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Canon EOS 1200D Digital Camera Review
canon20141023ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Paul Burgess
 
The Canon 1200D has been deliberately targeted at the first time digital SLR purchaser and to this end it its hits the mark beautifully. In my mind its a bargain given what you get. When I bought my first entry level DLSR it was way more expensive and did not come close to the 1200D in terms of its performance. Straight out of the box you will be able to start capturing both photo's and videos at a very impressive quality.

Appearance and Functionality


The 1200D has that classic Canon styling, one look at it and you know who built it. The body itself is finished in matt black with that classic Canon white lettering branding the camera. To hold, the camera body is extremely light due to its carbon fibre/polycarbonate exterior coming in at just under 500 grams when loaded with a battery. The grip is textured around the front section of the camera to provide grip for your fingers and the thumb area of the grip has a textured inlay set back into the body in way that gives the feel the camera has wrapped around your thumb. The net effect of this is the camera is easy to hold and feels secure. It is a very comfortable camera to shoot with and to carry around. Construction wise the 1200d feels both durable and portable.

The front of the camera has the lens release button only and the 1200D has a nice large button making it easy to remove the lens. I expected to find a depth of field preview button on the front of the camera however it was not present. Depth of Field previews need to be added to one of the other buttons via a custom preset which is a little odd.  The rear of the camera employs the D-pad layout to provide for invoking the ISO, Auto Focus, shot timer and shooting mode and the white balance.  There are separate buttons for accessing the menu display options, live view image playback etc. All the buttons can be accessed by your thumb allowing for single handed shooting and the layout ensures navigating your way around the camera is easy.  Overall the layout of the controls has been deliberately configured to cater for users new to DSLR. The Quick control button allows access to a screen that lets you quickly access all the cameras regularly used shooting controls. The number of buttons and dials on the camera has been kept to a minimum which makes the 1200d very easy to use. The camera has a hot shoe for connecting an external flash unit, a usb port for tethering the camera to a computer to laptop to remotely control it and a trigger port for shooting longer exposures.

canon20141023bb.jpgThe mode dial has what Canon calls the creative zone, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and full manual mode where you take control of the camera once you are getting more confident in your shooting. It has also has a suite of automatic options like Scene Intelligent auto where the Camera analyses the scene before it and chooses the optimum settings for you. The Creative Auto settings lets you control the degree of background blur your want in your images (through the aperture setting), the picture mode, the self timer settings and whether or not you want the flash to fire. The Basic zone as Canon has named it includes settings that are tailored for specific scenes including portrait, landscape, macro and sport amongst others. Overall I found the camera made pretty good decisions in regards to picking the scene. The camera came up with a sound mix of ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings. Some cameras have a tendency to set the shutter speeds a little slow for my liking when operating in auto modes, the 1200D does not which to me is a big plus.

Having been a Canon user for some time I am used to the menus they provide. Personally I find them well organised and simple to navigate especially in the entry level systems. You don't get lost in the menu system which is always nice thing especially when you are new to a camera and new to Digital SLR's. Canon also provides a free app "The EOS 1200D Companion" which provides a fantastic guide to the camera explaining each of the buttons and shooting modes in terms someone new to digital SLR's will find easy to understand. It's a brilliant idea and a great learning tool if you are wanting to expand your understanding of the camera and how to take great photos.  

Image Quality and Lens Quality


canon20141023bc.jpgThe 1200D has an 18 Mega Pixel CMOS sensor, 9 point auto focus system bundled with Canons Digic 4 processor. Exposure metering is through the lens full aperture metering with evaluative metering linked to all focus points, partial metering covering around 10% of the view finder and centre weighted average metering. Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds through to 1/4000th.  

The unit tested with a 17-85mm f4-5.6 image stabilising lens. Canon unfortunately did not provide its kit lens so I used one of my own lenses for the purpose of the review. The 1200D reproduces colour nicely in the jpegs it creates. The jpeg images are little softer than those created as raw however this is only noticeable when you are viewing the images at 50% or greater on your screen. Canon provides what is now considered a fairly standard ISO range 100-6400 native. Noise only becomes a noticeable once you start shooting at ISO's at 1200 or greater. I was still pretty happy with the images I shot at an ISO of 3200 and printing these at 4by6, 5by7 and A4 wouldn't be a problem.  Images shot at ISO's of 800 or less are of great quality. The colour reproduction of the 1200d is fantastic with the jpegs produced having bright, vibrant, accurate colour reproduction. When reviewing images it is best to use a colour calibrated monitor. If you are lucky enough to own an Eizo monitor you will be able to examine the 1200D's colour reproduction in all its glory.

canon20141023bd.jpgThe auto focus system provided in the 1200D performed well in daylight when using the view finder.It was fast to focus and made sound decisions about what to choose as its focus points generally choosing the part of the scene closest to the camera. In low light the auto focus system was adequate and preferred to have a focal point in the centre of the frame.  Live view uses contrast in the scene to focus rather than phase detection which is used when you shoot via the view finder. As a result focusing using live view is much slower. This didnt bother me and isn't a problem as far as I am concerned. When I am shooting using live view generally I would choosing the area to focus on in the scene manually zooming right in on it to check focus and the camera would be mounted on a tripod anyway. The auto white balance functionality of the 1200D was great in daylight and under LED''s and the camera made sound decisions regarding its white balance choices. The white balance options available include AWB, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent light, and flash. There was a bit of chromatic aberration appearing in high contrast jpegs however it is possible this could be attributed to the lens I was using as it was an older model.  
 

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LCD and View finder


canon20141023bf.jpgThe LCD provided, while its not the highest resolution screen out there at 460,000 pixels reproduced nice colour and was easily viewed in all lighting conditions including daylight. The LCD is a 3 inch TFT and provides pretty much 100% coverage of the scene. When reviewing images they bright and clear with great colour reproduction and the 1200D is responsive when moving through the images and zooming in and out of a selected photograph. Live view is provided through the LCD with the click of single button and magnification of the scene is provided at 5 and 10 times magnification which is brilliant for focusing manually when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

The view finder provides you with all the exposure information you will need when shooting. This includes shutter speed, ISO, aperture exposure compensation settings and exposure warnings amongst others. As mentioned earlier there is no separate depth of field preview button. This is assigned to the set button which can be a bit fiddly to acres when you are shooting through the view finder.  It took a bit of getting used to locating it. Personally I'd prefer a separate button.  

Video


Using Video in the 1200D is simple and quality of the images produced are clean and clear. You simply choose the video option from shooting mode dial, press the shutter with a half press to focus and using the live view/record button start recording. In my view video is best recorded while on a tripod as it provides a more polished finish. Video can be recorded in 1080HD 1920by1080 at 30,25 and 24 frames per second. At 720HD (1280by720) this expanded to 60 and 50 frames per second.  You can also record video at 640by480.  The maximum video recording length is 30 minutes and an upper limit of 4GB applies to video file sizes.  Video and photographs can be viewed on your TV by connecting the 1200D to your television using the supplied HDMI port and cable.  When shooting video you want to have a nice fast SD card like a Sandisk Extreme Pro which operates at a blazingly fast 280MB/s.  I use Sandisk SD and CompactFlash cards in all my gear and have had the same cards for years.  They have never failed me other than when I crushed a card while on a fishing trip.
 
 
 

Conclusion


medal-platinum-r.jpg

The Canon 1200D is a fantastic entry point Digital SLR that produces quality video and photographs. Its price, design and functionality are unapologetically aimed at someone wanting to move into the digital SLR market. For a Camera priced at under the $500 mark for the body and $600 for a body and the 18-55mm kit lens it is fantastic value for money. Its provides an uncomplicated environment in which to take your photography to the next level if you decide to move on from a point an shoot.  Once you have your head around the basics of an SLR it also has all the functionality, options and add ons available to take your photography journey further.
 

Recommendations 

 
Camera House Click Through
SanDisk Click Through
EIZO Click Through
   

Ratings

 
Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
3.5 stars
Lens quality
3.5 stars
LCD screen 3.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
Street Price - Body Only $499
Street Price - 1 Lens Kit
$589
Street Price - 2 Lens Kit $799
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 18.0 Megapixels
Sensor Type
CMOS 22.3 x 14.9mm sensor
Image Sizes 5 Sizes / 1 Aspect Ratio
Lens -
Lens Mount
EF
Resolution Settings: Stills L (Large):     Approx. 17.9 megapixels (5184 x 3456)
M (Medium):     Approx. 8.0 megapixels (3456 x 2304)
S1 (Small 1):     Approx. 4.5 megapixels (2592 x 1728)
S2 (Small 2):     Approx. 2.5 megapixels (1920 x 1280)
S3 (Small 3):     Approx. 350,000 pixels (720 x 480)
RAW:     Approx. 17.9 megapixels (5184 x 3456)
Resolution Settings: Video 1920 x 1080 (Full HD): 30p / 25p / 24p
1280 x 720 (HD): 60p / 50p
640 x 480 (SD): 30p / 25p
* 30p: 29.97fps, 25p: 25.00fps, 24p: 23.98fps, 60p: 59.94fps, 50p: 50.00fps 
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Electronically-controlled, focal-plane shutter
1/4000sec. to 30sec. (Total shutter speed range.
Available range varies by shooting mode.), Bulb, X-sync at 1/200sec.
ISO With autoexposure shooting: ISO 100 - ISO 6400 set automatically (ISO 100 - ISO 3200 for still photo shooting)
With manual exposure: ISO 100 - ISO 6400 set automatically / manually 
LCD Monitor Type: TFT colour liquid-crystal monitor
Monitor size and dots: Approx. 7.5cm (3.0-in.) (4:3) with approx. 460,000 dots
Brightness adjustment: Manual (7 levels)
Interface languages: 25
Feature guide: Displayable
Viewfinder Type: Eye-level pentamirror
Coverage: Vertical / Horizontal approx. 95% (with Eye point approx. 21mm)
Magnification: Approx. 0.8x (-1m-1 with 50mm lens at infinity)
Eyepoint: Approx. 21mm (from eyepiece lens center at -1m-1)
Built-in dioptric adjustment: Approx. -2.5 - +0.5m-1 (dpt)
Focusing screen: Fixed, Precision Matte
Mirror: Quick-return type
Depth-of-field preview: Enabled with Custom Function setting
Flash Built-in flash: Retractable, auto pop-up flash
Guide No: Approx. 9.2 / 30.2 (ISO 100, in meters / feet) or
Approx. 13 / 42.7 (ISO 200, in meters / feet)
Flash coverage: Approx. 17mm lens angle of view
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fluorescent light, Flash),
Custom White Balance correction and White balance bracketing possible
* Flash color temperature information transmission enabled
Self Timer 2s + remote, 10s + remote
Stills Format/s
JPEG, RAW (14-bit Canon original)
RAW+JPEG Large simultaneous recording possible
Video Format/s MOV Video: MPEG-4 AVC / H.264
Variable (average) bit rate
Video Recording Time/s 29min 59sec
Storage Type - External SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity Digital terminal: Computer communication, Direct printing (Hi-Speed USB equivalent), GPS Receiver GP-E2 connection
HDMI mini OUT terminal: Type C (Auto switching of resolution), CEC-compatible
Remote control terminal: For Remote Switch RS-60E3
Eye-Fi card: Compatible
Power Source AC Adapter Kit ACK-E10
Battery Options Battery Pack LP-E10
Battery Life With viewfinder shooting:
Approx. 500 shots at room temperature (23°C / 73°F)
Approx. 410 shots at low temperatures (0°C / 32°F)

With Live View shooting:
Approx. 180 shots at room temperature (23°C / 73°F)
Approx. 170 shots at low temperatures (0°C / 32°F) 
Dimensions 67.0mm (W) x 30.5mm (D) x 87.5mm (H)
Weight 480g (body only)
 

 
 
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