A Second Look at the Canon EOS RP

It’s been Sixteen months since the Canon EOS RP has been out in the market. While most others are looking at the performance of the camera in a general sense, I put it to the test and tried to find the right context for such a camera. 

Ever since Canon announced the EOS RP in February 2019, it has always been quite an interesting camera. We have to admit that one of the most eye-catching aspects of this camera was the price point. It’s R12 000 cheaper than the EOS R and is the most affordable full-frame mirrorless camera in the market (even until now, I believe). 

The Specs in a Nutshell

The EOS RP carries a 26.2-megapixel sensor similar to the EOS 6D Mark II, and while most cameras being announced recently are trying to go higher and higher on the megapixel count, it seems logical just by the cost that the EOS RP wasn’t meant to top the EOS R or the others in that range.

EOS RP with RF 24-105mm f/4L

While they both have an optical low pass filter, the EOS RP only has 4,779 AF points (876 less than the EOS R), and that’s still quite a lot. It’s quite impressive that the autofocus is accurate even at -5 EV. It has the same ISO range as the EOS R, ranging from 100 to 40,000. In burst shooting, the EOS RP doesn’t really pick up the pace so much at 5 frames per second with continuous AF, but it does come with stabilization with certain lenses that might help you miss less shots. It comes, of course, with the tilting touch-screen proportionately smaller than the EOS R’s as well as a 0.39-inch electronic viewfinder. The touch-and-drag AF point selection is a handy bonus in terms of ergonomics. 

Putting Things Into Context

If you’re a professional photographer who shoots fast-paced action or one with projects with heavy requirements, then yes, the EOS RP is definitely not for you. But keep in mind one fact (this isn’t something in the specs sheet but may be safe to assume): it really wasn’t made for you. 

If you’re someone who’s aware of the different lineups of cameras that manufacturers make and maintain, then you would know that the EOS RP clearly wasn’t made to be a contender to the EOS R, not the 5D series, and definitely not the 1D X. So yes, this camera wasn’t made to shoot sports or anything fast-paced. 

Slow shutter landscape shot | EOS RP + RF 24-105mm

When I tested the camera, the experience of shooting with it was quite comparable to shooting with my old 6D. The EOS 6D was a popular camera for certain photographers because it was kind of a stepping stone into full frame. It wasn’t that fast either, but the sensor was undoubtedly good. The 6D, of course, had a successor deservingly called the 6D Mark II with a 2-6 megapixel sensor and slightly faster shooting rate. In comparison, maybe Canon’s intention for this camera was actually for it to be a mirrorless equivalent of the 6D Mark II with a few differences. Much like how the 6D was an entry point into full-frame back then, the EOS RP just might be the entry point for users of the EOS M line into mirrorless full-frame. The sound of the shutter sounds more like the EOS M5, so maybe that supports that point. 

On-The-Go Full Frame EOS RP + RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro

The Right Target Market

So, if the EOS RP wasn’t made for professional fast-paced shooters, then who was it made for? Maybe it was made for photographers with not as heavy gear requirements. It’s important to realize that while it’s good to test out cameras for hard-core professionals, there are cameras also made for the casual shooters. Yes, it would be a dream if all photographers could get their hands on the best gear each time a new one comes out without breaking the bank, but not all photographers need all the higher-end features. There is a significant market segment for casual photographers and hobbyists as well as on-the-go content creators and travelers. The camera brands also make cameras for them and not just the professionals. 

EOS RP with RF 35mm f/1.8

In Application 

Here are the key aspects wherein the camera excelled. As expected for a 26.2-megapixel sensor, the images may not have been as natively big as the other full-frame mirrorless cameras, but the quality is still uncompromising. As a travel and landscape photographer, the images made by the Canon Eos RP have quite impressive detail for such a small body. The low-light performance and focusing on relatively darker scenes did not disappoint at all. 

Details in Urban Landscapes | EOS RP + RF 24-105mm

While the reflex may not have been as fast in shooting moving subjects, the continuous Dual Pixel autofocus (DPAF) can still help you capture them, just not as efficiently as a faster camera. With more reliance on the photographer’s knowledge of using the camera and proper timing, fast-paced action shooting is still possible. That performance is definitely good enough for street, travel, landscape, and other similarly paced shooting situations. 

Action shot test EOS RP + RF 24-105mm (cropped)

The Canon EOS RP is undoubtedly a very compact camera equipped with a relatively large sensor. The grip is definitely better than the APS-C mirrorless cameras. Compatibility-wise, it can take both the RF format lenses as well as the EF mount lenses (with the adapter). This gives a bit more flexibility for the user since many potential users of this camera are Canon DSLR users. This multi-compatibility allows the camera to be both portable with the use of the native RF 35mm f/1.8 lens or other small EF mount primes and a serious shooter camera with the L series lineups both for EF and RF. It transforms from an on-the-go full frame mirrorless camera to a serious image-maker depending on the choice of lenses. 

EOS RP with Irix Firefly 11mm f/4 via the EF mount adapter

Logically, when heavier requirements of resolution and speed are involved, then this entry-level full frame may not exactly be the perfect tool. However, the sensor, mechanics, and physical build of the camera may just be right for portrait, still life, travel, and landscape photography, where image quality and output take much more precedence over speed.

What I Liked

  • Size
  • Image quality 
  • Touch screen with touch and drag
  • RF and EF compatibility
  • Weather-sealing

Blog Credit to Fstoppers (Nicco Valenzuela)