A Fun, Featherweight powerhouse: The Canon EOS RP
The much-maligned Canon EOS RP is a 26 megapixel full-frame mirror-less camera released in 2019. Weighing just 485 grams it was the smallest and lightest full-frame camera released by Canon, and the cheapest. Reviewers at the time complained about the sensor's woeful lack of dynamic range, despite it having the same performance in that regard as the legendary, but ageing 5D Mkii.
I love my 5D Mkii but it weighs like a brick and is getting a bit long in the tooth so I decided to make use of the discounts now available on the 3-year old RP. I bought it with the 24-104mm kit lens, the grip extension and the EF-RF lens mount adapter so I could use my old Canon EF mount lenses. So, what do I think of it after two weeks and 800 shots?
The first surprise has been how just how much I've been enjoying using it. It's a camera I just constantly want to pick up, and being so small and light I can take it everywhere without it being a hindrance.
Image quality-wise it hasn't disappointed at all. My only requirement basically was that this camera produce images of at least as good quality as the 5D Mkii, and it does but not by a revolutionary amount. Images are clean and with great colours. People rave about Canon's colour science and for good reason. Images perhaps have a slightly greener colour cast than the warm, earthy brown tones of the 5D Mkii but it's nothing that most people would notice.
The biggest difference is in the usability where there has been nothing less than a quantum leap. For example the 5D had 9 focus points, only one of which was sensitive enough to use wide aperture prime lenses. Focus often missed. This has 4,779 focus points covering almost the entire sensor. They're also the very accurate phase detect type and I've found the focus to be bang on every time, even with my older lenses. The RP has breathed new life into my old Canon primes, especially the 50mm f/1.4 which I love but just too often missed focus on the 5D.
In the shot above I focused on the eye and even wide open at f/1.4 it nailed it. It's also so easy to move the focus point around now with the rear touch screen which is as good as my iPhone's. I can move the focus point around with my thumb without even having to take the camera away from my eye.
The rear screen is fully articulated too so you can get shots from those awkward angles. I used it to get this cat image. Just touch the cat's eyes on the screen and it instantly focuses there. My old 85mm f/1.8 prime also pairs well with the RP.
Battery life is still a problem for mirror-less cameras compared to their DSLR counterparts. The RP is rated at 250 shots to one battery charge and I got 280 and that's in the cold, compared to 1000 shots for a DSLR. My advice is to get two batteries, at least.
A quick word about the "kit" lens. "Kit" refers to lenses that often come bundled with a camera. This lens is nothing like the kit lenses I was used to in the early days of Canon's first DSLRs. They were characterized by very cheap construction, with even the lens mount being made of plastic, and performed poorly. This lens is an entirely different beast.
The 24-105 lens offers a very useful zoom range which will cover most situations pretty well. The lens focuses quickly, accurately and silently. Yes, it was cheap but it's got great build quality and gives results way beyond its price point. I wasn't intending to get the lens kit but when I was told the body-only cameras were sold out I was left with no choice. I've been extremely impressed though and am now glad that I have it. It does have its limitations, namely that it's not a good low light performer. The aperture closes down to f/7.1 at the long end so you'll need to attach fast primes or crank up the ISO when it gets dark. It is however very light and matches well with the RP body. The two together allow you to travel light and be discrete.
So, in summary, if you're looking to get a full-frame camera you could do a lot worse than the RP. It's dependable, light, easy to use and gives great image quality. There is also a lively second hand market in Canon EF lenses that can be mounted on the RP with the adapter. There's a lot of great glass out there at bargain prices. The RP is also about to be replaced by the newer R8 so it's available cheaper than ever.
I'd say ignore the nay sayers moaning about this camera. If you can't get good shots using this gear then it definitely isn't the camera's fault. It's a surprising little powerhouse that won't disappoint.
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