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Gear & Apps

Canon EOS-RP Review | Hands-On Experience, Sample Images and More

By Pye Jirsa on February 13th 2019

The Canon EOS-RP Mirrorless Camera was just released, and we had the opportunity to test it at Canon’s press event in New Orleans.  In this review, we’ll dive into who this camera is for, give you the pros and cons of the camera, show you some sample images, and provide you with our overall analysis.

Let’s First Address the Canon EOS-RP Rumors

With the release of the EOS-R, the internets have been speculating that Canon’s next camera would be a mirrorless camera designed for professionals. Speculation that was justified based on Canon’s line up of RF L lenses. Lenses that are designed to resolve incredible amounts of detail, have lightning fast focus mechanics and boast incredible optical quality.

The Canon EOS-RP is not that camera, it’s actually the exact opposite. And while Canon has openly stated, “Have no doubt that a professional model is coming,” many of you will still be throwing your hands up in frustration. Particularly if you were wanting or expecting Canon to take over the mirrorless market with “the next best thing.”

But, while this camera might not be what you want or expect, it’s still a wonderful camera at an incredible price point.

Introducing, The Canon EOS-RP Mirrorless Camera

Before you jump in, I want to preface this article with the fact that this is not a technical Canon EOS-RP review. There are plenty of websites for comparing camera specs and debating technical details. Instead, I offer you information from the perspective of a working portrait photographer who takes pictures as a profession. My Canon EOS-RP review focuses on the benefits and pain points actually seen and felt from the day that I spent shooting with this camera. With that said, read on!

Who is the Canon EOS-RP For?

The Canon EOS-RP is an entry-level mirrorless camera designed for amateur photographers who are ready or thinking about stepping into the full-frame mirrorless world. Paired with the EF-EOS R adapter, the EOS-RP system can make use of all of your existing EF lenses. For $1,299, this makes for an attractive proposal in and of itself.

In addition, the body is light, I mean, very light. The body alone weighs just over 16 oz which makes it one of the lightest full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. That paired with an articulating LCD screen makes it a wonderful camera for bloggers, vloggers, and photographers who love to travel.

However, if you were hoping for full-frame 4K, you are going to have to wait a bit longer. Canon’s technical team informed us that the Canon EOS-RP is still restricted to 1.6x crop when shooting 4K in order to prevent the camera from overheating. It’s a frustrating technical restriction that we hope Canon is able to soon resolve.

In short, if you’ve got a line up of EF lenses and have been considering a full-frame camera or jumping into mirrorless, the EOS-RP was designed to get you in at a minimal price point.

5 pros About The Canon EOS-RP

pro 1 – Canon Color Science

Canon color science is one of the big reasons that I prefer shooting Canon versus other brands. I always use the best tool for any job. Shooting raw allows you to create and fine-tune color on any camera, I find that Canon files start with beautiful and slightly warm skin tones that already fit my final look. This is where the EOS-RP shines, and honestly where my specialty as a photographer lies. Given that this camera is so new, I had no choice but to work with JPG files. Take a look at how the original files stack up to the final edits below. You are seeing the untouched SOOC.JPG (left) versus the final edit (right).

pro 2 – Solid Low Light Performance

The EOS-RP is essentially using the 6D Mark II sensor paired with the latest DIGIC processor. The result is an entry-level full-frame camera with more than impressive low-light performance. I found noise to be barely noticeably all the way up to 800 ISO, and professionally acceptable even at 6400 ISO. In fact, even when pushed to 12,800 ISO the files still hold up nicely as you can see below.

If you’d like to take a look at the 1:1 files at the different ISO ranges, here they are. Forgive me, I shot these under partial florescent light, so I black and whited the photos as the shutter speed was catching inconsistencies in the fluorescent light. This is a test I’d love to try again in natural light conditions with the final released cameras.

While the noise in the final image at 12,800 ISO is noticeable, I want you to put it into context by seeing the full frame shot. While I wouldn’t advise shooting at this ISO, it’s still very useable if needed.

pro 3 – Good Dynamic Range

We will know more about dynamic range when we are able to test the flexibility of the .cr3 files in post. However, even when reviewing the .jpg files I noticed that the camera has an impressive dynamic range. Keep in mind, even when shooting raw I set my camera profile to a flattened custom profile that allows me to preview more dynamic range from the image directly in-camera. Doing so allowed me to yield more dynamic range from the .jpg files than you might normally see.

In this first SOOC .jpg file you will notice that we are shooting mid-day at a cemetery in New Orleans. Even when shooting from the shadows into direct sun, we can see all details from the shadows to the highlights.

Moving indoors, to a warehouse, I found a scene that was perfect for testing the dynamic range of the camera. How much detail would we be able to see within the details of the statues compared to the highlights of the water and bridge outside of the windows? Amazingly, even the .jpg files had enough detail to reveal both with little issue. We can expect the raw .cr3 files to perform even better.

pro 4 – Fast Autofocus Speed

The autofocus speed was blisteringly fast. Canon boasts that the EOS-RP has the “world’s fastest full-frame mirrorless AF speed.” No doubt, the speed of autofocus and its accuracy did not disappoint.

pro 5 – Great Ergonomics

Given the size of the camera, I thought I would hate the ergonomics of the EOS-RP. However, the camera was comfortable, even without an additional grip. I found the buttons easy to access, and the layout of the menu system was simple and intuitive in practice. I will note that since the system only has two dials, I greatly preferred using the EOS-RP with native RF lenses or the RF adapter that has the control ring present. The control ring provides you with that third customizable dial that you can use to quickly adjust Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO when shooting in Manual.

5 cons of the Canon EOS-RP

Con 1 – camera body Size vs. RF L Lenses

The size of the EOS-RP is only a valid selling point when you are pairing the camera with equally small lenses. Pairing the EOS-RP with any of the new monstrous RF L lenses makes the camera feel like any other full sized DSLR. What we need are more native RF lenses that are designed for travel and portability.  Only then can we really appreciate the size and weight of the EOS-RP. During my day with the camera, I found my favorite lens was the small Canon RF 35mm f/1.8. This allowed me to truly appreciate the size and portability of such a powerful system.

Con 2 – Crop Video/Contrast Focus

For a lot of people wanting this camera to do 4K video, crop mode is a deal breaker. Not because the video quality is bad by any means. It’s simply because it requires us to have a different set of lenses in order to achieve the same field of view. In addition, when shooting 4K the camera is reduced to a contrast focusing system that can be abysmally slow, especially in low-light. In many situations, you will be better off with manual focusing.

Con 3 – Lack of Physical Joystick

When looking through the EVF, Canon has designed the top right of the display to act as your joystick. While it was easy to use, I found myself missing the feel and speed of a physical joystick. This is something that will no doubt improve with time and experience using the new system. However, I still miss the tactile feel of a physical joystick for quick AF maneuverability.

Con 4 – Accidentally Triggering the EVF

Just like with the EOS-R counterpart, I was constantly triggering the EVF on the EOS-RP by accident. Whether I was testing exposure or previewing images, the screen was constantly shutting off when a thumb or finger came too close to the sensor on the EVF. This is more of a nuisance than a deal breaker, but it’s still rather annoying to deal with as it kept pulling me out of the joy and fun of the camera.

Con 5 – Battery and Battery Life

While the EOS-R uses the standard LP-E6 battery, the Canon EOS-RP does not. No doubt this was done to accommodate the camera’s size, but this is still frustrating on multiple levels. For one, if you’ve got a stockpile of LP-E6 batteries, they can’t be used. This means that the Canon EOS-RP is not the ideal travel buddy for those already shooting larger full frame Canon DSLRs. For that, I guess we have the EOS-R. But, even worse is that the smaller form factor and battery gives the EOS-RP a pretty terrible battery life.

When it comes to shooting in a battery friendly manner, I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum. I shoot with my screen set to maximum brightness, and my approach to shooting with intention means I’m constantly previewing the LCD. I got a whopping 70 shots out of the camera before the battery was blinking red. Some of my colleagues were getting around 200-250 shots. Regardless of our approach to shooting, it wasn’t great. Expect to be spending a pretty penny on at least 2-3 spare batteries if you plan to shoot a full days worth of photos.

Canon EOS-RP Review | Final Thoughts

I know many people are going to crap on this camera. It’s not a Sony killer, nor is it the professional camera that we all hoped and wished for. On top of that, it only has one card slot (queue the eye rolls). But, when we look at this camera outside of our expectations we can see it for what it is. A fantastic entry-level full-frame camera that comes in a small body, and with an even smaller price tag. I was shocked at the image quality I was able to pull out of a camera that costs only $1,299.

For that reason, I think this is the ideal camera for an enthusiast looking to jump into a full-frame mirrorless system without breaking the bank. That said, if you are professional or prosumer expecting the “Canon Mirrorless Monster” you are going to have to wait a little longer.

Sample Images Using The Canon EOS-RP

To purchase this camera, click here.

What do you think about this camera? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joe Van Wyk

    One of the best assessments I have read so far. Thank you so much. 

    I am experimenting with the RP and the 35 1.8 because I need a flippy screen for my videos. I just created this message to Kasey of Camera Conspiracies, chronicling my experience so far:

    https://youtu.be/zqj8l1I_VTY

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  2. Ken Zuk

    I am so on the fence right now. I am looking to lighten my kit as I travel a lot and do a lot of hiking in many places around the world. I currently have a 6D with 16-35 L, 50 f1.4, 85 f1.8, and a 100 L. I have all but decided to switch to Fuji X (XT3, with comparable lenses) that will drastically cut the weight. THEN, the Canon RP gets released/announced. If I sell my gear, I know that I will lose money…I have some of the best glass in Canon’s lineup, and I am just not sure I am ready to give up FF with low noise, great low light focus…Fuji X may be okay, but would you advise to keep the investment of lenses and go with the RP? Makes no sense to change my lenses to RF either….but do the existing lenses stick way out and add bulk to the RP with the adapter? Seems like this always happens to me, just when I am considering different buying options, the marketeers drop more options in front of me :)

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hi Ken,

      Yeah, the RP is so lightweight, that compared to a 6D it will feel incredibly compact. However with the EF-RF adapter, and your 16-35, it may feel a bit front-heavy; in fact the RF body is so thin that flex on a tripod foot will be an issue unless you get a dedicated foot that is form-fitted to the RP’s body. 

      If you just don’t ever shoot at extremely high ISOs, or at extremely shallow apertures, then you really don’t need full-frame. Both Canon and Fuji (and others) have APS0C systems with great sensors that absolutely deliver amazing images from ISO 100-1600. If you’re not craving ISO 3200-6400 and f/1.2-1.4 for your shots, lose the entire FF setup, and consider either something like the Canon M5 and EF-M lenses, if you’d like to stick with the Canon interface, or a Fuji system if you’re OK with re-learning a new interface. Honestly, though, the best Fuji lenses and bodies are still a bit hefty, compared to how compact some of the lighter weight bodies and lenses are. So just make sure you add up all the weights and prices before you click “buy”!

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  3. Michael Saft

    Just found your website and thanks for an open and unbiased review.  I’m a serious amatour mainly doing travel photography with my existing 5D MIII. But weight is a concern as most of my traveling is on a tandem bike with my wife and every pound counts, especially when we’re heading up hill.  I don’t do  video and all my processing is in Raw using Lightroom with many of my shots at dusk or at night so low light performance is necessary.  I don’t want to compromise image quality including dynamic range, and in fact would like to get even better images.  I was leaning to ordering the EOS RP until it seems a bunch of reviewers started bashing it on line.  I have 5 EF lenses which I want to keep so switching brands really isn’t an option (besides I tested my 24-105 on Sony  A7R III and A7 III’s and thought the AF was unacceptable).  What’s your thoughts, can I get the RP with a clear conscious and not be disappointed ?  Thanks

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    • Trey Mortensen

      I rented the R and own a 6D. Honest opinion, if you don’t need the dynamic range that the 5D mkiv sensor (same as R) has, the RP would be just fine. The biggest negative for me is the battery. I loved being able to use the same battery in my 6D and the EOS R. Having to buy a buttload of new, small batteries would be annoying. It’s all about needs though. The adapter works flawlessly. As much as I missed a joystick, the AF is very accurate, even on lenses that give me trouble on my 6D. So basically, if you are looking for a travel camera that uses your EF lenses and are ok with getting new batteries, the RP should be a good little camera. 

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  4. John Blomeling

    A brand new FF camera with the adapter and extension grip for $1299 is a steal. I jumped on it and bought it. This camera will suit my style and needs just fine. I only shoot stills and couldn’t care about the video. I will eventually buy one or two of the RF lenses designed for this camera but if it halfway exceeds my expectations with my existing EF lenses it will be a keeper for me.

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    • Matthew Saville

      It is very interesting to find that Canon has likely guessed correctly that more photographers still care about “just photos” than the internet seems to think. Everybody (on the internet) is screaming for full-sensor 4K 60p as if it’s already the industry standard for any and every camera on the market, however, it simply isn’t.

      Good luck with the RP! I’m glad they included an EF adapter in the box, it’s a great idea.

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  5. Nichole Smith

    Im still at a loss on what to buy next lol!! I have been using the 6D for years with top glass and although not a professional I have some stunning travel photos. My 6d got stolen last week so now I have to get something new. Was thinking of ponying up the doe for 5DM4 but I literally never do video (heart my iPhone  or drone for video)  With that being said do you think this is a better option than the 6dm2?? Or Should I just pony-up?? HELP lol!!

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    • Matthew Saville

      Hi Nichole! The EOS RP is only a “better” option than the 6D mk2 if you’re also ready to start diving into the new RF lenses as well. Having said that, the RP is just SO cheap, it’s probably cheaper than a used 6D2, or about the same price as a mint condition 6D even.

      So, why not? If you’re OK with having a bunch of spare batteries in your camera bag, and you don’t shoot video, or fast-action sports, then the EOS RP is a perfect, affordable way to stay full-frame and still gain access to all the great EF lenses out there. Even though I bet you’ll want an RF lens sooner or later! They’re just that good haha.

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    • Trey Mortensen

      There’s also the R. I think there are already discounts coming (canonpricewatch.com). So it’s getting even more affordable. If you want a bit more dynamic range, a bit more burst, it might be a better way to go. However, the RP might be the “good enough” option. I also have a 6D, and after renting an EOS R, I felt that other than the better AF, I wasn’t missing too much. The RP has that same AF, so it might be good for you, especially if you don’t do video (like me). 

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  6. Tomáš Hudolin

    I don’t know. It seems good, but Canon disappointed me little bit in last years. Sony is far away from Canon now and for same prices. You can buy Sony A7 III for price of the 5D IV and this is crazy. I know, each camera is from another year and you can’t compare their performance, but maybe this is the reason to lower the prices of Canon.  Canon R was unlucky joke for me because they just wanted to enter to mirrorless segment.  

    And what about the eye detection AF? Does it work well?

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    • Matthew Saville

      The Sony A7III and 5D4 are in significantly different classes, professionally speaking, so they’re not really the right two cameras to compare. The A7III has a couple key features that make it attractive to someone who may also be considering the 5D4, such as dual card slots, but in reality there are innumerable other features which the 5D4 offers in terms of professional versatility and reliabilty. The EVF on the A7III isn’t even the same as in the A7RIII or A9, nor is the AF the same as the A9.

      The EOS R AF works amazingly well. Its face-detection and overall reliability was the best thing I’ve ever experienced from any camera I’ve ever tested, when paired with the RF 50 1.2. It was worlds better than a Sony or Nikon, in truly terrible light.

      What seems like an “unlucky joke” to a serious professional who is already used to the form factor and reliability of a 5D-series, still appears quite attractive to beginners and hobbyists who are looking to buy their very first full-frame camera, or maybe even their very first serious camera overall. The usability/user-friendliness of these cameras simply cannot be stated well enough on paper to express why it is likely that the cameras will stand the test of time and sell extremely well.

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  7. Matthew Saville

    The thing is, this ‘build a system from the bottom up, not the top down” worked VERY well for both Nikon and Sony over the last 10+ years. So it makes total sense for Canon to drop this shockingly affordable full-frame mirrorless camera before they do anything else. Sony did great business with their older mk1 and mk2 generation A7-series, and those all had a tiny battery and one SD card slot.

    Canon is playing it smart. Get the user base started from the ground up, and by the time you’re ready to deliver a flagship, you’ve got all the kinks worked out (hopefully) and you’re able to deliver a truly flagship grade product. 

    I wish Nikon would put a Z6 sensor in a “beginner class but still well-built” body like this. I think Sony is playing it down the middle and trying to provide a relatively identical ergonomic experience from the affordable A7III to the flagship A9, and I’m not sure if that’s the smartest move either. 

    Either way, we knew it was going to be an interesting year, and it sure will be!

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    • Pye Jirsa

      I agree, not what we wanted or expected, but definitely a very smart move. I was amazed at the punch this thing packed in such a small body, and at such a low price point. 

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    • Trey Mortensen

      According to the Canon Rumors Guy, there still may be another RF mount camera to be announced this year. Crossing my fingers, but all the announcements (and other unexpected purchases) have caused me to stall my jump to a Sony a7iii just yet. I want to see what else the year brings.

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