Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH vs. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V

Comparison

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PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH image
vs
Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V image
Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V
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Megapixels
3.20
18.20
Max. image resolution
2048 x 1536
4896 x 3672

Sensor

Sensor type
CCD
CMOS
Sensor size
1/2.7" (~ 5.33 x 4 mm)
1/2.3" (~ 6.16 x 4.62 mm)
Sensor resolution
2063 x 1551
4920 x 3699
Diagonal
6.66 mm
7.70 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1.33
(ratio)
Canon PowerShot S230 DIGITAL ELPH Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V
Surface area:
21.32 mm² vs 28.46 mm²
Difference: 7.14 mm² (33%)
HX20V sensor is approx. 1.33x bigger than S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor.
Note: You are comparing sensors of very different generations. There is a gap of 10 years between Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH (2002) and Sony HX20V (2012). Ten years is a lot of time in terms of technology, meaning newer sensors are overall much more efficient than the older ones.
Pixel pitch
2.58 µm
1.25 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 1.33 µm (106%)
Pixel pitch of S230 DIGITAL ELPH is approx. 106% higher than pixel pitch of HX20V.
Pixel area
6.66 µm²
1.56 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 5.1 µm² (327%)
A pixel on Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor is approx. 327% bigger than a pixel on Sony HX20V.
Pixel density
14.98 MP/cm²
63.79 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 48.81 µm (326%)
Sony HX20V has approx. 326% higher pixel density than Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH
Sony HX20V
Crop factor
6.5
5.62
Total megapixels
3.30
Effective megapixels
3.20
Optical zoom
2x
20x
Digital zoom
Yes
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400
Auto, 100 - 12800
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
47 cm
1 cm
Macro focus range
10 cm
1 cm
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
35 - 70 mm
25 - 500 mm
Aperture priority
No
No
Max. aperture
f2.8 - f4.0
f3.2 - f8
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
f18.2 - f26
f18 - f45
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
±2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
Shutter priority
No
No
Min. shutter speed
15 sec
30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/1500 sec
1/1600 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Optical (tunnel)
None
White balance presets
6
7
Screen size
1.5"
3"
Screen resolution
120,000 dots
921,000 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
1920x1080 (60p/60i)
Storage types
Compact Flash (Type I)
Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro Duo, SDHC, SDXC, Secure Digital
USB
USB 1.0
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
Canon Lithium-Ion
Lithium-Ion NP-BG1 battery
Weight
250 g
254 g
Dimensions
87 x 57 x 27 mm
106.6 x 61.9 x 34.6 mm
Year
2002
2012




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Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Canon S230 DIGITAL ELPH diagonal

The diagonal of S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor is not 1/2.7 or 0.37" (9.4 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 6.66 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 5.33 mm
h = 4.00 mm
Diagonal =  5.33² + 4.00²   = 6.66 mm

Sony HX20V diagonal

The diagonal of HX20V sensor is not 1/2.3 or 0.43" (11 mm) as you might expect, but approximately two thirds of that value - 7.7 mm. If you want to know why, see sensor sizes.

w = 6.16 mm
h = 4.62 mm
Diagonal =  6.16² + 4.62²   = 7.70 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor area

Width = 5.33 mm
Height = 4.00 mm

Surface area = 5.33 × 4.00 = 21.32 mm²

HX20V sensor area

Width = 6.16 mm
Height = 4.62 mm

Surface area = 6.16 × 4.62 = 28.46 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel pitch

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Pixel pitch =   5.33  × 1000  = 2.58 µm
2063

HX20V pixel pitch

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor resolution width = 4920 pixels
Pixel pitch =   6.16  × 1000  = 1.25 µm
4920


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel area

Pixel pitch = 2.58 µm

Pixel area = 2.58² = 6.66 µm²

HX20V pixel area

Pixel pitch = 1.25 µm

Pixel area = 1.25² = 1.56 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

S230 DIGITAL ELPH pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 2063 pixels
Sensor width = 0.533 cm

Pixel density = (2063 / 0.533)² / 1000000 = 14.98 MP/cm²

HX20V pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 4920 pixels
Sensor width = 0.616 cm

Pixel density = (4920 / 0.616)² / 1000000 = 63.79 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

S230 DIGITAL ELPH sensor resolution

Sensor width = 5.33 mm
Sensor height = 4.00 mm
Effective megapixels = 3.20
r = 5.33/4.00 = 1.33
X =  3.20 × 1000000  = 1551
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 1551 × 1.33 = 2063
Resolution vertical: X = 1551

Sensor resolution = 2063 x 1551

HX20V sensor resolution

Sensor width = 6.16 mm
Sensor height = 4.62 mm
Effective megapixels = 18.20
r = 6.16/4.62 = 1.33
X =  18.20 × 1000000  = 3699
1.33
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 3699 × 1.33 = 4920
Resolution vertical: X = 3699

Sensor resolution = 4920 x 3699


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


S230 DIGITAL ELPH crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 6.66 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 6.5
6.66

HX20V crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 7.70 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 5.62
7.70

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

S230 DIGITAL ELPH equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 6.5
Aperture = f2.8 - f4.0

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f2.8 - f4.0) × 6.5 = f18.2 - f26

HX20V equivalent aperture

Crop factor = 5.62
Aperture = f3.2 - f8

35-mm equivalent aperture = (f3.2 - f8) × 5.62 = f18 - f45

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