For the last month I have been playing around with a demo unit of Canon’s updated version of the 1100D, the new 1200D.
In a world where photography is becoming increasingly popular, more and more people are being tempted to expand their photographic horizons and take the next step in exploring their photographic vision by supplementing their “iphoneography” with an entry level DSLR. Throw in a brand new companion app and you have the ideal entry level package, the Canon 1200D.
With a suggested retail price of around R 5 500.00 the Canon 1200D will prove to be an attractive model for first time buyers, significantly undercutting entry level models of other brands.
So, whats changed from the 1100D that has been around for the last couple of years?
Well for starters the look and feel of the camera body has been dramatically improved. The shiny and lightweight plastic body has been upgraded to a matt finish and the camera feels slightly heavier in hand. You’d be forgiven for thinking that additional weight is step backwards but the weight of the body plays a major role in balancing weight distribution with better quality lenses – something users will be happy about when they expand their collection of lenses.
Back in 2003 I was stoked with my first Camera, a 300D with 6.5 megapixels. The Canon 1200D shows just how far technology has progressed boasting an 18 megapixels CMOS sensor with the ability to shoot at 3 frames per second. The maximum ISO value (how sensitive the camera is to the ambient light) can also be expanded from the native maximum of 6400 up to a value of 12800.
The Q button on the back of the camera eliminates the need to dive into menus and sub-menus usually associated with entry level DSLR’s and makes up for the limited dedicated function controls by providing you with quick and easy access to a variety of custom controls such as exposure, metering modes, autofocus mode and drive.
Another big improvement and feature of the Canon 1200D is its ability to shoot Full HD video at 30 frames per second. For many first time camera buyers who struggle with the decision of whether to get a video camera which can take stills or a stills camera that can take videos, this should settle any debates on the matter. An intelligent image stabiliser will turn even the most nervous of videographers into a budding Spielberg.
Another really cool feature is the “Video Snapshot” mode which allows you to record short clips of 2, 4, or 8 seconds along with your final image that can then be played back together as a video slideshow in camera or on your home computer.
There are also a number of creative filter presets which allow you to create everything from Grainy Black & White to Toy Camera and Fish Eye effects on your images without any additional processing – very cool!
If all of that makes no sense to you at all then you will be relieved to know that the Canon 1200D comes with the new Scene Intelligent Auto mode which, at the touch of a button will evaluate the scene in front of the lens before running through a variety of scenarios and choosing the one best suited to the scene you are shooting. This alone makes this camera pretty much fool proof and makes capturing tricky scenes such as sunsets a whole lot more rewarding!
The Canon 1200D Companion App
Back in 2003 when I got my first DSLR I spent hours taking photographs at various settings in a effort to improve my understanding of photography in general. I supplemented this practical side with thoery found in books, magazines and a couple of online articles. Hard work right?
Well Canon have made life a lot easier for you by releasing their “Companion App” for the 1200D which recognises the fact that this camera is aimed at first time buyers looking to take more control of the creative aspects of their photography. iI really is great to see how Canon have embraced the advances in technology and recognised the value in apps – not to mention the reduced impact on the environment by cutting down on printing of manuals etc.
The Learn section walks you through a number of concepts and exercises which will allow you to get an understanding of aperture, shutter speed, white balance, exposure and autofocus modes whilst the Tutorial section allows you to watch videos (keep an eye out for those video downloads and associated data charges) on a variety of topics aimed at helping you improve your photography skills.
For me, and thinking back to when I first started out and about the most frequently asked questions we get on our digital photography courses, the “What’s wrong with my photo” section will provide new users with a quick and easy way to diagnose and correct issues they may be experiencing when capturing their first images whilst establishing a solid foundation on the basics of digital photography.
There is also an Inspire section which provides users with some great exercises which are aimed to inspire and get you to think out of the box whilst exploring your creative side by combining a variety of subjects and themes in each exercise.
All in all, this is a great entry level camera for the first time buyer providing great image quality and resolution along with the ability to take full manual control of the camera. If you’ve always been interested in getting into photography but have found the range of cameras and level of skill required to use a DSLR intimidating, the fact that the Canon 1200D comes with a dedicated companion app should make taking your first step into the world of DSLR’s that much easier!
In my next blog post I will be sharing some of the images I took with the 1200D during a wildlife photography course to show what cane be done with even the most basic of cameras when you have a solid photographic knowledge and understanding.
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