EOS quality at a new lower price, the 1200D is a steal, provided you know where to look
22.3×14.9mm 18.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (29-88mm equivalent), 685g
Price, rating and specs based on the EF-S 18-55mm III kit
Canon’s EOS line of camera’s have set a particularly high standard and a well-deserved reputation over the years. Typically, they’ve been quite expensive, even if they usually bolster high-quality specs. It was a shock then, to find their 2014 model to start at just £350, the lowest their EOS camera range has ever been. More than two years on, and the camera is still going strong, with a much lower price of £277 making it an attractive choice for the amateur photographer.
This new low price makes a lot of sense here; Canon will be appealing to a much wider market, bringing in first-time buyers looking for fancier social media pictures, even if most smartphones these days do the job well enough. Of course, you can now pick up the EOS 1300D with Wi-Fi connectivity, but it’s not necessarily worth the extra money. The big question here then, is whether or not the new cheap price still justifies the purchase two years on.
Canon EOS 1200D Handling and Features
Canon rarely rocks the boat with its designs, and the 1200D is hard to distinguish from its predecessor, the Canon 1100D. A few buttons have been redesigned and the screen is up from 2.7in to 3in, but externally, that’s about it. The controls are straightforward and elegant, with a generous allocation of labelled, single-function buttons, plus a Q button to access key settings without having to delve into the main menu. However, it’s confusing that adjustments are immediate when using the Q button, but are discarded when accessed via a labelled button unless the Set button is pushed to confirm.
The 1200D also resembles the pricier Canon EOS 700D, although it lacks the 700D’s articulated touchscreen. Its screen has a relatively low 460,000-dot resolution, but we don’t find this to be much of a problem. It’s still perfectly adequate for manual focus in live view mode, thanks to the ability to magnify the image by up to 10x.
The main upgrades are on the inside. The 18-megapixel sensor and 1080p video mode are significant improvements on the 1100D’s 12 megapixels and 720p video, and match the 700D’s specifications. Other features remain unchanged. Its autofocus sensor has nine points but only the centre point is cross-type for increased sensitivity. It also uses the same optical viewfinder as the 1100D with a 0.8x magnification, which is slightly smaller than the 700D’s 0.85x magnification. It’s fitted with Canon’s DIGIC 4 rather than the latest DIGIC 5 processor, which means that chromatic aberrations aren’t corrected automatically for JPEGs. Meanwhile, its 3fps continuous shooting speed appears to be deliberately hobbled – the EOS 600D used the same 18-megapixel sensor and DIGIC 4 processor and managed 4fps.
The best we could get from the 1200D in our tests was 2.9fps. Continuous shooting lasted indefinitely when shooting JPEGs and pointing the camera at a relatively sparse subject. Shooting a more complex subject – which gives the JPEG processing engine more work to do – made performance drop to 1.4fps after 13 frames. In RAW mode, continuous shooting fell to 0.7fps after six frames. Not everyone will feel the urge to fire off dozens of photos in quick succession, but this isn’t the camera for those who do.
Canon EOS 1200D Companion App
As with all basic SLRs, the 1200D lacks built-in Wi-Fi, but yet it still has it’s own app. The Canon EOS Companion is available for both Android and iOS and teaches you basic photographic concepts, such as depth-of-field composition. It looks smart, has helpful information for novices and shows you the exact controls you need to adjust on the 1200D to get the effects discussed.
The Companion App is better than a paper manual, helping you troubleshoot common problems, plus you’re more far likely to carry it with you
|CCD effective megapixels
|Viewfinder magnification, coverage
|LCD screen size
|LCD screen resolution
|Zoom 35mm equivalent
|Available in lenses
|Maximum image resolution
|JPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)
|Battery Life (tested)
|USB, AV, mini HDMI, wired remote
|Focal length multiplier
|Kit lens model name
|EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III
|one year RTB
|program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
|30 to 1/4,000 seconds
|f/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-36 (tele)
|ISO range (at full resolution)
|100 to 12800
|auto, 6 presets with fine tuning, manual
|Additional image controls
|contrast, saturation, sharpness, colour tone, Auto Lighting Optimizer, colour space, vignette correction
|Closest macro focus
|multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
|auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
|single, continuous, self-timer, WB bracket