Canon EOS RP review: entry level mirrorless with some pleasant surprises
The Canon EOS RP is Canon's newest full-frame mirrorless system camera. It is also the cheapest full-frame system camera available new at the moment. With the EOS RP, Canon breaks another price barrier, just like it did a few years ago with the EOS 300D and the Canon 5D. The EOS RP is also the most compact full-frame system camera with interchangeable lenses.
Compact AND AFFORDABLE: Canon EOS RP
The Canon EOS RP is the second full-frame system camera from Canon with the new Canon RF mount. In terms of price and specifications, the EOS RP comes in under the previously introduced Canon EOS R. This is the camera for photographers who are looking for a full-frame camera with interchangeable lenses, but without a full-frame price tag or all sorts of advanced features that they may never use. If you look at the modest price of the EOS RP, you will notice that the camera offers great value for money. The EOS RP has a 26.2 megapixel full-frame sensor and the newest Canon processor, the DIGIC 8. The camera can film in 4K and full HD and is also suitable for vlogging thanks to the turning and tilting screen. Then choose a good gimbal or a lens with built-in image stabilization, because the Canon EOS RP, like the EOS R, does not have that on board. With a price of around 1500 euros in Europe and 1300 dollars in the US, the EOS RP sets a new standard for full-frame cameras, and, with its modest dimensions, the EOS RP also shows the benefits of omitting the mirror. That price also includes the EF-RF adapter at the moment, so you can use all your Canon EF lenses directly on the Canon EOS RP without any problems. And that makes the camera even more interesting.
Canon EOS RP versus nikon z6
The entry-level model from Nikon is the Nikon Z6. That is a model that is more similar in price to the Canon EOS R. So it's no wonder that the Nikon Z6 has better specifications. The Z6 has the same body as Nikon's top model, the Z7. It's therefore a camera for the professional and the prosumer, where the EOS RP is much more a camera for the amateur photographer. The EOS RP trumps the Z6 on number of pixels: 26.2 versus 24. But the Nikon Z6 has a more modern sensor with a much better signal-to-noise ratio and a better dynamic range. Those who post-process a lot will therefore have a better camera with the Z6 for that reason alone. Canon's autofocus system also scores higher on paper, with nearly 5000 Dual Pixel AF points compared to 273 phase detection points on the Nikon Z6. In almost all other areas, the Z6 surpasses the EOS RP: more images per second, both in photography and video, a better viewfinder, a larger screen with a higher resolution and so on. Of course you pay for that with the Nikon. And then the Nikon Z6 is also a lot bigger and a bit heavier.
canon eos rp versus Canon EOS r
The Canon EOS RP is the second mirrorless full-frame camera from Canon. The first is the Canon EOS R. The EOS RP is cheaper, smaller and lighter. What are the differences? The more expensive Canon EOS R is of course the camera with more options, but do you miss it on the EOS RP as an amateur photographer? To start with, the EOS RP has a 26-megapixel sensor. The EOS R has 30 megapixels. You will not see that difference in pixels in shots. In situations with a lot of contrast and deep shadows, you will notice that the sensor of the EOS R is slightly more modern and is better able to brighten those shadows. However, you will notice this especially if you are going to do extensive post-processing of RAW files. If you shoot in JPEG, the differences between the two sensors are small. The EOS RP is also slightly slower, with a maximum of 5 images per second, compared to 8 for the EOS R. The EOS RP is also missing the Touch Bar of the EOS R, but we don't really find that much of a loss. It's also missing the top display. That means you have to read the information from your screen on the back. But many photographers today use that screen to photograph with, so you can live with that. If you're just looking for a nice camera with a full-frame sensor to make beautiful pictures without too much hassle, you're just as well off with the EOS RP as with the EOS R. It costs around € 750.00 less, is about one and a half centimeters lower and less thick and weighs 130 grams less.
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canon eos rp: BUILD QUALITY, DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
The Canon EOS RP is light and compact. The camera owes its low weight of 485 grams to the use of high-quality plastics for the body. Despite these compact dimensions, the camera is comfortable to hold, thanks to the sturdy grip that extends high on the camera. The compact dimensions are the result of, among other things, a different viewfinder and a simplification of the interface. For example, the EOS RP lacks the innovative "Touch Bar" of the EOS R. Many users will probably not miss it on the EOS RP. The camera does have a rotary dial for the shooting mode and two programmable dials for adjusting the exposure values on the camera. That's generally more than sufficient. On the left-hand side of the top cover, there's also an on-off switch. That spot means that you'll have to use the at least two hands to turn on the camera. On the back, we find the other controls. The number of buttons is fairly limited, and they're clearly arranged. Anyone who has worked with a Canon before will be able to use it immediately. Where no cuts have been made is the turning and tilting screen that is also touch sensitive. The camera is not fully equipped with gaskets, but this model is not intended for photographers who have to get their shots professionally in heavy snowstorms. In terms of connections, we found a USB-C connection on the EOS RP that works, however, as a USB 2.0 port and a microphone and a headphone input. That USB connection is a bit disappointing, but the ability to plug in both a microphone and headphones makes the camera a lot more attractive for videographers. Of course, the EOS RP also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the camera can be continuously connected to the Camera Connect app from Canon.
SCREEN AND VIEWFINDER OF THe Canon EOS RP
A big difference between the Canon EOS RP and the EOS R is the height of the camera. That difference in height is mainly caused by the much lower viewfinder. The resolution of the viewfinder on the EOS RO is at 2.36 megapixels, slightly lower than that of the EOS R, and the magnification is also slightly smaller at 0.7x, but these are values that were high end a few years ago, and they're still more than enough. It's the same resolution as that of the popular Sony A7 III, for example. The colors on the viewfinder are quite intense, and the contrast is high. This makes images look fantastic in the viewfinder, but keep in mind that the pictures themselves are slightly less bright. The screen of the EOS RP is also a fraction smaller than that of the EOS R, with 3" versus 3.15". Functionally, it's the same. It's a touch sensitive screen that turns and tilts. The touch function makes choosing menu functions very easy, and the ability to turn the screen all the way around is ideal for photographers who like to take selfies or want to vlog. The Canon touch interface is one of the nicest on the market at the moment, and the turning and tilting screen is not even found on any other mirrorless full-frame camera at the moment.
The image quality of the Canon EOS RP is generally good, apart from two points. Those who mainly shoot in jpeg and do so with reasonable light will hardly notice the negatives. You then get beautiful, contrast-rich images with sassy colors and the characteristic deep blacks that we are used to from the EOS cameras. The sharpness is quite decent, and, thanks to the full-frame sensor, you can even get a considerable background blur with a f/4 zoom like the Canon RF 24-105 mm f/4 IS. This is what you expect as an amateur photographer from a Canon, and if you use the EOS RP that way, it certainly does not disappoint. Anyone who shoots everything in RAW with the intention of extensively editing later will probably have a little more trouble with the camera. That's because the dynamic range is somewhat less than we are used to from new cameras. The EOS RP is therefore somewhat of a split personality. Those who buy the camera because of its compactness and low weight, as a camera to simply make beautiful pictures without fuss, have a great option with the EOS RP. If you buy it because you want a full-frame camera and are looking for ultimate image quality, but your budget is limited, then you're making the wrong choice with the EOS RP.
We measured the dynamic range of the Canon EOS RP and found slightly higher values than with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. That means it can measure up well against the entry-level SLR from Canon. But that, too, no longer had the most modern sensor from Canon. The EOS 6D Mark II has a clearly lower dynamic range than, for example, the EOS 5D Mark IV. You don't see such a difference with brands like Sony and Nikon. With those brands, the cheaper cameras have fewer pixels and often slightly fewer options, but they do have sensors that are completely up to date. For the intended target group of the EOS RP, that more limited dynamic range will not soon be a problem. Canon has considerable contrast in the shadowed areas, so you quickly get deep blacks in which you see no noise. You will only see the limitations of the sensor when you start post-processing, but many of the users will rarely do this. It does mean that the EOS RP is a camera that will not grow with you as much. If you get a bit more experience as a photographer and want to play more with contrasts and rendering, then you will sooner or later run into the limits of the sensor with the EOS RP.
What applies to the dynamic range also applies to a lesser extent to the noise. That's not bad, but it's somewhat higher with the EOS RP at higher ISO values than we're used to from the latest entry-level models from other brands. Both the Sony A7 III and the Nikon Z6 use Sony-produced 24-megapixel sensors that really score better on this point than Canon's 26-megapixel sensor. Admittedly, it's not entirely fair to compare the EOS RP with entry-level models from other brands. They're namely all quite a bit more expensive. If you compare the EOS RP with a 24-megapixel sensor from an older-model A7, then the EOS RP holds its own.
The Canon EOS RP films, like the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, in 1080p up to 60 frames per second. Unlike the 6D Mark II, the EOS RP can also film in 4K at 24 frames per second. In HD, the EOS RP uses almost the entire sensor for the image, but in 4K the camera only uses part of the sensor. Effectively, you have a crop of approximately 1.7x. In fact, you are then filming with the APS-C part of the sensor, or actually a little less than that. In combination with the EF-RF adapter, that means that you should also be able to use the Canon EF-M lenses for filming in 4K. If you also want to make real wide-angle shots, that's also advisable then. Another difference between filming in 4K and Full HD is that you cannot use the Dual Pixel AF in 4K, and that's a shame. In 4K, you also see a lot of rolling shutter in moving subjects or if you move the camera yourself. The sharpness is also not optimal. Consider the EOS RP primarily as a good camera for Full HD video, with 4K as a bonus. For nature photographers, that 4K can be a solution, precisely because of the crop. And if you convert that 4K image back to full HD, then the quality is very decent. But if you think about all that in advance, then just take a slightly longer lens with you and save the effort. The quality in full HD is decent. There are cameras that clearly do better, but for a nice holiday video, it's more than enough, and you can use Dual Pixel AF in full HD. And that makes filming a whole lot easier. Thanks to the turning and tilting screen, you can also film yourself, and that alone will be enough for some people to opt for the EOS RP. The camera has no real built-in image stabilization, but it can electronically stabilize video. That is at the expense of some image quality, but if you do not choose the 'enhanced' mode, then the loss is not too bad, and the image becomes a lot quieter.
The Canon EOS RP has the same resolution as the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, and presumably it is also largely the same sensor. The fact that the EOS RP is a mirrorless camera does cause major differences in autofocus. Where the autofocus points of the 6D Mark II only cover the center of the image, with the EOS RP you can focus almost to the edge of the image with the autofocus and using the viewfinder. The camera owes that to the 4779 autofocus points on the sensor. The auto focus is also fast and sensitive down to -5 EV. Canon claims a time of 0.05 seconds for single-shot AF. And, unlike the SLR cameras, the EOS RP also has Eye Detection AF, which makes taking portraits or family snapshots a lot easier. That Eye Detection AF also works in the Servo-AF mode. However, you cannot get the lightening-fast autofocus that Canon claims in single-shot AF with Eye Detection AF. Give the camera a moment to find the eye and focus on it.
Focus Bracketing AND silent shutter
The Canon EOS RP has a few new functions that are not on the EOS R. One is Focus Bracketing. This allows you to take a series of shots in which the camera always slightly varies the focus. The camera starts at the point that is closest and then focuses a little further away. Both the size of the intervals and the number of shots can be set. What you need depends on the lens used, the size of the subject and the distance to the subject. You thus have to experiment with it for the best result. The shots are not stitched together in the camera, and of course you need a tripod for a good result. You can do the stitching afterwards with, for example, Canon's own Digital Photo Professional, which comes with the camera. Another new feature we find on the EOS RP is the fully electronic shutter. Unfortunately, this is not an option that you can set. It is namely a part of some scene modes. If we look at the amount of rolling shutter in the video recordings, then we can also understand why that is. Apparently, the sensor readout time is too slow to use this option for all types of subjects.
There is only one thing to report about the image stabilization, and that is unfortunately negative: the Canon EOS RP has no built-in image stabilization. That means that you are completely dependent on the lens that you use for image stabilization. The RF series most probably starts with the RF 24-105 mm f/4 IS, and that lens is of course stabilized.
Canon EOS RP In PRACTICE
Curious about the performance of the Canon EOS RP in practice? Click on the button below and visit our renewed web gallery with sample images. The images can be downloaded in full resolution to be viewed at 100%.
ConclusiON: Canon EOS RP REVIEW
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