The Canon Powershot SD1200 IS Digital ELPH is an inexpensive–without being cheap–auto-only (with some manual overrides) ultra compact with all the features you need and none of the ones you don’t. Its very small size, good build quality, 3X zoom lens with built-in image stabilization, ten megapixel sensor and sharp, well saturated images makes it the ultimate, carry-everywhere, fit-in-your-pocket, supersnapshot camera. Plus, for the fashion conscious, it comes in six, attractive colors.
My Best In Class Pick
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
The Canon Powershot SD1200 continues the ELPH tradition of a small, moderately priced, easy-to-use, durable, point-n-shoot camera that produces excellent images. It appears to be a replacement as well as an incremental upgrade to the popular SD770, which debuted in March 2008, with apparently the same 10 megapixel sensor, same 6.2-18.6mm f/2.8-4.9 (35-105mm equiv.) 3X zoom lens, optical viewfinder and feature set.
Major improvements include the new DIGIC 4 image processor, Smart AUTO that intelligently determines the proper camera settings based on eighteen predefined shooting situations, and LiveView. As with all upgrades, some of the less useful or used features have been eliminated. The time lapse and compact video modes of the 770 are gone leaving only the 640x480 and 320x240 formats, both at 30 fps, and from the still Shooting Modes: Color Accent, Color Swap, Camera M, and Stitch Assist modes are gone as well.
The SD1200’s image quality seems to be improved over its predecessor’s (due to the new DIGIC 4 processor, I’m sure) with less noise, improved sharpness and better color contributing to better prints right out of the camera, which the camera seems designed by default for. But like all small sensor ultra compacts, even the SD1200, image noise will always be a problem. It’s the nature of the beast. So, for best results, shoot at the lowest ISO possible, 80 or 100 preferably, and use 1600 or 3200 only for emergencies, but otherwise avoid them.
Overall, the SD1200 has more good than bad. The major caveats being the small LCD and, believe it or not, the small size, which can be a problem: too easy to get a finger (or two) in front of the lens or flash. But the small size (and light weight) is an advantage as well, making it easy to slip into a pocket or bag for carrying all the time. So, if you want a no muss, no fuss camera for your snapshots, then the Powershot SD1200 Digital ELPH is highly recommended.
Comparison with Canon PowerShot SD780 IS
The slightly higher priced Powershot SD780 IS Digital ELPH is essentially the same as the SD1200 feature-wise, but has the added advantage of a 12.1 megapixel image sensor, slightly shorter 33-100mm (equiv.) f/3.2-5.8 3X zoom lens, 720p HD video and LiveView. However, it lacks an optical viewfinder.
- +In-the-lens image stabilization
- +DIGIC 4 image processor
- +Face detection
- +Smart AUTO
- +Optical viewfinder
- +Build quality
- +Battery life
- -Small LCD
- -No HD video
Where to buy
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
See It »
Comparing My Best In Class Pick with Other Good Choices
|Product||Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS||Canon PowerShot SD780 IS|
Close Effective Sensor Resolution The Effective Sensor Resolution tells you the total number of pixels that are recorded when you take a picture. The units are MP, which stands for megapixels or millions of pixels. For outstanding fine compression prints, 3MP is required for 5x7's, 7.1MP for 8x10's, and 10.9MP for 11x14's. The effective sensor resolution is only one of many important factors that will determine the quality of the photograph when displayed or printed at different sizes.
|10.0 megapixels||12.1 megapixels|
Close Min Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. On any 35 mm film camera, a 30 mm or less lens is considered a wide-angle lens.
Close Max Focal Length (35 mm equivalent) The 35 mm equivalent focal length is a measure that indicates the angle of view of a particular combination of a camera lens and the sensor size. The term originates from the time when the vast majority of photography was done with 35 mm film. Larger max focal lengths make distant objects appear more magnified.
Close Max Aperture (wide-angle) The aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that determines the amount of light falling onto the sensor. The maximum aperture (wide-angle) is the largest possible size at the wide-angle limit of the zoom lens. The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening, which allows more light to reach the image sensor.
Close Max Aperture (tele-photo) The aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens that determines the amount of light falling onto the sensor. The maximum aperture (tele-photo) is the largest possible size at the tele-photo limit of the zoom lens. The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening, which allows more light to reach the image sensor.
|Image Stabilization Type||Optical (lens shift)||Optical (lens shift)|
|Min ISO Setting||80||80|
|Max ISO Setting||1600||1600|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical (tunnel)||None|
Close LCD Screen Size The LCD Screen Size is the length of the miniature LCD monitor measured diagonally.
|2.5 inches||2.5 inches|
|LCD Screen Resolution||230,000 pixels||230,00 pixels|
|Max Video Resolution||640x480 pixels||1280x720 pixels|
|Size (W x H x D)||3.4 x 2.2 x 0.9 in.||3.4 x 2.2 x 0.7 in.|
|Weight (with batteries)||4.2 oz.||5.6 oz.|
|Battery Life||300 shots||300 shots|
Canon PowerShot SD780 IS
With a 12.1 megapixel image sensor, almost distortion free 5.9-17.9mm f/3.2-5.8 3X zoom (33-100mm equiv.) lens with built-in optical image stabilization, quick autofocus with Face Detection, sharp, well saturated images; 720p HD video, and LiveView, you won’t mind not having an optical viewfinder.
How It Works
You tell us your budget, intended uses, and desired features. We show you personalized recommendations from unbiased experts to quickly identify the best digital camera for you.
How to Pick Digital Cameras
- For Travel Photos
- For Photos of Children or Pets
- For Action or Sports Photos
- For Photos in Low Light