Performance and image quality

The autofocus system is fast and effective, and is aided by a strong AF illuminating lamp for low light. Images from the SX230 HS are bright and punchy, with a crisp sharpness, suggesting serious in-camera processing.

The evaluative metering performs very well, leaving an evenly distributed range of tones, although highlights are often clipped slightly to the general benefit of the scene. Those who prefer to keep these can easily reduce the exposure compensation by 1⁄3 stop.

My Colour mode provides a range of options to boost the colours further via vivid, tone them down with neutral or use one of the other nine settings, including b&w. On our resolution chart at base ISO 100, the camera recorded up to 22.

The HS system does a good job of maintaining a reasonably high level of detail until ISO 1600, but showed significant fall-off at ISO 3200. Noise reduction is also present in scenes from ISO 400, although in our portrait shots taken at ISO 800 the images remain smooth and detailed.

Image: Even in portraits taken in low light at ISO 800, noise is well controlled

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