In addition to its 26.2 megapixels of impressive full-frame image quality, the Canon EOS RP mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is extremely appealing for its small size, light weight and ultra-low cost.
Focusing on that last feature: the 2-year-older Canon EOS 6D Mark II is currently significantly-discounted in price, yet it is still priced moderately higher than the RP. The 7-year-older Canon EOS 6D is priced only moderately lower than the RP, even after a huge discount at review time. Nikon’s lowest-priced full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is currently priced very significantly higher, as is Sony’s current 24 MP full frame model, though their older model remains available at a lower price.
If the price didn’t get your attention, the size and weight will. This full frame camera is smaller and lighter than a Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D, an APS-C camera model often purchased for those reasons. The RP is quite impressive in these regards, yet the grip is quite comfortable even in long periods of use, providing solid control over the camera.
At the risk of oversimplification: as the Canon EOS R is to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the Canon EOS RP is to the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. The imaging sensor in the RP is an enhanced version of that in the 6D II with, among other changes, 4k video enabled. While this camera is not designed to be a professional fast-action sports camera, it has a solid feature set that many are going to find very adequate and probably most will likely not even utilize a majority of this camera’s features.
The EOS R was Canon’s highly-anticipated first full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) and more models were promised at that camera’s introduction (and multiple additional models remain promised). Though it was first, the R was not Canon’s first MILC (the EOS M series is a best-seller in some markets) and far from their first full frame interchangeable lens camera. Canon has been designing and producing cameras a very long time and its engineers spent years designing the EOS R. Though the EOS R was the first in a series of cameras, it arrived as a highly refined model that lacked little and what it delivered for the price is quite remarkable.
About 5 months after getting the first EOS R-series camera in my hands, the EOS RP was in them. The RP is positioned below the R, but still has a substantial portion of the R’s feature set with its own remarkableness thrown in.
Product names often convey the product’s position in the manufacturer’s lineup and are used a lot by sales and marketing (and publications), so a brief name discussion makes sense for a product review. “EOS” brings this camera into Canon’s interchangeable lens product grouping and “R” brings the camera into the R-series. My understanding is that Canon, Inc. named the camera “R” and it was up to the individual regional Canon companies to come up with a meaning. Canon USA picked “Revolution”. “R” does not stand for “Revolution” in all countries (“Reimagine optical excellence” was used in at least one) as the word revolution has undesirable meaning in some locales. But, in the USA, that word can work, at least within the context of the Canon lineup.
While “R” was a nice short name for the first camera in this line, Canon executives specifically indicated that the “R” would not be the only model in this line and my immediate question was “What will the names of those additional cameras be?” as I was concerned about a recurrence of the EOS M naming scenario mess we currently have. The second R-series camera’s name is now known and my concerns are somewhat reduced. The “P” refers to the French “Populaire” or “Popular” and is a throwback to the 1959-introduced Canon P rangefinder camera.
A camera’s name matters little during use, so … I’ll move on to the key features of the EOS RP.
Summary of Canon EOS RP Features
- RF mount, compatible with EF/EF-S/TS-E/MP-E lenses with adapter
- 26.2 megapixel, 6240 x 4160 px, 35mm Full Frame Canon CMOS sensor
- 4K 24P, Full HD 60P with Movie Servo AF via a Dual Pixel CMOS sensor, extract still images from 4K video recordings
- 4K Frame Grab for 8.3 MP still JPEG images from 24 fps capture
- 4K time-lapse shooting
- Dual Sensing IS (up to 5 stops) with Combination IS (when used with compatible lenses) for smooth video
- DIGIC 8 Image Processor
- 4,779 selectable AF points (143 area divisions for auto AF) with 88% horizontal and 100% vertical coverage supporting up to f/11 max apertures
- AF sensitivity down to EV -5 (extremely dark)
- Dual Pixel CMOS capable of achieving focus in as little as 0.05 seconds
- Touch and Drag AF with Eye Detection AF in both One Shot and Servo AF modes
- 0.39″ (9.9mm) OLED EVF, 2.36 Million-dot viewfinder with 60 fps refresh, 100% view
- 2.95″ (75.0mm) Clear View LCD II, approx. 1,040,000-dot Vari-Angle Touch Screen LCD
- ISO 100-40000 with expansion down to 50 and up to 51200, 102400
- Up to 5 fps continuous shooting (4 fps with Servo AF)
- Shutter durability rated up to 100,000 cycles
- Fv (Flexible Priority) mode
- Focus Bracketing
- Silent shooting capable (in SCN Special Scene mode)
- Distortion, Diffraction, Peripheral Illumination and Chromatic Aberration Correction along with Digital Lens Optimizer available for in-camera aberration correction
- Single SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compatible) memory card
- Magnesium alloy body with a higher level of weather sealing than typically found in entry-level models
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Anti-Flicker Mode adjusts shutter release timing to avoid flickering light issues
With the EOS RP being priced far lower than the EOS R, we should not expect the RP features list to match the R’s list, but this is still a very attractive list. As with the R, the RP’s first bullet point should be emphasized as it is a big deal.
Gaining entry into the RF-mount lens lineup is a very attractive feature as the RF lenses already available as well as those still-promised are very impressive. Our About Canon RF Lenses and the RF Mount page goes deep into the discussion about this mount, but the basics are that the RF lens mount retains the large 54mm inner diameter advantage of the EF mount (for reference, the Nikon Z mount has a similar 55mm diameter, the Nikon F-mount is only 44mm and the Sony E mount is 46.1mm), keeping the rigidity/durability/strength and ultra-wide aperture support the large diameter mount provides, while reducing the flange back distance (distance from the back of the lens’ mount to the imaging sensor) from 44mm to 20mm. The new mount design supports new optical designs that are potentially smaller and often include large diameter rear-positioned elements that can feature reduced angle of light rays in the image circle periphery and bending light to a lesser degree can lead to improved image quality, especially with better-corrected aberrations. The larger rear-element design of RF lenses also lends to a comfortable shape and weight balance. Improved camera-lens communication also increases performance, including instant feedback for enhanced in-lens image stabilization.
Note that some in-lab testing of the EOS RP remains on the to-do list, but a significant amount of information is already discerned and follows.