The Canon EOS 200D is a solid performer at an attractive price
- High image quality
- Responsive and straightforward in live view mode
- Class-leading video autofocus
- Autofocus with the viewfinder is relatively basic
- Some manual controls are hard to access
The Canon EOS 200D is a low-cost DSLR designed for people making the transition from a smartphone or compact camera. It’s remarkably small and light for an SLR, coming in at around 8mm less in all three dimensions than the Canon EOS 800D. It isn’t as compact as its predecessor, the Canon EOS 100D, but the addition of a fully articulated touchscreen and a more substantial handgrip make that easy to forgive.
Its diminutive proportions make it a viable option for people who might otherwise be tempted by a compact system camera (CSC). CSCs tend to be smaller than SLRs as they dispense with the optical viewfinder and internal mirror system. Even then, though, it isn’t a game changer since SLR lenses tend to be bigger than CSC lenses.
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Canon EOS 200D review: Controls
There are a couple of downsides to the 200D’s miniaturisation, though. The card slot is next to the battery compartment so it can’t be accessed when the camera is mounted on a tripod. It has a smallish 3in LCD, too, but this has the advantage of boosting battery life. The 200D is rated at 650 shots compared with the 800D’s 600 shots. Surprisingly, the view through the optical viewfinder is slightly larger than the 800D’s, at 0.87x compared to the 800D’s 0.82x. 0.87x equates to 0.54x on a full-frame camera. The electronic viewfinders on rival CSCs are significantly larger as well.
^ The 200D (left) has fewer buttons than the 800D, with more functions accessed via the Q button and main menu
There are two fewer buttons than on the 800D and the four-way pad on the back doesn’t have the 800D’s labelled functions for direct access to drive mode, white balance, autofocus mode and Picture Style preset.
Instead, these are accessed via the Q menu, but only in live view mode. When using the viewfinder, pressing the Q button accesses a simpler Q menu with a reduced set of functions, so the only way to change the white balance or image quality settings is via the main menu, which is slower to navigate. The 800D has the same simplified Q menu but there’s an option to revert to the older, more comprehensive version. That option isn’t available on the 200D.
Canon EOS 200D review: Connectivity
As for connectivity, there’s a full complement here. You get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC for wireless communication with iOS and Android devices, computers and printers. NFC should make pairing for the first time a cinch but establishing a connection first time a is rather tortuous process.
At least it worked first time, which is an improvement on previous generations of Canon Wi-Fi cameras. And, once the connection is established, there’s a good range of features to play with. The remote shooting function includes touchscreen-controlled autofocus plus access to exposure, white balance and drive mode settings. It can also be used as a remote video monitor while recording. Browsing and transferring photos and videos are supported and there’s a handy option to apply star ratings in the app.
Canon EOS 200D review: Autofocus, video
The Canon EOS 200D’s ability to compete with CSCs is greatly enhanced by the introduction of a Canon’s Dual Pixel sensor technology. This dramatically speeds up autofocus performance when shooting in live view mode and it also delivers smooth, responsive autofocus when recording videos. One of the perks of a CSC is fast performance when using the rear screen, so it’s great to have this from an SLR, too.
In fact, the 200D’s live view mode is now arguably more sophisticated than its viewfinder mode. The touchscreen makes it easy to place the autofocus point anywhere in the frame or to invoke a tracking mode that follows subjects around the frame.
^ Dual Pixel technology means video autofocus is responsive and accurate, with none of the clunky hunting of previous models
There’s also an option to focus and shoot with a single tap of the screen. Switch to the viewfinder, though, and you’re limited to nine autofocus points in fixed positions in the frame. This makes it difficult to focus precisely on your subject’s eyes, for example. It also rules out subject tracking, as there simply aren’t enough autofocus points to cover the frame sufficiently.
Video quality is generally excellent with the same flattering colours as from the Canon EOS 200D’s JPEGs and no sign of noise at modest ISO speeds. Detail levels are respectable but Sony and Panasonic CSCs capture finer details in their 1080p footage. They also support 4K video recording, which the Canon lacks. The 200D’s videos are good enough for most purposes, though, and the rock solid autofocus performance is arguably more useful than 4K anyway.
Canon EOS 200D review: Performance, image quality
The 200D uses the same sensor and DIGIC 7 processor as the Canon EOS 800D so it’s no surprise that their image quality and performance are hard to separate. The 200D captured a shot every 0.3 seconds when using the viewfinder, and between 0.3 and 0.9 seconds in live view mode.
This is a vast improvement over the Canon EOS 100D, which took almost two seconds from shot to shot in live view mode. Burst shooting was at 4.9fps in my tests, which is faster than the 100D but slower than the 800D’s 6fps. Burst with continuous autofocus came in at 3.1fps.
With plenty of detail and nicely controlled noise from its 24-megapixel sensor, image quality was good, too. In fact, it’s on par with cropped-sensor SLRs costing much more. Nikon has a slight advantage for low noise at fast ISO speeds, though.
JPEGs exhibited flattering colours, particularly for skin tones, but some shots were a little too oversaturated for my tastes. Automatic exposure settings were mostly well judged but, unlike most rival cameras, the 200D doesn’t increase its shutter speed when it’s pointed at a moving subject. That means shots taken indoors or in overcast conditions are susceptible to motion blur. It’s easily avoided using shutter priority mode if you’re happy to take control.
^ There’s no shortage of fine detail in the centre of this wide-angle shot, and only a slight fall-off of focus towards the edges (1/160s, f/9, ISO 100, 29mm equivalent)
^ Details are pixel-sharp at the long end of the zoom, although noise reduction processing has glossed over some of the grass texture (1/250s, f/10, ISO 100, 88mm equivalent)
^ Another sharp, vibrant exposure, but the 1/50s shutter speed is too slow to freeze the motion in the water (1/50s, f/5.6, ISO 100, 32mm equivalent)
^ The JPEG engine has captured the rich colours in this scene exceptionally well (1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 100, 35mm equivalent)
^ This one looks a little overcooked, though. Some of the colour information is missing from the heavily saturated flowers (1/125s, f/7.1, ISO 100, 56mm equivalent)
^ Skin tones in brightly lit conditions look lifelike and natural (1/160s, f/8, ISO 100, 64mm equivalent)
^ They’re not too shoddy in this dimly lit scene, either. There’s a fair amount of noise but it’s a solid result considering the ISO 16000 setting (1/60s, f/5, ISO 16000, 62mm equivalent)
Canon EOS 200D review: Verdict
The Canon EOS 200D is a big step up from the 100D. It has a Dual Pixel sensor, a better handgrip and articulated touchscreen, and keeps the overall dimensions impressively low. The 800D’s superior autofocus when using the viewfinder, its faster burst shooting and better button layout justify the additional expense, but there’s not much in it.
The Nikon D3400 remains our pick of the budget DSLRs thanks to its lower price and lower noise at fast ISO speeds, although its screen isn’t articulated or touch-sensitive and its video autofocus isn’t as reliable as the Canon EOS 200D’s. That keeps the 200D firmly in the running and it only narrowly misses out on an award.
|Focal length multiplier
|In kit lens
|Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage
|3in (1,040,000 pixels)
|Photo file formats
|JPEG, RAW (CR2)
|Maximum photo resolution
|Photo aspect ratios
|Video compression format
|MP4 (AVC) at up to 60Mbit/s
|1080p at 24/25/30/50/60fps, 720p at 25/30/50/60fps, VGA at 25/30fps
|Slow motion video modes
|Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)
|Program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
|Shutter speed range
|30 to 1/4,000 seconds
|ISO speed range
|100 to 51200
|Auto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
|9-point (1 cross-type)
|Multi, partial, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
|Auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
|Single, continuous, self-timer, WB bracket, HDR
|Kit lens model name
|Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS STM
|Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)
|Maximum aperture (wide-tele)
|Closest macro focus (wide)
|Closest macro focus (tele)
|USB, Mini HDMI, 3.5mm microphone, wired remote
|Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC
|Via smartphone app
|USB cable, neck strap
|453g (body only)
|93x122x70mm (body only)
|One year RTB
|Price including VAT