Canon PowerShot SX430 IS Review

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Introduction

The Canon PowerShot SX430 IS is a new budget superzoom camera. The Canon SX430 IS features a 20.5 megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and a 45x optical zoom lens which is equivalent to 24-1080mm in 35mm terms. Other key features include Wi-Fi and Dynamic NFC connectivity, 720p movie recording, and intelligent Image Stabilizer for stills and movies. The Canon PowerShot SX730 HS retails for £229.99 / €299.99.

Ease of Use

Super zoom or ‘bridge’ cameras have typically been bulky affairs, whilst the focal range of so-called ‘travel’ cameras has been slightly ham-strung by the fact of still needing to produce a camera that will slip readily into pocket or day bag. Announced back in February and newly arrived, the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS seeks, in our opinion at least, to offer a ‘best of both’ solution, strapping a whopping yet still impressively compact 45x optical reach to the front of a camera that resembles a consumer grade SLR (or enthusiast level super zoom), yet one that’s been conveniently shrunk in the wash.

It’s really difficult to appreciate how diminutive this camera is, just from going by the press shots in advance of its arrival in your hands. We managed to squeeze just two adult sized fingers around its handgrip, leaving our forefinger hovering over the conveniently placed shutter release button at its topper-most edge, itself encircled by the lever for adjusting the zoom. Though it’s possible to operate the camera with one (right) hand, you’ll want to use your left to help both keep the body (and your horizons) level and steady, when supporting the lightweight zoom.

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Front of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS

Whilst the prominent lens barrel, affording a maximum f/3.5 aperture but much more eye catching massive 24-1080mm equivalent reach in 35mm film terms, means the SX430 IS (‘image stabilised’, naturally) would be an awkward squeeze for any trouser pocket, it will drop comfortably into any jacket or, for those travelling types on a weekend city break, small rucksack or shoulder bag. The simple fact that operation is largely point and shoot ensures this camera can be used by all the family – if the youngest members are, say, 7+. The wide focal range also means that just about any shot can be framed and re-framed with the assistance of the rear LCD screen, with the photographer rarely having to take a step towards, or away from, their subject. We’d wager a summer holiday would definitely make the best use of both this PowerShot’s lack of size and broad yet at the same time very simple and accessible capabilities. The lens cap here is of the detachable plastic variety, which can be affixed via thread to the camera’s vacant lug for a strap. That’s probably the best way to avoid simply losing the cap.

With operation pretty much point-and-shoot all the way and a relatively un-flashy 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor at its heart providing a 20 megapixel effective resolution, (just like the 8x zoom IXUS 185 released alongside it), the SX430 IS is perhaps not a camera for the photo enthusiast, however, who will want something more substantial in every sense of the word. We can see the ideal purchaser of this camera instead being the typical smartphone user or family man or woman seeking to upgrade to a ‘proper’ camera with a bit of extra punch and flexibility when it comes to the zoom department. Talking of smartphones, the camera offers both Wi-Fi and NFC transfer when it comes to image sharing, without needing to remove the optional yet essential memory card. Thankfully, a regular postage stamp sized SD/SDHC card is the media of choice here, rather than the smaller and more fiddle-some microSD.

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Rear of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS

For a suggested £229.99 the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS is both affordable and, at the same time, pared back in terms of any manual features. We don’t get any eye level viewfinder, with instead a built in speaker occupying that space above the LCD screen on the backplate. Said screen isn’t the touch screen we’ve got used to finding on compacts in 2017 either, whilst video quality is HD rather than Full HD, never mind 4K. The LCD is a little larger than its overall body size might suggest, at 3-inches, though the resolution is a bog standard 230K dots, which means that it’s still tricky to determine whether an image is properly sharp without enlarging a portion of it to check.

Though the lens capability is a marvel of modern miniaturization, the SX430 IS a feels like a bit of a throwback to simpler times, in some respects. A case in point is its control layout. This apes an old-school point and shoot digital compact in the respect that its array of controls will be familiar to anyone who has operated such a camera at any time over the past 15 years. A quartet of backplate buttons inset into the body, whereby they can be operated by thumb or fingernail but not readily knocked accidentally, orbit a centrally placed control pad with function/set button at its core.

The lens reach here is so massive that, when attempting photography at the telephoto end of the zoom, the image relayed to the LCD screen tends to ‘dance’ about, even though you may feel you’re holding the camera as steady as possible. It therefore requires a bit of trial and error – and a couple of extra shots – to end up with the framing you intended, if shooting at maximum telephoto. The obvious way around this is to otherwise stick the SX430 IS on a tripod; a small portable Gorillapod tripod that could otherwise be folded up and stashed in a pocket, would be an ideal pairing with this mini DSLR-styled camera.

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Top of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS

We mentioned the SX430 IS’ handgrip earlier, which, while small, at least makes for a comfortable hold. The shutter release button encircled by the zoom lever sits up at the front top of the handgrip, gently moulded to provide slightly more purchase for two adult fingers, with the main on/off power button set a little back on the camera top plate. At the back of the grip, where we’d commonly find our thumb coming to rest, is a red record button for activating video capture. Again this button is flush with the bodywork/slightly recessed, in order to avoid accidentally firing off a clip when merely handling the camera or lining up a stills’ shot. Buttons are responsive to the touch and at no point did we feel the camera was waiting to catch up with our selections. One might assume that with the massive focal range at our disposal the SX430 IS might be great for wildlife or sports photography. While we were able to capture some fairly static wildlife in our frame, a continuous shooting speed of 0.5 shots per second at full resolution is hardly Olympic standard.

If we’ve one grumble to do with the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS betraying its budget cost, it is that the operation of the lens itself – by which we mean the motor used to extend it outwards and retract it backwards. This is slightly noisy, making a grinding and buzzing sound in operation. But in fairness this won’t be picked up on, or prove a distraction for potential subjects, if you’re using the camera in busy, bustling tourist environments anyway.

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS

Otherwise the camera is as responsive as we’d wish for, even if available selections are a little limited – both a reflection of its budget price, and the fact that this is supposed to be simple to operate from the off. No need to refer to any manual here – you can navigate your way around the camera from scratch pretty easily. There are two choices when it comes to image quality: Superfine and Fine and the ISO range is pretty limited – running from a manually selectable ISO100 to ISO1600. There is additionally a dedicated Low Light shooting mode selectable from its left-hand-side of screen function menu, though this does cap resolution at five megapixels, to negate any possible appearance of image noise.

More about image quality in a moment; the other aspect we need to mention first is battery life. Though we didn’t notice the camera being unusually power hungry for its class, Canon’s website lists a full charge of its lithium ion cell lasting just 195 shots, which reads on paper as fairly unimpressive. However there is the possibility to boost this to a more respectable 260 shots (in fairness closer to what we expected) if placing the camera in ‘eco’ mode.

As a general use camera, then, for those who want a lot more zoom power than their smartphone could ever afford them the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS shows its versatility. But whilst it may proffer itself as a jack of all trades for those wanting flexibility in a very compact package, given the broad focal range on offer, does it also master said trades too? Read on to find out…

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

When using the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS under daylight conditions, the camera acquits itself fairly well – here we feel we’re getting a lot of zoom power for our buck. And, under said daylight conditions, it’s possible to shoot handheld with the Canon and achieve sufficient detail in our images, both at extreme wide angle and maximum telephoto, to end up with results worth keeping. As we mentioned in the main body of this write up, shooting handheld and using the rear LCD to compose our shots toward the furthest extremities of the zoom, did mean that the image relayed to the rear plate LCD screen jumped around a lot, resulting in us having to try and hit the shutter as soon as we saw the framing we wanted on screen. Luckily, in this scenario, the camera’s AF is responsive enough to end up with the composition desired.

This is a small sensor though, with a high-ish resolution – so how does it acquit itself? Generally speaking, pretty well. We did notice some purple pixel fringing between areas of high contrast – but only really when zooming in to check detail. And though there may be some loss of definition into the corners of the frame, again this is only really noticeable if you’re purposefully looking for it. In low light however the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS’ performance is no great shakes – but then that isn’t what its target audience will be buying it for. As we noticed images start to soften at ISO800, ideally you want to keep the camera fixed at ISO400 – which means cloudy days are fine for shooting – all night raves probably not.

Noise

The Canon PowerShot SX430 IS only has five sensitivity settings at full resolution. Auto mode uses a range between ISO 100 and ISO 800, or you can switch to one of the creative shooting modes to manually select these settings.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot SX430 IS handled chromatic aberrations fairly well during the review, with purple and green fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The close focusing of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS at wide-angle is a mere 1cm. It does mean that there’s little light getting in when you do that and the edge definition drops off leaving around 50% of the image in focus.

Macro

Flash

The Canon PowerShot SX430 IS’ flash has four modes: Auto, On, Off and Slow Synchro, plus a separate setting to enable or disable red-eye reduction. Whether this is active or not, the camera successfully avoids any trace of red-eye. Here are some portrait shots.

Flash On

Flash On – Red-eye Reduction

Night

The Canon PowerShot SX430 IS’s maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, but sadly there’s no Bulb mode for even longer exposures. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second at ISO 100.

Night

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS camera, which were all taken using the 20 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

1/1000s · f/4.5 · ISO 100

1/100s · f/4 · ISO 200

1/800s · f/4 · ISO 200

1/400s · f/3.5 · ISO 400

1/1000s · f/5.6 · ISO 160

1/8s · f/3.5 · ISO 800

1/1000s · f/4.5 · ISO 200

Product Images

Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Front of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Front of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS / Turned On
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Rear of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Rear of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS / Image Displayed
 
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Top of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Top of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Bottom of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Side of the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Memory Card Slot
Canon PowerShot SX430 IS
Battery Compartment

Specifications

Image Sensor
Type

1/2.3 type CCD

Effective / Total Pixels

Approx. 20.5M

Image Processor
Type

DIGIC 4+

Lens
Focal Length

4.3 – 193.5 mm (35 mm equivalent: 24 – 1080 mm)

Zoom

Optical 45x
ZoomPlus 90x
Digital approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter approx. 1.6x or 2.0x (1).
Combined approx. 180x

Maximum f/number

f/3.5 – f/6.8

Construction

12 elements in 11 groups (3 UD lenses, 2 double-sided aspherical lenses, 1 single-sided aspherical lens)

Image Stabilisation

Yes (lens shift-type), approx. 2.5-stop 2. Intelligent IS plus Enhanced Dynamic IS

Focusing
Type

TTL

AF System/ Points

AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)

AF Modes

Single, Continuous, Servo AF/AE 3, Tracking AF

AF Point Selection

Size (Normal, Small)

AF Assist Beam

Yes

Closest Focusing Distance

0 cm (W) from front of lens in Macro

Exposure Control
Metering modes

Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre)

Exposure Compensation

+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction

ISO Sensitivity

AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
AUTO ISO: 100 – 800

Shutter
Speed

1 – 1/4000 s (Auto Mode)
15 – 1/4000 s (total range – varies by shooting mode)

White Balance
Type

TTL

Settings

Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Light bulb, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom.

LCD Monitor
Monitor

7.5 cm (3.0”) TFT, approx. 230,000 dots

Coverage

Approx. 100%

Brightness

Adjustable to one of five levels.
Quick-bright LCD available via holding INFO Button

Flash
Modes

Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro

Slow Sync Speed

Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 s

Red-Eye Reduction

Yes

Flash Exposure Compensation

Face Detection FE

Built-in Flash Range

50 cm – 5.0 m (W) / 1.3 m – 2.7 m (T)

External Flash

Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2

Shooting
Modes

Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), Program AE, Live View Control, Portrait, Face Self-Timer, Low Light (5.0MP), Monochrome, Fish-eye Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Miniature Effect, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Fireworks, Long Shutter

Photo Effects

My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)

Drive modes

Single, Continuous, Self-Timer

Continuous Shooting

Approx. 0.5 shots/s

Low Light Mode (5.0 MP): Approx. 2.2 shots/s
(all speeds are until memory card becomes full) 4

RECORDING PIXELS / COMPRESSION
Image Size

4:3 – (L) 5152 x 3864, (M) 2560 x 1920, (M1) 3648 x 2736, (M2) 2048 x 1536, (S) 640 x 480
16:9 – (L) 5152 x 2896, (M1) 3648 x 2048, (M2) 1920 x 1080, (S) 640 x 360
3:2 – (L) 5152 x 3432, (M1) 3648 x 2432, (M2) 2048 x 1368, (S) 640 x 424
1:1 – (L) 3856 x 3856, (M1) 2736 x 2736, (M2) 1536 x 1536, (S) 480 x 480

Resize in playback (M2)

Compression

Superfine, Fine

Movies

(HD) 1280 x 720, 25 fps
(L) 640 x 480, 29.97 fps

Movie Length

(HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min 59 s 6
(L) Up to 4 GB or 1 hour 7

File Type
Still Image Type

JPEG compression (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant

Movies

MP4 [Video: MPEG4-AVC / H.264, Audio: MPEG4 AAC-LC (monaural)]

Other Features
GPS

GPS via mobile (via Canon Camera Connect app with compatible smart devices)

Red-Eye Reduction

Yes, during shooting and playback

Intelligent Orientation Sensor

Yes, with Auto Rotate

Histogram

Yes, during playback

Playback zoom

Approx. 2x – 10x

Self Timer

Approx. 2, 10 s or Custom

Menu Languages

English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Romanian, Farsi, Hindi, Malay, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Hebrew

Interface
Computer

Hi-Speed USB composite connector (Mini-B compatible)

Other

A/V output, composite connector (PAL/NTSC)

Computer/Other

Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11b/g/n), (2.4 GHz only), with Dynamic NFC support 8

Memory Card
Type

SD, SDHC, SDXC

Supported Operating System
PC & Macintosh

Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 SP1 9
Mac OS X 10.9 / 10.10 / 10.11 / 10.12

For Wi-Fi connection to a PC:
Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 SP1
Mac OS X 10.9 / 10.10

For Image Transfer Utility:
Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 SP1
Mac OS X 10.9 / 10.10 / 10.11 / 10.12

Software
Other

CameraWindow DC
Map Utility
Image Transfer Utility

Camera Connect app available on iOS and Android devices

Power Source
Batteries

Rechargeable Li-ion Battery  NB-11LH (Battery and charger supplied)

Battery life

Approx. 195 shots
Eco mode approx. 260 shots
Approx. 300 min playback

Accessories
Cases / Straps

Soft Case DCC-950
PowerShot Accessory Organizer

Flash

Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2

Power Supply & Battery Chargers

Battery Charger CB-2LFE
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-11LH

Other

Canon AV cable AVC-DC400
Interface Cable IFC-400PCU

Physical Features
Operating Environment

0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity

Dimensions (W x D x H)

104.4 x 69.1 x 85.1 mm

Weight

Approx. 323 g (including battery and memory card)

All data is based on Canon standard testing methods (according to CIPA Standards) except where indicated.

Subject to change without notice.

  1. Depending on the image size selected.
  2. Values at maximum optical focal length. Cameras whose focal length exceeds 350 mm (35 mm equivalent) are measured at 350 mm.
  3. Some settings limit availability.
  4. Under conditions where the flash does not fire.
  5. Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
  6. The following Speed Class memory cards are required for maximum record time: (HD) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 4 or above. (Full HD) 1920 x 1080 Speed Class 6 or above. (iFrame) 1280 x 720 Speed Class 6 or above.
  7. Depending on memory card speed / capacity / compression setting.
  8. Wi-Fi use may be restricted in certain countries or regions. Wi-Fi support varies by device and region. For more information visit www.canon-europe.com/wirelesscompacts
  9. Software applications compatible with Windows 10 in Windows 10 Desktop Mode only

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Conclusion

The main selling point here is a big zoom reach from a relatively tiny camera – one that it’s hard for its promotional press images to really portray accurately in terms of its size and handling. You really do need to try the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS out for yourself. In that sense this Canon feels like a marvel of engineering and miniaturisation. Yet obviously for a selling price just north of £200 there are compromises; the zoom is relatively noisy in operation and the image relayed to the back LCD screen towards maximum telephoto setting jumps around so much if you’re attempting to shoot handheld that it’s tricky to get your compositional framing spot on. Then there is the fact that light sensitivity tops out at a so-so ISO1600 (you won’t want to stray above ISO800 max anyway in terms of performance), the sensor is the small 1/2.3-inch CCD fancied by pocket compact cameras since the year dot, and there isn’t a great deal you can do with this camera beyond point and shoot.

In fairness, its target audience won’t be buying the Canon PowerShot SX430 IS expecting the DSLR its design resembles. There’s no eye level viewfinder for one. But, for the undemanding photographer – or the family that fancies having a greater zoom reach than most compacts, and indeed their smartphone, can provide – this hits some of the sweet spots. Plus, if you are going to be released an inexpensive digital compact in 2017, you’d better make it stand out from a smartphone. By virtue of its whopping zoom, this compact Canon does just that.

(photographyblog.com, https://goo.gl/rd4bzv)

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