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Showing 1-10 of 452 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 583 reviews
on July 7, 2011
I've had this camera for a few weeks and spent some time with it in various conditions. I used it at a wedding, going rock climbing indoors and out, at a paintball field, and at night photographing fireworks. My impression so far is that this camera has the most flexibility in a point and shoot I've seen yet. The low light performance is really impressive; I can only imagine the S95 would be even better with a full F-stop wider lens. However, I have to say that the long lens on this SX230HS has really been more useful on multiple occasions. It's just fun to be able to get closer in certain conditions like on the paintball field or shooting details on buildings, or getting close up to the bride and groom, or even closer up shots of fireworks.
It's not the most ergonomic camera ever; I'm sure you'll read about the flash positioning and small controls. The pop up flash is fine since 95% of the time I don't use flash. I simply hold it down while I turn on the camera and it's out of the way. But when I do need it, I have to turn the camera off and back on; a small inconvenience. The size is on the edge of being too big and heavy for a "back pocket" camera. I use a small neoprene bag with a carabiner clip. The LCD is beautiful, but the image frame is smaller than the whole LCD to make room for control displays; a little deceiving but it's high resolution makes up for the size.
Some of the other controls take some getting used to; finding the manual controls and many modes. With that said though, the features of this camera are GREAT. Tons of diverse shooting features that meet all average user needs. There is an "easy shoot" mode which I find myself using if I am in a rush for a shot. I didn't find the problems one of the reviewers had with consistently blurry shots at all; when I put it on easy mode, pictures were crisp in most condition unless there was a ton of movement; at that point you're simply limited by physics... not enough light and too much movement = blur. With that said, my low light shots are exceptional for a point and shoot. I was so pleasantly surprised with fireworks.
I don't really do videos but one very difficult video I did take in very low light very far away was jittery and the color was off. But in normal light and distance it's fine.
Lastly, the complaints about battery life are totally valid. To give you an idea, I ran out of juice from a full charge from mid morning at the wedding to the beginning of the reception. I shot about 150 pics but kept the camera on a lot, zooming in and out. HOWEVER, I got a recharge and it does do that quite quickly. I would buy at least one if not two spare batteries for long trips with no power availability like backpacking or 3rd world travel.
Anyway, this camera is really good enough for me to buy a second one as a gift to my brother. If you want a high end point and shoot that's still small enough to carry around in a jacket pocket, this is a great choice.
44 comments| 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The features of this camera are well described on its spec sheet and on the Canon website.

Purchased it as a replacement for an A-710 which was my wife's "purse camera" until it was lost.

The SX230HC is a definite improvement: It does have higher sensitivity, higher resolution and a wider zoom range. The images are reasonably noise free up to an ISO of about 400. The flash range is short, but decent for group shots up to about 10 or 11 feet away. Auto focus is fast and accurate.

Like many small cameras, the close focus distance (in macro mode or not) is dependent of the zoom setting. At the longer focal lengths, focus is limited to 1 Meter and at the shortest focal lengths, it's limited to 5 cm. The close focus limit is displayed on the viewing screen as focal length is changed.

The lens is quite sharp at the wide angle to to moderately long zoom settings. However at zoom settings of between 40 and 70 mm (the maximum for this lens) it becomes pretty soft and looses contrast. Image stabilization is quite good (around 2.5 stops), with mid zoom range images of stationary objects possible down to 1/8 to 1/15th. sec hand held. Because of its small size, and the location of the pop-up flash, this is not an easy camera to hold, however, with a little practice one can adapt to it. Using the wrist strap is essential if you don't want to drop this camera!

My wife's biggest complaint is the view screen. Indoors in moderate light it's fine, but outdoors in bright sunlight, it's difficult to compose a shot, especially of a moving or sports scene. Our "old" A-710 had an optical viewfinder that was much better (in daylight), but today its almost impossible to find a low cost pocket camera that includes one.

Some owners have complained of short battery life, but we're getting around 200 shots without flash or 120-140 with flash. Considering the small size and light weight of the battery, that seems more than reasonable. My wife always carries a couple of charged batteries with her, but very seldom need to change the battery.

Summery: A decent "pocket" camera capable of recording excellent images in medium to bright conditions at most settings of its zoom lens. Good, but not outstanding battery life, weak built-in flash (typical of cameras this size), and viewfinder that is not great in bright sunlight. Small, light, fast operating.

Remember: "The best camera is the one you have."

Overall: A decent camera capable of taking excellent images
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on July 28, 2011
I purchased this camera about one month ago in preparation for a trip to Spain I will be making in January, 2012. I had been researching travelcams for over 2 years, trying to save the money to purchase one and waiting for the right travelcam to come along. When I began research in earnest again a few months ago, I was thrilled to see how much they improved this camera over the original SX200IS. I spent hours and hours researching the top rated travelcams and then I went out to stores and held them in my hands before deciding on the SX230HS.
This is my first Canon camera. My previous digital cameras were a Minolta and then a Panasonic Lumix FX07. I loved the compactness of the Panasonic and many other features about it, but was always disappointed with the low-light performance.
Now that I have my Canon, my 8, 9, and 10 year old daughters use the Panasonic. When I upload the photos from the two cameras after weddings or family events, there is no comparison between the two. The Canon is such a big improvement over the Panasonic in image quality, especially in low-light.
I purchased an extra battery, because, as many other reviewers said, the battery life is short. I just keep the extra battery charged and have not run out of battery power.
I have found the Transcend 8GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card works great with this camera. My one problem has been that now that I have this camera, my computer is too old. I can't use this flash memory card in my computer or in my personal photo printer because they are too outdated. The card works fine in my sister's newer laptop computer, though, so I know that the problem is my outdated computer and printer. Sigh. I still can upload pics to my computer easily, however, by using the camera's USB cord. And I can still print pictures on my PictureMate because I just copy the pics to my smaller 2GB card in order to print them.
The Pretty Hot Pink rooCASE is the perfect size and color for this camera. The outside pocket holds the extra battery and an extra memory card and the whole thing is still small enough to easily fit in my purse. I love color coordination, and I love how the camera and hot pink case match. I also have a hot pink and black gorilla-pod that matches perfectly, too. I know you guys reading this review are probably gagging by now, but my girlfriends reading are saying "Hey, hey, hey."
I also purchased a mini HDMI cable for $35 so that I can watch my pictures and movies on our HDTV. I love the quality of the movies. I am glad I can play them on my TV because my computer is too outdated. So beware - this camera is going to end up costing more than I expected as I now realize the need for an updated computer!!!
Since I would like to expand my photographic skills and learn how to use the manual controls more, I bought BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro by Jim Miotke. I just finished reading this book cover to cover and now want to go back and practice the exercises he suggests for expanding your photography skills. I found the photos in the book helpful and beautiful and his instructions clear and concise. I've already had some positive comments on photos I've taken that were a direct result of using his tips.
I printed the owner's manual and put the whole thing in a 3-ring binder. You definitely need to read the manual if you want to be able to use all of the features this camera offers. By choosing the option of printing 4 pages to one 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, and printing it front and back, the 212 page Camera User Guide and 62 page Software Guide didn't take up nearly as much paper and fit easily into a 3/4" binder. I am still working my way through the manual and learning new things about this camera every day. Although it is easy to use right out of the box and fairly easy to navigate, there is so much to it that it takes time to learn it all. I am glad I got the camera months ahead of my trip to Spain so I can become totally comfortable and familiar with it before attending the family wedding there.
I can't comment on the GPS because I haven't even tried it yet and it wasn't why I bought the camera anyway. If they had carried the 220HS in the USA I would have paid a little less and gone without the GPS.
I always keep the camera on the 3:2 ratio setting as that corresponds to the 4x6 photos I print the most often.
I am still working through the manual, but some helpful things I learned by reading it:
You can brighten the LCD without navigating through the menu system by holding down the display button a few seconds.
You can turn the clock on by holding down the function button.
You can review your pictures without having the lens pop out by holding down the function button while pushing the power on button at the same time.
You can mute the sounds on the camera by holding down the display button while pushing the power on button. To turn the sounds back on you have to go into the menu system.
I still have much of the manual to work through, so I am sure I will discover other fun things as I go along. I haven't tried the slo-mo yet and haven't really worked with color swap either.
The main reason I wanted this camera is I wanted a big zoom in a compact camera and I wanted great image quality. I love the zoom. I love the portable size. And I have found the image quality to be a big boost over my previous digital cameras, especially in low-light. I am hoping that as I learn and grow as a photographer my image quality will improve even more.
I would definitely recommend this camera to others.
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on July 20, 2011
I have owned many point and shoot cameras. More recently, my experience in P&S has been with Panasonic Lumix cameras. I've used Panasonic Lumix because of the advantage they had over other brands to provide high-quality shots in low light, which is one of the reasons to buy a particular point and shoot camera (or any camera for that matter).

My other camera is a Canon DSLR, with expensive L lenses, so I am not a novice. However, this camera is used by both my wife, who is a novice and myself. This means I am familiar with photography in general, and Canon cameras on the high end. We wanted a point and shoot to take the camera places where the DSLR was just not practical (think Disneyland) and to be my wife's every day camera when the cell phone camera just doesn't cut it.

Requirements: 1) full auto mode; 2) wide focal range; 3) fast shutter; 4) low noise in low light. The fact that a camera had GPS was a bonus, as we love this capability in iPhoto.

The good:

Full auto mode: the mode my wife shoots in. Excellent shots in both day light and low light. Simple enough that it makes all of the decisions for the photographer: variable focal point, auto ISO, the camera only fires the flash when it needs to. I actually prefer that, as I like photos to be in natural light as much as possible. The camera is also generally pretty responsive. The thing I hate the most about point and shoots is that "wait" for the camera to be ready to shoot. It's still there, just not as bad as I've seen before. Video is also generally of good quality at 720p.

Manual modes: leave it to Canon to provide Aperture and Shutter priority modes! This is where I play on the DSLR, and I love the fact that it is there. Especially when I want to create that shallow depth of field look of an open aperture.

The bad:

The controls can be somewhat confusing, even for an "expert." I discovered quite by chance that the selection wheel was more than arrow keys. It actually turned! Turning on GPS took me 3 days of shooting to figure out it was off! You need to manually enable the GPS locator. And then, when it is on, it only works when the camera is being used with a clear line of site to the satellites. It just doesn't work indoors. 1080p video is somewhat shaky and bad in low light. I'd stick to recording in 720p. You will need a large SD card to have plenty of room to record high quality video and stills (I ordered a 32GB card with the camera).

All in all, probably the best point and shoot in the compact size and low price range today (summer 2011). A tad bit bigger than the Panasonics, but probably has the most complete feature set today. Useful for both novices and experts.
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on July 21, 2011
I've had this camera for a month and spent some time with it in various conditions. Weddings, rock climbing, Fireworks, at an aquarium/science museum. My impression so far is that this camera has the most flexibility in a point and shoot I've seen yet. The low light performance is really impressive; I can only imagine the S95 would be even better with a full F-stop wider lens.

But, I chose this over the S95 because of the longer zoom. Some might argue that you should just walk up to your subjects and I agree to some extent... unless your subject is in a wedding and you can't exactly stroll on up to the alter, or you're trying the snap a picture of that cool gargoyle on the roof edge.. Or you're on the sidelines of a paintball fire-fight and you don't want to be a statistic, but you still want to capture the fear in their eyes. That's where the 14X zoom won over the 2.8 F stop in the S95. I'll just have to live with grainier dark shots rather than completely miss some.

It's not the most ergonomic camera ever; I'm sure you'll read about the flash positioning and small controls. The pop up flash is fine since 95% of the time I don't use flash. I simply hold it down while I turn on the camera and it's out of the way. But when I do need it, I have to turn the camera off and back on; a small inconvenience. The size is on the edge of being too big and heavy for a "back pocket" camera. I use a small neoprene bag with a carabiner clip. The LCD is beautiful, but the image frame is smaller than the whole LCD to make room for control displays; a little deceiving but it's high resolution makes up for the size.

Some of the other controls take some getting used to; finding the manual controls and many modes can be an exercise in random button pushing. With that said though, the features of this camera are GREAT. Tons of diverse shooting features that meet all average user needs. There is an "easy shoot" mode which I find myself using if I am in a rush for a shot. I didn't find the problems one of the reviewers had with consistently blurry shots at all; when I put it on easy mode, pictures were crisp in most condition unless there was a ton of movement; at that point you're simply limited by physics... not enough light and too much movement = blur. With that said, my low light shots are exceptional for a point and shoot. I was so pleasantly surprised with fireworks. I think the HS sensor really lives up to its name.

I have a few complaints about the camera; first the 14x zoom is great for wide range of usage but it also means that you have either Macro mode within a few inches), or a range of focus that's several feet away as soon as you do any zooming. It's simply the physics of the lens; the long zoom just leaves the closest focal length out. So, when I was taking closeups of things that are just within a few feet at the museum,, I have to move the camera right up on macro or step back; either way it's not always easy to zoom near field objects. Objects beyond a few feet are fine. I could have lived with a 7-8X zoom for some of that capability.
secondly, the complaints about battery life are totally valid. To give you an idea, I ran out of juice from a full charge from mid morning at the wedding to the beginning of the reception. I shot about 150 pics but kept the camera on a lot, zooming in and out. To good things about this battery though; it charges pretty quickly and it's used across many canon cameras. I would buy at least one if not two spare batteries for long trips with no power availability like backpacking or 3rd world travel. I would also consider a battery charger to get both juiced at the same time.
Anyway, this camera is really good enough for me to buy a second one as a gift to my brother. If you want a high end point and shoot that's still small enough to carry around in a jacket pocket, this is a great choice.
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UPDATE: The video portion of my camera went dead, which I consider one of the better qualities. I just purchased another one to replace it. I'll give the older one to someone who only wants to take photos.

I purposely bought this camera and housing for SCUBA. After spending $100 to $1,400 on cameras, I was stunned to see how great the pictures and videos came out. I added this video to show what it is like by simply selecting SCUBA mode (a little fish icon) and doing nothing else. You can get fancier with development of the `white balance', but I stuck to the basics. The sea lion scenes were at 20 feet and the rest of the dives were at 40-70 feet. The color was almost always balanced and the focus very crisp.

The description of all the other functions of this camera are listed below, but I think the first reviewer here nailed the camera's qualities. It is an easy point `n shoot camera with some extras. The GPS is a gimmick, but it does work well in placing your photos if you want to display them on GOOGLE Earth. However, the housing restricts that feature. The 12.1 megapixels are great for even posters or flat screen televisions (I use mine through my Blu-ray disc player for YOUTUBE). The function set, display, menu and the dial are all easy and intuitive. The zoom is remarkably steady (I recommend a small tripod). I've never cared for Optical Zoom, but the 14X works as well as any.

I do not care for the location of the flash. This surprised me, so you have to get used to keeping your left fingers from the top left of the camera. The HDMI A/V out cover is very flimsy and fortunately you may not have to use this much, but I can see it as being very fragile.

This is really a remarkable camera for the price. I have yet to test the stereo microphones, but I can imagine that for the family filmmaker, this might be fun to watch and listen to on a television with stereo speakers. The software that is included is also very simple but important. The features are numerous and it's nice to have something that directly deals with the camera features other than just `Windows Movie Maker". If you ski, snorkel or particularly SCUBA, you will love this camera.
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on December 17, 2011
I needed a high zoom, compact camera, that I could slip into a jacket pocket. I own a Canon T2i DSLR so I was already comfortable with Canon's quality. I also own a Panasonic DMC-FH25, which is also a good quality, compact, high zoom camera (8x).

What prompted me to purchase this camera was the CMOS sensor coupled with Canon's DIGIC 4 image processor (the same processor used in the T2i DSLR).

My opinion; This is one fantastic little camera. When I do not want to haul out my DSLR and it's bag of associated lenses, this is my absolute favorite. The Panasonic FH25 has more pixels but, to me, it also has noticeably more noise. On a 4x6 print, I doubt that anyone could tell the difference (for daylight shots).

This Canon excels at low light shots. I took a few test shots this morning, before sunrise, using the 'auto' mode with no flash. I pointed this at a store front and took a hand held 'auto mode' picture. It came out as f/3.1, 1/30 second, ISO1600 and was excellent quality. I then zoomed all the way in on the store's glass door and got another shot at the same settings. The picture quality amazed me. This little thing, at low light, equals or betters my older T2i for low noise.

If you are thinking of purchasing a compact, hi zoom, camera, please consider this one. My Panasonic FH25 was priced (at the time of purchase) only about $50.00 less than this Canon. The extra $50 for this camera bought some very good features and extra performance.

For the old school people (like me):
The F stop has a good range of manual settings. You can do 'Program', 'Manual' or 'Tv/Av' settings as in a much higher priced camera.

I did not buy this for videos, but, it will make a good quality HDTV video. Some nice things in that department; You can zoom while recording and this thing has two microphones on the front for that '2-channel' sound. It also has a dedicated 'record video' button.

I am just super happy with the performance (for cost) of this thing.

Ken
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on August 3, 2011
I've had this camera for 2.5 months.

The only reason I'm not giving this camera 5 stars is the fact that it takes a while to switch between scene modes. I've learned that Auto works well but having to remember which mode on the dial to switch to then change the scene mode takes a while. Even after 2.5 months of using this camera extensively I'm not comfortable w/ the menu system.

I've used kodak, sony, and a lot of nikon point and shoot cameras before this and I bought this camera over the Nikon 9100 because of the GPS and a review that said the menu system was better. It is my first Canon camera.

RE: GPS
It works okay but my phone's GPS app works better. It doesn't log as often so if you use it to GPS log driving trips you'll have a lot of straight lines through curves. If this were adjustable it'd be better. The included map utility is basic but you'll need it to import the GPS log files from the camera directly or from the SD card. I always export it to google earth and modify the path in there so it's more accurate. Again, my phone's GPS app is better.

RE: high sensitivity CMOS sensor
I assume the Nikon 9100 has similar results. Don't expect a huge difference in low light between a CCD and CMOS camera but it is noticeably better, about 20% less noise. Pictures using flash turn out well.

RE: camera recording/shutter lag
I'm using a 16GB class 10 transcend SD card. It takes a while to process the photos but I'd imagine other point and shoot cameras would take just as long before you can take another shot. Again, depends which mode you're in and switching to specific modes is a pain for me.

RE: Panoramic stitch assist mode
I thought I could take less pictures using a wide angle camera but the stitch assist mode requires 30% overlap in pictures. I'm used to my nikon's 20% overlap. I didn't try the included canon stitching software but in Photoshop they turn out great. I found the Sony sweep panoramic mode unusable because you have to go 180 degrees or more and the panoramics were small resolution. The newer ones claim 42MP panoramics but I'm wary about the 180 degree sweep when I only want a smaller panoramic view.

RE: 14x zoom
Having a 14x zoom is really nice and worth the extra size. Just check out the pictures of the moon I took without a tripod (I leaned my arm on something though). Have to adjust the settings w/ manual mode of course. Also nice to have since I do a lot of hiking and can zoom in on the city below.

RE: Macro mode
It doesn't keep it's macro mode setting but I learned that if I want a macro shot I just adjust it to auto mode and it'll do it.

RE: Video
The slow motion mode is okay but it's small resolution makes it nothing more than a gimmick. HD video is good unless you plan to use it in low light. Low light performance is poor in video mode. I've only used the 720p mode since it saves on file size.

RE: Color Swap mode
It's more of a color replace mode. You replace a color with an existing sample color. I think of swapping as turning the blues to reds and the reds to blues. It has it's limitations and it'd be cool if it could work on textures like wood grain.

RE: Battery life
With any point and shoot you'll want to buy an extra battery. Especially if you end up doing a lot of video. Battery life is similar to all of the point and shoots I've had.

RE: Display
The display is vibrant. Colors are good. Not as high resolution as the Nikon 9100 but its detailed and vibrant enough for reviewing photos.

I like the shooting performance of this camera so far and I think I'll keep it for a long time. You get what you pay for when choosing superzooms in this class over entry level or mid-level cameras. I thought about getting the S95 but I love having the large zooms. Only thing I miss the Nikon cameras for is being able to copy other people's images from their SD card to the Nikon camera's internal memory and back onto my card. This camera doesn't have internal memory. I don't think I'll use the extra features like the slow motion video, toy effect, fish eye, color swap. The only extra feature I really use is the tilt-shift mode.
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22 comments| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 11, 2011
I like this camera.

Several years ago, I dragged my digital SLR on a trip to Scotland along with the lenses. Made a lot of excellent shots. Now, we're going to Germany, and I'll be damned if I'm going to haul all that equipment around.

Purchased this camera after a lot of research. Wanted the best camera I could get in a small form factor. Higher-end cameras are out there, but they're larger in size than what I wanted: slim, light, small. The SX230 fits the bill.

Shot quality is good - better than I expected; not quite as good as my DSLR setup with a lens that by itself costs twice what this camera costs, but still very good. Very little distortion even at the extreme ends. No chromo weirdness. No purple fringes at telephoto on fine details.

Wide array of capabilities - beginners can shoot good pix, more learned users can make choices, advanced shooters can access lots of control. The SX230 is a descendant of the good old Canon Powershot 95 by way of the SX 210, which is a pretty good lineage - the 95 was and is a workhorse backup to many a DSLR. For that matter, the 95 is still an excellent choice and well worth looking into.

PROS: Small, lightweight, excellent shot quality, HD movies, easy to access menus. You don't need to study the camera to use it. (I ruled out my second choice partially because it had a 'cheat-sheet' offered.) Auto, Program, and Manual modes are very good. It slips easily into a class 30 Lowepro case that fits on a belt. (Somebody out there recommended a class 10; don't believe it.)

CONS: Some reviews out there complain about battery life. So what. If you're a casual shooter, one battery is fine. If you want to do more, get a spare. If you want to shoot all day and do movies, get two spares. End of story.

No RAW mode. This camera is just below the price point that gets gets you RAW/TIFF format, but if that's a problem then you need to be looking further up the food chain anyway.

The flash pops up automatically when the camera is turned on, which seems to really bother some people. The flash is weak. As stated, it pops up no matter what. What's with this, Canon? The camera does everything else well on its' own, but it just has to pop up the flash no matter what. Maybe it matters. Who knows?

Allegedly, the back-lit CMOS sensor and firmware allow low-light shooting w/o flash in many cases. I don't often do those shots so I wouldn't know. The few shots I've done in low light were nothing to brag about. Get a monopod or maybe a tripod if you want to shoot at the long end, either pix or movies

BOTTOM LINE: I'm happy with it, more than I expected to be - the build quality is good but not heavy and the camera does what its' designed to do very well. A larger grip on the right side would be welcome. If you want more, pay more. If you want less, then pay less.

FEU
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on December 3, 2011
I've had this camera for a few weeks now and wanted to share some thoughts. First, this is my 5th compact digital camera (my 3rd from Canon), I also have owned 2 Canon DSLR's: the EOS 30D and the Rebel T2i (my current DSLR).

While I shoot better than 90% of my photos with my wonderful T2i, there are times that it is either impractical to carry the DSLR with me, or I just don't feel like lugging it around. That's where the compact camera comes in to play. Of the compact digital cameras I've owned, my favorite is still the old Olympus C-5050, it was a tank of a camera and a bit of a slow performer, but took some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. It's taken 2 previous Canon compact digital cameras to get me to a point where I'm really impressed with one again.

My first 2 Canon compacts were a mix of really bad and marginally OK. The first model, a PowerShot A570IS, took OK photos, but performance and battery life were quite poor. The second, an SD890IS Digital ELPH, I've used for the last 3 years and it's performed fairly well, but the performance in low light, the short zoom and the general quality of the shots left me often wishing I had my DSLR with me, or pining for my old Olympus.

But Canon has made some strides in improving the quality of their compact digital cameras and this can be seen in the SX230HS. At the price point, I'm very pleased with this camera. I would have given it 5 stars, but it's got just a few issues that force me to leave one star off the rating. Here are some notes I have on this unit, sorry it's a bit long-winded:

Pros:

1. Good low-light performance for a compact camera. While the photos will be a bit grainy due to the smaller sensor size and high ISO needed for low-light, I am impressed at how well the camera performs indoors. I've taken photos in places where previous cameras always fired the flash, this camera left the flash off, which led to a much better looking photo. Again, it is a bit grainy, but I'd rather just get the shot.
2. Decent flash performance. Considering the size of the unit, the flash works well, actually better than previous compact cameras I've owned. If you want a long-range flash, either purchase the Canon HF-DC1 accessory or buy a DSLR with a utility flash.
3. Great video performance. Having owned 2 Canon DSLR's, one with HD video, I can honestly say that I will likely be using this camera as my primary video camera instead of the DSLR. Why? First, the auto-focus is active during shooting, something that my DSLR can't do. This is a huge issue because if I'm shooting a moving subject with my DSLR, I have to keep pressing the focus button, and the focus is pretty slow. Since I'm not shooting feature length movies, the quality from the smaller sensor size in the SX230HS is more than adequate for what I need. The sound performance during recording is quite good as well and they include a `wind screen' function/option to help quiet extraneous noise on a blustery day. The biggest problem with this camera when recording video is the size, it's a bit small to act as a `stable' video platform. This can be remedied by using a tripod or by learning to better brace the camera as you hold it. Like all video, it's best to keep panning slow rather than darting around the scene.
4. Focusing is relatively quick for a compact camera and the macro focusing works very well. I really like that the camera display keeps you updated on how close you can focus based on the lens zoom length. I've found this feature to be very helpful.
5. Good overall photo quality. Since this camera uses a smaller sensor, it's not capable of producing the quality of a DSLR, but I knew that before purchasing. For a compact camera, the picture quality is quite good. Colors seem to be accurate. Exposure using the auto modes is surprisingly good. Another bonus is that the automatic white balance seems to be very accurate as well. I went from fluorescent to incandescent to daylight and everything looked very good. As often as possible, try to keep the ISO under 400 for best results.
6. Zoom lens. This is the longest optical zoom I've ever owned in a compact camera. For my money, it is a great investment. While it does add weight and size to the camera, the trade-off is the ability to get shots I just couldn't get with a compact camera before. The quality of the optics appears to be very good and the lens is fairly `fast' with a max aperture at the wide angle setting (5mm) of 3.1, not bad for a compact, and a big bonus for those lower light situations. The zoom is quiet and moves in and out quick enough for me. Just be sure to use a tripod or rest on a sturdy surface at the long end of the zoom to help ensure you get sharp photos.
7. LCD display. Bright, colorful and large. No need to say more.
8. Manual Modes. I love this in a camera. Full manual, Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority. Depending on the shot I'm making, it's nice to have these controls available.
9. Automatic Mode. The automatic mode, which I'll use on the fly, seems to be very good at reading a scene and setting things up just right. I've been continually impressed with the overall look and exposure of photos taken in Auto mode.
10. Play Mode. I came across this by accident, but you can hold down the `play' button to review photos without turning the full camera on and extending the lens. This is a bonus to help preserve battery life. I didn't realize my previous Canon compact had the same feature.
11. Other modes readily available. I like the decision to put the Portrait, Landscape and Kids/Pets modes right on the dial. While I don't use them often, it's nice that you don't have to navigate a menu to get into these helpful modes.
12. Build quality. This camera is well made. It feels sturdy and the lines and color (mine is black/silver) just look good.

Cons:

1. Size. It's a bit larger and heavier than my previous compact digital cameras, but I knew that before I bought it. The trade off for me was the longer optical zoom, which is worth the extra size and weight. For comparison, it's a bit smaller in length and width than an iPhone, a little more than twice as thick and the two are close in weight, though I haven't put them on a scale to compare.
2. Pop-up flash. I'm not exactly certain why Canon chose to go this route, but I can speculate. If you had placed the flash on the camera body in the usual location, the slightly protruding lens body would likely have caused shadowing of the flash. It does take some getting used to - just remember to hold the camera a little differently, which doesn't take long to adjust to. If you do forget and put your finger over the flash, it won't pop up when you turn the camera on; in this case you can manually raise the flash if needed by simply flipping the door open. Canon provided a small tab on the door just for this purpose. What I do now is rest the camera in the palm of my open left hand, then grasp the right side of the camera with my right hand. My left hand, while not in the `normal' position for holding a camera, becomes a nice stable platform while not interfering with the flash.
3. No hand grip. The lens body already projects from the front of the camera, so why not put a small protruding grip on the front of the camera near the shutter release? Sure this would mess with the nice Canon logo on the front of the camera, but it would make the camera much easier to hold, especially with one hand. Considering that you don't want to cover the flash, your grip with this camera must be modified from what normally feels comfortable with a compact camera. I think adding a small grip that protrudes no further than the retracted lens body would improve the design without affecting the overall size of the camera. Combine the lack of a grip with the smooth (very nice looking) finish and if your hands are just a bit dry, it can slip right from your fingers. Be sure to use the wrist strap!
4. No RAW mode. Since Canon appears to have aimed this camera at a market that includes DSLR users as well as casual users, it would be nice to have the ability to output RAW images for those of us that are inclined to use it. I shoot RAW exclusively in my DSLR and would really appreciate having it available here too. It really improves my post processing capabilities in Adobe Lightroom. Unfortunately, this is one area that I see many camera manufacturers seem to miss out on. There are a few select compact camera models that offer RAW out there, but they are usually expensive or lacking in some other area. This camera would be over the top if Canon would add RAW capability.
5. No optical viewfinder. I've noticed many people complaining about this. Having owned numerous compact digital cameras with optical viewfinders, I find them to be overrated. Sure, it can be difficult to see the LCD display in bright sunlight (or if wearing polarizing sunglasses), but I simply have learned to shield the screen with my hand. It's really no big deal. On the cameras I've owned that do have them, since they're so tiny, I'd say I used them less than 1% of the time.

As for battery performance, I can't say it's poor, especially compared to previous cameras I've owned. Depending on how often you zoom that big lens and how often you fire the flash or even use the GPS function, your battery life will vary. It could probably benefit from a slightly larger battery, though the NB-5L it comes with (the same battery my SD890IS uses) is more than adequate for the job. I would suggest if you are out for a long day of shooting and want to be covered, do what I do and carry a second backup battery.

Finally, if you can get past the minimal flaws in this camera, I think you'll be pleased with this camera. Canon, in my opinion, is really getting the hang of the compact digital market. With a few more improvements, this camera would be perfect. Considering the current price, I would not hesitate to buy this again.

Updated 12/6/11 - I removed one of my 'cons' as another reviewer pointed out the fact that this camera does have a quick way to access the video mode, rather than having to use the mode dial to get there. This is a nice feature and I'm glad it was pointed out to me.
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