reaching 1.83 percent when the maximum sensitivity is used.

Options for ISO

From 100 all the way up to 3200, it is the range of possible ISO levels. That’s about par for the course, however, a score of 6,400 would have been appreciated. There are no extended ISO settings that have a decreased resolution available.

Aberration of Chromatic Color

Chromatic aberration is quite obvious in places of strong contrast in all of the photographs; this is most likely the result of the ambitious lens. The fringe effect frequently appears as a pink or yellow glow along the black borders of the frame, and the problem only grows worse as you get closer to the frame’s boundaries.

Clarity of the video image

The resolution was another source of the difficulty. In our sharpness test, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS was only able to resolve 450 lines per picture height horizontally and 550 lines per picture height vertically, which places it a long way below the best performers in the category, such as the Sony HX9V and the Casio ZR100. More information on how CamcorderInfo evaluates the sharpness of videos.


The Canon SX230 HS is not the most portable long-zooming camera available on the market (nor was it in 2011), but it does compromise a tiny amount of mobility to give big buttons, a physical mode dial, and other features that assist in use. The menu system within the camera is intelligible and simple to navigate, while the controls themselves are all properly labeled and have distinctive looks, shapes, and overall sensations to them. The camera also utilizes Canon’s standard “function menu,” which, when pressed, brings up a whole menu of standard shooting settings that the user may scroll through on the side of the screen. This menu is brought up when the user presses a single key.

Automatic Features

A number of automated shooting modes, including Canon’s own own “easy” mode, are included on the Canon SX230 HS. These modes were designed with beginning photographers in mind (indicated by the pink camera symbol with a heart in the middle). As is the case with other types of cameras, the different modes offer differing degrees of control. These modes range from manual mode, which offers the most amount of control, to easy mode, which offers the least amount of control.

The user is unable to make any adjustments to the camera’s settings under Easy mode because the mode takes full control of the device and disables the menu. In the simple model, all the user has to do to capture a photo or start recording video is aim the camera in the desired direction and hit the shutter button or the record button. There are no other available choices. The camera also has a program auto mode, which gives the user complete control over the camera but lets the camera to choose the shutter speed and aperture for them. The user has the option of selecting the fully automatic mode, which, similar to the majority of point-and-shoot cameras, provides more flexibility than the easy mode but less than program auto.

In addition to that, there is a broad selection of scene modes available. As is the case with practically all point-and-shoot cameras, they operate in a manner that is very similar to that of the camera’s automatic mode, but they make certain adjustments to the shooting settings in order to assist in taking the best possible picture of a particular situation. For instance, the leaf scene-setting of the camera is intended to enhance the natural hues that are captured when photographing woods in the fall, resulting in colors that are more vibrant. The camera has a number of different scene modes that may be selected directly from the physical mode dial. However, some of the more advanced modes are grouped together under a single “SCN” option on the mode dial. The user can select the scene mode they desire by using the “function set” menu.


When compared to the amount of physical gear and control that it offers, the Canon SX230 HS is surprisingly compact. It is simple to pick up and handle with a single hand because to the thumbrest that is provided by the camera’s physical mode dial. The front of the camera is made of a simple material that has a brushed finish and is smooth. The Canon logo is lifted slightly from the body itself. We are of the opinion that, putting the company’s name to one side, the front area of the camera might have benefited from being constructed from some kind of rubberized material. When taking pictures with bare hands, this isn’t much of an issue; but, as soon as you attempt holding the camera with gloves on, it becomes a significant problem due to the lack of friction.

The Canon SX230 otherwise possesses rather a good handling. When activated, each of the device’s buttons and dials has an exceptional haptic response and produces a clicking sound that can be heard clearly. The buttons each have their own distinctive slopes, which allow for their identification from a distance without the user needing to look directly at the button. For example, the movie button has a very little upward slope, and the red dot that identifies it is really a separate inlay on the button. This gives it a slightly distinct feel from the other buttons. These supplementary features enhance the overall shooting experience and make the SX230 HS more intuitive to operate in general.

Various modes of shooting

The SX230’s physical mode dial has a total of thirteen settings, which are as follows: auto, easy, program auto, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, scene, movie digest, portrait, landscape, kids & pets, foliage, poster effect, and movie mode. The physical mode dial is located on the back of the camera. The presence of manual mode, as well as both of the priority shooting modes, is really intriguing, considering these settings are more commonly seen on cameras aimed at enthusiasts (some cameras in this range include a shutter priority or manual, but not often all three). Even if the hardware to make use of the control over exposure is relatively restricted, the overall exposure control is a good addition.

Manual Controls

You have complete control over the manner in which the camera exposes the image sensor to light in order to snap a picture if you use the manual or priority (shutter and aperture) settings. Although the camera has a very constrained aperture range (with a maximum of f/3.1-5.9 and a minimum of just f/8.0), it does give you the ability to adjust shutter speeds ranging from 15 seconds all the way down to 1/3200 of a second.

The majority of point-and-shoot cameras barely permit exposures of one second, but the SX230 HS offers a significant amount of control over these settings. The control dial on the camera’s back allows you to modify the proper exposure settings (shutter speed or aperture), based on the model that you are currently using. All of these settings are controlled by the rear control dial. When using the manual mode, pressing the up key on the rear control pad will allow you to switch between the shutter speed and aperture. Under each of these modes, the whole menu as well as all of the shooting choices found within the function menu are accessible for usage.

Alternatives for Recording

The SX230 HS captures photos with a maximum resolution of 4000 by 3000 pixels when shooting in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The sole image format supported by the camera is JPEG, and there are two quality levels available. Canon’s G-series and S-series cameras are the only ones in the company’s lineup that support RAW shooting. The camera gives you the option of shooting in 4:3, 16:9, 3:2, or 1:1 aspect ratios, with four different sizes available for each of those ratios. The other settings all result in a cropped view of what is being aimed at by the camera, with the exception of the 16:9 setting, which allows you to use the whole back screen.

Additional Controls

In addition, the Canon SX230 HS’s function menu provides access to the standard choices for adjusting white balance (including auto, preset, and user-defined settings), ISO, and exposure compensation (100-3200 and auto selectable). The brightness can be accurately adjusted throughout the scene thanks to the camera’s ability to automatically meter the scene or employ face and subject tracking. These are your run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot controls, and the SX230 HS doesn’t really have anything to offer that sets it apart from the competition in terms of additional controls, unless you count some of its more distinctive technology, as its GPS.


The Canon SX230 HS is equipped with a built-in GPS system that, much like the GPS system on your smartphone, stores location information along with each image that is shot. This feature can be managed via the menu, where users will find the option to either switch it on or off, as well as the choice to continuously log information even when the camera is turned off. The GPS reception is patchy in the city near buildings, and the logging function consumes power for a feature that you seldom need to use. Additionally, the reception is inconsistent on the GPS.


To differentiate itself from an increasingly competitive field of travel zoom cameras, Canon designed the SX230 with a number of useful add-ons for its end users. The built-in GPS capabilities of the camera are easily the most noticeable additional feature. While this feature is useful in some circumstances, we didn’t find it to be especially interesting (or practical) in urban settings. Aside from that, the camera offers a robust feature set that includes the ability to record full HD video, a lens with 14x optical zoom, high-speed video recording at 120 and 240 frames per second, and a complete complement of PASM exposure settings.

Scene modes, as well as effects and filters

The Canon SX230 HS has a number of different scene modes built within the camera, in addition to Canon’s “my colors” settings, which may be adjusted regardless of the shooting mode the user is currently using.

Alternatives for Recording

Users of the Canon SX230 HS are able to capture video in full 1080/24p definition, or at 30 frames per second in 720p, VGA, iFrame (HD: 1280×720), and 320×240 resolutions respectively. The camera also has an option for high-speed slow-motion recording, which enables you to record at 120 frames per second (at VGA quality) or 240 frames per second (320×240 resolution). According to Canon, the complete 1080/24p films only take up 4.355Mbps of space, indicating that the video does not have a particularly high bitrate. Find out how it fared in the video picture quality test that we ran here./r:link to content

Video Controls

When it comes to video recording on the Canon SX230 HS, there aren’t really any manual adjustments, with the exception of the camera’s white balance and the “my colors” option, both of which can be found in the function menu. In the video mode, there are no options for frame rate or quality, and the camera will automatically select the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings for you. The only option for high-speed recording is a choice between 120 and 240 frames per second.

Auto Controls

By pushing the button labeled “record” that is located on the rear of the camera, the user is able to begin recording video at any moment. The physical mode dial also provides users with the option to convert to a specialized video record mode. Both of them take control of the exposure on their own, without requiring any input from the user. Altering the white balance and setting any of the filters under “my colors” (including a custom one) are the only two choices that may be accessed from that menu. When you press the dedicated record button on the camera, rather than recording video with the dedicated video record mode, the camera may inherit some of the shooting settings from the mode that it is currently in, regardless of whether it is dedicated to still photography or video recording; however, we were unable to locate anything in the manual that stated that this was the case.


When recording video, you may access the camera’s full zoom capabilities by simply activating the zoom toggle, which is located on the top plate of the camera. You get access to the entirety of the camera’s optical zoom, which clocks in at 14x, as well as the digital zoom option, which gives you access to up to 54x magnification. Instead of using the motor at full speed, the camera operates at a reduced speed so that the zooming process is as smooth as possible. Despite the fact that it was not running at its maximum capacity, the motor can be heard on the final tape.


There is no meaningful method to overrule what the camera selects to focus on when shooting video with the Canon SX230 HS; the camera focuses constantly and automatically on whatever is in the frame. The focus shifts in a manner that is both gradual and smooth, and the 14x optical zoom lens produces a backdrop that is tastefully blurred, which together bring the subject of most images to the forefront. The mechanism that controls the focus is not as noisy as the motor that controls the zoom, and we were unable to discern it during playback on either the camera or the computer until we considerably increased the volume.

Exposure Controls

When recording video, there are no manual settings or overrides available for the exposure, and there are also no other frame rate choices accessible without also altering the video’s compression type and/or resolution. Unfortunately, it is not rare to discover such a lack of control in point-and-shoot cameras; however, there is no option to change the metering type, which would allow you to prioritize brightness in one part of the frame.

Additional Controls

White balance and “my colors” filters may be selected from the function menu when you are recording a video in the mode that is specifically designed for video recording. In the same way that they are for still photography, there is a whole range of choices accessible for either one. The majority of these settings appear to be inherited from still photography to video when utilizing the dedicated video record button to begin recording. For example, the white balance does not readjust when switching from still photography to video.


Body typeCompact
Max resolution4000 x 3000
Other resolutions4000 x 3000, 4000 x 2248, 4000 x 2664, 2992 x 2992, 2816 x 2112, 2816 x 1880, 2816 x 1584, 2112 x 2112, 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 1200, 1600 x 1064, 1200 x 1200, 640 x 480, 640 x 424, 640 x 360, 480 x 480
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorDIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology
ISOAuto 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
Focal length (equiv.)28–392 mm
Optical zoom14×
Maximum apertureF3.1–5.9
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Manual focusYes
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typePureColor II TG TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/3200 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesYes
Built-in flashYes
Flash range3.50 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive3.2 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, Custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (24fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 240 fps)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/MMCplus/HC MMCplus
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini Connector)
WirelessEye-Fi Connected
Remote controlNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-5L rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)210
Weight (inc. batteries)223 g (0.49 lb / 7.87 oz)
Dimensions106 x 62 x 33 mm (4.17 x 2.44 x 1.3″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo


The primary way in which the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is an improvement over its predecessor, the SX210 model, is that it provides a greater number of features at a lower cost. The effective built-in GPS system distinguishes the SX230 from the SX220 HS model, which is only slightly less expensive but otherwise identical in every other respect. In particular, the addition of full 1080p HD movies makes the new SX230 a more than capable all-in-one camera for both still images and video. This model undoubtedly achieves a decent mix in terms of price and performance, since it is £60 cheaper than the SX210 when it was first released while also being £30 more expensive than its younger brother, the SX230 HS. This model can be found here.

The SX230 HS may be larger than most compacts, but once you’ve become accustomed to a camera with such a broad focal range that it’s possible to frame up subjects near or far in pretty much an instant, it’s a real drag to go back to your common-or-garden 3x zoom snapper, the typical “family-friendly” tool of choice. Once you’ve become accustomed to a camera with such a broad focal range as to make it possible to frame up subjects near Because of its bigger physical size (in comparison to, for example, a slimline IXUS), this product should be simpler for younger users and people with limited dexterity to hold and use compared to the most recent credit card-sized camera option. And although having proportions that are larger than typical, it is still a more portable solution than any DSLR, Micro Four Thirds, or another competing system hybrid for individuals who are searching for a capable travel companion.

The image quality is the same to that of the previous model, the SX210, which is to say that it is outstanding. The use of a back-illuminated sensor helps the SX230 perform well in low light, with a useful ISO range of 100-800 and even the higher settings proving to be suitable for web usage and smaller prints. This is made possible by the inclusion of a built-in image stabilization system. The presence of complete manual settings makes the SX230 HS equally well suited to more experienced users searching for a small alternative to their DSLR as it is to the novice. However, there is no support for the raw format, which is maybe to be expected, so the bargain is not made much sweeter.

Pros & Cons

Good for
  • Ease of use
  • Image quality
  • Massive focal range
Need Improvement
  • No finger grip
  • No ability to record Raw files
  • GPS is a drain on the battery

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