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Showing 1-10 of 445 reviews(verified purchases). Show all 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.
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on March 26, 2011
Canon needs to stop putting these weak little batteries in thier cameras! It's just not fitting! The SX230 HS sucks up power from that small battery like a drunk at the end of prohibition! They use the same battery that comes with the SX210 IS and it was insufficent on that camera. The SX230 HS is even more power hungry if you are using the GPS for geotagging. I was thinking about taking this camera to Africa with me but I have serious concerns about its rate of power consumption. I may need to three batteries insure I have atleast one that is good to go at all times.

The GPS is sometimes a little slow to aquire a fix outside and offers a rare treat if it picks up your position inside. The indoor GPS performance is well within what I expected. If GPS is on your A list of requirements, Panasonic models with thier built-in geolocation database is better. The GPS implementation is sort of a tack on that Canon put little extra effort into.

At the end of the day, the SX230 HS is a camera so that's the most inportant thing here. The images are good. I was mildly surprised but it will never replace a Canon S95 (which I do have). The 12MP SX230 HS seems to retain about the same level of detail as the 14MP SX210 IS in low light conditions at ISO 800. I also own the SX210 IS. The SX230 seems to be slightly more light sensitive but seems to have more agressive noise reduction than the SX210. The SX210 preserves detail at the expense of more noise. The SX230 also seems to suffer more from color de-saturation at ISO 800 than the SX210 IS. If you think the GPS, faster burst frame rates, full HD and cleaner look at base ISO are important, the the SX230 HS a worthwhile upgrade. Go for it. Otherwise, there just isn't enough newness here to jump on.

I would say that I'm generally satisfied with the SX230 HS and it competes well with other cameras in this segment. Not everything is for everyone.
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on November 22, 2011
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 May 21, 2011
I was really psyched to get this camera, as I've had several Canons over the years and know they make great cameras. I'm used to being delighted by them but was a bit underwhelmed with this one.

Don't get me wrong, it takes great photos, has great build quality, but there are a couple of glaring problems.

First is the flash. Although I've had the camera several months, I still can't get used to the little pop up flash that wants to open under my finger. It's just in the wrong place, period.

Second is the GPS, one of the primary reasons I bought this camera. Having used GPS functionality when taking photos with my iPhone, I was excited by the possibilities of geo-tagging all my future photos taken with a "real" camera. But I've been disappointed. The GPS takes a long time to acquire a satellite, and indoors almost never does. I'd say about 1/3 - 1/2 of my photos overall are tagged (10% indoors, 60% outdoors). This is particularly disappointing seeing as how my iPhone does it 100% of the time.

My last camera was a Canon 1100IS, and the photo quality looks about the same. That was a great little camera.

So - on the plus side, this camera takes very good photos, is feature-laden, has an excellent 14x optical zoom, and great low-light capabilities.

On the minus side is the very mediocre GPS sensitivity, battery life, and flash placement. For $350 for a point & shoot, it should be closer to the (usual) Canon perfection.
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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 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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on April 7, 2011
I travel. A lot. For me, this is the combination of all things good: A fantastic camera that not only takes pictures, but makes sharing about the world easier. Where I'm from in the dirty South (New Orleans, LA), not a ton of people pick up one day and fly out to Syria. In fact, I'm the first in six generations to fly to another continent. When I got the camera, first thing I did was do a walk-through around the city. The geo-location tags were impeccable and the shots were... amazing. I tested out all the features - color specific, ISO increasing, multi-picture mode, you name it, Canon knows what they're doing. I tore down to my favorite wine shop last Sunday night, and for those of you who've seen "Treme", yes, Bacchanal does exist, just not in Treme, and through their backyard, lit only by a string of lights, I was able to take impeccable low-lit pictures without flash. Seriously, it was Tanga night, and in this four piece band there was no drum, just a beautiful lady clicking her heels on the wooden platform for percussion, and the pictures are simply put - splendid. I can't even believe this is a point and shoot.

The next trip I take is going to be to Thailand in six weeks and I'll happily test the geo-tagging and report back with that and a wear-and-tear account, but so far, so good. The battery is lightly short lived if you keep GPS on even when you aren't using it. Recommendation- turn it off when you power down the camera, then re-enable.

Yay Camera!

**UPDATE** Back from South East Asia with some incredible pictures. Beware travelling through countries that don't allow GPS (like Vietnam!) but otherwise, awesome. The pictures are incredible. Not just that, but the camera was hardy and worked like a dream the whole time. I had one problem where the shutter was bent, but I re-bent it back with a penny and went about my business. It made it through two months of use and re-use, living in a backpack and getting tossed under busses and, generally, falling on the floor a few times, but still rugged as hell! Made it through and got home with over 4,000 pictures, mostly incredible.
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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 July 6, 2011
So notice in my title I put excellent "Powershot". Do not expect image quality as you would find on a $1000+ DSLR package with a nice lens. If it did have that image quality, I'd feel really bad for paying so much on a DSLR. The image quality IS good though for a compact camera. The zoom is excellent and goes really far.

I came from a Canon SD1200, and in some ways that camera takes sharper pictures in certain situations. But I grew tired of having no control. So I got this one and it has all the creative modes you'd find on a DSLR. If you don't know how to use these modes you are missing out on some cool aspects of photography. I quickly learned and am now enjoying using manual settings. At its widest setting the aperature opens from F/3.1 and goes up to around F/8.0...

It's a nice camera for photography, but photography IS hard. Sometimes you need a tripod or your picture won't come out well.

It has a lot of focus options like tracking options.

Good low light options. Sometimes I can take a picture in a very dark room and it looks like it was in daylight.

Of course it does have an auto mode and it takes good pictures.

My favorite part other than the long zoom is that it has a lot of filters. For example color accent lets you keep one color and make other colors black and white.

Actually my favorite mode/filter is the miniature effect that makes everything look like miniature toys. It also has a video mode for this too that takes only 1/5th or 1/10th or 1/20th frame so when you play it back it is super sped up.

It also has a super slow motion mode which is neat for birds or insects.

I love the color, blue...

I am just a big fan of the customization on this camera for your pictures.

The picture quality is nice. Zoomed in there is a lack of sharpness. But it's not too bad. I wish I could shoot in RAW.

When you get bored of auto mode on your current camera, want a long zoom lens (otherwise try the S95 a lot of people say that's a great camera), cool toy effects and want something small, get this.
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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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