Some thoughts about the SX230HS

Started Aug 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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GeraldW
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Some thoughts about the SX230HS
Aug 12, 2012

Over the last 9 months or so, I've had this conflict over the SX230HS and the Panasonic ZS15. Since last fall, I've owned 2 of each model. The SX230HS is the winner.

I don't use video, so that's not an issue, and I'm not into wide angle lenses wider that 28 mm. So the 24 mm wide angle of the ZS15 is not an issue for me - the SX230HS is wide enough.

I do prefer the styling of the ZS15, and also the ergonomics - there's a well shaped front grip and a place for my thumb on the back. Both cameras have a 460k dot LCD with a 3" diagonal; but the ZS15's has a 4:3 aspect ratio; while the SX230HS's is 16:9. Both are good in full sun. However, the SX230HS's LCD is much better if you shoot at 3:2, which I do.

So why did I keep the SX230HS? First off, it has adjustments for sharpening, contrast, and saturation, red, green and blue color, and skin tones, and has flash exposure compensation. The ZS15 has I resolution which adds sharpening. If you shoot in the "creative modes", as I do, you really want to be able to adjust things.

Second, the Canon has the better lens. It's just plain sharper over the range. Both cameras are a bit soft at default; but even with added sharpening in both, the Canon lens is better. It's also a bit faster in short and middle focal lengths by at least 1/3 stop.

The SX230HS also has a stronger flash. The ZS15 is quite weak, and the slower lens doesn't help. plus, i can adjust the Canon's flash output in 1/3 stop steps.

The SX230HS also has lower noise at high ISO. Not a big difference, but shots in low light at ISO 1600 have lower noise than on the ZS15.

Color rendition is different on the two. The Canon has nicer reds; but greens are a little muted, so you might want to use +1 saturation. The ZS15 has a tendency to over emphasize yellow-green shades; so that grass in the spring looks almost fluorescent. The ZS15 does correnct for chromatic aberration in-camera; but the SX230HS is pretty good without it most of the time. The SX230HS also has noticeably better Dynamic Range, and less tendency to burn out highlights.

The two raps against the SX230HS in reviews have been the lack of a front grip, and the flash that pops up at turn on - need it or not. The grip issue is easily solved for $10 by buying a Flip-bac silicone rubber grip which just sticks on and works very well. And the flash pop-up is solved by either pushing it back down, or putting your left index finger over the flash at turn on and holding it down.

The camera in the forground is my SX230HS with the Flip-bac grip. In the background is my S90 with an aluminum Franiec grip.

Once the grip was added, the handling of the SX230HS is transformed, and becomes a bit better than the ZS15.

Compared to the later SX260HS, the SX230HS has lower noise and a better, and faster lens. It was also a lot less $$$.

So, bottom line, if you're primarily looking for a still photgraphy travel zoom camera that's enthusiast oriented, I believe the SX230HS is the best avcailable.
--
Jerry

 GeraldW's gear list:GeraldW's gear list
Canon PowerShot A710 IS Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Canon PowerShot G15
Canon PowerShot S90 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 (Lumix DMC-TZ6)
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