Canon EOS RP review: Full-frame love for the photography enthusiast
The EOS RP can be many things to many types of photographers.
Price: Rs 1,99,490 (as tested, with RF24-105mm IS USM lens), Rs 1,10,495 (body only)
Specs: 26.2 MP full frame CMOS sensor, DIGIC8, 4,779 Dual Pixel AutoFocus (143 zones), 3-inch Vari-angle touch panel (1.04mn dots), 0.39-inch OLED EVF (2.36mn dots), 5fps continuous shooting, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD/SDXC slot, 485 grams (body only with battery, excluding lens)
Pros: Small & lightweight for a full frame DSLR, excellent AF and IS performance, articulating touchscreen and OLED viewfinder, shoots 4K video, good value
Cons: Could do with a larger battery, limited native lens selection (requires adapter for standard Canon EF-S lenses), 4K video limited in some ways (crippled AF, crop factor and limited to 25fps)
Cellphone cameras are getting good these days but they still can’t match the quality and expandability of a DSLR. And even within DSLRs, those with full frame sensors – like this EOS RP – occupy a hallowed space. Size matters, you see. Full frame sensors deliver better quality in general, more pleasing depth of field and are better in low light. Most consumer grade DSLRs have APS-C size sensors which are a fair bit smaller than full frame sensors. And full frame simply means that the imaging sensor is the same size as a single frame of 35mm film. But there’s a problem – a large sensor means that the body around the camera has to be much larger too. That’s why camera makers are dropping components (like the reflex mirror) to make the cameras smaller/lighter and adding features like smartphone connectivity (for remote control and quicker image sharing).
Canon’s newest innovation for the enthusiast photographer is a camera that is among the smallest and lightest around with a full frame sensor. It also shoots 4K video and is incredibly easy to use for a new user – thanks to an image stabilisation (IS) system that smoothens out any shaky hands and a quick auto focus (AF) system that’s capable of working in low light in 0.05 seconds. In more technical terms, the IS system is capable of removing shake at five stops lower shutter speed and the AF has 4,779 selectable points. The camera can also do a fair amount of handholding if needed with the Feature Assistant. It also gets many features from the big guns like magnesium alloy chassis, dust/moisture resistance and eye detection AF.
It’s worth talking about the lens mount and IS system a bit more. The RF mount on this DSLR was introduced in the similar but more expensive EOS R. It was needed because the traditional mirror and AF system was done away with. Autofocus is handled by the sensor itself (about 88% of the sensor can do AF duties). The RF mount allows lenses to be smaller too which means the camera can offer better balance. We tested with an RF mount IS lens that’s been specifically designed for this mirrorless camera body. These lenses have dual gyroscopes built in to detect the smallest of movement. And the system just work brilliantly. If you have any existing Canon EF/EF-S lenses, you can use them on the EOS RP using an adapter but the ideal scenario is to use Canon’s native RF lenses. On the flip side, there aren’t too many of them and there are none available from third-party lens makers.
Image quality is the highlight here, with the camera keeping noise in check up to ISO 6400. It’s also fast enough, capturing 5 frames per second of in high speed mode (4fps with continuous autofocus) and it can keep capturing at this rate till your memory card fills up. It captures pleasing colours without any tinkering with settings though there are enough tweaks available to the advanced user to spice up the photos.
In many ways, the EOS RP is like a slightly cut down version of the EOS 6D Mark II and it shares design with the EOS R. (EOS R and RP are the only full frame mirrorless cameras with articulating screens). The video recording is a bit limited because the full power of the Dual Pixel AF system is not available while shooting 4K (only in 1080p) and video frame rate is capped at 25fps. And the small body size means a smaller battery – so the 250 shot battery life is way less than larger DSLRs.
All said and done, the EOS RP can be many things to many types of photographers. For a pro user, it can be a lightweight second camera body. For the enthusiast, it can be a lower price entry into the full frame big leagues. If you want something a lot smaller with great photos and 4K video as your main requirement, you can consider Sony’s A6500 (Rs 1,16,990 with an 18-135mm lens).