Canon IXUS 230 HS Review

November 3, 2011 | Matt Grayson |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3Mb.

The Canon IXUS 230 HS produces very nice pictures. We're happy with the colour reproduction in primary colours. Darker colours such as red, green and blue are rich without being too over saturated. Lighter colours are treated sympathetically. Because of the HS system, we're expecting noise to be handled very well. We'll go into more detail later but the results do look promising.


One of the most important areas for testing is the ISO. Essentially a camera can be make or break if the ISO performance isn't up to scratch. This is where the HS technology does its best work. The comparably low resolution and noise reduction technology work in tandem to help lower noise. It certainly seems to work at ISO 100 because there's literally no noise on the pictures. Edge definition is also sharp.

Working through the range, there's no change at ISO 200 but ISO 400 is where the changes usually start to take shape. Being overly critical, there is a slight loss in image quality but it's negligible and we were magnifying to 100%. At ISO 800 edges start to break up a little but colour noise is still kept at bay. In fact, the major changes actually start at ISO 3200 where edges are softer and coloured blobs show in dark and mid-tones.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Canon IXUS 230 HS's 8x zoom lens offers a versatile focal range, as demonstrated by the examples below.



File Quality

The Canon IXUS 230 HS has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (2.31Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (920Kb) (100% Crop)


Normally if we add sharpening in Adobe Photoshop, there's a distinct difference but adding a sharpening to the pictures on the Canon IXUS 230 HS shows only minimal difference.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The IXUS range is renowned for excellent hardware and the lack of chromatic aberration shows the high quality of the lenses. We struggled to find it but it did show in obscure places which we've highlighted.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


If you like your macro subjects close then you'll be happy with the IXUS 230 HS. Focusing is around 1cm which is excellent but it does suffer badly from barrel distortion. There's only a small area that's sharp before the picture starts to blur as it goes out to the edges. It resembles one of those zoom filters that Cokin released a few years ago.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


There's mild vignetting at the extreme corners of the frame and using flash doesn't eradicate it. It's not present at telephoto even without the flash. There's no red-eye preflash option because red-eye is done after the shot has been taken when you're in playback mode. We never got an instance of it to test effectively but we managed to use it in our forthcoming Canon IXUS 1100HS test which uses the same system.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (224mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (224mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. The Flash On setting didn't cause any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)


We shot a 1 second exposure at ISO 100 for the night test and the results are pleasing enough. The white-balance looked balanced on the screen but on the computer looks a bit green and that was using the custom setting.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)