The SX230 takes almost all of its design cues directly from the SX210 that preceded it, with a predominantly plastic case complimented by metal edging. This means that overall construction, while nowhere near the tough standard, feels pretty good, with the camera feeling solid enough and fairly weighty in the hand.
One small gripe we do have, that also applies to the SX230’s predecessor, is with the lack of a finger grip. Given the smooth-to-the-touch anodised finish on the front of the camera, we would really have liked to have seen something to make the camera feel a bit more secure in the hand. Given the lack of anything to grip we did find that we were reluctant to use the camera without a wrist strap. While it could be argued that this is just good practice, it’s certainly less flexible too.
Button layout also takes much the same form as the SX210, with only some subtle location and design changes. For example the spring-loaded zoom control is now located around the shutter button rather than to the side and the on/off switch has relocated to the back of the camera, rather than on top.
Overall, the SX230 is easy to operate though and we like how the placement of the shooting mode dial on the back of the camera makes it easy to hop between shooting modes while simultaneously acting as a rather convenient thumb-rest.
The camera sports a direct record red-dot button on the back of the camera for one-touch instant recording outside of the camera’s dedicated movie mode option on the shooting mode dial. Underwater photography fans may be interested to know that a dedicated waterproof case – the WP-DC42 – is available as an optional extra at a cost of about £200.
In-camera menus are especially well laid out and easy to navigate on the SX230, with the various options and features all proving quick and easy to reach through either the FUNC/SET Quick Menu button and the main Menu button below it. Exactly what options the Quick Menu will access depends on the shooting mode the camera is being used in at the time, but whatever you want to change, menu navigation on the SX230 never feels particularly long-winded.
One odd quirk that the SX230 appears to have inherited from its predecessor is that the flash still pops up every time the camera is switched on, irrespective of whether it is needed or not. While it’s simple enough to snap it back down if not needed it does strike as an oversight on Canon’s part.