Expert Review of Canon PowerShot A1200
A slightly better version of Canon PowerShot A800, and frankly, the perfect low budget point and shoot camera from the multinational giant, Canon, Canon PowerShot A1200 is a 12.1 MP low budget device which features average 4x optical zoom and a 2.7 inch LCD screen. An unusual site on this device is that being a camera of today’s world, Canon PowerShot A1200 is equipped with an optical viewfinder which is a little odd but delightful. Another unorthodox feature in this device is that it sucks up power not from the conventional Lithium Ion batteries but from two AA batteries. Canon PowerShot is really a highly user friendly compact which brings forth all you can expect in an in-budget compact device, it is the second most primitive camera in the A series line up of devices, above only the earlier mentioned Canon PowerShot A1200 and also includes many additional features such as Live View Control and Creative filters. Impressively for the money, it can also shoot 720p HD video, but like the A800 below it, lacks any form of image stabilisation. So as such, if you are a money conscious buyer and you need the cheapest camera money can buy, smart money would be investing just a little more to get many exciting new features. Its nearest river Nikon L24, Nikon’s ideal budget device has even more resolution rising to 14 megapixels. That is really a great news if you want greater quality in reasonable price, but then Canon PowerShot has additional pros and cons over Nikon CoolPix L24 and other devices. What are they? Let’s find out.
Design and Build Quality
Available in silver or black, Canon PowerShot A1200, is not only substance, it definitely has a bit of style in it and is really very comfortable to handle and slides into the pocket very easily. Unlike the wedge shaped styling of the predecessor, Canon PowerShot A1200 has a bulging right side, inside which the twin AA batteries are housed. This looks quite trendy on its own, and provides a reasonable grip to your finger, and though this is definitely not the smallest of point and shoots from Canon, it is definitely well designed. The exact dimensions of Canon PowerShot A2200 measure 97.5 mm x 30.7 mm x 62.5 mm and can easily be kept into the featherweight category. Unlike A800, Canon PowerShot A1200 contains a mode dial which is located on the top panel, though it does not extend over the edge of it. The eight positions in mode dial are Program auto, Live Control View, (Smart) Auto, Easy, SCN, Creative Filters, Discrete mode and, Movie mode.
Focus and Face Detection
Compared to the disappointing show of Canon PowerShot A800 in this field, Canon PowerShot A1200 fancies a good nine area AiAF auto focusing, which is the default focus mode in most exposure modes. These additional AF areas on Canon CyberShot A1200 provide a definite advantage to the device when the subjects are more towards the edges rather than being in the centre. Digic 4 processor’s Face AiAF can tremendously recognise faces in the frame and can easily lock focus on them.
Lens and Image Stabilization
Canon PowerShot A1200 houses on it a 4x optical zoom lens which has a range of 5 - 20mm, or 28 - 112mm equivalent. Normally budget compacts typically have optical zooms which come with the range around 4x and this is a typical budget compact. Well, the maximum zoom of 134mm of Nikon Coolpix L24 may get you a little better zoom than Canon PowerShot A1200 with 112mm but it can definitely not get you close enough to get a proper distant view in the tightly framed shots. In both the cases, sadly you have to just rely on your feet to take you a little closer to the object.
Screen and Menus
Almost the entire rear of Canon PowerShot A1200 is covered by a 2.7 inch LCD screen which houses 230 thousand pixels. The screen is bright and definitely better than Canon PowerShot A800 but still it is a primitive screen with a plus point that it does not suffer from pixellated view.
Canon PowerShot A1200 relies completely on AA batteries for power, and two alkaline AA's are included in the box. The advantage of AA's is that you can easily replace them if they run out, say, while you're on holiday. With a proprietary Lithium Ion battery of the kind used in most compacts, unless you have the charger with you, you're out of luck. That said, many people prefer the convenience of a single battery/charger. Alkaline AAs you'll get 200 shots before the power runs out, which is on the low side comparatively speaking. Switch to NiMH rechargeables, though, and you can expect the batteries to last for 450 shots. If you turn off the LCD screen on Canon PowerShot A1200 and rely on the optical viewfinder to compose shots those figures increase to a whopping 650 and 1100 shots respectively. All of these numbers are achieved using the Camera Imaging Products Association's (CIPA) standard testing procedures.
One of the strongest points of Canon PowerShot A1200 is that it can shoot HD video at 1280 x 720 resolution (720p). That's right, HD quality video on a budget compact. You won't find many affordable point-and-shoot devices that can make that claim, indeed the best that most, including Canon PowerShot A800, Nikon COOLPIX L24 and Sony Cybershot W510, are able to offer is 640 x 480 pixels. This makes Canon PowerShot A 1200 an obvious choice for those looking for HD video on a budget, albiet not the only choice, as there's also the Panasonic Lumix S1.
12.1 megapixel sensor in Canon PowerShot A1200 produces images with a maximum size of 4000 x 3000 pixels at one of two compression settings, Normal and Fine. At the better quality fine setting image size is around 3MB. The ISO sensitivity ranges from 80 to 1600 with up to 6400 ISO automatically selected in Low Light Scene mode.
720p HD video.
28mm wide angle.
Live Control view and other fun modes.
No image stabilisation.
Poor high ISO performance.
No AV cable included for TV viewing.