Featured User Review: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

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Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS Digital Camera Our most important content comes from the PhotographyREVIEW.com member community. I chose luv4′s Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS digital camera review as a Featured User Review because it’s very detailed and it’s the first user review for a very new camera. Your reviews are the foundation of PhotographyREVIEW.com. Share your experience with other photographers by writing reviews for your cameras and other photo gear. You don’t have to be an expert – everyone’s opinion counts.

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Featured Review: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

by luv4 (Professional)

Price Paid: $230.00 from local camera store
Review Date: June 3, 2009
Used product for: Less than 1 month

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 5 of 5

This is a camera that fulfills my need for a small pocketable camera – and I mean shirt pocket or jeans – that takes good images, has quick performance, and is built to last. Let me tell you this camera is tiny and light weight. It’s has the same dimensions as a credit card and is under an inch thick. Wow! This is another gem in the continuing Canon ELPH series.

The most important thing besides the ability to carry this camera everywhere was that it took images that passed my critical requirements for low noise, vibrant colors, clean and sharpness details. The SD1200 delivered on all of these criteria. I am very pleased with its capabilities in low lighting. Yes there is noise as in all point and shoot cameras… that’s a given. But noise is minimal and acceptable below and including ISO 400. For those who must require higher ISO (up to 3200 on this camera – at lower resolution) be prepared to use some noise reduction software like Neat Image or Noise Ninja to clean up the image afterwards.

The SD1200 with its sharp lens plus the 10 megapixel resolution delivers stunning resolving power. Often zooming in at 100% I am astonished to see how much details are present. The pictures are extremely detailed! I can read letters on signs that I shoot from a long distance away. Colors are clean and rich.

The LCD often displays the images much better than it really looks though. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Obviously having a sharp and colorful LCD makes it easy to compose and view images. But images appear more vibrant than they are. To get the same vibrancy you would have to touch up the brightness and saturation in post processing.

The autofocus is spot on accurate and extremely quick. I don’t think I have gotten many blurry pictures, except mainly due to user error in selecting a low ISO which makes shutter speed slow to compensate. The shutter lag is minimal and almost a non issue unless you must take action shots. In which case a DSLR would fit your needs better than an ultra compact camera. Its a very snappy camera and ideal for point and shooters who want good speed and autofocus performance.

Battery life is stellar. I’ve used it for a week taking about 20 pictures each day and haven’t seen the battery meter budge. It still shows full charge. I’m not sure if it’s broken but we’ll see. Anyways, if the battery meter is accurate I’m very happy with its performance.

I like that there is an autofocus lock and exposure lock. This is handled by pressing the shutter button halfway and pressing one of the other buttons at the back of the camera.

The I-Contrast feature is pretty neat although I would use it sparingly. It does introduce more noise in the images. Basically it adjusts the contrast and lighting of the image so that there is more balance between dark and light areas. This means it allows more lighting within shadows so there’s more detail and brightness there. I haven’t used this much but so far the times I used it works quite well. I would recommend to just set I-Contrast on ‘auto’ and let the camera determine when to apply it. It might slow down the camera a tad, but I haven’t noticed.

There’s so many scene modes that I haven’t tried them all yet. There’s one for almost any occasion. I prefer to use Program mode which allows the user to select ISO, exposure compensation, and white balance. Speaking of white balance, the SD1200 does pretty well getting the lighting colors correct in auto. There’s also the regular complement of Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent, Flourescent, and Custom white balances found in all Canon PowerShot cameras for finer tuning.

The power button, as well as almost all the buttons except the shutter, are flushed against the camera. This means it takes both small fingers with some dexterity to push. Those with larger hands would find it quite difficult to hold and operate this camera. For smaller hands this camera is relatively easy to hold with its matte metallic finish. I would have preferred a thumb rest at the back of the camera but space is quite tight back there and one must rest their thumb very near the ‘display’ button and the LCD screen.

There is some blurriness at the corners of the lens. Unless you zoom close to 100% you will notice, otherwise it’s no big a deal.

The battery door and tripod mount are indeed plastic. I have yet to experience any issues with build quality, but I’ll just have to see over time if it last. I am especially worried about the battery door because it is somewhat thin and flexible.

The tiny viewfinder is rather small and it’s really not accurate, so use it only for composing in very bright lighting. Don’t try to use it for macro shots or anything close in distance because you often focus on the wrong subject.

This camera could use some more features like better video mode like High Definition (HD), panorama assist, color swap, and timelapse which are found in other Canon point and shoot cameras at one point or another.

I would have liked a 28mm wide angle zoom. But I knew this before buying the camera that it only had 35mm at its widest. For those who like to shoot wider try the Panasonic Lumix cameras.

Similar Products Used:
Pentax, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic cameras

Customer Service:
Have not used it yet

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All Canon User Reviews
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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of PhotographyREVIEW.com and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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