Body, handling and controls

The EOS RP really is impressively small - smaller than many of Canon's own DSLRs that have smaller APS-C sensors. Despite this, Canon has made sure the controls aren't cramped, the grip is comfortable, and both the viewfinder and screen are nice and big.

Key takeaways:

  • Smallest and lightest current-generation full-frame interchangeable lens camera
  • Deep grip is comfortable, but might be too small for some users and larger lenses
  • Controls are generally well thought-out, with twin command dials
  • Excellent touchscreen interface
  • Good wireless connectivity, good Auto ISO implementation
  • Battery life is on the short side

Body and handling

Compared to the existing EOS R, the RP is a bit more 'squat' and significantly slimmed down; against other full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, only Sony's original a7 is lighter. Despite its light weight, the RP's polycarbonate-on-mag alloy chassis build feels reassuringly solid, with no creaks or obvious signs of cost-cutting in its build. It's at a price point where we wouldn't expect weather-sealing, but at least the RF lenses we've seen so far have a gasket to keep dust and moisture ingress around the mount.

The grip on the RP is quite comfortable (though your pinky finger may hang off the bottom), and it may not be comfortable for use with larger lenses - the optional grip extender will help here. It must be said that, at the time of this writing, only one native lens - the RF 35mm F1.8 Macro - balances well on the EOS RP. And, to be honest, most of us on staff would have welcomed a fractionally larger grip that could have also accommodated a larger battery.

The RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM will work in a pinch, but is still a bit unwieldy. We're looking forward to more lenses like the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 for use on the EOS RP - they're not really 'exciting' lenses in terms of their specifications, but are likely to be much more appropriate for a camera of this type and price. Adapted lenses like the EF 40mm F2.8 pancake and 50mm F1.8 STM also balance well on the RP.

Ports

Though the EOS RP is a fairly entry-level offering, its connectivity options are - for the most - full-featured. You get HDMI out (supporting specialty video output which we'll cover later on), a microphone jack as well as a headphone jack for better audio to go with your video, and a remote jack. The only questionable choice here is the USB-C port. It's a modern port and does allow USB charging, but it also only supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds - we didn't even know that was possible with current USB standards.

Physical controls

The controls on the EOS RP are, on the whole, rather well implemented. The controversial M-Fn touch bar from the EOS R is gone (good riddance), and the rear control dial on the shoulder of the RP is more pronounced and easier to use than on the R. The AF-ON button is easily accessible for back-button autofocus users, though we continue to find that the left shoulder of the camera could perhaps provide greater utility than simply one large On-Off switch.

Customization options are typical Canon, giving you plenty of flexibility with some buttons but with arbitrary limitations for some of the others. If you want to use the four-way controller for AF point placement instead of the touchscreen, there's still no option to make your chosen AF area move faster, which we would really like to see on this and the R.

The rear screen itself provides an excellent and responsive touchscreen experience, and the electronic viewfinder, though lower-resolution than the R, still provides excellent color and contrast thanks to its OLED panel. One gripe is that, when the rear screen is flipped out, the eye sensor doesn't disable - if you move the camera too close to your body while shooting from the hip, you may deactivate the screen and miss a shot.

Auto ISO, connectivity and on-screen displays

For those that like to use Auto ISO, the EOS RP has a fantastic implementation that gives you control over your chosen range of ISO values, a minimum shutter speed, and an option to have the camera choose that minimum shutter speed automatically. If you choose the last option, you can bias it either faster or slower than the default option, which is 1/focal length.

The EOS RP includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, with setup being fairly straightforward and feature support being robust. With Canon's Camera Connect app, you can browse and download images on the camera, control the camera remotely and tag your images with GPS data from your smart device.

The EOS RP gives you a wide variety of display options while shooting, including exposure information, a histogram, electronic level, and the option for a 'clutter-free' display of only the live feed if you're looking to be careful with your composition. Be aware, though, that the electronic level and histogram cannot be displayed simultaneously.

Battery and memory cards

The EOS RP makes use of Canon's LP-E17 battery pack, which also powers a fair number of Rebels and EOS M-series cameras. Of course, in the RP, it's driving a larger, more power-hungry sensor - hence the rather unimpressive 250 shot rating from CIPA. That's pretty low by modern standards: if you're taking the occasional shot here and there, it'll may stretch to a couple of days' shooting but if you're focused on photography, expect to need a second battery or to have to constantly think about re-charging.

The EOS RP is also a bit picky about USB charging as well. A modern Macbook charger works just fine, but you may find that some smaller wall adapters, such as those for smartphones, won't provide enough juice to get the RP to charge.

Lastly, the EOS RP uses a single, standard UHS-I memory card slot. Given the rather pedestrian maximum burst speed coupled with a surprisingly deep buffer, we haven't experienced any issues with file write times in our time with the camera.