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Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Canon IXUS 230 HS, a compact digital camera with an 8x optical zoom lens and 12.1 megapixel sensor as well as a range of creative modes.

| Canon IXUS 230 HS in Compact Cameras

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review: Canon IXUS 230 HS Lens Extended
Canon IXUS 230 HS Lens Extended

The Canon IXUS 230 HS was released in August 2011 and is a compact digital camera with an 8x optical zoom lens and a 12.1 megapixel sensor. The camera comes in six colours, green, purple, pink, blue, black and silver, with an RRP of £229.00.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review: Canon IXUS 230 HS Front
Canon IXUS 230 HS Front

Canon IXUS 230 HS Features

The 8x optical zoom lens is a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 224mm making it really easy to photograph wide landscapes or objects that are far into the distance. To help take sharp images the camera has Intelligent IS as well as the HS system which helps take pictures without the flash or a tripod.

The camera has Smart Auto which detects the scene and automatically sets the camera from 32 variables (21 in movie). There are a couple of modes for shooting fast moving objects or slowing things down. High-speed burst allows the capture of 3 megapixel images at 8.7 fps and Super Slow Motion Movie can slow things down to an 1/8th of the speed.

Like many Canon compacts, the IXUS 230 HS has a range of creative modes including Toy Camera, Miniature and Monochrome.

Videos can also be recorded in 1080p full HD with stereo sound and optical zoom. The optical image stabiliser will help you to keep your movies steady. Videos can be played back on a HD TV. Movie Digest will record up to 4 seconds before each shot and join them together to create a VGA movie.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review: Canon IXUS 230 HS Top
Canon IXUS 230 HS Top

Key Features

  • 8x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28 - 224mm)
  • Intelligent Image Stabilisation (IS)
  • 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Thin metal body
  • 3.0 inch PureColor II G LCD screen
  • Full HD video recording with Powered IS
  • Smart Auto (32 scenes)
  • High-speed Burst & Super Slow Motion Movie
  • iFrame movie. Movie Digest
  • Creative modes
  • Hints & Tips
Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review: Canon IXUS 230 HS Rear
Canon IXUS 230 HS Rear

Canon IXUS 230 HS Handling

The IXUS 230 HS is a well-built camera with a small metal body, large 3 inch LCD screen with a tempered glass outer layer and centralised metal tripod socket. The screen is fantastic for viewing your photos on and is easy to see in varying lighting conditions. There aren't loads of buttons to be found on the camera, there is the power switch with the zoom-rocker surrounding the shutter release on the top of the camera with the D-Pad, playback and video records buttons on the rear. Unusually there are two buttons on the side of the camera, the menu button and the switch which puts the camera in auto mode.

The camera has an easy to use menu system with good, clear explanations of all the settings. The battery as a CIPA rating of 210 shots which is good for a compact. It is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds and is quick to focus. In testing the IXUS 230 HS was able to shoot full sized images at 2.3 fps in continuous shooting mode and 6.9 fps in high-speed burst mode, although image size is limited to 3 megapixels.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review: Canon IXUS 230 HS Battery
Canon IXUS 230 HS Battery

Canon IXUS 230 HS Performance

The IXUS 230 HS takes well exposed images with good detail throughout, although it can be prone to some purple fringing in bright conditions. The camera takes superb macro images with a minimum focus distance of just 1cm.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Lens test images

There is barely any noise visible at ISO 100 and when you go through the ISO range you can see noise becoming more prominent at each level but not by much. At ISO 200 images are still sharp with a little more noise than ISO 100. ISO 400 and ISO 800 images are a touch softer but noise isn't causing too much of a reduction in image quality. Again, at ISO 1600, you can see some extra noise and softening, but at ISO 3200 image quality does suffer and produces images which are best used for the web rather than large prints.

Canon IXUS 230 HS ISO test images

Although there isn't a dedicated landscape mode, the camera is capable of a pleasant looking landscape image. Portraits have excellent skin tones but there is some red-eye present. If you switch to Super Slow Motion Movie the camera will take pictures with a fast shutter speed. The picture of the wind turbine was taken on an extremely windy day and a shutter speed of 1/1000 has allowed the camera to take a sharp picture.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Sample Photos

Generally white-balance is good, under the fluorescent lights the auto white-balance and fluorescent presets take an identical looking image. Under the incandescent lights the AWB preset leaves an orange tint to the image whereas the incandescent preset takes a much better picture.

Canon IXUS 230 HS White-balance test images

Below are sample images using some of the creative modes available.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital filters

Video Mode

Below is an example video shot at full 1080p HD. Optical zoom is also available during video recording, an example of which can been seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page. There is also an example of the Super Slow Motion mode.

Value For Money

The Canon IXUS 230 HS has an RRP of £229.99. Other compact digital cameras with a similar zoom range are the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS37 with 8x optical zoom priced at £148.99, the Sony Cybershot DSC-WX10 also priced at £229.00, Casio Exilim EX-ZR10 priced at £200.00 and the Samsung PL200 priced at £94.79, all with 7x optical zoom.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Verdict

We reviewed the Canon IXUS 220 HS back in May 2011 and gave it 3.5 out of 5. The IXUS 230 HS has improved on the IXUS 220 HS with more optical zoom, 3 inch LCD screen and a close focus distance of just 1cm. Although in terms of handling the cameras are both pretty similar, the IXUS 230 takes a better picture, particularly with regards to noise performance. With these improvements, plus full HD recording, creative modes and the wide range of colours it comes in, we are happy to recommend the Canon IXUS 230 HS.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Digital Camera Review:
The Canon IXUS 230 HS has an excellent range of features and delivers great pictures.

Canon IXUS 230 HS Pros

Available in a wide range of colours
Good range of fun creative modes
Metal body
8x optical zoom
Good image quality and colour reproduction
Full HD video recording

Canon IXUS 230 HS Cons

Occasional purple fringing
Red-eye when using flash


Canon IXUS 230 HS Specifications

Max Aperturef/3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent28mm - 224mm
Optical Zoom8x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution461,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting3.5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-4L
Battery Life (CIPA rating)210shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsDigital Camera IXUS 230 HS, Wrist Strap WS-DC11, Battery Pack NB-4L, Battery Charger CB-2LVE, AC Cable, Interface Cable IFC-400PCU (for USB), User Manual Kit

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Photographs taken using the Canon IXUS 230 HS

***URBAN DREAMHare Krishna dancersStorm at SwanageUrnMossy woodTiger sat next to my jeep on safari near Bangalore, IndiaThamesThistle?Sepia springWinter gardenSheep at Hardnott pass

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