It’s a bold, yet factual statement: testing the more affordable Canon EOS RP is getting a first-hand look at the future of Canon cameras. While not the flagship mirrorless (that distinction belongs to the Canon EOS R), it’s still a big move forward for the famed camera maker. Eschewing a mirror box and moving beyond the EF-mount, Canon’s EOS RP is hoping to make a splash with hobbyists and photography enthusiasts that are looking for a more affordable entry into the world of full-frame mirrorless cameras; here’s how it stacks up.
Canon EOS RP Tech Specs
- 26.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS sensor
- 4K/24p (from 1.7x crop region)
- 4 fps continuous shooting with continuous AF (5 without)
- Pupil detection AF in continuous/Servo AF mode
- AF rated to -5EV (with an F1.2 lens)
- Digic 8 processor
- 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder
- Fully-articulated 1.04M dot touchscreen
- Twin command dials
- CIPA rated to 250 shots per charge
Ergonomics & Design
There are few things that feel as natural or as comfortable to hold as a Canon camera. As I mentioned it in our Canon Rebel SL3 review, Canon’s got ergonomics down to a science with placing all the necessary controls in the most comfortable spots throughout the camera body. The Canon RP is no different as it puts your fingers within comfortable reach of the primary controls of the camera – aperture and exposure controls are comfortably spaced and the grip is beefy! While there are many things that I love about some other full-frame mirrorless cameras, the grip on the RP is far and away the best from an ergonomics standpoint.
Noticeably absent in the RP design is the M-Fn (multi-function) touch-bar first introduced in the Canon EOS R. Depending on your stance on the existence of the bar in lieu of the analog joystick, this may either be a blessing or a missed opportunity. As far as I’m concerned, I’m okay with the absence of the touch-bar since Canon’s thrown in the back-button AF in the RP.
For video shooters familiar with the record button just to the right of the viewfinder we have some bad news: you won’t find it there. Instead, the Canon RP moves the video record button to the top plate of the camera. It’s not in the most convenient of places, but since I’m not often shooting video it’s more of a “huh?” moment than an inconvenience. That said, if you’re shooting video extensively you might find the button placement to be more than a minor annoyance.
We got our review unit paired with the RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, a great all-around lens that covers the full spectrum of focal lengths. While I personally prefer working with primes, having one lens to work with isn’t a problem when it covers that wide a range; from its widest focal length all the way through to 105mm, we found the lens to be tack sharp with beautiful color rendition. It’s everything that you’d expect from L glass.
Overall, I expect this level of detail to design and handling from a Canon camera – Everything is where it should be and is designed with making it easier on the photographer to make photographs (not over think settings).
What We Like
Right off the bat, the large, bright electronic viewfinder is a joy to use. It provides a great canvas to compose each shot and keep you engaged in the moment. While the weight savings in the body is nice and seeing just how capable the RF-mount lenses are now I’m excited to see what comes from Canon as the system matures. When it comes to ergonomics, build quality, and handling there’s really no competition (this camera makes me miss the days I used to shoot Canon exclusively).
What We Don’t Like
While I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to CIPA battery ratings (here’s why), in my testing I found the battery to be lacking especially when shooting video and photos. Often, I found myself shooting for a couple of hours and running back home to charge the battery. The only good news here is that the Canon RP uses the LP-E17 that’s found in the Rebel and EOS M line (and retail for under $50), so finding a spare shouldn’t be that difficult especially if you’re already shooting Canon.
While I did like the bright viewfinder, when in continuous shooting mode I found that it suffered from considerable lag/blackouts. Factor in the fact that while the Canon RP shares the same Digic8 processor found the Canon 6D Mark II, it only squeaks out 5 fps vs. 6.5 fps. While the Canon RP will not be your go-to camera body for sports photography, it will do more than fine for some backyard soccer with family.
Despite some of the shortcomings of the camera itself, the combination of the new RF lenses and how Canon is squeezing so much out of the Digic8 Processor in terms of image quality is reassuring for what in mind is clearly the new DeFacto entry-level camera. Sure, there are still a ton of APS-C DSLR options that can be had for a song at some big box store but the option of a sub-$1500 full-frame mirrorless is really hard to pass up.
If you’re an existing Canon shooter that’s been waiting on a mirrorless option without having to abandon ship altogether, your prayers have been answered. The Canon RP is positioned as a bridge camera to Canon’s mirrorless future – where full-frame mirrorless is increasing an option for hobbyists and not just a bragging point of those with deep pockets and pros.