Is the Canon EOS RP right for you?

Different types of shooting can benefit from different features and camera attributes, so as well as looking at the camera as a general-purpose, entry-level full-frame camera, we're going to look at how well suited it is to a number of photographic activities.


Travel

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 100 | 1/1250 sec | F6.3 | RF 24-105mm F4L
Photo by Richard Butler

The EOS RP's size makes it an attractive potential travel companion, though it's only really with the 35mm F1.8 that it retains this compactness. The 24-105mm or forthcoming 24-240mm lens add great flexibility but add considerable bulk, as well as cost. The RP's Bluetooth-supported Wi-Fi system makes it easy to get your images to your smartphone but the modest battery life may be limiting.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Simple Wi-Fi transfer (once set-up)
  • Well-implemented compressed Raw option saves card space

Cons:

  • Limited battery life (though camera will charge over USB)
  • Modest video abilities

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Family & Moments

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 1000 | 1/80 sec | F1.8 | RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro
Photo by Carey Rose

The RP's small size and relatively simple interface make it an attractive prospect as a family camera. Adding the flexible 24-105mm F4 lens gives a combination that will make it comparatively easy to capture those important moments with your family but adds significant size and cost. The video performance is also a little disappointing: even if you don't need 4K today, it makes sense to capture important memories in the best quality you can.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Relatively easy-to-use interface
  • Pupil-detection AF makes people photos easy
  • Attractive JPEG images that are easy to share

Cons:

  • Gets quite large and awkward to carry if you add a versatile lens
  • Video specs and performance are limited

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Lifestyle & People

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 2000 | 1/60 sec | F5.6 | RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro
Photo by Richard Butler

Full frame sensors can give excellent image quality and make it easier to shoot arty-looking lifestyle images. The RP's sensor isn't the best: it adds more electronic noise to its images than most of its modern peers: it's always a little noisier and produces Raw files that exhibit noise much sooner, if you try to use more of the camera's dynamic range than the JPEGs already include. But, of course, you still get the shallower depth-of-field that full frame gives when you use a particular f-number. You also get Canon's JPEG color, which we've found to be pretty popular.

Pros:

  • Potential for shallow depth of field
  • Pupil-detection AF gives precise focus even with shallow depth-of-field
  • Attractive JPEGs

Cons:

  • Raw files aren't as as flexible as its rivals'

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Landscape

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec | F7.1 | Adapted EF 24mm F2.8 IS
Photo by Carey Rose

The RP's relatively small size, comparatively well-built body and reasonably large control points make it fairly attractive as a landscape camera. The limited dynamic range does mean its Raw files aren't as flexible as those of its rivals: this is likely to be a more pressing problem if your preferred style includes dramatic lighting or you sometimes like to protect the highlights and brighten dark areas of the image to reveal detail. On the plus-side, the RP is compatible, via adapters, with Canon's vast range of EF lenses.

Pros:

  • Compatible with a wide range of EF lenses (via adapter)
  • Small, light body is easy to carry
  • Can charge using a USB battery pack

Cons:

  • Raw files aren't as flexible as its rivals'
  • Fairly modest battery life

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Sports and Wildlife

Okay, so, this metal bird wasn't actually flying.
Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 100 | 1/2500 sec | F2 | Adapted EF 50mm F1.4
Photo by Carey Rose

The EOS RP's relatively slow frame rate and simple autofocus system mean it's not the obvious choice for sports or wildlife shooting. That said, while the autofocus system is simple, we did find it sticks to moving subjects pretty well.

Pros:

  • Good subject tracking performance

Cons:

  • Slow continuous burst rate
  • No Autofocus behavior settings for more specific action scenarios (described as 'cases' on higher-end Canon cameras)

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Candid & street

Out-of-camera JPEG | ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F7.1 | Adapted EF 24mm F2.8 IS
Photo by Carey Rose

The RP's fully articulating screen means it's well-suited for waist-level shooting. Paired with the reasonably fast-to-focus 35mm F1.8 it ends up being a small-ish package. Its quiet shutter helps in terms of discretion but its fully silent shutter mode is too prone to rolling shutter for any truly decisive moments - plus, it's a 'scene mode,' and you have no control over exposure while using it.

Pros:

  • Articulating screen allows subtle from-the-hip shooting
  • Shutter is pretty quiet
  • Can be made fairly small, when paired with the right lens

Cons:

  • All-but-unusable silent shutter mode

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Formal Portraits

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw | ISO 800 | 1/80 sec | F4.5 | RF 24-105mm F4L
Photo by Richard Butler

The EOS RP's pupil detection AF isn't as responsive as the best of its peers but it works well enough that you don't have to worry about your focus point, if someone's posing for you and their face takes up a good portion of the frame. This, and the ability to mount EF lenses means the RP is surprisingly good at shooting posed portraits. It wouldn't be our first choice for paid assignments but it's reliable enough that you can concentrate on communicating with your subject, rather than having to keep an eye on everything the camera's doing.

Pros:

  • Pupil-detect AF means you can focus on communicating with your subject
  • Attractive Canon JPEGs
  • Bluetooth-aided Wi-Fi makes it easy to share images with your subject

Cons:

  • Not the highest resolution body (nor the best Raw quality)
  • No native lens in the classic 'portrait' range yet
  • Easily falls back on less-precise face detection

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Video

The EOS RP has a relatively modest video specification: it will shoot 4K video but only from a heavily cropped region and with significant rolling shutter. Dual Pixel AF makes it easy to shoot 1080p footage, but the footage isn't especially detailed. We wouldn't recommend the EOS RP if you have any real interest in shooting video.

Pros

  • Fully articulating rear screen
  • Dual Pixel AF is simple and works well for 1080 footage
  • Headphone and Mic sockets

Cons

  • Disappointing 4K footage from a significantly cropped region
  • No Dual Pixel AF in 4K mode
  • 4K is 24p only, no 24p option in 1080 mode*

*Cameras outside North America will shoot both 4K and 1080 at 25p

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The only one of our use-cases we've not considered the EOS RP for is 'Wedding and Events.' Although, at a push, it could probably act as a second camera if you've already got EF lenses and a Canon flash for example, it lacks the fast burst speeds, backup card slot and more flexible files that we generally view as necessary for this type of work.