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1,663 of 1,695 people found the following review helpful
The SD1200 has some big changes over its predecessor SD1100, and is the smallest, best designed Elph I've used thus far.

I've owned many models of Elph, this is my 6th or 7th, so my review is aimed especially at other serial Canon owners. I mostly compare the SD1200 to the SD1100.

* The big changes: Digic4 and a larger CCD sensor. The slight increase in CCD size (1/2.3" vs 1/2.5") should make for "cleaner" photos. And Digic4 promises faster/cleaner shots also.

* You get 10MP vs 8MP on the SD1100, and "medium" (M1) size is now 6MP. JPG quality is down to 2 setting: Fine or Normal.

* SD1200 is only slightly smaller than the SD1100, but feels notably smaller by virtue of curved edges and the LCD being flush with the body (no bump-out).

* The 1200 now feels as small as this design can shrink. Good news: my average-sized male hands can still comfortably hold it, barely not covering lens, flash, or resting on the LCD. But the round power-button is now almost too small to press if you had big fingers and no fingernails.

* 1200's new battery is a higher capacity 1000mAh (vs ~760mAh for SD1100). There's also a new charger (not compatible with the old batteries), a glossy white-colored model to blend into your wall.

* The buttons and menus are streamlined. There's now a button for review mode, pressing it a 2nd time takes you back to the previous state. Handy. The slider has dedicated AUTO and Manual settings, no longer need to use menus for that switch.

* Continuous mode and ISO now are in the Function Menu (on the SD1100, they had dedicated buttons).

* A SD card is no longer included. This makes sense to me, a 32MB card is barely useful, and with the downward pressure on electronics prices, I can't imagine Canon wanting to bundle a more expensive/bigger card. Some people will find this lack annoying.

* The A/V output is gone, and the USB connector now serves both purposes (both kinds of included cables now have a USB-end)

* A new version of Canon software is required for this model, Zoombrowser 6.3. Canon typically requires a new release for each new family/season of cameras. Unfortunately, the CameraWindow software has been intentionally dumbed-down in the 6.x software and no longer offers the options to delete your photos (have to go through the OS), nor to chose custom naming for the downloads. I say intentionally, since I asked Canon customer-support about it and they stated the changes were not bugs. The last Canon software to still have that functionality was 5.x, corresponding to the SD1000 and other cameras released that season.

* In casual indoor tests, the 1200 seemed more ready to go to ISO400 (often too "noisy" to be useful) when the SD1100 would have chosen ISO200.

* The SD1200 and SD1100 have identical specs on their optics. However, I noticed a more pronounced barrel-distortion on the 1200 at extreme wide-angle. (still only noticable in close-up shots of straight-edged items at wide-angle)

* In a casual speed test, the SD1200 took/stored photos notably faster the SD1100 (same scene, continuous-mode, same brand SD card), despite the 1200's image size being larger.

* Canon's paper manuals have been shrinking steadily. With this model, the only manual included is a quick-start guide, the rest is on CD-ROM.

* The packaging is even more efficient than before, about half the size of the SD1100's box.

* Sadly, there is no HD video mode, although all of the other Elphs released this spring had HD. SD1200 owners are stuck with 640x480 video.

Canon has several sub-series within the compact Elph line, varying mostly by asthetics and optics. The SD1200 is successor to the series that included the SD1100, SD1000, and SD600. These all favor a classic, slim design. If you're unfamiliar with Canon's Powershot cameras, there's lots of good material out there on camera sites such as dpreview.

In general, the small sensors and optics in all ultra-compact digital cameras lead to some optical quirks (such as barrelling), chromatic aberrations, over/under-exposure in bright sunlight/shade, and underpowered flashes. That's intrinsic to the size of camera, and vendors try to correct these effects in their on-board processing. My opinion is that Canon does a good job of correcting for these issues and the Elphs including the SD1200 take very good photos for their size.

It's questionable that a SD1100 owner would specifically find this a compelling upgrade other than the Digic4, but this is an excellent compact camera in all ways. Apart from the noteworthy quirks: the lack of HD and the limited features in the download software, this camera is Highly Recommended.
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459 of 474 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
I don't typically bother reviewing products because I usually only buy things that already have a lot of reviews. I decided to throw in my 2 cents on this one in hopes someone can benefit from my experience. I primarily use my camera for family shots, mostly of my young children. I loved my old Canon A610 more that I can say and it has served me well for 4 years. Recently one of my children got a hold of it and bent up the little dealies that close over the lens cap to the point where I had to pull them off with tweezers just to use the camera. That's when I decided it was time to see what Canon now has to offer. I am by no means a photography expert. I just want a point and shoot that I can use to snap high quality family photos for prints, digital scrapbooks, etc.

The sale price on this camera seemed excellent for the features and a free memory card offer sucked me in so I took the plunge. I assumed it would be a major upgrade from my 5MP A610. Once I had the battery charged up I started taking photos of my kids in auto mode. I was *shocked* at the poor quality of the photos. Every photo I reviewed was terrible. Many were blurry, and the ones that weren't couldn't be cropped to the slightest degree without losing all detail. I couldn't believe it! Auto mode on my old Canon had never failed me before and I could crop all the way to the eyeballs without loss of detail. Determined not to give up, I did some research. Several people recommended "kids and pets" mode. I tried this and the blurry issue was solved. However, the cropping issue still remained. I dug deeper and started messing with ISO settings and a bunch of other stuff I don't really understand. I just couldn't solve the problem. I even got out my old Canon and took identical shots with both cameras and the old one won out every single time. I must point out that these were all indoor shots with relatively low light. I realize these are not ideal conditions, but if a camera can't handle those conditions then it isn't for me.

I had pretty much resolved to return this camera and was already shopping on Amazon for another one when I decided to give it one more try. I simply couldn't understand how this camera could perform so poorly. I fired it back up in "kids and pets" mode and started looking around at all the settings it would let me modify. That's when I noticed an "S" in the bottom left corner of the screen. Hmmm...what could this be? The other options for this setting are L M1 M2 M3 S and W. It turns out that this setting determines the number of megapixels that the camera uses. L is the highest resolution setting which uses all 10MP and 3648x2736 resolution. S (which is what the camera was automatically set to) has a resolution of only 640x480 and appears to use .3MP. Soooo, I bumped it from S up to L and now my camera takes awesome photos. Once again I can crop to the eyeballs and now side by side the same photos look even better on the new camera than they did on my old one. Also, with my 4GB memory card it says I can take approximately 1450 photos at this higher resolution. So now all is right with the world, I don't have to deal with the hassle of a return, and I can take awesome family photos this Christmas.

Even though the camera is performing admirably now, I had to give it 4 stars because it should not have been such a pain in the rear to straighten this out. Not to mention that the included paper manual does not even address this issue at all. I assume the online manual covers it, but should I really have to go that far to get one croppable indoor shot? This is a point and shoot!! Most of the bad reviews were for the same problem I was having. The majority of purchasers don't want to have to switch a bunch of settings; they just want the camera to take great photos without a lot of effort.
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402 of 418 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2009
I'm a professional photographer. I got tired of dragging my D3,D200 or other large cameras around, and worrying about it getting damaged. I decided to buy a camera just for fun that could fit in my purse and I wouldn't have a heart attack if it broke. Well I didn't hold that high of expectations of the camera, but after getting it, I've had a lot of fun with it. Not the most amazing pictures come from it (I am used to very high quality pictures), but they are good enough shots of my family. It's easy to use, really easy to set, FAST, and good low light. You don't always need the flash. It's very small, and can fit easily in my purse (that are all quiet small purses actually). This is a perfect camera if you just want some fun shots that are clear, and you want an easy to use fast camera. This is NOT good for "professional" type shots (why do people write reviews of these cameras and get all down on them for not being professional grade cameras? They never claim to be!).
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643 of 686 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2009
I bought the SD110 (3.2MP) back in 2004 and decided it was time to upgrade this year as it was showing some age. The latest version of that same line is the SD1200. I have had it for a few weeks now and have a few observations. The SD1200 is much faster from the time you turn it on until it is ready to shoot as compared to the SD110. Next, the screen is far better than the one on the SD110. Very bright and readable even in sunlight. The camera itself is smaller than the SD110 as you might expect but does feel a little cheaper. So far I have taken the SD1200 to three main events. A birthday party, K-4 graduation, backyard play time. The birthday part pictures did not turn out well in automatic mode. We were indoors (Pump-it-up) and the lighting was probably not the best. The images were blurry for the most part. I had the same issue at the second event (K-4 graduation) but this time I switched to manual mode and used the "indoor" setting. This greatly improved the picture. Finally, the outdoor shots turned out looking wonderful in automatic mode. With the SD110 the automatic mode was always better than any of the manual settings. It seems with the SD1200 that is not the case. I will continue to explore the settings/features of the camera. I was expecting the SD1200 to be far superior to my 5 year old SD110 but so far the pictures themselves have not turned out markedly better.
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116 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2009
Wow! This is the 3rd Cannon Elph camera that I have owned. Cannon hit a home run with this one. I can't seem to take a bad picture with this camera. I use it for work and take pictures all day long under different situations. Everything operates on automatic, the camera even switches automatically between long distance and macro modes. It is able to produce great pictures in different lighting situations, where my others cameras have failed in the past.

This is about my 25th digital camera that I have purchased, we actually wear them out through use, and I will purchase this same camera again, and highly recommend it to you. You will be satisfied. The only negative that I can say is that the camera is almost too small for my large hands and the camera disappears in your pockets and you will forget that you are carrying it! Really, that is not a problem, and actually probably a plus if you are on vacation and don't want to be lugging around some big war club old camera to take some pics.

I can't recommend this camera more. I just plain love it.
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91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2009
Overall, I think this is a great compact camera and is invaluable for the spontaneous people shots that capture those special moments in life. It won't take pictures worthy of National Geographic (meaning it won't replace a dSLR), but it fills in well when a large camera is just too much equipment to be carrying around.


*Very short power up to shot time
*Pocket friendly
*Solid build, mostly metal body
*Great battery life
*Bright LCD with good resolution
*Sharp images in good lighting/daylight
*Image stabilization
*Easy to use
*Captures vibrant colors
*DIGIC processor picks appropriate settings for most shots (see below)
*No red eye!
*Fast zoom


*No manual controls or scene modes
*Tends to use higher than necessary ISO settings (more grainy pictures, sometimes making them unusable) in low light using Auto Mode (ISO can be set manually in P mode)
*Underpowered flash (common to most compact cameras)
*Paper thin battery compartment cover!

Mostly, the camera suffers from its diminutive size. It doesn't offer much in terms of artistic controls, but does a very good job of making those decisions most of the time. This makes it ideal for the weekend snapshot photographer who wants to take good photos without much more than hitting a shutter button! Great all purpose camera, everyday camera.
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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2009
I purchased this camera as a replacement for an older Canon powershot that had been dropped 1 too many times.

I love the improved shutter lag time. (still has one but it is better!) The camera comes on quickly, after you have taken a photo, there is not a long wait before you can take another. I was able to easily capture my busy 3 and 4 year old kids in motion without blur (this is HUGE!).

The Auto mode is easy to use and so far has taken wonderful photos. I can not speak to the software that came with the camera as I always use picasa to tweak photos and I use the software with Shutterfly to crop or remove redeye before printing them.

On a side note, the SD cards have really come down in price!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2009
The Canon Powershot takes pictures superfast and ultra-clear. It even takes photos with a subtle depth of field, in other words you can focus on something in the foreground and the background will be slightly blurred. Its a lot like using a 35mm, or the Digital Rebel. The photos are amazing! I used to have a Sony and everything looked so flat. You can get some real artistic shots with this little beauty....and the best part is that its shocking hot pink and I got mine for under $200!!! I love it:)
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2009
I got this camera because my son is nearly 2 and I'd noticed that my photo taking had dramatically dropped off. He'd be doing something adorable and I'd run to get the camera and by the time I got back he'd be five activities past whatever he'd been doing.

I needed a Dad camera - one that was small enough to carry with me all the time, started up fast, had good image stabilization and face detection, decent zoom and flash, was 100% automatic (no tweaking with portrait mode vs. sunny day mode vs. contrast settings while my son was peddling his tricycle for the first time), and was cheap enough that I wouldn't mind dropping it occasionally.

The Cannon SD1200IS is that camera. It's been a joy to use. I got the grey leather Cannon case to go with it and I now carry it everywhere. Looks a bit geeky (with the case it's about the size of a blackberry) but I've caught tons spontaneous shots that would have vanished in the time it would take to get a larger camera. I agree with other posters - the battery and USB covers are a bit flakey - but the rest of the camera is solid. I've dropped it from waist height twice now with no issues.

A couple unexpected benefits:
1) My son now loves taking pictures himself (I hold the camera - he aims and pushes the button) - and the auto focus works well enough that some of his shots come out pretty well. It's neat to see what's important enough in his world to take a photo of (mostly toy trains and cars these days) and he's very proud of his own pictures.
2) I didn't know it when I purchased but the SD1200IS has a built in accelerometer so Picasa now auto-rotates all my imported photos - 15 minutes of time magically recovered from each week!

Highly, highly recommended ;-D
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 24, 2009
The Canon SD1200 is a good ultra-small camera at the current price of around $150. For people planning to spend $200, there may be better choices from both Canon and Panasonic.

The materials and workmanship on the Canon SD1200 look cheaper than on my older Canon SD1000. The SD1000 looked like a very expensive camera, and the SD1200, up close, looks cheaply made. Looks don't always predict durability...judging by customer comments, it is likely that the two models are about equally reliable.

As with most small Canon cameras, photos taken in the "auto" mode are likely to be adequate, but seldom exceptional in quality. To get the best results with the SD1200, the owners should spend a couple of hours practicing setting exposure levels, ISO levels, and adjusting white balance, contrast, saturation, and sharpness. For most outdoor photos on a sunny day, the best results will come from "locking" the ISO at 100, dropping exposure 1/3 stop, decreasing contrast to the minimum, and increasing sharpness.

With practice, you can change exposure levels or ISO levels in less than five seconds. If a photo looks too bright or too dark, you can simply retake the photo with the exposure level adjusted for the best results. The tiny flash of the SD1200 works best if you "lock" the ISO at 200, and stay three feet to six feet from your primary subject. If you take a flash photo of a group of people sitting twenty feet away, you are likely to get poor results.

Read the complete owners manual, and work through all of the settings page by page. Many folks have, by accident, set their camera for macro focus and are surprised all of their photos are now blurry, or set the camera in a mode that takes tiny one meg sized photos, and are surprised by the photos not being sharp and detailed. A less than excellent photo with this camera will be the result of a mistake by the owner about 99 times out of a hundred.

The folks who complain about not getting sharp photos simply need to practice. To get sharp photos, you should press the shutter down halfway to lock the focus and exposure, hold the camera steady with both hands, and gently push down on the shutter. With practice, most people can get very sharp photos outdoors at shutter speeds as low as 1/15th of a second. The folks who hold their camera with one hand and fail to pre-focus will seldom get sharp photos with ANY small digital camera.

Although the SD1200 will fit into your jeans pocket, it belongs in a padded case. In your pocket, sooner or later you will damage the lens mechanism, and the lens will refuse to open or close. Or you will damage the viewing screen. Keeping the camera in a padded case in your bag or clipped to your built ensures many years of reliable service...and don't forget...never leave a digital camera inside a parked car...the 120 degree summer temperatues will fry its brain.
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