Canon 550D versus Canon 1200D
The Canon EOS 550D (called Canon XS in some regions) and the Canon EOS 1200D (labelled Canon T5 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2010 and February 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 17.9 megapixel.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 550D and the Canon 1200D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 550D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1200D is considerably larger (103 percent) than the Canon 550D. However, the 1200D is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the 550D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 550D nor the 1200D are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Camera Body Specifications
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||530 g||440||no||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft)||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||no||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 1300D (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||101 mm||78 mm||485 g||500||no||2016||449||latest||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||no||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||no||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||no||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||no||2013||549||discont.||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||no||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||no||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||133 mm||100 mm||80 mm||570 g||440||no||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||no||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||no||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft | rgt)||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||524 g||500||no||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||no||2011||749||discont.||check|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 1200D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 36 percent) than the 550D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.6. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 17.9 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the 550D and the 1200D have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the 1200D is much more recent (by 4 years) than the 550D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||784||66|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63|
|Canon 1300D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||-||-||-||-|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||22.7||12.0||919||71|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.6||12.0||915||70|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65|
|Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||722||62|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.1||11.5||793||65|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||720/30p||21.9||11.0||755||62|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||1080/20p||21.7||11.5||663||63|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||12.2||4272||2848||no||21.9||10.8||692||61|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 550D and the 1200D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 550D and Canon 1200D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||no||4000||3.7||YES||no|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft)||optical||no||3.0||460||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon 1300D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||YES||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||12||no|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||no||no||3.0||1040||tilting||YES||4000||4.6||5||no|
|Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||fixed||YES||4000||4.9||9.4||no|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||13||no|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3||1040||swivel||YES||4000||5.0||YES||no|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3||1040||swivel||no||4000||3.7||YES||no|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||2.7||230||fixed||no||4000||3.0||9.2||no|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||920||fixed||no||4000||3.4||YES||no|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||230||fixed||no||4000||3.5||YES||no|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||optical||no||3.0||921||swivel||no||4000||4.0||12||no|
Both the 550D and the 1200D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 550D was replaced by the Canon 600D, while the 1200D was followed by the Canon 1300D.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 550D or the Canon 1200D – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 550D:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 460k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (129x98mm vs 130x100mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2010).
Advantages of the Canon EOS 1200D:
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 440) out of a single battery charge.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (36 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years of technical progress since the 550D launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 550D comes out slightly ahead of the 1200D (4 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 550D or the 1200D handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. The detailed reviews can be accessed, respectively, on the websites of cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.
|Canon 550D (⇒ rgt)||88/100 HiRec||77/100 Gold||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2010||699||discont.||check|
|Canon 1200D (⇒ lft)||4/5||-||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2014||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 1300D (⇒ lft | rgt)||reviewed||73/100||4/5||3.5/5||4/5||2016||449||latest||check|
|Canon 750D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||749||discont.||check|
|Canon 760D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2015||849||discont.||check|
|Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||-||-||reviewed||4/5||2015||499||discont.||check|
|Canon 100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||Rec||78/100 Gold||4/5||4/5||4/5||2013||549||discont.||check|
|Canon 700D (⇒ lft | rgt)||-||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2013||649||discont.||check|
|Canon 650D (⇒ lft | rgt)||HiRec||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||2012||849||discont.||check|
|Canon 600D (⇒ lft | rgt)||reviewed||77/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||599||discont.||check|
|Canon 1100D (⇒ lft | rgt)||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||2011||449||discont.||check|
|Canon 500D (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||74/100 HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2009||799||discont.||check|
|Canon 450D (⇒ lft | rgt)||88/100 HiRec||HiRec||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||2008||799||discont.||check|
|Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt)||86/100 HiRec||76/100 Silver||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||2011||749||discont.||check|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If the camera you are interested in is not available, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.
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