Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Canon Powershot SX230 HS Review

If you're on the lookout for something slim but has a long zoom, then look no further. The Canon Powershot SX230 HS may be the camera for you. It has a lot of features that you can ever want, like scenes, a macro mode and, as I've already stated, a telephoto zoom.

Scenes include fireworks, underwater, snow and foliage among others. You can also set it to shoot with a fish-eye effect, miniature (tilt-shift), toy camera, etc.

It now shoots 1080p video and, more importantly, you can change the zoom while shooting video. Also, the camera auto-focuses when you change your perspective.

You can shoot up to ISO3200 though noise starts to get problematic when you go above ISO800. (I haven't tried printing pictures taken by this camera above ISO800 but I think prints at 4R (4x6 inches) will still work.)

DSLR users may also be interested in having this as a secondary, everyday, pocketable camera because there is full time Manual (M), Aperture priority (Av), Shutter priority (Tv) and Program Mode (P). However, the Scene Modes and Effects (toy camera, tilt-shift) are not available when you use either Av, Tv, M or P. The converse is also true: when you switch to Scenes or Effects you relinquish all controls to the camera.

The flash is something you need to watch out for because your left pointy finger can hamper its "emergence". But, if in case your finger blocked the flash when it goes out, you can actually just flick it back up to use it. And, if you don't want it anymore, you can just push the flash back in. (But note that the flash that comes built in should only be used in times of dire need. Such small light sources can really wreak havoc on your photos. However, it is very useful for fill flash.)

Another feature of the SX230 is a built-in GPS. You can use this to geotag your photos if you so choose to. This is extremely useful so you can accurately record where your photos were taken. However, it takes a significant amount of time for the camera to get a GPS signal. One time, it took at least 5 minutes before the camera locked into a satellite - and that's on an outdoor area on a clear, sunny day! I haven't been too thrilled with this that I decided to just leave the GPS switched off so far.

I've only used Auto White Balance but the color, in my opinion, has been spot on. However, since you're shooting jpeg's, you're still much better off using a white balance card just in case you want to be more precise regarding the white balance of your shots.

The screen is very bright and is very much useable even during the midday sun. There are different aspect ratios when you take photos like 16:9, 1:1, etc.

Any downsides?

Well, some of the pictures I took were soft and I needed to sharpen them up in post. Perhaps Canon will release a software update that will take care of this: yes, I'm hoping it's a software problem.

Noise starts to show beyond ISO800 that you'd definitely need an image editor like Lightroom to suppress the noise. A 14x zoom, equivalent to 28-392mm, is present but when you zoom in all the way the aperture opening goes down from 3.1 to 5.9. And, as I've just said, the widest is at 28; it is not wide enough. And everyone would be happy if the biggest aperture opening is at least 2.0.

And yes, the GPS takes a lot of time for it to lock up plus the location of the flash takes some getting used to.

But, all-in-all, I'm very pleased with the camera. It's pocketable, has a long zoom and has full manual. If it only shoots RAW...

Highly Recommended.


For the iOS users:

Sample shots from the Canon Powershot SX230 HS

I have some more sample photos from previous posts below:

Clarence Buckingham Palace
Chicago Air & Water Show
Tall Ships in Chicago
Magnificent Marilyn

Shots of the Canon Powershot SX230 HS made with a Canon 5D Mark II. Want the best bag for your DSLR? Consider my favorite bag, the Lowepro Versapack 200AW. My review of the bag can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, nice to read a new post from you again. Great review too of the camera.



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