Canon PowerShot SX230 HS review

The big-zoom camera that remembers where you've been

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SX230 hs top

Comparing the new SX230 HS with the compact it usurps, there's very little difference in terms of control layout and dimensions.

Offering the same combination of metal front and back plates, combined with a plastic silver strip that encompasses the top plate and sides of the camera, the SX230 HS feels solid in the hand. Its chunky body, with all of its protrusions to accommodate various features, has a reassuring weight to it that adds to the impression of robustness, however it is a little too slippery and unbalanced to facilitate easy one-handed shooting.

As a result, you're likely to find yourself wanting to steady the camera with your left hand, which would be fine, save for the fact that the camera's built-in pop-up flash is a little too eager to please, automatically popping up every time you power on the camera. It's positioned precisely where you naturally want to grip the camera with your left hand, so there's an inevitable battle between photographer and pop-up flash every time you forget about this little quirk. Happily however, if you decide flash isn't required for your shots, you can simply push the little unit back down, where it clicks into place and sits flush with the top panel once again.

The top panel is where we see the most notable change to the interface, with the power button being relocated to the sloping section of the back panel to make way for the integral GPS module that occupies a raised hump beside the zoom-lever-encircled shutter release (note the SX210 IS' fiddly old zoom lever is no more).

Around the back, the control layout is exactly the same as that of the earlier model, with the SX230 HS' large, bright 3-inch LCD dominating much of the real estate. While its dimensions may be the same as its predecessor's, Canon has upgraded the resolution from 230,000 to a far more impressive 461,000-dots. While shooting stills however, only the central portion of the screen is used, with various icons and shooting information filling the black bars that flank the Live View display on either side. Fire up the SX230's Full HD movie mode however, and the whole of the 16:9 format screen is employed.

SX230 hs rear

The LCD offers a detailed view - in the absence of any additional viewfinder - with a wide viewing angle and effective anti-reflective coating that makes it a joy to use.

The SX230's remaining controls comprise a rotating four-way d-pad that provides your means of navigation through menus and on-screen options. Touching it lightly calls up an on-screen graphic that tells you which functions the directional keys provide softkey access to, namely exposure compensation, flash, self-timer and focus mode. Otherwise there's self-explanatory dedicated movie, playback, menu and Disp. (display) buttons, each of which is well-proportioned and easy to locate with your thumb.

The well-stocked mode dial offers the same array of manual and automatic modes as the SX210 IS, with the exception of the addition of Canon's new creative filters, which we'll look at in the next section.

As well as an Auto mode that cleverly decides what it is you're photographing and selects the best scene mode for the job, there's an additional Easy mode for those times when all you want is a basic point-and-shoot. There's plenty of presets and scene modes to delve into too, along with the full complement of Program, Aperture and Shutter Priority as well as Manual exposure modes. With a good balance of modes geared towards both beginners and more advanced photographers, the SX230 HS has something to offer just about anyone.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product FamilyPowerShot SX
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), MultiMediaCard (MMC), MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom14x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesFace Detection, Smile Detection, Smart Capture, Manual Control, Manual White Balance, Aperture Priority, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)223 g
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height61.6 mm
Width105.7 mm
Depth33.2 mm
Product SeriesSX
Focal Length5 mm to 70 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelSX230 HS
Product NamePowerShot SX230 HS Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberSX230HSBK?
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The PowerShot SX230 HS is the first Canon digital camera to feature GPS technology which is perfect for travelling. It also offers versatile shooting in a slim body with a 12.1 Megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS Sensor perfect for low light situations and Full High Definition video. The 14x Optical Zoom and 28mm wide-angle lens lets you get close to the action and also capture sweeping panoramic landscapes or large group shots. Simply switch to Manual Control and have the flexibility in your shooting settings to get more creative.

Package Contents
  • PowerShot SX230 HS Compact Camera
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery NB-5L
  • Battery Charger CB-2LXE
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • AC Cable
  • AV Cable AVCDC400ST
  • Wrist Strap NS-DC11
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year