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on April 26, 2011
Like it's Powershot siblings, the Canon A1200 is a heck of a nice piece of equipment for shooting nature close-ups. I've taken this camera out twice now, and so far it has taken wonderful photos. I've posted some samples from a single hike.

Although the A1200 can't squeeze in on a subject as closely as the A480 (one of my all-time favorite cameras), this new Canon camera is capable of focusing just an inch and a half away from the subject in "Macro" mode. I usually carry one or two Pentax DLSR cameras as I hike through miles of woodland trails every weekend, and although they're great cameras, they simply can't beat Canon Powershots for capturing the tiniest nature subjects, in my opinion. If a subject is smaller than a quarter, out come the Powershots.

This camera takes photos that easily match or beat the quality of images you'll find in typical nature guides by Peterson or Simon & Schuster. Spend a year on the trail with it, and you could easily have a full set of quality publishable photos. Unlike more expensive point-and-shoots or DSLRs, this Powershot doesn't have camera raw or enough pixels to fill a wall, but the image quality and output is suitable for small posters, so who cares? Frankly, counting pixels and foaming over camera raw are not admirable traits, and neither of those things produces good pictures.

Image noise seems to be a bit improved since the A480s and A490s came out, especially when shooting in lower light. This camera has 12 versus 10 megapixels of its predecessors, so in theory you can get a larger photo now and still retain sharpness and detail. The controls will be familiar to anyone who has used a Canon point-and-shoot. I like the general layout of buttons compared to other brands, but that may be just because I'm more familiar with Canon. The A1200 has a viewfinder, which I'll never use because the thing is usually shooting photos right on the ground, and although I like the outdoors, I'm not sticking my face in the dirt and squinting through a viewfinder when I don't have to. The LCD screen is good enough. I've banged and tortured the daylights out of one A480 and killed another one after multiple assaults due to clumsiness. So far, this camera has taken a little knocking around without a complaint.

The A1200 shoots HD video, which isn't nearly as good as even an inexpensive video camera, but nonetheless I was surprised that the movies looked as good as they did. When shooting video, you'll get the best results if you stabilize the camera on a tripod, the back of a chair, a railing, or tree branch, depending on where you are. Video compression is a little cleaner that way, and you can avoid making people sick from zinging the camera around like a roller coaster.

Here are some tips for taking good close-up nature photos with this camera. I usually shoot with the dial in "P" mode. Most importantly, always remember to set the camera on "Macro" (the flower icon button). That allows it to focus as close as 1.5 inches away. Since the camera resets when you turn it off, Arggh!, you have to turn "Macro" on each time you restart it. On this camera, macro focus becomes dysfunctional if you zoom in, so keep it zoomed all the way out. Next, go into the menu and change the general settings. AF Frame should be "Center" so you can pick the point to focus on, AF Frame Size should be "Small" so it doesn't get confused as to where it should focus, and the Digital Zoom is garbage and should be banished forever. Unlike the "Macro" setting, these settings will NOT go away when you turn the camera off, fortunately. Since this is not an image-stabilized camera model, find some way to keep it still when shooting. When you're focused on a close-up subject, even a tiny movement is enough to blur your photo. To keep my camera still, I swear by a monopod with an adjustable pivoting head. Basically it's a one-legged tripod. A monopod can remove the worst of your hand jitters, and it doesn't even need to be extended to the ground -- just having your camera mounted to a stick helps stabilize your shot. Practice photographing coins or small subjects in your yard to get a feeling for macro photography. You'll notice that the area of sharpest focus is not as deep as it is when subjects are father away. You have to make deliberate choices on the point of sharpest focus. Check the photos on a computer if possible, so you can really see how well you're doing. And finally, shoot a million pictures. This is the digital age. You don't have to pay for dud prints any more. Be vicious when culling out the duds, because believe me, nobody wants to see 75 views of the same buttercup flower.
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on March 12, 2011
The Canon A1200 has the features which we value most and as such, is our favorite digital camera. In particular,

* It can take wide angle photos - the equivalent of 28mm on the older film SLR's
* It uses 2 AA batteries which is great - especially when traveling overseas. In the past, we encountered too many occasions when a battery became exhausted in the middle of the day or could not be recharged at night. This was especially true when traveling overseas. So now we only consider cameras which use AA batteries because they can be purchased almost anywhere.
* It takes HD video.
* Its size is compact and can easily fit in a pocket or purse. Years ago, I enjoyed taking photos with SLR's and wore out 3 of them (the film versions). However, I missed many shots on vacation because I did not want to carry an SLR everywhere I went. The compact size of the A1200 allows us to carry it everywhere with ease. And it takes high quality photos.
* This camera does not offer as many options as some others. However, it gives you the options people use most of the time. I do not miss the other ones.

There are a few negatives. Cords to connect the camera to a TV or DVD recorder are sold separately. And it is difficult to force the camera to flash - it wants you to choose the mode and it will decide whether to use the flash. Also, this camera does not have the option to merge 2 or 3 shots into a panoramic picture. And it does not zoom in as close as some other cameras. All that said, we shopped around a lot and, in our opinion, the A1200 has the best combination of features and size.
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on May 28, 2011
I needed a cheap pocket camera that takes good pictures and uses AA batteries. I didn't want to mess around with a charger and an extra battery.

The camera is small and does fit right into my pocket. It takes nice pictures, surpisingly good ones indoors without flash.

I turned off the display to conserve battery power and use the built-in view finder. More than 250 pics so far on the original two AA batteries!

Picture quality is good to very good, depending on my ability to hold it steady. It beats other cameras this size from other companies. Pictures are reasonably sharp, detailed. The pics are good for posting on the web, sending to friends some work situations, such as real estate, auto sales and such. Photos are not what you would send to a glossy magazine, but this is not a DSL with an expensive lens, either. Pics could be used for newspapers.

It's the perfect camera to have along everywhere, all the time, when you don't want to lug around your DSL and lens bag. Pics are at least twice as good as those from camera phones.

You can spend 4x as much for another pocket camera that maybe is only twice as good if you need super crisp shots for professional backup to a DSL, but otherwise, this is a very good camera and value. I wear it on my belt or keep it in my shirt pocket (attached to a lanyard) all the time and get shots that I never would have gotten for leaving my big, bulky camera at home.
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on April 4, 2011
I bought two of these cameras, one for my 10-year-old and one for my 14-year-old, because it has all these features I was looking for:

(1) the image-quality is superb;
(2) it is one of the few compact digital cameras that run on AA batteries (a feature my 14-year-old son will find useful when he studies and travels in Europe this fall);
(3) it is one of the extremely few compact digital cameras that have a viewfinder (a feature that my 10-year-old daughter wanted);
(4) it has a "smart auto" setting and, even more foolproof, an "easy" setting for the simplest use possible;
(5) it can store a lot of images on a 32-GB SD card (a feature that is good to have when cameras are taken away to summer camps or boarding schools);
(6) taking HD movies is simple; and
(7) it comes at an unbeatably low price, making it a great value.

My children had no problem operating this camera from minute one. I highly recommend this camera!
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on November 25, 2011
OK, here are the facts: my other (similar) camera developed a glitch -- it will not allow me to delete photos without loooooong delays. So I went in search of an inexpensive replacement camera. I settled on this Canon.

I did so with trepidation because some of the reviews were lukewarm at best. Yet other reviewers loved it. (This, by the way, is what makes horse races!) So I thought I would take a chance.

Here is why I am happy with my choice: (1) the viewer seems larger than its dimensions suggest; (2) the camera fits in my shirt pocket; (3) the pics are crisp indoors and out; (4) the on-off button is clearly marked and the shot button is nice and robust. For me, these features are all I need. To be sure, the camera has a few video bells and whistles -- I'll try those one of these days. No rush.

A Con: the shot button takes a little getting used to, since it appears to have two stages to it. If you just press and disengage, nothing will happen. It requires a little patience and then it will take the picture. I can live with that idiosyncrasy.

Another Con: no internal memory. You must purchase an SD card before you can use the camera. This too I have accepted, because having pics on cards does make it easy to load them into PCs and laptops.

If you are looking for a simple "point-and-shoot" camera that will also perform other tricks if you are of a mind, go for it!
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on January 2, 2018
I LOVE this camera. I had wanted something similar to my go-to, workhorse CANON Power Shot A550 because of the intuitive logic of it, VIEW FINDER, use of AA find-anywhere-batteries and terrific quality photos and video. I just put this smaller, sleeker Canon through its paces and I am SOOOOOO happy with it. (and Ebazon, the dealer I got it from really went above and beyond to provide the advice and assistance that moved me from a previous purchase to this totally perfect one. So.....I guess my husband can inherit my 550 now cause I'M GOOD TO GO! (oh did I mention what a terrific price for this quality it was)
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on March 28, 2012
This is my second Canon camera and my third point and shoot. What caught my eye with this camera was the price and the megapixels. We took it skiing this past month to Copper Mountain and took bunches of pictures and several movies. Let me digress. My first camera was a Canon S100, a 3 megapixel that took great pictures and I still have it since is it smaller and lighter. The only problem is that the early cameras used NiCad batteries that often lost its charge when you needed it the worse. My second camera was a Nikon. It uses AA batteries. My only issue with the Nikon is that the camera was difficult to use and the picture quality was not good. The Canon A1200, while a little thicker than the Nikon, is by far the better camera in both quality of the picture and the ease of use. Megapixels are not the only selling point for a camera. The quality of the camera is a combination of lens quality, megapixels, the quality of the megapixels and the speed of the lens itself, meaning how well it functions at low light and how well and fast it focuses when your shooting a moving object.

The movie capabilities were exceptional. I used it several times taking pictures of my wife skiing down the hill. The camera didn't shake and the colors and pictures were excellent even when I was using it with my gloves on. It is almost HD quality. With the enclosed software or iMovie on your Apple, you can cut, transfer and mail your movies quickly. You download your movie with the enclosed mini-USB to your computer or by using your SD card.

You will need to purchase a SD card when you purchase your camera. It also takes AA batteries and they seem to last longer than did the Nikon AA's. Using AA batteries in a point and shoot will make your camera larger but the A1200 will still fit in your pocket.

It used to be that Nikon was king of the hill when the world revolved around SLR camera's. Now that point and shoot camera's are the norm, next to cell phone camera's, Canon is by and far the better point and shoot camera out there. As battery technology gets better, the point and shoot will become smaller and better.
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on May 1, 2011
I am not a photographer, but i liked to have a camera with me on my travelling!

I bought this item last week as my old sony cybershot 5.0 Mgp's battery and screen died. I bought my sony one for around 500$ back in 2007, when digital cameras just hit the market. I have to say i was not impressed with the quality of picture sony offered me at all. So I wanted to buy a cheap camera with excellent quality pictures and works on AA battery (easier for travellers, plus Li battery WILL always die. They are expensive to replace compared to AA). I found what i wanted in this camera. I was astonished by the quality of Canon. I believe this A1200 camera is underpriced for the quality you get. The colors are vivid, the pictures are crisp, and no blurr. Even the video is HD and good quality. Something to note is that you can't zoom in/out once you record, but you can zoom before you press record.

If you are looking for a cheap camera with great quality of picture go for this camera. Might be one of the best AA camera out there!
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on August 17, 2015
Pros: uses AA batteries. This is a major plus for me.

Cons: like most compact point-and-shoots, the sensor is small so it is not good in low light. For any camera there is a trade-off between ISO (higher gain=more sensor noise) vs exposure time (longer=more blur). This particular camera is aggressive to pick higher ISO over longer exposure . So with fully automatic settings, in low light you'll get a lot of color noise. The key to taking decent pictures with this camera is to manually set it to ISO 200 and you will do as well as possible. If you hold it steady you can get still a good picture in low light.

Overall, a pretty average point-and-shoot.
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on October 29, 2012
I am an amateur photographer who likes to have a decent point and shoot camera on her. I purchased my last camera 5 years ago and it is a seriously decent camera, but I wanted all the latest bells and whistles before I take a cruise next month without the huge pricetag. The camera functions perfectly. I love the 2 aa batteries and that it takes a standard SD card (nothing proprietary that you have to look all over for). It takes beautiful photos right out of the box. My only complaint is the manual covers the very basics, but not how to use the special features. That is a bit frustrating. I will learn with trial and error, but it really should be in writing so I have less of a chance of messing up a setting and wondering what happened later. The auto setting is brilliant so unless I have a special project, the camera chooses the best settings for me. I also love the viewfinder which is hard to find these days. I live on the beach and the lcd display is rendered useless 50% of the time. It used to be a lot of guesswork, now I can frame the photos. This is really a great little camera and I can see me getting more than a few years out of it!
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