A short, sharp review of the IXUS 230 HS (ELPH 310 HS outside Europe), Canon’s best ever point-and-shoot compact camera. Choose 1080p playback to see photo detail shots at 1:1 magnification.
Visit Expert Reviews for a longer review of the Canon IXUS 230 HS.
Product details at www.canon.co.uk.
Canon IXUS 230 HS / ELPH 310 HS
£210 / €225 / $250
The Canon IXUS 230 HS is a brilliant camera for casual snapping. Its slim, stylish metal body houses an 8x zoom lens, 12-megapixel sensor, 3-inch screen and HDMI port. The buttons are a little cramped and their layout takes some getting used to but the menus are quick to navigate and include all the usual photographic options, scene presets and creative effects.
Autofocus speed isn’t astounding but otherwise this is a quick camera, both in normal use and in continuous mode.
Image quality is as good as you’ll get from a conventional point-and-shoot camera. The 12-megapixel sensor captures sharp, clean details with remarkably low noise, and is in its element in low light. Comparing it with various higher-resolution compact cameras dispels the myth that more is better, as fewer megapixels mean less noise. Having said that, this camera fends off most 12-megapixel rivals pretty well too. You’d need to spend a lot more on a mirrorless system camera for an significant jump in image quality.
The lens is just as impressive, with sharp focus and an 8x zoom range – huge for such a slim camera and more versatile than most ultra-compact cameras with 5x and smaller zooms. You can get a bigger zoom if you’re willing pay more for a bulkier camera but the 230 HS strikes a great balance.
The 1080p videos are good but not perfect. Clip lengths are limited to 10 minutes. The soundtrack is a little muffled and noisy, and picks up subtle whirrs and clicks from the focus and zoom motors. There’s nothing much wrong with picture quality, though, and optical stabilisation keeps shots reasonably steady at the full zoom extension.
When the worst thing to complain about is noisy video soundtracks, Canon must be on to a good thing. There’s no better camera for casual photographers who want attractive photos and videos without any fuss.