Canon EOS 200D
Canon’s lightweight and beginner-friendly DSLRs have always been popular, but how good is the company’s latest adaptation? Michael Topham tests it to find out
canon’s latest beginnerfriendly DSlr is tested by Michael Topham
Just a few months after adding the EOS 800D to its range of beginner DSLRs, Canon unveiled the replacement for its four-yearold EOS 100D. The Canon EOS 200D is small, lightweight and very convenient to carry on the go.
Bearing the distinction of being the world’s lightest APS- C DSLR to feature a vari-angle screen, it slots in between the entry-level EOS 1300D and the more advanced EOS 760D and EOS 800D models. It’s a camera aimed at those looking to purchase their first DSLR as well as people who’d like to develop their skills.
The EOS 200D is petite in DSLR terms, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s lacking in up-to- date features. It boasts Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, a vari-angle screen and Wi- Fi. So, what’s the camera like to use?
Canon has done away with the 18MP APS- C CMOS chip as used in the EOS 100D and replaced it with a 24.2MP APS- C CMOS sensor. This sensor is identical to that used in the EOS 77D and EOS 800D, and works in tandem with Canon’s latest DIGIC 7 image processor. The new processor has improved the continuous-shooting speed – albeit marginally – to 5fps, which is 1fps faster than the EOS 100D.
As with the EOS 800D, the EOS 200D offers an ISO range of 100-25,600, which can be expanded to a maximum of ISO 51,200 in its ‘H’ setting. It comes with an Auto ISO setting, where the ceiling is ISO 25,600.
It was only a matter of time before Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system filtered down to more basic EOS cameras, and at the
time of writing the EOS 200D is the cheapest DSLR in Canon’s line- up to feature this technology. This sensor-based, phase-detection autofocus system not only introduces high-performance Servo AF tracking, but it also rules out the lethargic AF performance in live view mode that’s associated with older Canon DSLRs.
The EOS 200D presents a fairly basic layout of nine AF points in a diamond formation with one single cross type in the centre. This arrangement is identical to the EOS 100D and presents an AF working range of 0.5EV to 18EV.
As well as offering the full manual shooting control you’d expect from a DSLR, the EOS 200D offers good options for beginners in the shape of a Scene Intelligent Auto mode, a selection of Creative Filters, as well as 11 scene modes, all of which are easy to access directly from the mode dial. Metering and exposure are looked after by a 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor. Exposure can be refined using the exposure-compensation system, which offers 1/3-stop or 1/2-stop increment adjustment over a ±5EV range.
The shutter-speed range spans 30sec-1/4,000sec and, like most of Canon’s entry-level DSLRs, there’s only a single scroll dial on the top-plate. To make quick adjustments on the fly, there’s an impressive 3in, 1,04-million-dot vari-angle touchscreen, above which is an optical viewfinder. Although coverage isn’t a full 100%, at 95% it’s respectable for a camera of this type, and benefits from dioptre correction and depth- of-field preview.
The built-in flash has a guide number of 9.8m (ISO 100), and a flash recycle time of 3 seconds.
The EOS 200D boasts built-in Wi- Fi. This ties in with the Canon Connect app, which permits images to be shared between mobile devices and allows the user to take control of the camera’s key settings when working remotely. In addition, it is NFC equipped and there’s the option to initiate an always- on lowenergy Bluetooth link between camera and mobile device.
Build and handling
The polycarbonate resin and carbon-and- glass-fibre body is adequate enough to shake off the occasional bump. Naturally, though, it’s not as robust as more expensive models in Canon’s range. The leatherette finish of the EOS 200D’s handgrip doesn’t offer the same level of grip as its predecessor, but is more consistent with other Canon models and looks more stylish.
While it’s a small camera, its dimensions are actually very slightly greater than the EOS 100D’s. It’s a camera you’ll really want to get in your hands and try out before you buy.
Live view, playback and exposure- compensation buttons are all found in the same place as on the 100D, with the quick-menu button once again being located in the centre of a small D-pad. To the right of the thumb rest are the AF point selection and exposure lock buttons, which double up as zoom buttons in playback.
The single scroll dial on the top-plate is used to control aperture and shutter-speed settings when shooting in the respective aperture-priority or shutter-priority modes. To adjust aperture with this dial when shooting in manual mode, you’re required to press and
hold the AV button at the rear, which soon becomes second nature.
On the top-plate, the on/off switch is now separated from the mode dial, making it less awkward to operate with your thumb. Pushing the switch beyond its on/ off settings engages video mode. The mode dial has been simplified and the PASM manual modes are clearly marked from the automatic modes. In front of the mode dial there is a display button to switch off the screen when it’s not being used. Both the ISO and DISP buttons are fairly spongy, though, and need to be pushed quite hard before they do anything. Ahead of these you get a knurled scroll dial and the shutter button.
There’s a new connectivity button on the top of the camera to the left of the pop-up flash, which can be used to initiate a fast wireless connection. A green LED blinks to tell you the camera’s Wi- Fi is active, and turns constant when connected. Below the lens release is a depth- of-field preview button.
The build quality of the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM kit zoom is about as good as one would expect for a starter lens. It doesn’t have a metal mount and isn’t the retractable type, but its optical image stabiliser is effective.
Viewfinder and screen
Vari-angle screens have been found on more advanced models in the EOS line-up, so it’s good to see one introduced on the entry-level EOS 200D. It’s one of the main advancements over its predecessor and makes it a real pleasure to use. A small notch has been cut out of the body just below the live-view button to make it easy to pull out, and the screen sits virtually flush to the back of the camera when it’s pushed back in. The touchscreen is so sensitive and precise that you’ll find you rarely press an incorrect icon or menu setting. Touch control of the screen also comes into its own for inspecting images in playback mode, where you can use pinch-and-zoom gestures to zoom in. You can also double-tap the screen in playback to pull up a magnified view, while hitting the Q button in playback opens options such as rate, resize and rotate. If you prefer, however, you can disable touch control altogether.
The optical viewfinder seems large for one that covers 95% coverage of the frame with 0.87x magnification. It can’t be customised to display things like the drive mode or battery level, but it can be set up to prompt you when the monochrome picture style or spot metering is set. There’s also a rubber eye cup and diopter control.
Raise the viewfinder to your eye, or hit the AF point-selection button when the screen is active, and you can view the nine AF points. One is found above and below the central cross-type point, with a pair of AF points offset either side. The AF
points on the left and right of the frame can be selected using the directional buttons on the D-pad. To toggle between manually selecting the AF point and automatic selection mode, hit the AF point selection button followed by the Q/Set button. While the number of AF points is low, they are spread fairly widely across the frame. Testing the camera in a low-light scene revealed that the centre cross-type AF point is the quickest to acquire focus, so you may sometimes find yourself half depressing the shutter to focus before reframing.
The addition of Dual Pixel AF has made the EOS 200D far superior to the EOS 100D when focusing in live view. While most users will stick to one-shot AF for static subjects, there’s the continuous focus (AI servo) option for moving subjects. There’s also a tracking AF method, whereby you pinpoint the subject you’d like the camera to follow and focus by first tapping the screen. It’s fairly responsive, but as with other recent Canon DSLRs I have tested, I tended to get better results with fast-moving subjects by tracking the subject in the centre of the frame with the AF method set to zone AF and the AF operation set to Servo.
Investing in your first DSLR is a big decision. Two of the key things you’ll want to look for are a reliable camera that’s well supported by a wide range of lenses and accessories. The Canon EOS 200D delivers in both these respects. It put in a solid
performance during testing and would certainly appear to be reliable and long-lasting if well looked after, despite not being weather-sealed.
The EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens that you can buy with the camera is as good a place as any to start for a beginner, although it won’t take long before its limitations are reached. If you’d prefer a bit more reach at the long end, you may prefer the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens bundle. It’ll save you looking for a second lens, but does cost an extra £240. Like the 18-55mm kit lens, the stepper motor (STM) allows for perfectly smooth transitions of focus when shooting. Not only that, but the motor is silent.
Buying into the Canon system means the camera is supported by a vast range of lenses and accessories. As well as accepting EF-S-mount lenses, the EOS 200D is compatible with Canon’s EF lens range, and masses of lenses are also available from third-party manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina.
The only thing you’ll want to remember is that attaching long, heavy lenses to such a compact body can upset the feel of the camera in the hand. Using the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM did make things seem rather front heavy. It’s clearly a camera that looks and handles at its best when it’s used with small zooms and primes. Saying that, great results can be achieved with heavier telephoto zooms as illustrated in some of the images that support this review – just be prepared to make a compromise in terms of handling.
The EOS 200D meets its 5fps quota. With a SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC card loaded, it captured five JPEG and raw files continuously before the buffer was full. Setting the camera to record raw files only saw it record the same number of frames, whereas shooting solely JPEG files allowed me to fill the card at 5fps and not worry about missing a shot by having a burst interrupted.
A study of real-world images revealed that the 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor does an excellent job, and there’s no favouritism towards under or overexposure. Some users may like to view the histogram or highlight clipping warning, which is displayed by hitting the info button in playback mode.
Having a camera battery with good stamina is important. The EOS 200D’s has an advantage over some of its mirrorless rivals in the way it can shoot up to 650 frames from a single charge when the viewfinder alone is used. This should suffice for most people’s needs. It’s worth noting, though, that the battery life drops to 260 shots per charge when the camera is used in live view. A spare LP- E17 battery for the camera will set you back £43.
The EOS 200D should perform well in the hands of the beginners and novices it’s aimed at. I’d have liked to see it shoot a more raw files at 5fps before the buffer was full, but there are other models, such as the Canon EOS 800D, that perform better in this respect. The AF performance in live view is where it really excels over the EOS 100D and there’s currently no entry-level DSLR with a better vari-angle screen.
This action shot was captured using the 200D’s 5fps burst mode while testing the camera with a telephoto zoom lens Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1/800sec at f/5.6, ISO 400
The 18-55mm kit lens can be restrictive. Users looking for a longer zoom may want to consider the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 400
Black & white images can be taken in-camera by setting the EOS 200D’s picture style to monochrome Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, 1/1600sec at f/6.3, ISO 800
The EOS 200D records faithful, true-to-life colours in its images Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, 1/800sec at f/4.5, ISO 100
A shallow depth of field is possible at the long end of the 18-55mm kit zoom Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, 1/1250sec at f/5.6, ISO 400