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Canon EOS 1200D: Design and Performance

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Canon EOS 1200D: Design

Honestly, you could be forgiven for being a little underwhelmed on first picking up the 1200D. The carbon-fibre reinforced polycarbonate body feels plasticky, and the camera’s diminutive nature doesn’t help dispel the notion that you’re holding a toy.

Thankfully, the construction really is solid, much more so than it first appears, though you wouldn’t expect much else from Canon. The 1200D strikes an excellent balance between durability and portability.

As you might expect, then, the 1200D is a pleasure to handle and shoot with. It sits well in the hand and even with the small size you never feel in danger of losing purchase or like you’re fiddling with something that’s really too small to handle. The thumb grip on the rear has been stuck in just the right spot making it easy and comfortable to hold the camera even for extended periods.

The number of buttons has been kept to a minimum, as befitting a camera designed for the first-time user who might be intimidated by a raft of controls. In the same vein, all buttons are big and friendly, with clear labels. The D-pad controls AF-modes, ISO, drive modes and white balance, while menu, quick menu, exposure compensation, payback and display each have their own buttons nearby.

Despite the tepid first impressions, the 1200D proves to be an adroitly designed little camera that new users should be able to quickly and painlessly get comfortable with using.

Buy Now: Canon EOS 1200D at Amazon.co.uk (£278) | Amazon.com ($399)

Canon EOS 1200D: Performance

While the 460k-dot resolution of the 1200D’s LCD may sound a little low (because it is), the screen actually proves to be a very well-engineered unit. The refresh rate is sprightly, the viewing angle is good, and even in bright sunlight it’s clearly readable.

In terms of autofocus, the 1200D sports a similarly somewhat low nine phase detect AF points, only one of which is a cross-type sensor for even more accurate focussing – it’s positioned in the middle of the frame.

In practice, the autofocus proves something of a mixed bag. Using the viewfinder (i.e. using the phase detection AF) in bright light it performs as well as you’d expect: smart and snappy even with fast challenging subjects. You could bring the 1200D along to a sports game or a wildlife shoot and expect it to hold up, particularly if you’re generally aiming to have the subject in the middle of the frame. It acquits itself well in low light too – there’s a drop-off in AF speed, naturally, but it’s fractional.

However, focusing in live view (falling back to slower contrast detection AF) is another matter. Unless you’re in the very best conditions then using the AF in live view will probably turn into a bit of a nightmare. In low light especially it’s sluggish in the extreme and often tends to hunt for focus. Don’t even bother trying for any subject with a bit of pace to it.

This isn’t to say that live view is worthless however. If you’re out on a bright sunny day shooting something that isn’t about to run off – a flower, let’s say – you can tap the zoom button to enlarge an area by a factor of five or ten in order to focus on a very precise spot.

The full 1080 HD (1920x1080) video on the 1200D is very welcome, as is the option to shoot 720 HD video at higher frame rates of 60 or 50fps – great for relatively slow motion.

Amateur videographers should note however, that the 1200D lacks an external microphone port for capturing high quality audio.

The other feature of note on the 1200D is the free EOS Companion app Canon released for Android and iOS.

Designed to teach the basics of photography and camera operation, it’s actually a very clever device for getting users over the initial intimidation hump that so many experience when confronted with a new camera. In this regard, it’s a fantastic success. With exercises, video tutorials and three-dimensional diagrams, it’s helpful and innovative.

barney klingenberg

April 21, 2014, 11:01 pm

An 8 are you out of your minds for this?!
Just to name a few more cons.

Smallest viewfinder of all DSLRs.
Low dynamic range
Bad I so performance. Just check dxo the 5-6 year old digic 4 combined with this 5 year old sensor is simply outdated.
Bad noisy kit lens. They have an good stm kit lens which is not available with this.

That would make it an 5-6 out of 10 and an avoid if possible rating


March 9, 2015, 5:33 pm

I'm new to photography, and this is my first DSLR. None of those things you rattled off mean anything to me, I love the camera, and I'm excited to take pictures with it. You're simply expecting too much out of it, it's a beginners camera, and it suits me just fine.

barney klingenberg

March 13, 2015, 3:00 pm

I made this reply a year ago.
This camera was $500-600 and it performed worse then any Dslr on the market. And it still does.

You may be happy with it. But it's slower provides worse image quality and has nothing to make it stand out to any of it's peers.

You made a wrong buying decission and you like it well that's fine but does not make the product competitive

Chess Revolution

March 26, 2015, 6:32 am

Nikon ? Sony ? Pentax afficionado ?
Canon 1200D is one of the best camera in its class. Again, in its class ! Having practically a Canon 600D at this price is fantastic !
Very good sales all over the world ! Why ? Because is a bad camera ? Because the idiots are in love with it ?
Nope !
It's a superb entry class camera !

barney klingenberg

March 26, 2015, 6:40 am

Best in class?!
The pentax k500 same class has similar noise levels but more dynamic range
A 100% viewfinder
Twice the resolution rear lcd
Shoots 5 fps.

The d3300 has a sensor that is better then the one in the 7d mk2. Again with a better rear lcd and shoots 5 fps despite the 24mp.

The sony a58.
100% coverage and much larger viewfinder
Better sensor.
Better rear lcd.

Then it is NOT a 600d
It does not have the sensor cleaning
Nor the crisp lcd. It doesn't have a flip-out screen. Not to mention the 600d is pretty dated these days as well.

Now.why they sell it.
Brand recognition and marketing
You can find one on sale in the folders of electronics department stores across the whole planet. It's not a good camera and never will be.

Chess Revolution

March 26, 2015, 7:59 am

Pentax k500 has only a 16 megapixels sensors.
Nikon d3300 needs a live histogram and a higher-resolution feed. The movie mode would still benefit from a truly working full-time AF feature.
Sony SLT A58 is (a bit) in other class. Hasn't an optical wiewfinder but an electronic one. With some +, but also with some -.A hybrid between A37 & A57.
We need a lot of discussions. In fact everybody is free to have its own opinion. I like Canon 1200D !

barney klingenberg

March 26, 2015, 4:02 pm

Like 16mp and 18mp with a slightly smaller sensor would ever make a difference in terms of actual detail captured.

The 16mp sony has less noise in shadow area's and the files can be pushed.a.lot more 2-3stops at the lower iso's.

High resolution feed?!
No camera is quick enough to give us 24mp live feed in live view.

You can argue the whole day about evf vs ovf. But you can't argue with 3 vs 6 fps.

If you like the 1200d you must have pretty low standards. Canon basicly putted all their dusted dated crap into 1 piece of missery.

Tom P

March 30, 2015, 9:41 pm

haha Barney Klingenberg you are one sour and angry man who has too much time to put a lot of negativity into creating an argument for not buying something...which makes me think why on earth are you even looking at a page dedicated to the 1200D if you don't like it?! You either work for a competitor or have too much time on your hands ;)

Plus, despite what you say, even if there are 'better' cameras out there, just like the first 'Emmit' said, it suits their needs which is EXACTLY what marketing and product development is about. The business I own may not be perfect but it suits exactly what the customer needs and makes money because of it. Just look at Apple. Not the best phones but made the company the wealthiest company to EVER exist.

barney klingenberg

April 1, 2015, 2:44 pm

Because i want people to enjoy their photography with a p[roper camera that they can grow upon.

And the 1200d is so terrible that it doesn't suit anyone but the Canon board that get's rid of all their outdated scrap parts that were already at their last legs about 3 years ago.


April 6, 2015, 7:44 am

barney is just a nikon fanboy ;)

barney klingenberg

April 7, 2015, 2:11 pm

Makes sense since i mentioned a pentax and sony as well.
I don't even own a Nikon body at this point. But it's impossible to argue about the sensor performance.

Adena Noble

November 19, 2015, 4:37 am

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January 13, 2016, 3:34 pm

Had a great laugh. Yah it's 10 months ago, so Barney don't point out the bleeding obvious. A camera is a tool. I have 2 Nikon full frame cameras, an assortment of lenses and I also own this 1200D, cracking camera with the 10-18 uwa, nice and light for traveling..just saying..but I'm sure you'll have a retort for this too..GBS


June 22, 2016, 3:13 pm

Hi ... I bought this with two lenses that were thrown in with the deal - both Ultrimaxx 58mm 0.43x (wide angle) and 2.2x (telephoto) but the thread of the camera doesn't fit these lenses, what are you supposed to do? There was no step up adaptor ring included in the package deal that I got. Any advice?

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