Canon PowerShot A1200 Review

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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



While clicking images outdoors we noticed that the images captured well and there was no colour fringing, whatsoever. However, a nagging issue while clicking images outdoors, as well as indoors was that the camera would not focus, as desired. Indoor pictures shot well and there wasn't much grain noticed. While recording video at 720p, the camera out of the box records videos in a .MOV format.

Outdoor images provided a lot of detail

Outdoor images provided a lot of detail



Neither were there any issues while capturing videos, nor any problems when moving from a dark area to a bright one. While using the zoom, a fair amount of detail was noticed and there was no reason for any complaints. The flash of this camera is decent and can light up an area of approximately 10 feet. The camera uses two AA batteries to power it. Canon rates the battery life of this camera at 200 shots. All in all, the camera besides the focusing issues, throughout, did well in the performance bit.



The Canon PowerShot A1200 sells in India for a street price of Rs. 5,800. This is a good option to go for, if you are just getting into photography or just want to use this camera for casual purposes.

12.1 megapixel camera with a 4x optical zoom

12.1 megapixel camera with a 4x optical zoom



Focusing issues aside, this camera shoots well and we really enjoyed using it. It is a good camera to carry along at parties, trips or even dare I say, for kids. With its easy to use functionality, one cannot go wrong, while picking up this shooter. 


For instance, if you’re far away, get closer using the 4x zoom. When you want to get extremely close, switch to 1cm Macro mode. And with 12.1 megapixel resolution and a 28mm wide-angle lens, you’ll be ready for anything you encounter. Get the power to take great photographs wherever your travels take you – the PowerShot A1200. Advanced Smart Auto mode gets you ready to shoot in all kinds of situations and can now detect up to 32 different scenes. Simply point and shoot and let the advanced Smart Auto adjusts the exposure and focal settings accordingly to the various lighting conditions. At last, users can concentrate on capturing the perfect moment with ease and confident. Access 6 artistic creative filters instantly with a quick twist of the mode dial. New Toy Camera & Monochrome effects. Capture sharp photos especially in situations where there is a lot of movement.


Type of Card SD/SDHC/SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus


Type of Camera Compact
Effective Resolution 12.1MP
Sensor Type CCD
Digital Zoom 4x


Optical Zoom 4x
Focal length 5.0 (W) - 20.0mm (T)
Aperture range f/2.8 / f/8.0 (W), f/5.9 / f/17 (T)


LCD Size 2.7
Resolution 230,000
Aspect Ratio 4:3

Shooting Specs

Imaging Processor DIGIC 4
ISO Sensitivity Range Auto, ISO 80 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600
White Balance Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Shutter Speed 15-1/1600
Burst Mode 1 fps
Scene Modes Blur Reduction|#|Portrait|#|Landscape|#|Kids&Pets|#|Smart Shutter|#|Low Light|#|Beach|#|Foliage|#|Snow|#|Fireworks|#|Long Shutter


Maximum Resolution 1280 x 720
Maximum Frame rate 24fps


Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC
File formats supported JPEG


USB Cable Yes
PictBridge Yes


Type of Battery AA
Numbers of Shots 200
Number of Batteries 2


Dimensions (W x D x H) 97.5 x 30.7 x 62.5 mm
Weight 185 grams

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution 12.1
Digital Zoom 4x

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 2


Warranty Period 2

Published Date: Oct 03, 2011 05:47 pm | Updated Date: Oct 03, 2011 05:47 pm