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Canon PowerShot A1200 camera review: Optical viewfinder, AA batteries, and good photos

For an entry-level camera, the Canon PowerShot A1200 offers a lot for little money.

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Canon all but abandoned optical viewfinders on its PowerShot cameras; the high-end G12 was the only one. That changed at CES 2011, though, with the announcement of the Canon PowerShot A1200, an entry-level point-and-shoot with a real-image zoom viewfinder.

Along with the viewfinder, this budget-friendly 12-megapixel compact is powered by AA-size batteries, has a large selection of shooting options, uses an f2.8 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 4x zoom, and captures 720p HD-resolution movie clips. About the only thing missing is optical image stabilization, but you can counteract hand shake by using the viewfinder.

Like most cameras in its price range, though, the A1200 is slow, so I wouldn't recommend it for regularly shooting active kids and pets. It also isn't great at higher ISO sensitivities, so low-light photos without a flash aren't the greatest. Still, given the cost, they're hardly disappointing.

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