Let’s begin with this: the Canon EOS RP is a surprising model that deviates from Canon’s usual EOS releases ; it doesn’t come with a new sensor or a dark-oriented focusing system. Instead, it is a full-frame mirrorless camera that costs less than other benchmark models such as the Canon EOS M5 and the Sony A6500.
At S$1,699, Canon has done away with the notion that a full-frame camera with decent image quality should cost you an arm and a leg. Compared to its DSLR counterpart (6D Mk II), it is significantly cheaper and seems like the perfect camera for photographers who want to enter the world of full-frame on a budget.
Many aspects of the Canon EOS RP were indeed axed — and that certainly helped to keep its cost down — but that doesn’t stop it from being a great camera, as what many would otherwise think.
For starters, the Canon EOS RP is small — enough for it to be comparable to the Sony A7III, the world’s smallest full-frame camera currently available on the market. Yet its diminutive size doesn’t translate to worse physical handling; Canon chose to not compromise and gave the EOS RP a grip similar to the EOS R and 5D (albeit slightly smaller).
It’s easy to assume that the smaller size would cause cramps after extended use, but this was not the case. The grip and button layout are terrific on the Canon EOS RP. Granted, my pinky did slip on occasion, but you can get the extension grip to help with that.
Speaking of its button layout, let’s dive a little deeper. The Canon EOS RP sports a more simplified layout in comparison to its bigger brother, the EOS R, and forgoes the overly complicated mode dial (thank god) as well as the multi-function bar. What remains is a relatively traditional mode dial.
The Canon EOS RP also keeps all the essential buttons but opts out of having a top LCD screen. That said, it’s easy enough to toggle through your exposure settings, even in the absence of a touchscreen.
Now, for the caveat, and it’s a rather big one. We know that the electronic viewfinder is what sets a successful mirrorless camera apart from the rest, but the Canon EOS RP packs a disheartening 2.36 million dots OLED EVF — significantly lower than its counterpart EOS R (3.69 million dots) as well as models from other manufacturers, such as the Nikon Z6 (also 3.69 million dots). The only exception here is the Sony A7III, which it ties with (2.36 million dots).
Of course, specs don’t mean everything. In real-world performance, the Canon EOS RP’s EVF is sufficiently sharp for most indoor and outdoor shoots, though it is generally darker than what is generally available.
The EOS RP’s vari-angle touchscreen is decent for what it sets out to do, but it feels overly sensitive and lags slightly at times. It isn’t a massive issue in particular, but it does dampen the user experience.
When it comes to focusing, the Canon EOS RP performs almost identically as the EOS R, albeit with fewer focusing points. It seemed slightly slower, but it was hard to discern a significant difference.
Face and eye detection work well, even on the beast of a lens that is the RF 50mm F1.2L — with an almost 85% accuracy in AF-servo. However, it’s of note that eye detection only kicks in when eyes are large enough in the frame. I wish that its eye AF had the ability to switch between eyes, like the ones from Nikon.
If you’re looking to shoot sports or wildlife, you may be let down by the Canon EOS RP. It shoots a maximum of only 5fps in one-shot AF and 4fps in AF-servo. It goes down to 3fps if you choose to favour shots in focus over raw quantity.
The Canon EOS RP’s colour science is fantastic, as with all other Canon cameras. If you’re a photographer on a budget and are specifically looking to upgrade into a 6D Mk II, consider an EOS RP, and you won’t be disappointed. Images look clean up till ISO6400 and are usable up till ISO25600.
Of note, the EOS RP really brings out skin tones:
The EOS RP is heavily criticised for its sensor, which has a low dynamic range — indeed, because it shares the same sensor as the 6D Mk II — it’s theoretically terrible for pushing a severely under-or-overexposed image back in post. Still, it’s not a problem I’ve personally had.
Even shots that were almost 3 stops overexposed could be pulled back without any issue while looking pretty clean from afar. Practically, the sensor should not be a huge concern so long as you get the right exposure while shooting.
The video function for the EOS RP is, however, a mixed bag. Having 1080p resolution at 24fps is a standard set by many other cameras currently, but the RP bizarrely has opted to omit it as an option. Instead, 24fps is only available for use in 4K, and while the increase in resolution is nicer for video, the higher quality will make it more difficult to edit and find storage for. For casual or beginner videographers, it is a headache that can be avoided.
With that being said, the quality of its video capturing is magnificent, especially for its price. It incorporates the same colour science from the picture department, sometimes looking even better. For videographers starting out, the level of quality produced here is a good base to get started with as you improve your skills.
The autofocus for the video also works like a charm due to the highly regarded Dual Pixel Autofocus tech from Canon; working akin to videographers pulling focus on cinema lenses. It isn’t quite on the same quality as dedicated video cameras would have, but it definitely is able to function aptly as a run-and-gun video camera for vlogs.
If you’re an aspiring photographer who’s looking to get their hands on their first full-frame camera, the Canon EOS RP is an obvious candidate with performance that far exceeds its already-low price point. You’d be hard-pressed to find a camera that carries better bang for your buck.
Photos by Darren Chiong and Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team.