The SX230 offers three metering options: evaluative, centre-weighted and spot. All have their uses and all prove accurate. When used on evaluative metering there is a slight tendency for the SX230 to overexpose, especially when faced with high contrast scenes. Thankfully, this can be controlled to a certain extent through the use of exposure compensation, of which there is /-2EV to play with.
Saturation levels depend very much on which My Colour profile is selected. With the My Colour options switched off entirely, the SX230 produces images with nicely balanced colour – neither too saturated nor too flat. Of course, saturation is very much a matter of taste and while we rather liked the Vivid profile it can sometimes make things look over-saturated, while the Neutral setting can occasionally make things look a little too flat. We found the Positive film setting to offer a happy medium. You can, of course, set up your own custom My Colour profile too.
Used on the automatic white balance setting we didn’t experience any problems, with colour temperature proving consistently reliable, regardless of whether we were using the SX230 indoors under artificial light, or outdoors in shade or direct sunlight.
Edge sharpness and resolution of fine detail are both very impressive, with the SX230 delivering above average results on both counts. At lower sensitivities, where image noise is completely absent detail is especially impressive – easily good enough to print at A3 size with no discernible loss in quality.
The SX30 is an easy-to-use and well-specified travel compact that delivers consistently excellent image quality. While we would have liked the ability to record lossless Raw files and a proper finger grip, there is little else to fault with the camera. Ultimately, we have no hesitation in recommending the Canon SX230 HS – or indeed its non-GPS twin, the SX220 HS – as thoroughbred travel compacts.