Review Canon 1200D

The Canon 1200D is an interesting option for anyone who wants to buy his or her first SLR camera and is thus looking for an SLR camera with an attractive price-to-quality ratio. The Canon 1100D has played that role for years in the selection of Canon cameras. Both cameras have about the same list price, but thanks to the introduction of the 1200D, the store price of the 1100D is even lower.
For starters, Canon also has a 700D and a 100D on offer. The differences in image quality between these cameras are small. Each camera has its own unique properties for different types of photographers. Would you choose a Canon 1100D, a 100D, 700D, or even for a 1200D?

A camera with interchangeable lenses such as the Canon 1200D offers, thanks to the larger sensor, a much better image quality for photos and videos than a smartphone. The interchangeable lenses additionally give you more creative possibilities and make an important contribution to the higher image quality of a system camera..

Design, ergonomics and ease of use of the 1200D

The Canon 1200D is compact and lightweight, so that the camera is easy to take along everywhere. Smooth plastic on the camera body of the Canon 1100D is replaced by a material with a leather-like pattern on the Canon 1200D. It not only looks better, it also grips better, especially if your hands are damp. The large, well-place control buttons make the Canon 1200D simple and intuitive to use. Most users quickly become familiar with the settings. EOS-100D-BCK
The Canon 1200D has an optical viewfinder and a 7.5 cm (3.0″) LCD screen for filming or photographing with the Live View mode. The AF system offers a choice of 9 autofocus points, which can be used in different ways. With a resolution of 460,000 dots, the LCD screen is large enough for making video. Some starters who are used to a compact camera or smartphone may be surprised by the lack of a touchscreen on the Canon 1200D. If you think that’s important, then the Canon 700D is a better option.
Most starters will not photograph in RAW. But if you do photograph in RAW, take into account that the Canon 1200D needs time to store the photo. If you photograph a lot in RAW, then the Canon 100D or Canon 700D is a better alternative. The Canon 700D in particular due to the price might be a better camera for an amateur photographer than for a starter. The Canon 1200D costs nearly half what the Canon 700D does. OK, that’s a bit exaggerated; it saves a couple hundred euros. But for that you get a fold-out and rotatable touchscreen, with a higher resolution, in-camera HDR and a faster camera (5 images per second vs 3 for the 1200D). The most important advantage of the Canon 100D is its compact format and low weight. The Canon 100D is the smallest Canon SLR, and thus—although more expensive—just like the Canon 1200D interesting for anyone who is buying a first SLR.

If you take an indoor shot without flash with a smartphone or compact camera, then you usually see noise. Thanks to the larger APS-C sensor—and in this case the image stabilization of the Canon 10-18 mm—you get with the Canon 1200D beautiful, sharp, noise-free images even indoors.

Canon 1200D versus Panasonic GM-1 versus Panasonic GX7

An alternative for an SLR camera is a system camera with interchangeable lenses such as the micro-43 cameras Panasonic GM-1, Olympus OM-D E-M10 or Panasonic GX7.
If you’re used to photographing with a smartphone, then the supercompact Panasonic GM1 is an alternative to the Canon 1200D. The Panasonic GM1 is much smaller and weighs 40% as much as the Canon 1200D, but it gives nothing up to the Canon 1200D in terms of image quality. The Panasonic GM1 has a touchscreen—and the 1200D does not—which also has higher resolution. Neither the Panasonic GM1 nor the Canon 1200D has a fold-out screen.
The Panasonic GX7 is not as small as the GM1, but it is more compact than the 1200D, weighing 100 grams less, and it looks like a viewfinder camera of the past, such as the famous Leica cameras. The viewfinder is on the left instead of in the middle, so that your nose isn’t against the touchscreen while you’re photographing. The Panasonic GX7 has (just like the GM1) built-in image stabilization, so that you can make sharper photos in the dark. With the Canon 1200D, you’re dependent on the image stabilization in the lens. Happily there are even more affordable lenses with built-in image stabilization. The Panasonic GX7 also has a screen with higher resolution, which is not only useable as a touchscreen but can also fold out. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is also smaller and lighter than the Canon 1200D, but the Olympus looks like a real SLR camera. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is more expensive than the Canon 1200D, but you can see why. This micro-43 camera also delivers an image quality that’s equal to an SLR camera with an APS-C sensor.

Sharpness Canon 1200D

The Canon 1200D has almost 50% more pixels than the Canon 1100D, and that delivers sharper images. The Canon 1200D delivers the same performance as the Canon 100D or Canon 700D. With this camera, you can easily—if you use a good lens—make an A3 or 30×45 cm print. Modern system cameras are currently so good that the choice of a good lens is becoming ever-more important for optimally enjoying the image quality.

Dynamic range Canon 1200D

The larger the dynamic range of a camera, the less frequently it occurs that there is overexposure or underexposure of the light or dark parts of the photo. If you photograph a hunter with a white feather on his hat in nice weather, or if there is a bright light source in the image such as in the example above, then a camera with a low dynamic range will deliver a white fleck without details while a camera with a high dynamic range at the same exposure delivers a recognizable, detailed feather/fire. The dynamic range of the Canon 1200D is just as good as that of the more expensive Canon SLR cameras with an APS-C sensor. It is noticeably better than the dynamic range of a smartphone or compact camera, but a bit lower than the dynamic range of the most modern cameras from Nikon, Olympus or Panasonic.

Noise Canon 1200D


Noise can be a good reason to switch from a smartphone to an SLR camera. The 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC-4 processor ensure a much higher signal-to-noise ratio than smartphones. If you take pictures in nice weather, which you don’t enlarge too much, then the differences are small. But if you take pictures in low light, the Canon 1200D will still make life-like, noise-free images, while a smartphone delivers an ugly, unusable shot with a lot of noise and less beautiful colors. The Canon 100D, 1200D and 700D give the same image in terms of signal-to-noise ratio. Even if you lay the photos right next to each other, it’s practically impossible to find the differences. If you compare the Canon 1100D (which has fewer and thus larger pixels) with the Canon 1200D, then the 1100D scores a bit higher if you don’t apply noise suppression (and no one does that; it’s just a measurement for the noise of the sensor). Thanks to the modern image editing of the Canon 1200D, both cameras score equally well on the suppression of noise.

Color reproduction Canon 1200D

If you want an impression of what a beginner’s camera is currently capable of doing, when it comes to image quality, then click (twice) on the image shown here. Then you see a 100% enlargement of this photo. This shot was taken with an expensive, very good modern lens (Canon EF 16-35 mm f/4 IS), which will not often be used in combination with this camera. It does provide a great illustration of the high sharpness, the absence of noise and the attractive color reproduction of this camera. miniSampledetail
The accuracies of modern cameras in color reproduction are very similar. If you test under the same conditions in daylight (image style: accurate), then the colors of the Canon 1200D is just as good as that of more expensive, more advanced Canon cameras. As you can see from our Imatest results in the image on the left below, Canon chooses to make the colors red and yellow a bit more saturated than in reality. Many photographers find that more beautiful than reality. The standard image style in comparison to the natural and faithful styles is more sharpened and richer in contrast. The standard image style will better suit beginning photographers.
The automatic white balance works well in many cases, but under extreme circumstances (candlelight, artificial light: see the image on the right below), the color differences between picture and reality are so great that they’ll be visible to a beginning photographer. That doesn’t only apply for the Canon 1200D: practically all modern cameras struggle here. Therefore, SLR cameras offer the option to choose the white balance for yourself. If you take a picture with artificial light after you have switched the white balance on the camera from automatic to artificial light, then the shot will look much more natural.

Imatest results for color reproduction (faithful picture style); the closer the color of the picture (circle) is to the real color (square), the more accurate the color reproduction is. The more a color moves to the outside, the more saturated the color is.

Color reproduction in daylight
Color reproduction in artificial light

EOS Companion app

WiFi and NFC are missing on the Canon 1200D, but Canon has thought of another attractive feature for the Canon 1200D: The Canon 1200D is Canon’s first SLR camera for which a special app has been made (EOS Companion app), which you can install on your smartphone. The EOS Companion app offers practical tips and short courses for the Canon 1200D. If you want to know more about Canon EOS Companion, then read this review. EOSCOMpanionApp
The “Inspire” part of the EOS Companion app includes a series of courses from photo experts and step-by-step exercises in order to learn photography at the user’s own pace—popular subjects such as animals or people are combined with photo-instructions like information about shutter time or perspective. The app also includes a section about solving problems that helps to improve results with practical tips and how to avoid common problems, such as blurred or overexposed shots. The section also gives tips for image composition of groups or landscapes.

Indulge your creativity with interchangeable lenses

Just like all smartphones and system cameras, the Canon 1200D offers various creative filters with which, with one push of a button, give you a photograph with a unique appearance, such as Miniature effect, Fisheye and Toy camera. These effects can be applied before or after taking the shot. You can only apply creative filters after you have taken a picture. The strength of this effect can be applied at three levels. EF-S-10-18-mm-f4-5-5-6-IS-STM-2
The biggest bonus in versatility and creativity of an SLR camera is the option to change lenses. On one hand, you can choose the best lens for every desired application: macro, portrait, wildlife or architectural photography.
On the other hand, interchangeable lenses off the ability to isolate your subject from the background with a nice background blur (“bokeh”). Head out for the day with the attractively priced Canon 10-18 mm wide-angle zoom, and you’ll be convinced of the added value of a camera with interchangeable lenses. Really you should buy that lens immediately if you purchase a Canon 1200D.


In comparison with the Canon 1100D, the addition of video to the Canon 1200D is an added value, which as far as I’m concerned nullifies any price difference, even if you’re not currently doing anything with video. With the Canon 1200D, you can make full HD video images (1080p at 24, 25 or 30 bps) without problems. User-friendly functions offer freedom and creativity in exposure, focus and sound level. Video Snapshot makes it possible to record a series of short video clips and to automatically merge these in the camera into one film. Whereas some SLRs from Canon use a sensor with phase-detection pixels, the 1200D does not have these. Focusing in Live View thus doesn’t happen as quickly with the Canon 1200D as it does with the Canon EOS 700D or the Canon EOS 100D. The Canon 1200D also has no connection for a microphone or headset.
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Conclusion review Canon 1200D

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  • Attractively priced Canon SLR
  • Easy to operate
  • Texture on the camera body of the 1200D is more comfortable than the plastic 1100D
  • Special EOS Companion app with content for the Canon 1200D
  • Limited dynamic range
  • AF in Live View / videois slow
  • No touchscreen
  • No connection for microphone or headset
  • No Wi-Fi/NFC
The Canon 1100D, partly thanks to its low price, has been the best-selling SLR camera in the Netherlands for years. The competition from other affordable beginners’ cameras with interchangeable lenses is becoming ever-greater, so it’s good that Canon has released the Canon 1200D as the successor to the 1100D. The Canon 1200D not only looks more mature, it also offers video and better image quality. The texture on the camera body makes the 1200D easier to operate than the smoother plastic body of the 1100D, certainly if your hands are a bit wet. The Canon quickly feels familiar and is easy to operate. To help you on your way with the Canon 1200D, Canon has developed an app especially for this camera that you can install on your smartphone. I’m interested to see whether Canon will be able to maintain the position of the best-selling SLR camera in the Netherlands.


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