Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Canon PowerShot A1200 Review

So you have been contemplating a digital camera, but are afraid that all the cameras in the market are complicated to use. Which is the ideal camera one should buy if you’re a beginner in photography? This is the question on most minds, when it comes to purchasing an easy-to-use camera. Many camera manufacturers have launched entry-level compact cameras keeping these consumers in mind. One of these manufacturers is Canon, and they are catering to this audience by launching the Canon PowerShot A1200. Read on to see if this is the ideal camera for you.

Design and Build Quality
Canon has not compromised on the looks of this camera. Usually, entry-level cameras are not as fancy looking as their expensive counterparts. But, that’s not the case with the A1200. The aspect of its design, which appealed to us the most is the camera’s body that is moulded to give the right side of the body contours a handgrip. The camera we received is matte black all over, giving it a classy look. 
All matte black finish
All matte black finish

On the face of the camera lies the lens, view finder, auto-focus assist and the LED flash. Though this camera is small in size, the placement of these parts on the face of the camera doesn't look cluttered. On the rear of the camera is the 2.7-inch screen that is flush against the body, thereby helping it retain its compact appearance. The buttons are located to the right of the screen and they are adequately spaced. The buttons like the rest of the body are rounded and made of plastic. 
Handgrip assists in the handling of this camera
Handgrip assists in the handling of this camera

Above the screen is a view-finder, which gives this camera an expensive look. To the top of this compact camera is the jog dial for navigating between the different camera modes, the shutter release button that’s placed alongside a zoom rocker and the on/off button. All these buttons are pretty sturdy and solid. Along the right side of the camera are the connections, which are a mini USB port and the analog AV port. These ports are concealed by a rubberized flap that's neat against the side of the A1200. On the underside, the flap for the battery bay is sturdy and has a locking mechanism. Overall, the design and build quality of this camera is good.

This Canon PowerShot A1200 features a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor. Having this sensor for a camera in this price range is a decent addition. The camera uses Canon’s DIGIC 4 processing engine, which was initially found on the company’s DSLR range of cameras, but now features on some of their newer point and shoot variants. Canon claims that by using this processor the amount of image noise is reduced at higher ISO sensitivities and gives much faster image processing as compared to DIGIC 3 and earlier.
The buttons are well spaced out
The buttons are well spaced

The interface of this camera is easy to use and a person who is using a digital camera for the first time will get used to it within a matter of minutes. The auto-mode of this camera is pretty standard across most cameras with most of the tweaking options locked. For one to have some amount of freedom to experiment with using different camera settings, other modes are available on this camera like program, discreet, scene, etc. If one is totally new to clicking images with a digital camera, then there is the easy mode where one can just click away  and capture images.
The mode dial, zoom, on/ off are well spaced
The mode dial, zoom, on/off are well spaced

This camera features a 4x optical zoom allowing the user to click images that are relatively far off. This focal range is decent for a compact camera. The A1200 has HD video recording capabilities and can record videos at 720p. This is a good addition to this camera as this feature is found on cameras that are more expensive. The camera can record media on an SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card, MultiMediaCard, MMCplus card and HC MMCplus card.
Using AA batteries is a bit disappointing
Using AA batteries is a bit disappointing

The ability to support these many card types is good and Canon have done well to incorporate this feature. AA batteries are used to power this camera, which is the only disappointing thing we found about the A1200. Canon should have added a lithium-ion battery, instead, as these AA batteries tend to die out fairly quickly. Besides the batteries it uses, the Canon A1200 has some really impressive features for an entry-level point and shoot.

The Canon PowerShot A1200 has done well in the design, build quality and features bit of our review. For the performance part, we checked the ISO sensitivity of the camera in a controlled setting and clicked a few outdoor as well as indoor shots. 

ISO Sensitivity
During the ISO sensitivity test, we changed the ISO to all the different ISO sensitivities available on this camera with a set aperture priority of F/2.8. At the lowest ISO sensitivity, which is 80, we noticed that there was no image noise noticed at all. At ISO 100, there was a slight amount of noise noticed, as compared to ISO 80, but it was not very noticeable. The colours in ISO 200 appeared a bit saturated, but other than that it was usable. In ISO 800 and ISO 1600, there was a fair amount of image noise. It is recommended to use up to ISO 400, while shooting outdoors, if you are in the program mode, otherwise the images may be unusable.

ISO sensitivity test

ISO sensitivity test


Type of Camera
Type of CameraCompact
Sensor Resolution12.1
Sensor TypeCCD
Shutter Speed15-1/1600
ISO Sensitivity Range80-1600
Optical ViewfinderYes
Burst Mode1 fps
Manual FocusNo
Other Features
Image StabilizerNo
Optical Zoom4x
Digital Zoom4x
Image FormatJPEG
LCD Size2.7
Maximum Resolution1280 x 720 / 24fps
Type of CardSD/SDHC/SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Shooting Programmes
Face Detection
Rechargeable Battery TypeAA
Number of Batteries2
ShotsNo Information
Weight185 grams
More Features
Unique Feature
After Sales Service
Warranty Period2

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