Review: Canon EOS RP (Well Worth the Money for Almost $1,200)

The Canon EOS RP isn’t at all a bad camera; and it’s bound to flood the market during the holiday season.

When I look at and think about the Canon EOS RP, I see the strategy for Canon that they’ve been imparting for many years. Said strategy goes something like this: bundle the camera with a printer and a lens and do an instant rebate with the retailers to simply move the product. Then also add in an adapter for EF mount lenses. Do this around the holidays like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Black Friday. As much as this camera may be designed to flood the market, it honestly isn’t all that bad of a choice. The Canon EOS RP is a good entry level camera and perhaps one that photographers first picking up a dedicated device can grow with for a long time. And for those who ask if there is an auto mode and who don’t want to worry about anything else, you can do that too while the rest of us make horrified faces at you.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • This isn’t Canon innovating on the inside, but instead on the outside
  • This is the smallest and lightest ILC full frame camera on the market
  • Goes well with a wrist strap and a light prime lens
  • Weather sealing
  • The autofocus isn’t bad, and it’s quite usable in a number of working conditions
  • Pretty good image quality

Cons

  • This camera is begging to be paired with a nice 50mm f1.8 lens.
  • Could have done better with a joystick
  • The competition from Sony charges around 1/3rd more of the price and offers more

Gear Used

We tested the Canon EOS RP with the Canon 50mm f1.2 L USM RF, 24-105mm f4 L IS USM RF, and the 35mm f1.8 IS USM RF. We also used the Profoto B10 with it at one point.

Tech Specs

  • 26.2MP full frame sensor, same as that in the Canon 6D Mk II
  • Same build as the Canon 6D Mk II
  • Takes SD cards
  • AF works down to -5EV
  • 4779 autofocus points when selected with the cross keys
  • ISO 100-40,000
  • Flash sync to 1/180th
  • 5fps shooting
  • With tracking Servo, max 4fps shooting
  • 4K video at 23.98fps. IPB
  • Dual pixel CMOS AF
  • 3 inch 1.04 million dot LCD screen with vari-angle abilities
  • Wifi
  • 3.5mm stereo mini jack
  • Not the Canon EOS DSLR batteries; more like the smaller Rebel batteries.

Ergonomics

The Canon EOS RP is a sort of boxyish looking camera. But in other ways, it isn’t. It’s weird–in some ways it reminds me of Sony’s a99 series made smaller and mirrorless while also alluding to Canon’s own pellicle mirror cameras from back in the film days. Nonetheless, the new Canon EOS RP has a very distinct look.

Here’s a top down view with the lens off. You can see the unprotected sensor and now you’ll see that this is one of the biggest differences between the Canon EOS RP and the EOS R. The Canon EOS RP also has little in the way of controls on the front here. There is an exposure dial and an AF/shutter button. That’s about it.

On top of the Canon EOS RP is the on/off switch taking up the top left space while the mode dial flanks the other side of the hot shoe. Then you’ll find the exposure dials and the video record button.

On the back of the Canon EOS RP you’ll notice that only one button is on the top right–the menu button. This layout is a bit awkward to me and in the one day that I used the camera, I wasn’t able to wrap my head around it totally.

On the left side of the Canon EOS RP, you’ll find all the camera’s essential ports. Of course, I don’t expect most shooters to be spending lots of their time here.

Build Quality

The Canon EOS RP is billed at being weather sealed. Indeed it is, and we tested this with Canon’s RF L glass. Despite this, it just didn’t feel right with big L lenses attached to it. Most of the time, we used it with the 35mm f1.8 IS lens. This combo felt perfect. The problem: this lens isn’t weather sealed. So while the Canon EOS RP is surely capable of handling a number of inclement weather situations that photographers are going to throw at it, it probably won’t end up being the case. In the future, I see this camera being paired with an awesome 50mm f1.8 lens of some sort. But Canon, in an effort to keep things low enough to move volume, won’t make it weather sealed. However, I’m inclined to think that everything in the camera world these days should be weather resistant.

Ease of Use

The Canon EOS RP works in a number of ways. If you’re used to higher end products and you’re stepping down to it, then the camera will take some getting used to. I’d like to make it akin to the Fujifilm XT3 and the Fujifilm XT30. When you step down to the camera, it just feels and acts odd at times. But at the core, it’s capable of doing a whole lot. Canon’s menu system continues to be the best on the market and is made even better with the touch screen. The Canon EOS RP’s menu is even more simplified too.

If you’re stepping up to the Canon EOS RP, then it should be simple enough. In one instance, I handed it to a friend who took a ton of selfies with it while shooting in auto mode. During my quiet judgement of him, I was able to see just how simple it was for him to just take photos. I used to encounter folks like this when I was at B&H Photo. They’re the type who back then just wanted the blurry background. These days, they just want the cameras to do everything for them. As sad as human existence has become with us becoming the machines we use, this is all possible with the Canon EOS RP. Though at the same time, the camera can be used relatively easily by someone with more experience.

Metering

During my tests, I found that the Canon EOS RP worked well according to Sunny 16 standards. This would excite me more if the autofocus worked quickly enough for street photography. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Autofocus

In street photography situations and those where a subject is moving very fast, I’m not sure that I’d put a whole lot of reliance into the Canon EOS RP. It’s slow in regards to a mirrorless camera, but it’s very usable. To put this into more perspective, the Canon EOS RP won’t be able to track a subject and move with them if they’re moving very quickly. But if someone or something is taking a leisurely pace, then it won’t have trouble. In documentary situations, I found the Canon EOS RP to be very reliable. In fact, This made me believe that the Canon EOS RP can be used well enough for much of the professional work that is out there. But if you need it for sports photography or some other fast paced subject matter, you’re going to be out of luck.

If you’re looking for super fast autofocus, then you’ll need to move to Sony or Fujifilm. At the nearest price point, both camera systems deliver a whole lot of autofocus performance.

Image Quality

The Canon EOS RP delivers some stunning looking JPEG images. Photographers who care only for these and don’t really care at all about editing on their computers with software that could be too intimidating will be very happy to see the JPEG results. In fact, I was honestly quite happy to see them too.

Editor’s Note: We’ll need to circle back around to finish this when RAW file editing is allowed in Capture One.

RAW File Versatility

To be updated

High ISO Output

To be updated

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Small size
  • Light weight
  • Good image quality
  • Reliability
  • I’d probably recommend this camera to someone that wants to genuinely grow as a photographer; and so Canon has something in the mirrorless world finally to do so.

Dislikes

  • Doesn’t really appeal to those with more experience, but it can surely be a fun camera.

There is a lot to like the Canon EOS RP. It’s a simple and fun camera if you’re more inclined to the world of automation. But even so, with the right settings and a bit of patience it can be a great camera in the hands of someone who has a creative vision. You’ll just need to take your time with it. The Canon EOS RP is also really, stupidly affordable. With a full frame sensor at the heart, it’s going to appeal to anyone that says “Oh well full frame is better.”

The Canon EOS RP also has reliable autofocus in all types of lighting. It isn’t the fastest but it works. We also never really had any issues with missed focus providing the subjects were still. Combine this with the metering that lends itself to Sunny 16 well and the ease of use, and you’ve got a pretty darned good camera at least for fun.

We’ll update with our final thoughts when the image quality finally can be worked with in Capture One.