Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

Quality

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS vs Sony Cyber-shot HX9V vs Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 Resolution

  Canon PowerShot SX230 HS results
1 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Resolution
2 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Noise
3 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Sample images
 
 

To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V and the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on each camera were set to approximately the same field of view and all three cameras were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available setting 100 ISO – on each camera.

The image above was taken with the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS with its lens at the widest available 5mm (28mm equivalent) setting. The camera metered 1/1250 at f4 and 100 ISO. The original image measured 3.57MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

First impressions on looking at these crops and the test image overall is that that the PowerShot SX230 HS produces good quality results in these bright sunny conditions. The image is well exposed has good detail throughout the tonal range is nice and contrasty and has vibrant natural colours.

Moving to the crops, the lens and sensor combination looks to be producing excellent detail, there is a small but noticeable degree of texture but it’s slight and you can make out the fine detail in the grassy foreground of the first crop very well. The only thing worth noting is there’s a slight halo along the top and left edge of the chapel wall, but you need to look very closely to spot it even at 100 percent view.

The second crop pretty much bears out what you can see in the first. There are a lot of high contrast edges in this crop, from the lighthouse in the distance to the houses in the middle ground and the SX230 HS does a good job of picking them out. The slight graininess is a little more obvious in this crop, but it’s not obscuring image detail and I personally don’t find it at all objectionable.

The third crop, taken from the edge of the frame, is less impressive, primarily because of the quite severe purple fringing. This isn’t the only place it occurs in the image and in fact on the other side of the frame it’s actually worse with a hard purple line running along contrasting edges. The PowerShot SX230 HS’s lens is almost wide open here at f4, we switched to Manual exposure mode and made further tests at f5.6 and f8, but the problem persisted to the same degree. Neither is the Chromatic aberration confined to the widest focal length settings, we spotted the same problem in shots taken at the tele end of the zoom range. In the absence of a RAW mode, it looks like this is just something you’ll have to live with.

Compared with the Sony Cybershot HX9V I was quite surprised to see less of a quality difference than I would have expected between 12.1 and 16.2 Megapixel models. In the first crop the Cyber-shot HX9V doesn’t pick out the detail as clearly as the PowerShot SX230 HS, but compare the second row and there really isn’t a great deal in it. The Cyber-shot doesn’t suffer from chromatic aberration to anything like the same degree as the PowersShot SX230 HS and again in the fourth crop it’s a very close call.

Compared with the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS clearly has the advantage in terms of image quality. The crops from the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 are uniformly noisier. The first crop simply looks a lot grainier, resulting in the loss of much of the finer detail. In the subsequent crops there’s also some quite unpleasant clumping of pixels. By the final crop things are looking a little more balanced but overall the crops from the 14.1 Megapixel Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 can’t match those from either the 12.1 Megapixel Canon PowerShot SX230 HS or the 16.2 Megapixel Sony Cyber-shot HX9V.

Now let’s see how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.

 
Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
 
Sony Cyber-shot HX9V
 
Panasonic Lumix TZ20
f4, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f4, 100 ISO


Canon PowerShot SX230 HS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS vs Sony Cyber-shot HX9V vs Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 Noise

  Canon PowerShot SX230 HS results
1 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Resolution
2 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Noise
3 Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Sample images
 
 

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V and the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

All three cameras were set to Program auto exposure mode and the lenses were set to approximately the same field of view, around 5mm to match the PowerShot SX230 HS. The ISO sensitivity was set manually.

The above shot was taken with the the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS in Program auto mode. The lens was set to its default wide angle setting of 5mm (28mm equivalent), the sensitivity was set to 100 ISO and the exposure was 0.4 seconds at f3.1. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

As with the outdoor resolution test, the PowerShot SX230 HS makes a strong start. The 100 ISO crop shows excellent detail with a minimal degree of noise which is visible, but ‘natural’ and unprocessed looking. At 200 ISO there’s an ever so slight degradation with the graininess amplified so you can see the noise texture in the wood panelling, but it isn’t yet affecting the detail in the stone column on the left.

By 400 ISO there is a step change, with a clear battle going on between the emerging noise and the PowerShot SX230 HS’s attempts to keep the lid on it, successfully, I think it’s fair to say. Yes, there’s a good deal of graininess around and it’s obscuring some of the image detail, but as usual, Canon has struck a good balance between suppressing the noise and hanging on to the all-important image detail.

At 800 ISO the PowerShot SX230 HS has crossed line beyond which getting the shot becomes the object and image quality takes second place. There’s a lot of noise now and very little you can do about it, but at smaller than 100 percent view 800 ISO images still look passable and even the 1600 and 3200 ISO shots retain enough detail to make a decent enough snap.

The PowerShot SX230 HS’s Handheld Night Scene composite mode selected a sensitivity of 800 ISO and produced a result that’s smoother and, at 100 percent looks to retain less detail than the straight 800 ISO shot, but comparing the two shots at reduced size side-by side, I’d have to say that, personally, I thought Handheld Night Scene produced the better result.

Compared the the Sony Cyber-shot HX9V, there’s not much in it at the start, though the PowerShot SX230 HS 100 ISO crop looks to have the better of it in terms of fine detail. At 200 ISO, though, the Cyber-shot HX9V crop takes a sharp quality dip with agressive noise procesing resulting in significant detail loss. At each step up the ISO scale the quality gap between the PowerShot SX230 HS and Cyber-shot HX9V gets progressively bigger. While the Cyber-shot HX9V can produce great results at its base 100 ISO setting, once you raise it the cracks begin to show up pretty quickly. We’ve included the Cyber-shot HX9V’s anti motion blur composite scene mode in preference to Hand-held Twilight mode which, though qualitatively better, underexposed the scene.

Compared with the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 it’s a similar story, except that the Panasonic starts out further behind the PowerShot SX230 HS at 100 ISO and doesn’t deteriorate quite as much in the step up to 200 ISO as the Cyber-shot HX9V. If you cast your eye along any of the rows in the crop table it’s a similar story though, with the PowerShot SX230 HS way out in front with the Cyber-shot HX9V and Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 some way behind. Though it lacks a full resolution 3200 ISO setting the Lumix TZ20’s High Sens scene mode produces 3M images at 3200 ISO and the Handheld Night Shot mode has produced a good result at 400 ISO.

Now head over to our PowerShot SX230 HS sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
 
Sony Cyber-shot HX9V
 
Panasonic Lumix TZ20
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
Hi Sens 2000 ISO
Handheld Night Scene at 800 ISO
Anti Motion Blur at 3200 ISO
Handheld Night Shot at 400 ISO


Canon PowerShot SX230 HS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

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