Canon PowerShot S230 (Digital IXUS v3) review

Started Dec 14, 2002 | User reviews thread
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Alexey Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Canon PowerShot S230 (Digital IXUS v3) review

I was initially aiming at S45 model. But Canon's delay with marketing forced me to buy this one instead. So, I gave 4.5 for picture quality above because I was really expecting the functionality of a higher model from this one. I wanted incredible depth of field that higher Canon models give, and this one does not have aperture control (it's either 2.8 at wide angle or 4.0 at tele, no in-between values).

Aside from that, if manual aperture priority doesn't matter to you, the camera is simply amazing. I still can't believe the number of features and picture quality for a camera this size. With manual exposure control of up to 15 seconds, and automatic noise reduction at long exposures, using a tripod, I was able to take crystal-clear color pictures of objects in a nearly pitch-dark room. And I used auto-focus! Focus-assist light is truly amazing. Macros and color reproduction are all perfect.

If vacation point-and-shooter is what you are looking for, there is no better option out there. Batteries are cheap and battery life is very satisfying. 2x zoom is more than enough for a three megapixel camera, unless bird's eye in flight is what you are after. You can always shoot in the best mode and then crop out half of the picture and still get a decently-sized photo. With Canon's PSC-50 case (hard to find, most people buy larger PSC-100 -- don't -- look on eBay) on the belt, the camera is not noticeable at all. Movies in the best mode are pretty good for TV, but are huge. Plan on getting 500 megabyte card (Viking $140 on Amazon wth rebate) if you want to shoot movies.

I also have Canon S30 and planning on getting S45 soon. This camera is much better at focusing than S30, but somehow it feels that lens is not quite the same in terms of depth of field. But even though depth of field was exactly what I was looking for, I still love the camera's overall combination of size/quality/features (did I mention Black and White, Sepia, low sharpening, etc.?) so much that maybe I won't even return it to the store after buying S45. For its size, it does marvels.

Problems:

Don't aim Focus Assist beam in someone's eyes at close distance! I made a mistake of taking a self-portrait, holding the camera with an extended hand in low-light. Although it's not monochromatic light, I experienced a sensation similar to lasek surgery in my eyes.

Canon PowerShot S230 (Digital IXUS v3)
3 megapixels • 1.5 screen • 35 – 70 mm (2×)
Announced: Sep 16, 2002
Alexey's score
4.9
Average community score
4.4
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