The cheapest full-frame mirrorless camera with great price
Canon EOS RP detailed review
Canon’s entry into the mirrorless space may have been late, but it was not without its worries. The company launched the EOS R a few months ago and now, we have the Canon EOS RP. It almost seems to follow the same 6D-5D approach as the Canon Mirrorless Camera, with the EOS R being the more featured camera whereas the EOS RP is the more budget-friendly camera. Canon sent us a review unit with RF 24-105 f / 4 L lens and we kept the camera at its speed.
|Canon EOS RP Specification|
|Sensor configuration||The whole frame|
|Image stable||In-lens only|
|SD card slot||Single|
Construction and design
The Canon EOS RP is almost the size of Canon’s smallest DLSR but manages to put a lot of energy and refinement into this tiny form-factor. For starters, it has nice, deep grip that makes it extremely easy to hold the camera. The upper plate on the right has very basic, but important dials and buttons. There is a dedicated record button which is easy to reach along with the mode dial. There is an M-Fn button that can be mapped to perform any number of functions and a rear thumb dial that is used to change the shutter speed. Finally, there is a vertical thumb dial to control the aperture just behind the shutter button.
The controls on the upper plate are well arranged
On the back, we find the exposure lock and the AF area selection button, as well as the AF-on button, both of which are awkwardly placed on the extreme right. On the back panel, there are 4-way buttons with a set button in the center. Below, you’ll find the playback and deleted keys, which we think are placed very close to each other.
The back has a fairly basic control layout
While the build and design of the Canon EOS RP is tough and very ergonomic, there are some things we didn’t like at all. For starters, the dedicated on / off switch on the top plate can be replaced with an AF-mode or shooting mode dial, which is much more effective than a binary switch. Second, the EOS RP doesn’t come with the touch bar found on the EOS R, but at the same time, it doesn’t have a joystick to move the AF points around. After all, the camera lacks weather ceilings.
The Canon EOS RP has a 27-megapixel full-frame sensor with an effective output of 26 megapixels. The rest of the pixels are there to help focus, but we’ll get to that in the next section. For imaging, the EOS RP offers some incredible output. For any professional camera, we’ve shot all the images on RAW and processed them using Adobe Lightroom. This allows us to extract as much information as possible from each RAW file. The camera is paired with an RF 24-105 f / 4 L IS lens for all-out testing. We asked Canon to share the EF-to-RF converter with an EF 50mm f / 1.2 or any other comparable prime lens, but they weren’t able to do the same for us. This affects the performance metrics of some of the images we record.
In our experiment the full-frame sensor was limited only by the aperture of the kit lens
Canon EOS RP’s full-frame sensor also performs in daylight as you might expect. This means that RAW files coming out of the camera are silent. Depending on whether you’re publishing for highlights or shadows, your latitude for editing recovery will vary. Using Adobe Lightroom, we were able to recover 2 stop details in the shadows, giving the same latitude to the highlights. Detailed capture is also great for day-time shots.
Click on the image above to visit our Flickr gallery for many more full-resolution images
When shooting in low light, things become very different and very specific situations. Images taken at ISO up to ISO 6400 are luma and chroma noise free, depending entirely on exposure. If the content is less exposed, you will quickly see Luma Noise Crepe, becoming increasingly visible as you increase the exposure in the edit. In fact, night shots develop chroma sounds (colored dots) even beyond a certain point. We’ve seen that we can make a maximum of 1 stop for low light photos until the noise gets out of hand. Applying aggressive noise reduction has given us some more latitude to correct exposure but at a detailed cost.
Properly exposed low light photos can be wordless (ISO 6400)
The shot above does not give much space to boost the shadow (ISO 6400)
There is no color change in ISO 25600
At ISO 12800, we found that when the scene was properly expressed, that is, the correct exposure to the subject, the amount of sound was controllable, but there was a slight decrease in sharpness. In addition, the exposure correction was decent without too much hassle. At ISO 25600, however, we find that the reduction in noise level and sharpness is more than our preference, so we do not recommend shooting at this ISO level, unless absolutely critical. One thing we want to credit the Canon is the lack of color change when shooting at ISO up to 25,600. This is usually when we start to see unwanted changes in color reproduction, but not here.
We feel that with the kit lens, the usability of the EOS RP in low light is limited, mostly by the f / 4.0 aperture, which will force you to increase your ISO which will reduce the image quality a bit. With a prime lens with an f / 1.8 (or larger) aperture, you can use the EOS RP even in low light, pull enough light to keep you below ISO 12800 and not only detail, but also sharpness.
All in all, the fact remains that the imaging performance offered by Canon EOS RP is unmatched in terms of value. This is not a situation where low-star performance is being offset by low prices. The reality is that the EOS RP offers great imaging performance at an incredibly low entry point.
Auto focus performance
The EOS RP’s auto focus system is slightly different from the EOS R’s. The EOS R has a spread of 4779 AF points as opposed to the 5655 in the EOS R. Dual pixel AF which lets the camera really fascinate.
Something that really helps AF functionality is that AF points can be resized individually, allowing for more precise focus. During the day, the AF system is incredibly reliable to lock focus on the target system when it is in single focus mode. Constant switching to AF can sometimes cause the focus to jump, especially if you are trying to focus on an object that takes up a very small part of the frame (like a small flower). This can complicate macro shots a bit, but with some skill, the camera will help you get the right shot (as you can see in our Flickr gallery).
Canon EOS RP instantly loses focus on these tiny flowers in AF-S mode, but fights in AF-C mode
In low light, the camera struggled with a few instances. While shooting our standard test target (bookshelf), the camera was able to focus without any problems, even though the scene was vaguely illuminated. Outside, we had no problem locking focus on the landscape, but there were some issues when trying to focus on small flowers. This is not a big deal though, as a slight redesign of the frame allows the camera to focus without any problems.
Although the AF system itself works extremely well, we still have doubts about how Canon wants you to move the AF points around. Since there is no joystick on the back (as found in the 5D Mark IV and others), the traditional way to move AF points is to first press the AF button and then use the back dial. Another way is to just slide your thumb across the display as you look through the viewfinder. While this is convenient, we have found the feature to work occasionally by pressing our nose or cheek against the display. AF Joystick is a tried and tested method for moving AF points around, but it will take us a while to see it applied to Canon’s mirrorless cameras.
The last row
The Canon EOS RP is the cheapest modern full frame mirrorless camera you can buy today. Granted, Canon has also unveiled a number of impressive RF mount lenses, making the EOS RP a rather lucrative camera. In terms of camera performance in terms of imaging and focusing, it is almost impossible to recommend the camera to a novice photographer looking to enter a full-frame game. However, the only downside is that RF lenses are rather expensive, so combining EF-to-RF converters with EF lenses could be another way to get this camera started.