It has been a long time between drinks for the entry-level Canon SLR. The last time the line got an update was at the start of 2011 with the 1100D. A lot has changed in three years in the camera world.
Fortunately, Canon has equipped the 1200D with enough features to make up for the wait. Top-line updates include a 3-inch LCD screen and full HD 1080p video recording. The body design of the 1200D does not stray too far from the familiar, with a carbon fibre and polycarbonate resin body making the camera light to hold. Tipping the scales at 480g (body only) the 1200D is light enough to make sure that your first excursion into SLR territory isn't too intimidating.
On that note, scene intelligent auto mode can do all the work for you if you're not ready to enter the world of manual controls just yet. If you want to adjust colours or saturation, but you're not sure of how to do it through the menus by playing with white balance settings, the 1200D will let you tweak these easily in Live View mode and see the results in real time on the screen. As with other Canon cameras, a range of creative filters can be applied to photos after they have been taken, adding effects such as fish-eye and toy camera.
More advanced users can delve into the menu system to extend the native ISO range from 100-6400, and it's expandable up to 12,800. There are also manual audio levels (though no external microphone jack) and automatic or manual movie exposure modes.
The 9-point AF system is unchanged from the older 1100D, but will suffice for users who are stepping up to an SLR for the first time. At the heart of the 1200D is an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (3:2 aspect ratio), teamed with the Digic 4 processor.
The MR-14 EX II
The 1200D will be available in Australia from March. Canon no longer supplies retail prices for its cameras, however, given that the 1200D will sit below the even smaller 100D in the SLR range, it is safe to assume that it will debut at a lower starting price than the 100D. It will come with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 non IS lens as standard in a kit configuration.
No new lenses were announced alongside the 1200D, but there is a new macro ring light (MR-14EX II) for close-up work. It boasts a 5.5 second recycle time, and feeds back the colour temperature to the camera for more accurate white balance. On more advanced cameras like the 70D, users will be able to control flash operation using the camera's LCD rather than needing to rely on the flash unit display. The MR-14EX II will be available in April.