Lightweight Canon a real heavy hitter

Photo sample of the Canon EOS RP taken by Noel Campion

Noel Campion reviews the Canon EOS RP, which crams a wealth of excellent features into its mere 450g weight

Hot on the heels of reviewing the Canon EOS R, I had the opportunity to test the newer, and cheaper EOS RP for a couple of weeks. The RP is Canon’s second full-frame mirrorless camera that offers a 26.2 mp image sensor and access to the new lineup of Canon RF lenses, as well as the existing stock of EF lenses via an EF to RF adaptor.

The EOS RP, with a standard EF to RF mount adapter, is available for €1,599. That price is for the body only and if you add an RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM then you’re looking at €2,699. That sounds like a lot of money for a camera, but in the full-frame realm, this is the cheapest ‘new generation’ mirrorless full-frame you can buy right now. There are cheaper alternatives from Sony like the A7II, but that camera, although still a great camera, came out more than four years ago.

Those who use full-frame Canon DSLR cameras will appreciate how lightweight the EOS RP is. It weighs a mere 450g, including battery, body, and card. However, the RP is squarely aimed at enthusiasts and those willing to upgrade from an APS-C cropped sensor DSLR, so corners were cut to make it a more budget-friendly option and alternative to Canon’s more professional EOS R.

If the EOS R is like a mirrorless version of the 5D Mark IV, then the EOS RP is the mirrorless alternative to the EOS 6D Mark II. The RP uses an enhanced version of the 6D II’s sensor, which takes advantage of the new lens mount, body and Digic 8 processor.

I used the EOS-RP with a 35mm 1.8 RF, 24-105 f/4 RF and an adapted 24-105 f/4 EF lens. During my short time of testing, I didn’t see much of a difference between the EF and native EF 24-105. Both performed incredibly well in autofocus and image quality. The 35mm 1.8 is so small and light that it complements the RP body wonderfully, especially if you’re looking for an everyday travel setup. For those who do like to take their camera on their travels, it’s worth noting that the EOS RP isn’t weather sealed, but it is dust and moisture proof.

Not surprisingly, considering the intended user, the RP only has a single card slot, but at least it is the faster UHS-II compatible SD version. However, these cards are very expensive and considering the fastest continuous shooting is only 5fps, I’m not sure it would be worth the extra investment over UHS-I. Also, you can only achieve 5fps in single shot AF as it will drop to 4fps in servo AF mode. A benefit of this slower FPS is that the buffer will take up to 50 14-bit raw files before it fills up and if you’re only shooting jpeg, you can keep the shutter going until it fills the card.

Small and light aren’t always desirable, but the EOS RP has a deep grip that makes it great to hold. However, I would have preferred it if the grip was longer to facilitate my little pinky. To be fair, Canon has an extension grip accessory that extends the grip and although I didn’t try it, I know this would sort my little niggle with the grip nicely.

The overall fit, feel, and finish of the RP is excellent making it a joy to use. In some ways, I prefer the layout of the RP to the EOS R. You get two physical dials on the top for quick access to shutter speed and aperture, but with the new RF mount lenses, you also have an adjustment ring that you can map to aperture, shutter speed ISO or exposure compensation. I like to use this for ISO, but it’s great to have an extra option to customise features to a physical button or dial.

The rear 3-inch touchscreen is fully articulating, meaning it can swing out to face you for selfies or vlogging. You do get a mode dial as well, but not as many custom buttons as I’d have liked. However, Canon makes up for this in other ways including their excellent quick menu and intuitive touchscreen interface as well as their Dial Function menu.

The Canon EOS RP is a top quality portable camera.
The Canon EOS RP is a top quality portable camera.

The EOS-RP uses Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS, phase detection AF with 4,779 user-selectable AF points that cover 88% of the width and 100% of the height of the frame. Face and Eye detection worked well in my testing and Eye detection works with continuous AF, but you need to be close to your subject for the AF system to pick it up.

The EOS-RP is also a very capable video shooter including 4K at 25fps and 1080p at 60fps. That being said, there are some limitations like 4K mode is cropped. This means that a 35mm lens is more equivalent to a 59.5mm lens.

There are lots of ports including a 3.5mm mic input and headphone jack and you can record video to an external source via the HDMI port.

The 3-inch rear screen works well and is plenty bright in most situations and the EVF is OLED with 2.36mp.

There’s no in-body image stabilisation like other cameras from Sony and Nikon. Instead, the RP uses gyros in the camera to assist lenses that have IS. This works well but if you use a lens that doesn’t have IS then it won’t be stabilised.

The EOS RP does have wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to connect the camera to free Canon software on your smartphone or tablet, allowing for image transfer and remote control features.

The RP comes with Canon’s LP-E17 battery and although battery performance isn’t fantastic, I was easily able to get more than the CIPA rated 250 shots on a single charge.

Image quality is paramount for me and I loved the images coming out of the EOS-RP. I usually shoot RAW + jpegs. The dynamic range is what you’d expect from this sensor and although not as good as you’re going to get on say the EOS-R, you can still push those highlights and shadows to reveal incredible details. I also love the quality and colour coming straight out of camera from the jpegs. You can play with picture styles to your liking too if you’re not into post-processing RAW files later.

If you’re set on buying a full-frame camera and budget is tight, the EOS RP won’t disappoint for shooting stills and video.

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