Probably the most interesting thing about the new EOS 1200D is the accompanying app for iOS and Android. That said, Nikon offers something similar in its D3300 directly in the camera, so some may find it a little frustrating that you have to download something extra to be guided through the camera and its key functionality.
The tutorials and challenges are more interesting though, but that's something which could be used by any camera user, not just those who are working with the 1200D, so it's not particular to this model.
The images produced by the 1200D are good, though not a massive leap forward from the 1100D. If you own the latter, it's probably not worth the upgrade. If however you're looking to purchase your very first DSLR or are looking for a second body, then this is a good option, and at the price it's quite a bargain.
Price will undoubtedly be a determining factor for many deciding to purchase their first DSLR. The Canon has the edge here with the 1200D, which comes significantly cheaper than the Nikon equivalent.
Detail resolution is good, but not quite as good as the Nikon D3300, which has a higher resolution sensor and no anti-aliasing filter. Unless you're planning to make huge prints though, it's not something that should be too much of an issue for you for the majority of subjects.
It's a shame that Canon isn't offering more interesting specs for its beginner option. This is more of a gentle upgrade than a full-blown revolution of the 1100D. It would be nice to see built-in Wi-Fi, which is starting to become a standard specification for even the cheapest of compact cameras.
Unlike on the 100D, there's no touchscreen. It would be nice to see such a specification on the 1200D given the number of buttons available on the body, but it's not desperately lacking the feature and it almost certainly helps to keep the price low.
Those coming from compact cameras or phones may be a little disappointed with the Live View performance of this camera. If you want to shoot using the LCD screen, rather than the viewfinder, you'll probably find the autofocus performance sluggish and frustrating, so it's not something we'd recommend doing often.
While many don't like electronic viewfinders, the downside of optical viewfinders like the one on the 1200D is that they don't offer a 100% field of view, which can lead to problems with composition.
If price is the key determining factor for your first DLSR purchase, then the 1200D is an extremely attractive proposition. For a good price, you get great image quality in a classic DSLR like package, along with the full support of the Canon range of lenses and accessories – which is large.
The biggest problem with the 1200D is that it's just not that exciting. Having waited for three years for an upgrade to the 1100D, it would have been nice to see some more audacious specs, such as built-in Wi-Fi, or perhaps a higher resolution sensor.
Canon has once again produced a reliable camera capable of creating some beautiful images. If you're in the market for your first DSLR and you're fine with a no-frills purchase, then the 1200D is a great option. If you have a little more money to spend, you might want to take a look at the 100D, which offers a smaller and lighter body, a few more advanced specs and a touchscreen. It's also worth looking at the Nikon D3300, if detail resolution is your concern.