Canon is having a good year with its PowerShot and Ixus cameras. Much of it is down to its 12-megapixel back-illuminated sensor, which appears yet again in the SX230 HS and helps it deliver the best photos we've ever seen from a pocket-sized ultra-zoom camera.
Noise levels were incredibly low, with brightly lit shots resembling an SLR's output. Low-light shots were a little soft on detail but looked smoother and cleaner than its rivals.
This telephoto shot in shady conditions pushes up the ISO speed to 1600 to avoid blur, but noise remains impressively low while still maintaining a reasonable amount of detail
The lens pulls its weight, too, with sharp focus into the corners of frames throughout its 14x zoom range. There were some chromatic aberrations around high-contrast lines, but not enough to compromise focus in other parts of the image.
There's a hint of chromatic aberrations, but otherwise, details in bright light are crisp without resorting to excessive digital sharpening
The 28-392mm (equivalent) focal length range isn't as flexible as with many of its rivals, but superior focus and low noise meant the SX230 HS was just as capable at resolving detail in distant subjects as the 18x Nikon S9100 and even the 24x Olympus SZ-30MR.