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Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
The Canon SX230 HS allows users to record video in full 1080/24p, or at 30fps in 720p, VGA, iFrame (HD: 1280x720), and 320x240 resolution. The camera also features a high-speed slow motion recording option, which lets you record in 120fps (VGA resolution) and 240fps (320x240 resolution). The video is not of a very high bitrate, with Canon stating the full 1080/24p videos only take up 4.355Mbps. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
There's not really any manual controls when recording video on the Canon SX230 HS, save for the camera's white balance and "my colors" options, located in the function menu. There are no options for frame rate (except choosing between 120fps and 240fps high speed recording) or quality, and ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are automatically set by the camera in video mode.
Video recording can be engaged at any time by pressing the dedicated record button on the back of the camera. Users can also switch to a dedicated video record mode on the physical mode dial. Both of these take over exposure automatically, with no user input available. The only available options from there are the ability to set any of the "my colors" filters (including custom) or to alter white balance. The camera may inherit some of the shooting settings of whatever still photography mode you're in when you press the dedicated record button (rather than recording video with the dedicated video record mode), but Canon doesn't state anything to that effect in the manual that we could find.
Full zoom controls are available when recording video, simply by engaging the zoom toggle on the top plate of the camera. The camera's full optical zoom range of 14x is available, with a digital zoom option also offered that will let you go up to 54x zoom. When zooming in the camera doesn't operate the motor at full speed, instead offering a smooth zoom in and out. The motor is audible on the final recording, though, despite not operating at full speed.
The Canon SX230 HS focuses continuously and automatically when recording video, with no way to really override what the camera decides to focus on. The focus moves slowly and smoothly, and the 14x optical zoom lens creates a nicely blurred background, bringing the subject forward in most scenes. The focus mechanism is not as audible as the zoom motor, and we couldn't detect it during playback on the camera or on a computer without turning the volume up significantly.
There aren't any manual controls or overrides available for exposure when recording video, as there aren't even different frame rate options available without changing compression type and/or resolution of the video. It's not uncommon to find this lack of control in point-and-shoots however, although there's not even any option for changing metering type that might let you prioritize brightness in one area of the frame.
In the function menu while recording video in the dedicated video mode, both white balance and "my colors" filters are available. The full measure of options for both are available, just as they are for still photography. When using the dedicated video record button to engage recording, most of these settings seem to be inherited (white balance doesn't readjust, for example) from still photography to video.
The Canon SX230 HS features a built-in stereo microphone on the front of the camera, with two pinhole-size openings on either side of the lens. There's no option for altering audio recording type in the menu, and there's no on-screen level indicator or adjustment available. The only thing available is a wind cut filter, which will reduce the amount of noise captured if wind blows across the built-in microphones.