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Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
The physical mode dial on the SX230 houses a total of 13 options, including: auto, easy, program auto, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, scene, movie digest, portrait, landscape, kids & pets, foliage, poster effect, and movie mode. The inclusion of manual and the two priority modes are very interesting, as these would usually be found on an enthusiast level camera (some camera in this range include a shutter priority or manual, but not often all three). All in all the control over exposure is welcome, even if the hardware to take advantage of it is somewhat limited.
The manual and priority (shutter and aperture) modes let you take control over how the camera exposes the image sensor to light to capture an image. The camera features a fairly limited aperture range (maximum of f/3.1-5.9 with a minimum of just f/8.0), but it does allow you to set shutter speeds from 15 seconds down to 1/3200th of a second.
Many point-and-shoots barely allow for one second exposures, so there's quite a bit of control on the SX230 HS. These settings are all controlled via the rear control dial, which will let you adjust the appropriate exposure settings (shutter speed or aperture), depending on what mode you're in. In manual mode, you switch between shutter speed an aperture by pressing the up key on the rear control pad. In each of these modes the full menu and all the function menu shooting options are available for use.
The SX230 HS shoots in a native 4:3 ratio, capturing 4000x3000 images at its largest setting. The camera captures only in JPEG, with two quality settings available. RAW shooting is left to its G-series and S-series cousins from Canon. The camera lets you choose from aspect ratios of 4:3, 16:9, 3:2, and 1:1, with four sizes available for each. The 16:9 setting lets you use the entire rear screen, while the other settings all result in a cropped view of what the camera is pointed at.
The Canon SX230 HS also includes in its function menu the typical options for setting white balance (auto, presets, and custom white balance available) and ISO (100-3200 and auto selectable). The camera can also automatically meter or use face and subject tracking to properly adjust brightness across the scene. These are typical point-and-shoot controls, and there's not much special that the SX230 HS offers over the competition in other controls, save for some of its more unique hardware, like its GPS.
The Canon SX230 HS comes packaged with a built-in GPS unit that logs location information along with each captured image, similar to your smartphone. This function can be controlled in the menu, with options to turn it on or off, along with the ability to constantly log information, even while the camera is off. Reception on the GPS is spotty in the city around buildings, and the logging function eats power for a feature you rarely need.