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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Small Compact Digitals by Canon 
Thread started 21 Jan 2012 (Saturday) 13:41
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A1200 User Review

 
UnknownVT
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Jan 21, 2012 13:41 |  #1

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 - a real optical viewfinder!

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 <$90.

Obviously studied the specs and the few reviews out there - but at <$90 it was just too much to resist.

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 -

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Compared to the G10 -
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Then I realized that it was about as small as the original 2Mp Digital ELPH S100 - vintage 2000
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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:
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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 "P"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
IMAGE: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ho5IK8MBpsI/TxjzKKJJy5I/AAAAAAAA1x4/pJMsByd56-A/s800/DaveRoth120118.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jwNxvHezV74/TxjzMeVNicI/AAAAAAAA1x4/G3dS63i7Jio/s800/OliWood120118.jpg
there is camera movement - evidenced by the streaking lights -
although IS may have helped -
I am not too sure as both are 1sec 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 -
IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-RUp0jWZLUAI/TuuY4Y_IfMI/AAAAAAAA0qM/m36R_3xnnAk/s800/BionicA1200_111215.jpg
P-mode; no flash; AutoISO (ISO800 set); f/2.8; 1/3sec; -1 stop compensation (elbows on table)

Vincent
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UnknownVT
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Jan 22, 2012 23:20 |  #2

Just a few more shots from the A1200 - from Saturday Jan/21

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-O_ugogGtoUQ/TxxnjAnsPlI/AAAAAAAA13c/4eYjJuvUkto/s800/JoshM120121.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-n-H_-moHvnU/TxxnlZjtWkI/AAAAAAAA13c/5Xdl2L32wOg/s800/NirvanaKelly120121.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-PvO3xgC_RVc/TxxnjjjmJcI/AAAAAAAA13c/9zZPxoWtnbQ/s800/JoshMartin120121.jpg

Vincent
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exwintech
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Jan 23, 2012 01:54 as a reply to  @ UnknownVT's post |  #3

UnknownVT - Unusually for a P&S it also has an infinity focus function - my godson has one.

"Infinity" - Page 87 in the A1200 Manual.

He wanted a "zoom" last year, so I bought him a Fuji S1800, but that certainly isn't kids' jeans pocket-sized. We chose the A1200 as it has a viewfinder, and uses AA-Eneloops like the S1800 - and godmother paid for it - $95.00.

For the size and price, it certainly has a lot of features - and he's getting some quite good images with it.

Regards, Dave.




  
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UnknownVT
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Jan 23, 2012 11:41 |  #4

exwintech wrote in post #13751983 (external link)
and he's getting some quite good images with it.

Thanks Dave.

The A1200 gets mixed reviews - the consensus is that it is very good value - but some say that the IQ (image quality) is not that good.

It seems to me that the image is plenty good enough for me - perhaps I just have lower standards, but I do shoot a lot as can be seen from the links in my sig (and those are only the ones I post).

Personally I think the A1200 gives good IQ - it may not be the "bestest" in the world -
but it is more than adequate.

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a mere test shot - close to 100% crop - this is a pretty stringent test, as it is very close focus - therefore shallow depth of field, and unforgiving detail - that would show if one messes up.

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exwintech
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Jan 23, 2012 15:38 as a reply to  @ UnknownVT's post |  #5

UnknownVT - Sure, if you compare the A1200 with the S100 or G12 - also "5x or under zoom cameras" - at 4-5+ times the price - its IQ might not win.... But in a comp for "Best IQ and functions under $100.00" - the A1200 would score exceeding-well! :D

That Canon can do an A1200 with its abilities for under $100.00 - particularly here in Australia, where cameras are usually much more expensive than in the US (the AUD and USD are about equal at present) - is very surprising...

That it has a pretty good viewfinder - and runs on user-friendly AAs - while also having a neat LCD - and even HD-720 video - is amazing!

For sharing, uploading, mailing, and easy use on PC, my godson prefers its 640 x 480 in H264/MOV - which it does surprisingly well.

Other than zoom levels, the A1200's VGA stands up quite well against my SX10's - and that camera cost AUD$565.00, here....

Regards, Dave.




  
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UnknownVT
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Jan 23, 2012 21:48 |  #6

exwintech wrote in post #13755154 (external link)
UnknownVT - Sure, if you compare the A1200 with the S100 or G12 - also "5x or under zoom cameras" - at 4-5+ times the price - its IQ might not win.... But in a comp for "Best IQ and functions under $100.00" - the A1200 would score exceeding-well! :D
.....
That it has a pretty good viewfinder - and runs on user-friendly AAs - while also having a neat LCD - and even HD-720 video - is amazing!
Regards, Dave.

Dave - you'll get no arguments from me on all those good points.

I feel the A1200 far exceeds its price point - it's not just good for its price (cheap here) - perhaps good at any price would be an exaggeration - basically it is good and more than adequate for my usage.

Of course it isn't the "bestest" IQ in the world -
but it seems churlish to say it's not as good as a dSLR - it isn't -
neither did I expect it to be.

I am happy with my results - it took me while to get used to no Image Stabilization and the slower/sluggish response time - I have learned to live with both.

I said elsewhere I feel the IQ gives very little away - even to my dSLR - for the way I use it -
and I would go as far to say it is better for flash usage than my dSLR -
and I love my dSLR for very low available light photography.
Slightly OT - here are a couple of albums of low available light work from my dSLR -
https://picasaweb.goog​le.com/UnknownVincent/​PureSoundzPt2 (external link)
https://picasaweb.goog​le.com/UnknownVincent/​RussellGunn (external link)
there are part in that venue where the light level is below both the AF and metering limits of that dSLR.

I have used Canon compacts/p&s for years dating all the way back to the original 2Mp Digital ELPH S100 -

2Mp Digital ELPH S100 (circa 2000)

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flash shot that was used for the CD cover in the opening post.

No flash -
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3Mp A70 (circa 2003)
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7Mp S70 (circa 2005)
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8Mp S80 (circa 2007)
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14Mp G10 (used at 9Mp circa 2009)
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UnknownVT
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Jan 29, 2012 13:19 |  #7

UnknownVT wrote in post #13753616 (external link)
a mere test shot - close to 100% crop - this is a pretty stringent test, as it is very close focus - therefore shallow depth of field, and unforgiving detail - that would show if one messes up.

The full frame of that dollar bill test shot:

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Did another test - full frame:
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100% crop:
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100% crop:
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Some outdoor shots:
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included my shadow in bottom left corner.

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scene as I found it - just waited for car to come by (only shot using LCD screen as viewfinder)

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cropped from:
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UnknownVT
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Feb 18, 2012 12:35 as a reply to  @ UnknownVT's post |  #8

IMAGE: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-a7C3p_imx1A/Tz7f9o-3KwI/AAAAAAAA2Z8/OTmUNR_Z9FY/s800/Reid_Jon120216.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/--rTs-dSy4Bw/Tz7gC7ZseFI/AAAAAAAA2Z8/RiPKFinx4wo/s800/dance4_120216.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-u1XnU8aNr2A/Tz7f9JosOmI/AAAAAAAA2Z8/H6ONeUOsPro/s800/ReidDoughten120216.jpg

Like any photo timing is important - the A1200 seems to have a longer shutter lag than I am used to (I use pre-focus recompose and wait to shoot)
Also with flash - because of only 2 AA batteries (normally an advantage) - the recycle can be slow - causing a full depress of the shutter button not to take the photo.
So a lot of this type of stuff for me can be a bit hit and miss.

Vincent
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UnknownVT
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Feb 19, 2012 13:19 as a reply to  @ UnknownVT's post |  #9

Just when I thought I was getting handle on things - last night I took what appeared to be a bunch of really good shots - BUT on closer examination on the computer - I realized they had a bit to be desired - but I managed to salvage them - I'll also show the as-is straight out of the camera:

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-FFcqKBSsxpg/T0E9iOLjakI/AAAAAAAA2dU/MLSzQq7g_IU/s800/IkeStubblefield120218.jpg

BUT this was the original (resize only):
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my guess is that the bright yellow lights fooled the A1200 to under expose the flash - that's despite using Slow-Sync flash

I had to use tone map/curves to up the lower mid-tones without blowing out the highlights then fiddle with the saturation and color balance to get what I saw....
quite a bit of work.

A bit less problematic - but still far from ideal -
IMAGE: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-APldLi3INZw/T0E9d0U_xcI/AAAAAAAA2dU/8rIk-XBCstw/s800/GrantGreenJr120218.jpg
this I knew was due his white shirt fooling the A1200 - but nevertheless it had problems when using slow-sync flash - as the ambient light was bright enough that any slight movement by either subject or camera shake destroys the details like on the face.....

Again the original was a bit better -
but still needed more than just simple brightness/contrast adjustments -
IMAGE: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-OKvBC0dGhys/T0E9j6u7sfI/AAAAAAAA2dU/Yo9eYO6bPVc/s800/LilJohnRoberts120218.jpg

Still for the $88 I paid for it the A1200 is really hard to beat -
the end results - after some (harder) pp certainly can rival my dSLR.

Vincent
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UnknownVT
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Mar 02, 2012 12:59 as a reply to  @ UnknownVT's post |  #10

Starting to get more a handle on the A1200.

HOWEVER my copy corrupts images - I see and even review them on the card - then all of a sudden they either disappear altogether or show as unrecognized images/files.

This has happened 4 times now on 3 different SD cards - including one that had seen service for over 4 years in Canon S80 then G10 without any problems - they have all passed multiple passes on 3 different SD card write/read tests.

It would seem pretty unlikely that all 3 cards are faulty.......

this problem may be hard to isolate -
since it seems to only occur intermittently with days/months
and hundreds (or perhaps even thousands) of shots in between

The 4 occurrences:
Dec/23/2011 ~ IMG_1695.jpg (37 images)
Feb/19/2012 ~ IMG_4058.jpg (9 images)
Feb/23/2012 ~ IMG_4297.JPG (1 image)
Feb/29/2012 ~ IMG_4658.JPG (37 images)

I have managed to recover most of the images using:
MjM Photo Recovery (external link)
PhotoRec (external link)
(surprisingly Recuva could not recover the files)

This makes my copy of the A1200 UNtrustworthy

I have contacted Canon and they have asked me to return it for examination.

Anyway in the meantime from last night (even though there was a chance my A1200 might corrupt images)

IMAGE: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-oag9WuWtGhU/T1Ee_3_fI5I/AAAAAAAA25s/mAoyat3R_t0/s800/DaveRoth120301Px.jpg
this one has EXIF still attached.

IMAGE: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nrGNQP4AHxk/T1ERH-qCYkI/AAAAAAAA24Y/qNggwdOUP6k/s800/JimRansone120301.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-E_J4M4VDGf8/T1ERJa3Hk_I/AAAAAAAA25A/S5p3BdOsUGU/s800/guestGtr120301.jpg

Vincent
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Michael ­ Tsao
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Mar 03, 2012 02:29 |  #11

great review




  
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UnknownVT
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Mar 03, 2012 14:48 |  #12

Michael Tsao wrote in post #14012745 (external link)
great review

Thank you for your kind words.

From last night (still taking a chance that my A1200 may corrupt images on the SD card)

IMAGE: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-fdCxzjaPjsM/T1KAUhsBGeI/AAAAAAAA26Y/3GlpT6yyE9Q/s800/CharlieWooten120302.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-2-ElEdyyzcU/T1KAVobw3EI/AAAAAAAA27E/KtRzxaSAV9Q/s800/cWooten120302.jpg

I have not managed to do shots like these on my dSLR.

Vincent
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RexC
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Mar 05, 2012 00:58 |  #13

I bought one just because I wanted HD video on the cheap. Turns out that HD video is decent, but not as good as I'd hoped, although I still use it (works ok under artificial lighting; decent on sunny days). Still photos are pretty good if it's sunny (for snapshots), or if low light and the thing isn't moving, I use ISO 80, timer, and a surface to put it on. I thought these photos turned out a lot better than I expected:

IMAGE: http://users.tpg.com.au/dougchan//IMG_1113.JPG

IMAGE: http://users.tpg.com.au/dougchan//IMG_1115.JPG

IMAGE: http://users.tpg.com.au/dougchan//IMG_1116.JPG

IMAGE: http://users.tpg.com.au/dougchan//IMG_1131.JPG

First 3 photos are in the Monash Wind Tunnel. First and last are zoomed out; 2/3rd are zoomed pretty far in (camera sitting on the tunnel floor in the converging section of the tunnel). The car is the 2011 Melbourne Uni/MUR Motorsports FSAE car. Lots more photos on facebook: http://www.facebook.co​m …6.384075.559588​035&type=3 (external link)



  
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UnknownVT
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Mar 05, 2012 11:35 |  #14

RexC wrote in post #14025617 (external link)
if low light and the thing isn't moving, I use ISO 80, timer, and a surface to put it on. I thought these photos turned out a lot better than I expected:

First 3 photos are in the Monash Wind Tunnel. First and last are zoomed out; 2/3rd are zoomed pretty far in (camera sitting on the tunnel floor in the converging section of the tunnel).

Cool stuff.

Even though the stationary objects are nice and sharp - the third pic shows that keeping the camera still can't avoid actual subject movement, as in the person on the left - after all it was a 1 sec shot!
But the person's movement enhances the photo for me, giving an otherwise stationary photo some life/movement.

I just realized there is a real advantage to a cheapie camera that I hadn't thought of before.
For the current US low price of about $79 shipped
(or even cheaper like average of US$60 new shipped bid on eBay)
one's expectations can't be that high -
So the usage becomes more adventurous -
shooting some conditions, just to see what it might be able to do -
as seen the A1200 can do pretty well - comparable to cameras costing a lot more -
but it's those adventurous results that make the camera.

A1200 has 12Mp squeezed onto a tiny (1/2.3") sensor chip
so its HighISO performance is nothing to write home about.

However on Saturday I had to use it a lot without flash
which meant all at ISO800 (the AutoISO max), all handheld.
I deliberately used "full" AUTO setting as that limits the minimum shutter speed to 1/8sec
and was very pleasantly surprised by my results (all have EXIF attached)

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-sp7iYw3lehU/T1RKPDOsvJI/AAAAAAAA3AM/u8aS8qFBs8M/s800/RyanDonald120303x.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Ag_J4nyVfvc/T1RKOyb99BI/AAAAAAAA3AE/Mbpb3HbZvbc/s800/Brock120303x.jpg

IMAGE: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ZNIHFTanO2Q/T1RKPvmO6tI/AAAAAAAA3AI/XnTZODsN1VI/s800/PatBrookes120303x.jpg

Vincent
http://picasaweb.com/U​nknownVincent?showall=​true (external link)
http://UnknownVincent.​Shutterfly.com (external link)
http://UnknownVT.Shutt​erfly.com (external link)
http://UnknownVT.multi​ply.com/photos (external link)

  
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RexC
Mostly Lurking
17 posts
Joined Feb 2008
Location: Wantirna/Melbourne/AU
     
Mar 06, 2012 01:04 |  #15

If by adventurous, you mean race-taping said $100 camera to a thin aluminium sidepod on the above racecar, then yes. :) Like this: http://www.facebook.co​m …7.369118.551992​166&type=3 (external link)

Results were pretty fun: though only the damper is in focus, you can still get a feel of the track, and the speed.
http://www.facebook.co​m …o.php?v=1015059​1700543036 (external link)




  
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