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Morgane Alzieu Published on November 8, 2011
Updated on November 22, 2011
Translated by Catherine Barraclough


  • Sensor BSI CMOS 12 Mpx, 1/2.3" , 42 Mpx/cm
  • Lens 8x 28-224 mm f/3 -5.9
  • Stabilisation Optical
  • Viewfinder NA
  • Screen 7.6 cm, not TN, 460000 dots, 4:3, Not touch-sensitive
  • Sensitivity (ISO range) 100 - 3200 ISO ext. 19 mm
The Ixus 230 HS is basically Canon's souped-up version of the 220 HS, which is a very nice little compact snapper. The 230 HS is made from the same basic ingredients as the 220 HS, including a backlit sensor and a Full HD video mode with stereo sound. However, the lens has been upgraded to an 8x zoom, which although loses some of its wide-angle (28 mm compared with 24 mm), takes the telephoto settings up to 224 mm compared with 120 mm in the 220 HS. Plus, the screen resolution has been upped to 460,000 dots, making onscreen images noticeably sharper.


On first contact, the Ixus 230 HS is a relatively pleasant camera to use. It has a good-quality build and finish, and the new wave effect down the right-hand edge adds a stylish touch. This wavy edge is now also home to the menu button, HDMI connector, wrist-strap connector and Auto mode on/off switch.

The Ixus 230 HS is nice to handle, and its flush-set buttons don't have to be over-pressed. The lens is fixed firmly in place and the battery and memory card compartment door doesn't feel loose when open.

Canon Ixus 230 HS review

The three-inch screen is a bit bigger than the LCD seen in the Ixus 220 HS. Plus, it has a boosted resolution of 460,000 dots, making onscreen images sharp, clear and easy on the eye. The screen holds its own outdoors too, as it's bright enough to let you see what's going on in most conditions ... apart from full sunlight.

Unfortunately, though, the screen isn't properly calibrated, as its over-keen contrast makes dark shades clump together in black messes and overexposes light greys to white. Similarly, the colour temperature has a blue overtone and colours aren't reproduced with any kind of fidelity. In other words, make sure you check your photos on a properly calibrated monitor before you delete them!


The electronics in the Ixus 230 HS are very similar to those seen in the 220 HS. The responsiveness tests therefore came back almost identical and, in spite of the new 8x zoom lens, the new model's start-up time is still the same. 

Canon Ixus 230 HS review - responsiveness
The camera takes over two seconds to start up, which isn't great, but which is still better than the three seconds it takes the 1100 HS to get going. The autofocus is on the better side of average, focusing in under 5/10 of a second in good light conditions, although in low light it does slow down to about a second. Finally, the 2.2 second photo-to-photo turnaround is nothing out of the ordinary.

Picture Quality

Compared with the 220 HS, the main new feature of this Ixus 230 HS is the 8x zoom lens. This lines the camera up in-between the 5x zoom of the 220 HS and the 12x of the new 1100 HS in Canon's Ixus range of compacts. Let's take a look at what the new lens can do.

The new Ixus 230 HS lens actually turned out to be quite disappointing. At wide-angle settings quality isn't consistent across the frame, as the edges aren't as sharp as the middle of the shot. At telephoto settings pictures are sharper around the edges, but there's a drop in quality in the middle of the frame—unlike at wide-angle settings, image sharpness is at least consistent at telephoto settings. Chromatic aberration is also a problem around the edges of the frame (see inset). 

Canon Ixus 230 HS review - ISO test

This lack of sharpness in the lens in turn affects picture quality at increasing ISO settings. A drop in quality is visible on a 400 ISO photo viewed at full size, and speckles of noise and smoothing become visible at 800 ISO. In the Ixus 220 HS photos were accentuated to make them crisper and more striking, but there's no point even bothering with that trick if the picture isn't sharp enough in the first place. At 1600 ISO, things are much more problematic—more so than in the 220 HS.

Finally, we found the white balance quite surprising for a Canon camera, as while the firm's snappers usually give rather warm colours, the 230 HS took shots that were more neutral and a bit duller.


The Canon Ixus 230 HS films 1080p HD video at 24 frames per second. Video images are sharp but the white balance is inconsistent. Our test video features a train set with a train trundling continuously around a loop of track. We noticed that each time the train passed in front of the camera, it would readjust the white balance. Tones were therefore constantly being switch between warmer and cooler renderings.

The main problem with the video mode, however, is the sound. Voices and metallic sounds aren't recorded very accurately, and noises from the camera are picked up in the background (the zoom, for example).

Canon Ixus 230 HS review - video scene

Chromatic Aberration
You may often see us refer to 'chromatic aberration' in our camera reviews, but what exactly is it? Chromatic aberration occurs when a lens doesn't focus the red, green and blue rays of light to the same convergence point. As a result, coloured fringes appear around highly contrasted objects (a dark object against a light background, for example). These are particularly prevalent towards the corners of an image (in the middle the rays diverge less, and arrive roughly in the same place) and they are usually symmetrical. Colour fringes vary with the focal length (as you zoom in or out) and the aperture (f/ number). In the Ixus 230 HS, colour fringes are highly visible at both wide-angle and telephoto settings. You can only spot them on a 4" x 6" (10 x 15 cm) print if you look up close, but they're more noticeable on prints 8" x 10" (20 x 27 cm) or bigger.


  • Excellent build quality
  • Image quality is consistent at telephoto settings
  • 1080p HD video with stereo sound and zoom
  • Simple, clear interface


  • Chromatic aberration is a problem
  • Lens lacks sharpness, particularly around the edges of wide-angle shots
  • Sound recording could be better


The Canon Ixus 230 HS is a nice enough little camera that's pleasant to handle and gives satisfactory results. However, we were a bit disappointed by the picture quality and the quality of sound recorded in video mode. All in all, we still prefer the Ixus 220 HS even though it has a less powerful zoom.
3 Canon Ixus 230 HS DigitalVersus 2011-11-08 00:00:00
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