What's new and how it compares

Key takeaways:

  • Combines familiar elements at a lower cost than we've previously seen
  • Pupil detection now available in continuous AF mode
  • Limited choice of comparably-priced native lenses

Beyond the new mount, very little of the EOS RP is actually new: it's mainly a collection of components we've seen in Canon products before. The 26.2MP CMOS sensor is a version of the one used in the EOS 6D Mark II while the Digic 8 processor is familiar from the more expensive EOS R model.

What is new is the idea of bundling together a more-modest-than-most set of features to create a low cost full frame camera. The most obvious parallel is when Canon did much the same thing to create the first sub-$1000 DSLR, back in 2003. In many respects the RP looks like a modern Digital Rebel: it's small, comparatively affordable and easy to use (to the point of having scene modes accessible from the mode dial).

The EOS RP is a great carry-everywhere option for casual photography, particularly if you've already got some smaller EF lenses to adapt.
ISO 100 | 1/500 | F7.1 | Adapted EF 24mm F2.8 IS USM

However, while its ambitions appear relatively modest (slow continuous shooting rate and disappointing video specifications), it feels surprisingly well built and, unusually for an entry-level Canon camera, offers twin command dials. These two things, combined with Canon's well-respected JPEG output, make the RP more attractive than the bare specs might otherwise imply.

The main thing that distinguishes the RP from the original Digital Rebel/EOS 300D is the absence of an affordable 'kit' lens. Buying an RP currently requires a significant additional outlay on lenses or dependence on adapted EF lenses.

Continuous Pupil Detection

Out-of-camera JPEG, focused using pupil detection.
ISO 100 | 1/100 sec | F4 | Canon EF 85mm F1.4L IS USM
Photo by Richard Butler

There is some new stuff, though. The EOS RP becomes the first Canon model to be able to recognize and track subject's eyes while continuous focusing. The EOS R added the single-AF version of this feature and we found it to perform well, albeit with more of a lag before locking-on than the best of its rivals. The addition of the feature in 'Servo' AF mode is a definite improvement.

It's worth noting, though, that the RP's interface still has the slightly confused wording used on the EOS R (it says 'Enable' when it means 'Enabled' - don't be fooled into thinking you need to press the Info button again to enable it).

Silent shutter mode

The EOS RP also adds a silent shutter mode, which uses a fully electronic shutter. Unusually this is only available as part of the camera's scene modes (the interface suggests its use for photographing sleeping babies without waking them). The reasoning becomes clear as soon as you engage it: the sensor readout is exceedingly slow, meaning images skewed by rolling shutter if your subject moves and significant banding under most artificial lights.

Focus bracketing

Another genuinely new feature is the RP's focus bracketing feature. It can be set to shoot a series of images with a small focus adjustment between each (both these parameters are adjustable). The resultant files can then be combined in Canon's Digital Photo Professional software, which is included with the camera.

Compared to its peers

The EOS RP doesn't have any immediate peers, since no company has ever launched such a low-cost full frame camera (though this point is somewhat tempered by the currently limited RF lens lineup, particularly regarding kit lenses and their pricing). So instead we're going to compare it to the previous Canon to use the same sensor, an APS-C model with comparable ambitions and an older full-frame Sony that's dropped to a similar selling price.

Canon EOS RP Canon EOS 6D II Canon EOS M50 Sony a7 II
Launch price
(body only)
$1300 $2000 $779 $1700
Sensor size Full Frame Full Frame APS-C (1.6x crop) Full Frame

Pixel Count

26.2 MP 26.2 MP 24.1 MP 24.3 MP
Image stabilization In-lens only In-lens only In-lens only In-body
(4.5 EV)
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 1/4000 1/4000 1/8000
Sync speed 1/180 1/180 1/200 1/200
Cont. frame rate (with AF-C) 4.0 fps 6.5 fps 7.4 fps 5 fps
Viewfinder coverage 100% 98% 100% 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.70x 0.71x Unspecified 0.71x
Viewfinder resolution 2.36M dots Optical 2.36M dots 2.36M dots
Rear screen res 1.04M dots 1.04M dots 1.04M dots 1.23M dots
Rear screen type Fully-artic touchscreen Fully-artic touchscreen Fully-artic touchscreen Tilting
4K video res UHD/24p
1.7x crop
120 Mbps
N/A UHD/24p
1.7x crop (2.7x net)
120 Mps
N/A
1080 video 60p
60 Mbps
60p

60p
60 Mbps
60p
50 Mbps
Battery life (CIPA)
LCD/Viewfinder
250 / 250 380 / 1200 235 / 235 350 / -
Dimensions 133 x 85 x 70mm
(5.2 x 3.4 x 2.8")
144 x 111 x 75mm
(5.7 x 4.4 x 2.9")
116 x 88 x 59 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.3")
127 x 96 x 60mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4")
Weight 485g (17.1 oz) 765g (27.0 oz) 387g (13.7 oz) 599g (21.1 oz)

The main thing that's apparent from the specs is that the RP sits directly between the EOS M50 and 6D II in terms of both size and price. What's not so apparent, because we're primarily comparing with other Canons, is that the video spec and battery life are pretty low by contemporary standards.

The specs do hint that the once higher-priced a7 II was a more ambitious camera than the EOS RP, but that just shows the limitations of spec-based comparisons: they can't tell you what a camera is like to use. If you're looking for an approachable camera with good-looking JPEGs, the Canon is the stronger option but if you want to shoot video or photos in situations that will challenge the AF system and you're happy to configure a highly complex camera, then the Sony is for you (though we'd actually recommend saving up for the much better Mark III).