Canon PowerShot A1200 User Review

Started Jan 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Canon PowerShot A1200 User Review
Jan 21, 2012

Sometime in mid-October/2011 my G10 broke -
all of a sudden it just would not take any pictures -
everything seemed to be working but no pictures.

So I lived without a compact for a few months
using my dSLR (Pentax K-x) for venues where normally I used flash.

I was reluctant to purchase the G12 -
because I felt that a replacement for the G12 was imminent
(turns out to be the recently announced G1 X)

Anyway just before Thanksgiving
whilst looking for temporary replacement for my broken G10 -
models like the A590i, A650 etc.....
I stumbled upon the Canon A1200 -
to me this was a revelation -
since most makers had given up on the optical viewfinder -
except for the real up market models (read expensive)

Here we had in the A1200 one of the cheapest p&s compacts - [I]a real optical viewfinder![ I]

A real optical viewfinder allows me to shoot with camera to face giving 3 points of support allowing slower than normal shutter speeds. It also allows me to see better for momentary changes of expression or pose etc. - LCD screen cannot keep up.

No, it was not love at first sight - I was dubious about its abilities - after all it is a p&s at

Obviously studied the specs and the few reviews out there - but at

Yes, I am dropping from versatile automation with semi-auto settings on the G10 to an almost an all automatic p&s - and also the A1200 lacked any real image stabilization - but it did have a 28mm (equiv) wide angle zoom and its highISO seemed to be pretty good and the all critical optical viewfinder - so I bought one over Black Friday for just under $88 shipped.

First thing I noticed it was smaller and lighter than I expected -
Compared to the dSLR I was using -

Compared to the G10 -

Then I realized that it was about as small as the original 2Mp Digital ELPH S100 - vintage 2000

I used to use the 2Mp S100 Digital ELPH for all my digital photos
and managed to capture some worthwhile images
including one that was used on a CD cover:

Back to the A1200 - it is not that responsive, being a bit sluggish compared to most modern digicams -
despite Canon boasting of the Dig!c 4 processor -
but it is faster than the real early digicams !

I use pre-focus, hold, recompose, and wait to shoot -
and although the AF is no where near intolerable,
it is nevertheless a bit sluggish at times.

It took me a while to get used to an Auto-everything camera -
BUT the A1200 is not quite as inflexible as it may first appear -
like all auto-everything Canon p&s -
it has "[B]P[ B]"rogram mode - that allows
ISO selection
more flash options (like slow-sync)
exposure compensation

These are not quite ideal - but more than adequate for me to be able to use, once I got used to camera.

Most of the time I set "P"-mode. and shoot slow-sync flash at ISO100, but -1 stop compensation.

For no-flash - on green Auto - (obviously) flash off - as that sets AutoISO and limits the lowest shutter speed to 1/8 sec - again not quite ideal - but that's a kind of safety measure as 1/8 sec is about the limit for most handheld shots - if I had my way I would have preferred 1/5sec - but now I'm quibbling over 2/3 stop.

For the occasional underexposed no-flash shot I switch back over to P mode and turn flash off and set AutoISO....

Some recent shots from the A1200
P-Mode, slow-sync flash, -1 stop comp

there is camera movement - evidenced by the streaking lights -
although IS may have helped -
I am not too sure as both are [I]1sec[ I] exposures!.......

it's the flash that froze the main subject - and the slow shutter speed that allows the ambient lighting -
so the shot does not look like the typical deer-in-headlights flash shot.

No flash -

P-mode; no flash; AutoISO (ISO800 set); f/2.8; 1/3sec; -1 stop compensation (elbows on table)

Canon PowerShot A1200 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon PowerShot G12 Pentax K-x Sony SLT-A65
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