At less than 8 ounces and just over an inch thick, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS (*Est. $295) is one of the slimmest, lightest ultra-zoom cameras you can buy. Its lens telescopes from 28 mm to 392 mm -- a 14x zoom -- and reviewers say it's packed with features, including full HD video (with zoom and slow-mo) and the ability to log your GPS coordinates as you shoot. Expert testers say the GPS feature works well, but some owners say reception is spotty, and several reviewers agree it drains the battery -- which isn't too long-lasting anyway.
Other complaints tend to be trifling, like the flash that annoyingly pops up every time you turn the camera on. But image quality from the 12.1 megapixels beats many other ultra-zooms, reproducing good detail even in dim light (ISO 800) and usable images for small prints even at higher ISOs. Testers say startup and shutter lag are quick, and the SX230 HS can shoot 8.1 frames per second in burst mode. You can get a longer zoom with other top-rated cameras -- the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V (Discontinued) and Canon PowerShot SX40 HS (*Est. $350) -- but at the expense of a bulkier body.
DPReview.com includes the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS in its comprehensive ultra-zoom comparison test. ConsumerReports.org also compares the SX230 HS with rival cameras, and Imaging-Resource.com, PhotographyBlog.com and CNET publish thorough individual reviews. Amazon.com posts reviews from more than 100 owners.
The Canon PowerShot SX230 HS ties for first place in this six-ultra-zoom shootout. Photo and video quality are both "excellent," and the GPS feature is "effective."
Review: Compact Camera Group Test: Travel Zooms, Barnaby Britton, Scott Everett and Kelcey Smith, July 2011
After a week of real-world testing, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS earns a Dave's Pick. The GPS feature works well, and the SX230 HS "always got the job done" in terms of image quality.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, Mike Pasini and Stephanie Boozer, June 15, 2011
With a 4.5-star (out of 5) Highly Recommended rating, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS is one of the highest-rated ultra-zoom cameras at this British site. It offers "excellent" image quality and better specs than the Panasonic TZ series (known as the ZS series in the U.S.), at a better price.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Review, Matt Grayson, May 25, 2011
High-quality videos, good dim light photos and more earn the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS a Very Good rating and a spot on CNET's list of the best ultra-zoom cameras. Joshua Goldman says this compact model doesn't offer quite the advanced performance of some other ultra-zooms, though.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX230 HS (Blue), Joshua Goldman, March 17, 2011
Editors here test 27 ultra-zoom cameras in this ratings chart -- plus the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, which they rank in the section on subcompact cameras. Cameras get sub-ratings for image and video quality, ease of use, versatility and more, as well as an overall score.
Review: Digital Cameras, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
With more than 100 owner reviews posted, the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS averages 4 stars out of 5. Most praise its image quality. Several say the GPS feature doesn't work well or drains the battery.
Review: Canon PowerShot SX230HS 12 MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com