A bit more playing with the Canon SX230HS

Last week while out meandering I played with the camera a bit more, and took several shots just to see how it handled different situations. Most all of them were taken with the camera in auto mode.

Flowers are usually a good subject to play with for detail, so I took one as a macro as close as I could get to it in bright sunlight and another as a hand-held 14x zoom in the shade. Both came out very well, and I was surprised by how well the image stabilization worked on the zoomed shot.

Walking along the river, I came across some boats. The miniature setting really did well in this situation. On a long range shot of white boats with lots of reflection the boats did get washed out a little, but when zoomed in some the pictures were fine.

Closer to the coast there was a bit of mist in the air, and the camera did a good job of picking up the interplay of light and shadow both into the light and at roughly a 90 degree angle to it.

Once at the coast the camera handled various shots of water and rocks at pretty much all light directions quite well and again the image stabilization did a great job of handling hand-held 14x zoom. It also did a good job of handling a high contrast detail shot of the lighthouse roof where some elements were direct reflection and others were full shade. One thing it didn’t do as well on was the attempt to drop the aperture and increase exposure time to get a shot of the water washing the rocks – the result is simply an overexposed washout, but I would have been surprised with anything else given the bright conditions.

This camera also has GPS capabilities, and this was the first time I was able to try them out. When it has a signal it does what it says it should do – tags the photos with coordinates and elevation and, if the logging function is turned on, generates a track of your trip, but that is it. I was expecting a bit more information from it – for example, when trying to get a signal it does not give any indication of how well or poorly it is getting one like I am used to from most other GPS devices, and there is also no usable map or other information screen. I wasn’t expecting a full street map with directions, but I was thinking I might be able to pull up a screen where I could see the logged track. The logging function, when on, automatically takes points at a fixed interval even when the camera is turned off, and at a top level works well enough. It is a pain to turn on and off as it is several layers of menu items deep, and it does tend to drain the battery if you leave it on for too long – but with a relatively new and fully charged battery I took over 100 pictures and meandered for about 3 hours and it only showed 1/3’rd down when I got home. One thing to note is that while the included software easily opens the log file in Google Maps, the log file is not directly usable in most other GPS logging applications. The software does include a way to export the log files into a .kml file that can be used in Google Earth, but when I tried it the resulting file showed multiple lines back and forth along the equator and not even a start or end point in Japan. The good news is that the data is in a text format, so there should be a way to post-process around this glitch.

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