Canon PowerShot S95 vs Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

Canon PowerShot S95


Canon PowerShot SX230 HS



Reasons to buy the Canon PowerShot S95

Wide aperture
Really small
Compact (100×58×30 mm)
193 g

Reasons to buy the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

Sensor type
CMOS Sensor
Better in low light
Built-in GPS
Great for travel
Fastest shutter speed
Fast shutter speed
1/3200 of a second
Really small
Compact (106×59×33 mm)


Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS.
Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Canon PowerShot S95.


Canon PowerShot S95 Competitors

Canon PowerShot SX530 HS

Canon PowerShot SX530 HS

Super zoom

$249 - $255

Zoom Much more zoom
Sensor type Has a CMOS-family sensor
Size Much larger
Olympus Tough TG-4

Olympus Tough TG-4



Sensor type Has a CMOS-family sensor
Battery life Much longer battery life
Size Larger
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5v

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5v

Travel zoom

Sensor type Has a CMOS-family sensor
Wide angle Significantly better wide angle
Aperture Significantly narrower aperture

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Competitors

Samsung WB350F

Samsung WB350F

Travel zoom


Wide angle Much better wide angle
Touch screen Has a touch screen
GPS No built-in GPS
Canon PowerShot SX620 HS

Canon PowerShot SX620 HS

Travel zoom

$179 - $249

Wide angle Significantly better wide angle
Zoom More zoom
GPS No built-in GPS
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Pro digicam


Aperture Significantly wider aperture
Wide angle Significantly better wide angle
Sensor type Has a CCD-family sensor


Canon PowerShot S95
PowerShot S95

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Canon PowerShot SX230 HS
PowerShot SX230 HS

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Showing 7 comments

Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (1:13 PM, July 20, 2011)
That's a tough on. My gut says go with the S95, because I think low light, manual controls, shoots in RAW, and it still can record HD video (at 720p). 
Either way you will be getting a great camera, it really depends on if you want a longer zoom.
Patrick (9:38 PM, July 19, 2011)

I apologise to any photo enthusiasts as I am very much amateur in terms of knowledge and what I use a camera for.

I have only ever had Ixus cameras which I have always liked but I am looking to get better quality and more manual adjustment from a camera but still in a compact form like the Ixus cameras. I use the camera for all sorts of stuff. Nights out, holiday, album art or photography for my Music Projects and I have limited knowledge on it but do enjoy the idea of taking photography a bit more seriously in terms of night shots, scenic shots etc.

So I was wondering if someone could maybe give their advice. I'm afraid I'm very stubborn when it comes to brands in all things and I'm only looking for a canon camera.

I'm slightly in favour of the SX230 at the moment because of the high zoom, and video capabilities (meaning i can put off looking for an HD camcorder for a while)

But the S95 has better manual options, better low light quality which does appeal to me as I do like night shots and obviously going out pictures would be better. And generally better quality pictures. What I would like to know is are these plus points that much better and worth getting over the good zoom and video capabilities of the SX230.

Thank you in advance for any feedback given. 
gregorio (5:44 PM, June 28, 2011)
This was so helpful to me!  Thank you.
Avatar for Mark Thomas Gazel Mark Thomas Gazel (0:01 PM, June 06, 2011)
Very great and detailed info.
Rmsp (5:39 PM, April 18, 2011)
Wow, thanks for taking the time to providing your detailed impressions and thoughts. Very usefull.
Avatar for Snapsort Snapsort (4:31 PM, April 05, 2011)
Great info Glenn!
GlennTaper (4:54 AM, April 01, 2011)
Having read reviews and blogs on both cameras compulsively for three weeks, by the time I made a decision, each was comfortably familiar. Every owner loves the S95; it has almost no enemies. It's tempting to go with the crowd on something like that. And I've heard so many say that 90% of what they shoot is 70mm or wider. But I'll say this about the big zooms: if ya got em, you use em! - even more so in video.
Excellent low light ability, F/2.0 aperture and remarkable IQ for a pocket-size unit are all convincing attributes of the S95, and the quality feel with intuitive controls further impress.
The SX230 delivers IQ in LL somewhat less well than the S95, but still produces brilliant results in actual practice. And further, it offers 14X optical zoom, shoots equally wide, does arguably just as well outdoors, is 1080P-equipped with optical zoom+continuous focus video, comes with GPS photo tagging, and has a few fun goodies to boot (wink shutter trigger, miniature mode, fish-eye mode, 2 levels of slo-mo video, etc). Its 1080P video results by the way are no less than striking. That big zoom and the 1080P were the clincher for me - well that and the IQ is very decent (and, it's on the upper end pocket-able, but is). If the IQ weren't impressive, it wouldn't have been a candidate in the first place.

In practice, when viewing computer screen stills or prints, most of the IQ differences between the two cameras will be virtually indistinguishable, except for those occasions where only the S95's low light results suffice (probably not too often for me). The SX230 appears to do well indoors in common ambient room lighting IMO. Should it fall short, that's what I have my old version of PS for.

Had Canon built the S95 with video optical zoom and autofocus, and equipped it with a 10X or 12X zoom, I'd have likely decided differently. The S95 does have active digital video zoom, but it really compromises the 720P video quality, and it doesn't re-focus at all during video.
Also worth mentioning, with the extra $50 saved (SX230 $350 vs. S95 $400), I got two 16gb SDHC C10 cards from Newegg.

So, a couple negatives points about the SX230; 1) eats batteries rather fast - ordered two spares, quite affordable on ebay, but they say to watch the quality. 2) In M mode (manual aperture & shutter), it limits ISO to 100 at a shutter slower than 1s. That kind of sucks, as I though about doing night skies and the like using ISO400+. Not a huge obstacle, but still.