Canon EOS 1200D review

Canon’s 18 megapixel APS-C format sensor incorporating EOS 1200D is an imaginative update of its 12 megapixel 1100D predecessor. The obvious pitch is that first time DSLR owners will be able to achieve more professional results straight out of the box, and with more pixels to do it with, via a camera that’s less bulky than many of its peers. Pricing is very fair at £349.99 for just the camera body without lens, or £399.99 when combining it with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DCIII zoom on test. Aside from portability, ease of use and affordability, the other central pitch for this model is its low light performance, with its core light sensitivity range of ISO100-6400 expandable to ISO12800. We were shooting a lot at ISO800 and ISO1600 to avoid deploying the usefully included pop up flash, and the images we got back were crystal clear and grain free.

Take the EOS 1200D in your hands with a lens attached and there is little about this digital SLR that feels immediately budget. In fact to us it felt just right: not too heavy, not too throwaway – and light enough to move around freely and unrestricted. Yes we don’t get a tilting LCD screen – the adequate 3-inch, 460K dot resolution is resolutely fixed – but we do get the benefit of an eye level optical viewfinder and 9-point AF for focusing the mind and the eye on what is going on in front of the lens rather than around us; invaluable in the potentially distracting scenario of, say, a music festival, or a crowded tourist destination.

See also: Camera reviews

As with most cameras these days, there is an element of interactivity provided with mobile devices. In the case of the EOS 1200D, this comes via an EOS Companion app – a free download via iTunes - that was launched in tandem with the DSLR, enabling relative novice photographers to learn tips and tricks. The ‘app’ provides a range of expert tutorials and step-by-step exercises to take us through the basics, as well as offering picture ideas with coaching on the likes of speed and perspective in the ‘Inspire’ section. There’s also a troubleshooting guide to boot.

Naturally Full HD movie capability is also provided for capturing the family frolicking on the beach this summer. Providing compatibility with over 70 Canon EF lenses out of the box, in particular the likes of Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, or EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens all suggest themselves as possible additional purchases to supplement the kit lens out of the box.

OUR VERDICT

Whilst the 18 megapixel EOS 1200D might not offer all the bells and whistles of models higher up the range such as a tilting and swiveling LCD screen, it is possible to get professional looking results out of it if daring to stray from the auto everything settings and starting to tweak shutter speed and ISO. As such this is a very affordable route to getting sharper, more obviously ‘pro’ looking pictures from the get go and from a relatively lightweight body, in so far as DSLRs go, that feels manageable even with kit lens attached. OK, so 3fps continuous shooting is modest by today’s standards and the kind of spec being offered by entry level DSLRs a decade ago, but then sports photographers will be looking elsewhere anyway. In most other respects however the performance of the 1200D transcends what we’d expect from a camera purely aimed at beginners. Even so-called experts shouldn’t be ashamed to stuff this compact DSLR into their kit bag.

Find the best price