Canon EOS RP review

The Canon EOS RP is small and affordable, but it’s versatile. Although it’s not the most advanced tech, it’s still very usable.

We were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Canon EOS RP. Despite numerous reports that the Canon EOS RP would be a professional-grade Canon EOS R (though, make no mistake, it will be the pro EOS R5), the Canon EOS RP is a more popular version of the full-frame mirrorless model.

The model’s name contains the letter ‘P’ which stands for “Popular”, in Japanese, meaning “for everyone”. This could make it the best Canon full-frame camera for first-time buyers and enthusiasts. It is actually one of our top full-frame mirrorless cameras thanks to its small size, good handling and low price.

This tells you who the camera is intended for. After listening to consumers, the company realized there was a lot interest in the EOS R by advanced amateur photographers – those who already have an APS-C camera (such a Canon EOS 77D and Canon EOS 50) but want to make the jump to full-frame.

The EOS R is next to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The RP has a lot in common with the EOS 6D Mark II from the sensor to its feature set. It’s still housed in the smallest and lightest full frame camera Canon has ever made.

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: 26.2MP full frame CMOS, 35.9 x 24mm
Image processor: Digic 8.
AF Points: 4,779 Dualpixel AF Positions (143 Zones)
ISO range 100-40,000 (exp. 50 to 102 400
Max image size: 6,240 x 4,160
Metering modes: Evaluative, partial, spot, centre-weighted
Video: 4K at 25p, FHD at 25p/50p, HD at 25/50p
Viewfinder 0.39-inch EVF with 2.36m dots, 100% coverage
Memory Card: SDHC / HTMLXC (supports UHSII).
LCD: 3 inch fully articulating touchscreen, 1.04m dots
Max burst 5fps, One Shot, 4fps Servo AF
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth
Size 132.5x85x70mm
Weight 440g (body only); 485g with battery and card

KEY FEATURES

The new Digic 8 processor powers the EOS RP, but the 26.2MP sensor inside the EOS 6D Mark II is nearly identical. The sensor has been optimized to work with a mirrorless system, and to adjust for the difference in the distance between the RF mount and the flange back distance. However, it is the same sensor.

The RP features the same ISO100-40000 (expandable up to 102,400) range of the EOS 6D mark II and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The RP can autofocus down to -5EV and Canon claims that the RP has “the fastest AF speed in the world” at 0.05 seconds. The AF coverage of the sensor is 88% x 100 percent, giving a staggering 4,779 autofocus points. These can be divided into 143 zones using the auto-AF mode.

Servo AF now supports Face Tracking using Eye AF. This was a glaring omission from the EOS R along with single-point Spot AF which has been transplanted to the 6D Mark II.

Although the EOS RP can capture 4K at 25fps, it loses Dual Pixel CMOS AF and experiences a 1.76x crop. It can shoot at 50fps in 1080p, with no cropping and with Dual Pixel autofocus.

The Canon EOS RP isn’t equipped with many “killer apps” features. It was created to be an entry-level version of the EOS R. But, it does have a few new tricks, such as Focus Bracketing. This is a macro feature that can be found on other systems, but Canon has never tried it before. Advertisement

Semi-automated focus stacking mode. The camera takes the desired number of images and then moves the focus point between them. You can merge the images to increase depth of field. Unfortunately, the RP does not do this in camera. Instead, you will need to download Digital Photo Professional or manually do it in Photoshop. Advertisement

Like the EOS R and RP, the RP doesn’t offer in-body image stability. Canon’s EOS R camera is currently in a significant disadvantage to rivals from Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic.

However, it does use Canon’s Dual Sensing IS technology in combination with RF lenses (such the six new RF lenses ). This system works with the Digic 8 processor and the CMOS sensor to detect lens movement. It uses the gyroscope that is built into the lenses to detect movement.

The data is then fed back to the optical IS unit to tell it how to move properly to eliminate as much movement. This is especially true for low frequency movement which can be notoriously difficult to correct. Stabilization typically ignores minor vibrations so it doesn’t get confused with breathing and small panning adjustments. Canon claims that Dual Sensing IS can provide five stops of stabilization.

BUILDING AND HANDLING

The most striking thing about the Canon EOS RP? Its small size. It weighs just 485g, including battery and memory card. This makes it 175g lighter then the EOS R, and 280g less than the EOS 6D Mark II. Advertisement

Its closest comparison would be the Canon EOS800D/ Canon EOS Rebel EOS Rebel EOS Rebel EOS Rebel EOS Rebel EOS T7i. This body weighs exactly the exact same as the RP, but is much larger than the RP’s sleek 132.5 x 85 x70mm frame.

The camera is almost as agile and maneuverable when paired with the appropriate lens such as the Canon RF35mm f/1.8IS Macro STM, or the EF-50mm f/1.8 STM equipped with the EF–EOS R Mount Adapter. This compactness is a disadvantage when used with smaller lenses. It can also be a problem when used with large lenses, such as the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM or the Canon RF 50mm F/1.2L , which are both massive RF ranges that include the 1,430g 28-60mm f/2L and the Canon RF 50mm.

Unfortunately, some of the most high-quality Canon RF lenses also happen to be the largest and most expensive. Canon clearly has its eyes on the professional market for EOS R and beyond (the Canon EOS R5 specifications are amazing), but let’s not forget the consumer market.

There is a slight disconnect between the EOS R’s smaller body and the larger pro-grade lenses. These lenses are truly superior to the EOS R. The Canon ERF 24-105mm F/4L kit lens is 700g. Canon offers a bundle that includes the EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM, which is why it is so generous.

Canon has now released a lower-cost alternative kit lens. The Canon F24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM has the same focal range and aperture as the premium f/4 lens, but does not have a constant aperture. We think the maximum aperture of f/7.1 at 105mm, is the best we have ever seen in a zoom lens.

The EOS RP’s 0.39-inch, 2.36million dot electronic viewfinder has been transferred from the EOS M50. It works flawlessly, even though it is a little smaller than the EOS R. Canon has chosen to keep its fully articulated touchscreen. Although it isn’t quite as high-tech as the EOS R’s at three inches and one million dots, it feels more responsive. The fact that the R and RP are the only two full-frame mirrorless cameras with articulating screens is a big deal, especially for videographers, even if the video specs themselves fall a tad short of those of rival full frame mirrorless cameras.

Both the EOS R’s Marmite-flavored embellishments and the M-Fn touchbar, which were quite foreign to Canon users, have been removed. The top LCD screen has also been removed. Canon’s traditional Mode dial has been replaced by the more familiar one. It takes up less space, makes it easier to shoot, and doesn’t require you to think about switching modes every time.

The EOS R’s ‘blast door shutters, which would have protected the sensor from dust and debris when it was turned off, were also discarded. We regret it, despite the obvious weight and cost compromise.

PERFORMANCE

It’s tempting to compare the EOS R RP to the Nikon Z6 and Canon EOS R cameras, but it’s important that you remember that the EOS R RP is not in the same category as these cameras. Despite its inconsistency in certain areas, the RP is a good camera for its class, especially when it comes down to still photography.

The RP produces excellent images and handles very similar to the 6D Mark II’s during editing in terms of quality, file fidelity, and dynamic range. The Digic 8 processor gives the RP a little more power, but the results are the same.

The RP isn’t going win any speed awards. It can record 50 raw files in 14-bit on a UHSII card before it starts to slow down. This is a good result for a camera that isn’t designed for sports photography.

Although the eye tracking with Servo AF was very welcome, it wasn’t as effective as we expected. It’s certainly superior to the smarter tech in the Sony A6400. However, in moment-to-moment photography it often deferred at close quarters to standard face tracking.

Face tracking works well and follows a face within the frame. It can get confused when more than one person is in the shot. For example, when we took the RP to Camden Market for an afternoon, the tracking was a little too zealous. We started jumping from our subject’s face to the faces of people in the background.

Fujifilm has solved this problem with the Face Detect feature on the Fujifilm X-30. This allows you to choose which face you want to track in a scene. Although these were rare cases, we would be more upset if we had focused on a child crossing the finish line at school’s sports day instead of focusing on the pedestrian we were trying to capture in Camden.

Autofocus works well in low-light situations, but it is generally a good choice. This is a strong performance by the EOS R, and the RP is right there. We shot indoors in very dim conditions, as well after the sun had set, and the focus never let us down. It’s very fast, precise, and reliable.

The unusual choice of moving the silent shutter from a menu option into a Scene mode is a bit surprising. The RP is intended for the consumer – a casual photographer who has just graduated from a more advanced system. Automated modes like Night Portrait, Closeup, and Sports are useful ways to ensure that less-experienced shooters can still get reliable low-light, macro, and action shots.

The silent shutter is a mode that allows you to shoot without manual controls. Families who want to take photos at weddings and other gatherings without being too intrusive will appreciate having an easy-to-use, fire-and forget mode they can switch on. However, this was the first time the RP felt it was not suitable for advanced usage. The unique feature of a mirrorless camera is the ability to take silent photos. It would have been nice to keep the manual shutter option for manual shooting in the menus. Advertisement

Stills photography is fantastic. However, 4K video suffers the most from the performance compromise. It’s one thing to suffer the 1.76x crop, 25fps limit and lose the Dual Pixel CMOOS AF. 4K also suffers from the “jelly wobble”, rolling shutter effect that makes it unsuitable for any movement or panning.

Focus Peaking can be used in manual focus mode. This is great for videographers who don’t want to use Dual Pixel AF. While 1080p is better for most purposes, it is still a superior option. Although C-Log and a 120fps option would be nice, Dual Pixel and the ability to shoot with the crop means that this is the best option.

Initial concerns about the battery life were raised by CIPA’s 250 shot rating. However, in practice you can achieve more than that. If you are careful about how often you use the LCD screen, and if your camera is turned off between shots, it will consume the power. Advertisement

Shooting video and 4K will drain the battery twice as fast, making it more difficult if you do multiple takes or chase B-roll. You can charge your camera and plug in a USB charger on the go.

LAB TESTS

We tested the Canon EOS R with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, Sony A7II (being EOS RP’s closest competitor in specs and price) and the Canon EOS M50 (an APS C camera but worth considering if you are primarily concerned about the size and weight benefits that the RP is promoting).

Many people are questioning whether the RP is the end of the smaller mirrorless lines. Canon however insists that the M series will continue. The M50 is a good comparison.

Signal to Noise:

This test measures image noise levels at each sensor sensitivity and the EOS RP is closely matched by its competitors. The RP and 6D Mark II achieve close results as you would expect given their similar sensor tech. The Sony A7II joins them at ISO6400. However, its high ISO image quality is poorer than this sensitivity. The APS-C M50 is better than full-frame cameras because its smaller sensor photoites can generate more noise, particularly at higher sensitivities.

Resolution:

The EOS RP’s and EOS 6D II’s identical sensor resolutions mean that they can achieve very similar detail levels. Although the 24.3MP A7II maintains an identical level of detail as its 26.2MP counterparts, Canon has not been able to do the same with the 24.1MP EOS M50. The smaller APS-C sensor on the EOS M50 produces more noise at higher ISO settings, which compromises fine detail.

Dynamic range

Despite being older, the Sony A7II still has a remarkable dynamic range at lower sensitivities. However, things slow down quickly beyond ISO 6400. The Canons match up closely, and full-frame siblings maintain close family ties across the entire sensitivity range. However, the APS-C M50 is unable to compete with its larger brothers beyond ISO 800.

VERDICT

Users who had high hopes for a professional version will not be disappointed. However, it is unfair to criticize the Canon EOS RP because it doesn’t. This feat of engineering is remarkable. It effectively packs the power and performance from a 765g 6DMark II into a small 485g body, while adding 4K video and mirrorless advantages such as an EVF. Advertisement

For anyone who wants to upgrade to a larger sensor at a lower price, a full-frame mirrorless camera is a great choice. It also retains the weight and size advantages of the APS-C body they already own. Sony’s older backcatalog A7 models are the only price competitors for the EOSRP. Sony has chosen to keep them on sale.

The EOS RP’s compactness may make it even more attractive than the EOS R to photographers who need to be light and agile, such as street or travel photographers.

The RP provides a familiar shooting experience for Canon users. Additionally, existing lenses can be used immediately with the Mount Adapter EF–EOS R included in the box. The RP works well with EF-S lenses, EF glass and lighter EF optics than with bulkier RF optics.

It is a 6D Mark II with a smaller body and an EVF. However, 4K comes with concessions. 1080p is better for serious video shooters. The Canon EOS RP is a highly capable still camera that produces images that are comparable to any Canon body.

The EOS RP is not being outsold by full-frame mirrorless cameras. Instead, it has remained affordable and accessible for beginners to full frame photography.

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