Canon's EOS 1200D is the latest entry-level model of the imaging giant's extensive DSLR camera range.
Coming three years after the entry of its predecessor, the EOS 1100D, the 1200D has an upgraded Digic 4 image processor, 18-megapixel image sensor and a nine-point autofocusing (AF) system. It offers full high-definition video recording.
There is, however, nothing entry level about its stainless steel chassis whose outer surface is aluminium finished in matte black.
The build quality is far superior to that of many plasticky mid-range DSLRs in the market. Solid and sturdy, the body is comfortable to hold, with its contoured rubberised grip accommodating all my fingers.
If you have ever used any Canon DSLR, you will find yourself right at home with the button layout of this one. All the controls are on the right side with a Mode dial and a flash pop-up button on top. The command dial sits behind the shutter release, easily accessible to your index finger.
At the back, the Live View/Video Record button, exposure compensation button and Quick access button are placed near where your thumb will rest.
A few other pointers to note:
Like most entry-level DSLRs, this one lacks a rear dial. Hold down the rear exposure compensation button and turn the front dial to change aperture settings in Manual mode; The Mode dial cannot be rotated 360 degrees; To activate video recording mode, you have to turn that dial nearly 320 degrees if you are using Manual mode; The 3-inch display is not touchscreen or rotatable. So it is not the ideal DSLR for selfie lovers. Both start-up and shutdown are instantaneous, with minimal shutter lag. I was able to shoot six RAW images in 1.8sec before the buffer ran out, using an SD card rated at 25MB per second.
In bright light, the AF of 1200D is instantaneous when using the optical viewfinder. Even in dim lighting, AF is almost as fast using the built-in flash as AF assist light.
But if you use Live View to compose a picture or shoot videos, the camera has difficulty focusing even in bright daylight. It may take more than 2sec to focus or totally give up trying.
With the Canon logo embossed on this camera, you know the image quality is going to be good. Images shot are sharp with crisp details in the darker areas of the photos. Auto white balance is spot on in most situations.
Image noise performance is equally stellar. You hardly find any image noise present until ISO 3,200. And I would even be happy to use ISO 6,400. You can easily fool people into thinking you shot the photos with a mid-range DSLR.
Video quality is sharp and crisp, with clear stereo sound recording. But it does pick up plenty of ambient and wind audio.
Battery life is slightly above average for a DSLR at 500 frames on a full charge, about 50 frames more than Canon's top entry-level EOS 700D DSLR.
If you are looking to take your first baby steps from compact camera to DSLR, Canon's EOS 1200D is an affordable and capable option that is worth considering By Trevor Tan
Price: $759 (with 18-55mm f/3.5-f/5.6 IS II lens)
Image sensor: 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS
Display: 3-inch fixed LCD with 460,000 dots
Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 12,800
Shooting speed: Up to 3 frames per second
Weight: 480g (with battery and memory card)
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 4/5
This article was published on Aug 6 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.
Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.