Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
Canon’s PowerShot SX230HS is a fully featured device, which offers users everything they could need in a pocketable camera – with GPS tagging included.
Ashley Kramer | Wednesday, June 22 2011
Product type: Digital compact camera
RRP incl GST: $650
- GPS enabled
- Long 14x zoom lens
- High quality images and good video
A well rounded pocket camera with a big zoom. The built-in GPS is nice but not fantastic.
Cameras with built-in GPS receivers once seemed frivolous and gimmicky to me. Now that I’m facing a long overseas trip, I’m having second thoughts about the value of mapping all my shots, so the timing of this review is just right.
Canon’s PowerShot SX230 HS is a fully featured device, which offers users everything they could need in a pocketable camera – with GPS tagging included. It’s quite slender, especially considering its far-reaching 14x optical zoom lens (an impressive 28-392mm in 35mm terms). In addition to the long lens and the GPS receiver, the SX230 HS boasts a 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated sensor optimised for low light situations, a sharp 3-inch widescreen LCD with 461,000 dots, over thirty scene modes, manual controls and full HD video recording capability (1920 x 1080).
The SX230 HS’s silver and black finish looks fabulous and the camera is solidly put together. The control layout is straightforward enough barring the unmarked rear control dial but cleverly, a light touch on said dial brings up a cheat sheet on screen.
This is a responsive camera; startup is quite quick and the autofocus locks down in an instant with little to no hunting, even in bad lighting. A nice touch is the sensitive zoom lever, which allows the user to make small adjustments when needed or to zoom back and forth at high speed. The controls and menu system are well laid out and really user friendly.
Image quality is very good virtually across the board, with crisp sharpness, high levels of resolution as well as vivid colours at the lower ISO settings. There is some softening, loss of detail and colour washout over ISO400 but images taken at ISO800 and 1600 are still good to look at. In general use, left in the Automatic or Easy modes, the SX230 HS will capture nicely balanced shots virtually every time but the manual controls are handy enough to be a viable option for those who like to be more involved. Exposures were well judged in natural light or via the built in flash. HD video quality is also up there, albeit a little grainy in dark scenes; the Super Slow Motion video mode works a treat, making it easy to be a special effects guru.
The GPS functionality is a bit of a mixed bag. The camera is as fussy about finding a satellite fix as most in-car GPS units and it needs to do this every time you turn it on, which is a pain if you just want to take a quick snap. There’s also no GPS access indoors, so forget about tagging shots in a building. Leaving the GPS logger on speeds up satellite acquisition but noticeably drains the battery, requiring frequent charging. Encouragingly, Canon’s mapping software worked flawlessly, allowing imported tagged images to be displayed on Google maps.
Canon’s SX230 HS offers a lot of features plus a major zoom range in a small body. The image quality will match most anything in the class but while the GPS technology has some benefits, it isn’t as compelling a feature as I’d hoped. However, that shouldn’t detract from what is a very capable premium pocket camera.
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