Many travellers usually prefer a compact camera as opposed to the rather bulky superzooms or DSLRs, for obvious reasons.When a person goes trekking or hiking, the size of the camera makes a huge difference and this is where compact point and shoots differ considerably over superzooms that are populating the market. Canon, one of the world’s most well known camera manufacturers have launched the PowerShot SX 230 HS, a compact camera that besides being small, houses a lot of interesting features. One of these features is the camera's ability to automatically geo tag your location, as well as time. Read on to know more about this offering from Canon.

Pop up flash does not compromise the look of the camera

Pop up flash does not compromise the look of the camera

Design and Build Quality
The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is available in three colours – Black, Blue and Pink. The test product we received in our lab was black with silver sides. The camera looks very classy, even though it has a simplistic design – the curved edges and matte finish add to its style factor. Its design can appeal to men, as well as women.

The lens of the camera protrudes slightly from the body. At the back lies the 3-inch screen, which lies flush along the camera. Next to the screen are the buttons for display, menu, playback, video recording, function/set. Around the function button lies a jog dial that is sensitive and responds instantly. This was an interesting bit in the design of the camera. Other controls at the back include a dial mode, which helps in changing the various settings of the SX230 HS and an on/off button. The mode dial is a little tough to rotate and not as smooth as seen on some other cameras. The shutter release button is located at the top of the camera and the zoom trigger is located next to it. This is a common design feature that is found on many cameras today.

In-built GPS capability

In-built GPS capability

The flash is concealed on the top left side of the camera and has a ridge which helps you to open it. The GPS antenna is located next to the shutter release button. Connectivity options in the form of mini HDMI and mini USB are located at the side of the camera. The flap of the camera flushes really well with the side and only under close examination will one notice it. The battery bay is located underneath the camera and there is a rubber grip that helps in opening it. The camera though compact in size is slightly larger than other compact cameras found in the market. The camera can easily fit into a pant pocket and at approximately 223g is easy to shoot with one right hand. The overall build quality of this camera feels pretty solid and could take a couple of knocks and still come out unscathed.

Features
The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS features a 12.1 megapixel CMOS and an optical zoom of 14x. The camera features Canon’s HS System which consists of a high-sensitivity sensor and DIGIC imaging processor. The imaging processor is DIGIC 4 and this is found on all the latest cameras from Canon these days. The focal length on the SX330 HS is 28 – 392 which translates to an optical zoom of 14x. This helps in taking pictures of different environments easily. The camera has an image stabilizer which helps in reducing the blur in images captured. The interface of the camera is very easy to use and one can get used to it in a matter of minutes. Most of the settings can be adjusted through the functions menu button for changing ISO sensitivity, aperture priority, whitebalance, etc. There is no name to indicate common settings like continuous shooting, macro mode, flash and timer. However, upon slightly pressing the jog dial, these functions appear on the screen and then one can choose the setting they desire. An interesting feature of this camera is that it has an image auto rotate function. This is something that is usually seen on smartphones.

3-inch screen on the rear

3-inch screen on the rear

Another interesting feature of this camera is the GPS technology that is built into it. The unique part of this feature is the camera’s ability to locate a place, according to latitude and longitude, with the time when picture was taken. Other features of this camera include shooting modes such as fish-eye, miniature effect, toy camera effect, monochrome, super vivid, poster effect, color accent and color swap. These are features seen on cameras from other manufacturers as well, but either ways they are interesting modes to play around with. The memory cards that are compatible with the SX230 HS are SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus and HC MMCplus. Overall, the features of this camera are impressive.

Performance
The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS had done really well in design, build quality and features. To test this camera we shot pictures indoors, outdoors and in a controlled environment to check the ISO sensitivity, aperture priority and zoom.

Aperture priority test

Aperture priority test

Aperture Priority
The aperture when set to f/3.1 provided depth of field. However there was not much difference noticed between f/3.1 and f/8. The only noticeable difference is the image looking crisper when the aperture priority set to f/8.

Zoom test

Zoom test

Zoom Test
The camera has an optical zoom of 14x and though this is not a superzoom camera, the camera does more than a decent job when using the zoom. With the image stabilizing feature, the image provided a lot of detail.

ISO sensitivity test

ISO sensitivity test

ISO Sensitivity
This camera has a maximum ISO sensitivity of 3200 and a minimum of 100. The noise levels at ISO 100 are nil and as the ISO sensitivity increases the noise levels rise, but only minimally. There is not much difference between the noise levels noticed at ISO 200 and ISO 400. From ISO 800 onwards, they tend to rise but the images are still usable even in a well lit environment. ISO 3200 as expected showed a lot of image noise and this setting should be used only in a low-lit area.
 

Outdoor images shot beautifully

Outdoor images shot beautifully

The camera recorded the videos well at 1080p and the video playback was smooth. There were no focusing issues whatsoever. There was no lag when shot from a dark to a well lit area. The flash of this camera is pretty good and it lit up an area of around 10-feet. The battery that comes along with this camera is a 1120mAh battery. Canon rates the battery at 210 shots which is pretty decent for this camera. Overall, the performance of this camera is really good and it provided us with some very good images.

Sleek and stylish SX230 HS

Sleek and stylish SX230 HS

Verdict
The Canon PowerShot SX230HS is priced slightly higher than most compact cameras found in the market. However, it provides the user with a wide array of features that really made this camera stand out amongst other compacts. We were hard pressed to find any flaws with this camera as it did well on all counts, be it design, build quality, features and performance. If you are looking to purchase a camera and if your budget accepts this, the SX230 HS should definitely not be ignored.

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