I’ve been shooting pictures on smart phones for a a number of years and have always subscribed to the general mindset that the best camera is the one that you have with you. I was comfortable with this but recent have started hankering for more control and better quality results. What I realised I needed was something that could be simple to use initially but let me get more sophisticated in my use as I got more experienced – enter the Canon EOS 1200D.
The 1200D is what Canon would describe as a starter or introductory DSLR and out of the box I found it straightforward to use. It was preset to all automatic settings and after getting a little confidence with this I delved into Canon’s Android app that shows you how to adjust settings and suggests when to use them.
Physically the 1200D feels solid and ergonomic and I found the buttons and switches to be very positive and clicky in their actions as well as well laid out. The 3″ screen was good for checking pictures and settings and was also switchable off to save battery power or save night vision.
Specification time. The full specs are below but the three crucial points are that the sensor takes 18 megapixel pictures, it has a maximum ISO of 6400 so is pretty good in low light and can take up to 1080p video. In short a big, big step above even the best smart phone cameras. I found the color palate impressive and the autofocus very sharp. It can shoot in JPGs or RAW pictures and the video is formatted to QT AVC.
Included in the box: Camera body, strap, removable battery, charger, USB connector and a variety of lenses depending on the package. We reviewed with a 18-55mm f/3.4-5.6 IS 2 Lens
Canon is a Japanese multinational established in 1937 and is instantly recognizable as one of the worlds top two or three camera manufacturers. It employs almost 200,000 people worldwide and makes camera,camcorders, printers, photocopiers and lenses for other manufactures. they have extensive environmental and social policies and are generally looking to move to more and more recyclable products.
- Target age range: Teens, Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Unisex
- Optimized for right handed use but usable by a left handed user.
- Target audience: Amateur, starting photographers looking for a first DSLR
- Optimized for outdoors use works surprisingly well in lower light conditions.
Environment & People
The EOS 1200D as a model is being phased out by Canon and replaced with the 1300D. The 1300D has the same sensor but somewhat upgraded connectivity options and an improved ability to shoot continuously neither of which are likely to be crucial changes for the amateur photographer.
This has the effect of the 1200D being significantly dropped in price and at £260 including lens it is significantly cheaper than similarly specced DSLR cameras.
Product dimensions: 12.9 x 9.9 x 7.7 cm
Item Weight: 480g (including battery and SD card)
Colour: Black and grey with silver accents
Materials: fabric, vinyl or leather, waterproof?
Release date: February 2014
Image Sensor: 22.3mm x 14.9mm at 18.0 Megapixels
Image Processor: DIGIC 4
Lens Mount: EF/EF-S
Focusing: TTL-CT-SIR with a CMOS sensor
Metering range: EV 1-20
ISO: Auto 100-6400 in 1 stop increments
Shutter: Electrically controlled focal plane shutter 30 – 1/4000 second
White Balance: Auto
Viewfinder: Pentamirror with 95% coverage 21mm from eyepiece lens centre
LCD Monitor: 3.0″ TFT at 460K dots with a 170 degree viewing angle
Flash: Built in, 9.2m at ISO 100, 2 second recycle
Flash: External bracket built in
Shooting modes: Scene Intelligent Auto, No Flash, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait, Movie, Program AE , Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual
Drive modes: Single, Continuous, Self timer (2s, 10s+remote, 10s + continuous shots 2-10)
Continuous shooting: Max Approx. 3fps for approx. 69 JPEG images¹, 6 images RAW²³
File Types: JPEG: Fine, Normal (Exif 2.30 compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0), RAW: RAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition), Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Video Type: MOV (Video: H.264, Sound: Linear PCM, recording level can be manually adjusted by user)
Body materials: Carbon fibre and glass fibre resin
Temperature: 0 – 40 degrees at 85% or less humidity
Size: 12.9 x 9.9 x 7.7 cm
Weight: 480g including battery and memory card but not lens
Further specs: Manufacture’s website
It’s possible to buy the 1200D as a bare body without a lens and if you already have Canon compatible lenses this might be an option for you but if not you’re probably better off getting the package deal. You will also need a SD card of class 10 or more and ideally a bag or case to protect the camera.
Upgrading from a using a smartphone to take your photos to a DSLR is a big step both in terms of cost and in terms of the decision. Buying your first DSLR commits you to a particular ecosystem of lenses and accessories and Canon knows that. If you like the 1200D you’ll probably buy more lenses and when you come to upgrade the body you’ll buy another Canon body.
Lets cut to the chase. Is the 1200D a decent camera? Yes. I could find some quibbles with it particularly with the shooting speed but it produces great photos and the app eases new users into it very well. The addition of manually controllable video is another huge plus. If you’re looking for a budget first DLSR the 1200D will serve you very well and get you into the Canon ecosystem. High recommended.
The review is based on the Canon EOS 1200D purchased in December 2015 with a 18-55mm f/3.4-5.6 IS 2 Lens.
Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 23rd April 2016.