Mirrorless cameras already have the advantage of reduced size compared to dSLR camera systems. The Canon EOS RP mirrorless digital camera delivers full-frame capabilities in the most compact form yet. It is not an entry level mirrorless camera, but definitely an entry level full-frame mirrorless digital camera.
The EOS RP is basically a cut down version of the EOS R, which was Canon’s first full-frame MILC released in 2018. It is smaller and lighter, yet still has some solid capabilities for those people looking to buy their first full-frame mirrorless digital camera.
The EOS RP was the first step in fleshing out Canon’s new R series of full-frame mirrorless bodies. Firmware updates and a continually improving line up of excellent RF lenses make the EOS RP an attractive choice as a stills camera, but it lags behind in video options.
It was initially released with the RF 24-70mm f/4L IS as kit lens, but the less expensive 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM a better value option now available. You can also get a kit with the do-it-all RF 24-240mm f/4~6.3 IS USM lens. The EOS RP body also comes with LP-E17 Lithium-Ion battery, plus LC-E17 Charger, camera cover and strap.
The Canon EOS RP at a glance
- Very small and light full-frame mirrorless camera
- Front-facing screen—great for vloggers
- New focus stacking mode
- 4K video capabilities
- Uses RF mount lenses – with adapter can use all EF lenses with no loss of functionality
- 4K video is cropped by 1.7x which changes the focal length of lenses
- No in-body image stabilization (IBIS) for still images, relies on IS lenses
- Less than great battery life
- Silent shutter only in one auto mode
- Lens selection not extensive and most lenses are pricey for this body
The winning appeal of the Canon EOS RP mirrorless digital camera can be summed up in one sentence. It is the smallest, cheapest and lightest full-frame mirrorless digital camera on the market. The ‘P’ of the RP designates this as a popular model—which is a throw back to the Canon P rangefinder camera released in 1959.
The overall design of the EOS RP is simpler and clearly in a lower price bracket than the R. It cannot do as much. However, at about a grand less than the EOS R, the EOS RP still offers great image quality. It is a very accessible and useable mirrorless digital camera with solid performance. Build quality is excellent, with a magnesium alloy chassis and a good level of weather resistance for a consumer model at this price.
The EOS RP is basically the mirrorless version of the Canon EOS 6D II dSLR, just as the EOS R is compared to Canon’s 5D. The 26.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor is an upgraded version of the one found in the EOS 6D II. It is 24 x 36mm, with a 6240 x 4160 pixel resolution.
The RP uses the updated DIGIC 8 processor, which is the same as found in the EOS R. Again, Canon offers great color and excellent skin tones for portrait work. The ISO can be set between 100 and 40,000. It is expandable to 50-102,400, but the upper limits are best avoided.
Superior quality lenses are another key advantage of mirrorless camera systems. The EOS RP uses the new Canon RF mount system. Though continuing to improve, the lineup remains behind other main players like Sony and even Fujifilm.
The Canon EOS RP has a single SD card slot. Both the battery and card slot are accessed through the same door at the bottom.
Unfortunately, the silent shutter only functions in the Special Scene mode (SCN), with no manual option. It also does not close its shutter when off like the R does. There is no in-body image stabilization, just like the EOS R.
Who is the EOS RP for?
The EOS RP is clearly targeted towards casual and enthusiast photographers. This camera is going to appeal to anyone who has the budget typical of a cropped frame mirrorless camera. But, who really wants to have a full-frame sensor. After all, it can be easier to articulate the simple light capturing advantages of full-frame, than the often less critical faster burst rates, or intricacies of AF options.
Macro shooters should definitely take a look at the RP. One fantastic feature on the EOS RP is the new focus stacking option. This creates a series of bracketed focus exposures which can be composited into a single all in focus image with the free processing program from Canon.
Travel, lifestyle and advanced hobbyist portrait photographers will get great use out of the RP. However, EOS RP will disappoint video shooters. Try Nikon or Fujifilm bodies around the same price for better video options. We compare a couple later in this review, but we will start with a run down of the EOS RP.
Key Features and Benefits of the Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Digital Camera
The EOS RP shares the same Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus as the R. Autofocus on mirrorless digital cameras is well ahead of dSLR systems. The AF sensors are directly on the image sensor, which removes the need for additional mirrors and calculations. It works fast and is accurate.
Even with slightly fewer AF points than the EOS R, the EOS RP still has a very impressive 4779 focus points. Coverage is also great—88% horizontal and 100% vertical of the frame.
Face and Eye AF perform well to track and focus on your subjects. Firmware updates mean that Eye AF now works in the continuous focus AI Servo mode and the range has increased. This is very handy for candid portrait work, and lifestyle images.
The low light shooting capabilities are also fabulous. The sensor is rated as LV-5, which is very, very dark. It will see more than you can with your naked eye.
Ergonomics & Controls
It seems that Canon has learnt from the responses to the EOS R. The questionable multi-function bar is gone, and a traditional mode dial is back. It sits right on top in the middle, and replaces the top LCD screen. Mode control is intuitive, familiar and fast. It includes space for 3 programmable custom modes.
In hand the EOS RP feels great. It is compact, with a curvy and comfortable design. Again the EOS RP has the very nicely laid out Canon menu system. Everything is color coded and it is easy to find what you need.
There are two control dials on the top and a multi-Fn button, plus lock leaver that allows the dials to control your preferred settings. There is no ISO button, but the main top dial defaults to this. The quick control dial will cycle through the settings to be adjusted with the main dial. The rear controller is a 4-way button.
With the RF lenses, Canon has introduced a new control ring. Beyond the classic and default aperture control, it can be set to control a number of settings, including ISO, or zooming in on the active AF point in the viewfinder.
If you have bigger hands you can opt to get the new EG-E1 pinky grip. This extends the height and sensibly has a hole, so you can still easily access the battery and card slot.
Rear LCD and Touch Screen
The EOS RP keeps the vlogger friendly fully articulated touch screen of the R. A much requested feature that only Canon’s EOS R series delivers on a full-frame mirrorless body.
The screen is a decent 2.95″ (75mm), with an image area that is 1.64 x 2.46″ (41.6 x 62.4mm). Whilst not as big or as high resolution as the EOS R, the 1,04M dots on the RP still give a bright, clear image.
Selecting from the many thousands of AF points is smooth and fast using the touch screen function. This works even when looking through the viewfinder. There is no joy stick on the body, but the touch screen works better for the AF anyway.
As expected, you can use the rear screen for menu functions and playback. And, it works well to navigate around a zoomed image, though it won’t do this when looking though the viewfinder.
There is no auto brightness on the rear screen, but it can be easily adjusted.
The electronic viewfinder (EVF)
The live feed that you see in the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is another great advantage of mirrorless camera systems. You get to see the image with the selected exposure, plus all the lens distortion and picture corrections, before you release the shutter. Depth of field preview is also live—amazing. This is fantastically useful and especially good for white highlights and anyone still improving their photography knowledge.
The EVF has fewer pixels than the EOS R, but matches the resolution of the Sony A7 III, with 2.36 million dots. The OLED technology gives a bright clear image that refreshes at up to 60fps.
The EVF will activate when you put your eye up to it, though there can be a momentary delay. It cannot be active at the same time as the rear screen, and many photographers find they use mainly the EVF.
As well as showing a live feed directly from the sensor, the EVF shows any settings or menu screen you wish, and will play back. You can also zoom in on AF points, and data displays rotate automatically when camera orientation changes.
The EOS RP does an okay job at delivering 4K video. But, there are some clear compromises, and limits on the available options. With the mode dial back, it is a simple swipe of the thumb to switch to video mode—an improvement over the EOS R. The record on-off button is on the top.
Like the EOS R, 4K video (3,840 x 2,160) has a 1.7X crop factor. This may not be critical for everyone, but it does lose one of the key advantages of choosing a full-frame camera. There is also no Dual Pixel autofocus for 4K shooting—it reverts to the less accurate contrast only detection. And, you only get the option of shooting up to 25fps. In contrast shooting in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) and HD (1,280 x 720) is available at up to 60fps.
Whist recording video you will get the benefit of electronic image stabilization, which is rated at five stops improvement. Time lapse video can be shot and there is also a HDR video mode. During playback you can grab frames from 4K video, at the same 3840 x 2160 resolution. Taking a still during video recording is not possible.
The maximum take length is: 29:59 min, and video ISO is 100-12,800 for 4K. Internal recording is 8-bit, and 4K video only can be output via HDMI. Audio can be recorded via the built-in mic or the mic jack with plug in power. There’s a headphone jack for playback.
One odd restriction exists on the RP—you loose the option to shoot Full HD when you attach an EF-S lens.
The Canon RF mount system and lens support
With the release of the EOS R series, Canon introduced its great new RF mount system in 2018. Another advantage of the EOS RP is that it can use these excellent lenses. The RF mount has a large 54mm inner diameter and a short 20mm flange focal distance.
The combination of shorter flange to sensor distance and wide mount allow for great quality and fast lenses to be designed. They also tend to be sharper and have less distortion than SLR lenses. Most of the RF lenses feature image stabilization, denoted by IS in the name.
Canon has been working hard on expanding the range of RF lenses. However, it is still somewhat limited and many are geared towards the other bigger bodies of the R series. That also means they are targeted to a higher budget.
The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM kit lens is a solid performer. Other lenses which are not too bulky and most in line with the budget of the EOS RP user include the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM, and the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM.
In terms of compatibility with other lenses in the Canon ecosystem, the RF mount is great. With a simple adapter—which features the new control ring—you can use any EF or EF-S lens. Optical performance and all features like depth of field, bokeh, autofocus and image stabilization will work perfectly. Apart from the video restriction on EF-S lenses mentioned above. Canon also uses a Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) that brightens and brightens and improves the quality of older lenses.
Additional features to note
On the left side of the EOS RP, you will find all the accessory ports. USB 2.0, HDMI out, external mic and headphone jacks. There is also a E3 cable release port. Connection is possible via wifi and bluetooth.
Canon has opted for the smaller LP-E17 battery. This reduced the size and the cost, but comes with the compromise of a shorter battery life. Get in the habit of using the power saving display and ECO modes to get the most out of it. Batteries charge via the included LC-E17 charger.
What you won’t find is any GPS. You will need to use an app to add it to your images. There is also no built-in flash, but the RP is compatible with Canon flashes that can used via the standard hotshoe on top.
How does the Canon EOS RP stack up against the competition?
The EOS RP stands out as the primary entry level full-frame mirrorless camera. To compare mirrorless systems at a similar price to the EOS RP, we look at a couple of competitively priced, now superseded models which are still selling new. These cameras are packed full of features missing from the RP, and available for around the $1000 mark for the body only.
Sony’s A7II is still a solid choice, as is the Fujifilm X-T3. We also suggest looking at the new and slightly more expensive Nikon Z5.
Quick Comparison Guide
|Canon EOS RP||Sony a7 II||Nikon Z5||Fujifilm X-T3|
|Sensor – pixels||26.2MP||24.3MP||24.3MP||26.1MP|
|Sensor size||full frame|
35.9 x 24.0mm
35.8 x 23.9 mm
35.9 x 23.9 mm
23.5 x 15.6 mm
|Maximum resolution||6240 x 4160 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels||6016 x 4016 pixels||6240 × 4160 pixels|
|100 – 25,600|
exp. 50 – 25,600
|160 to 12,800 exp.: 80 to 51,200|
|AF system||Dual pixel AF with 4779 AF points||Hybrid AF|
117 point phase detection AF / 25 point contrast detection
|273 point phase detection AF||425-point hybrid AF|
|Viewfinder (EVF) resolution||2.36M dots||2.36M dots||3.69M dots||3.69M dots|
|Rear Screen||articulated touch screen|
|two-way tilting touchscreen|
|Image Stabilization||lens only||5-axis IBIS||5-axis IBIS||lens only|
|Maximum Frame Rate||5 fps – locked focus|
4 fps – tracking focus
|5 fps||4.5 fps||30 fps – electronic shutter/ 2.25x crop sports finder mode|
11 fps – mechanical shutter
|Video Capture|| 4K up to 25fps|
– 1.7x crop
No full HD with EF-S lenses
|Full HD up to 60fps|
|4K up to 30fps|
– 1.7x crop
|4K 60fps – cropped sensor|
4K – 30fps- full sensor
Full HD up to 120fps
|Log modes||none||S-Log2||none||F-Log, HLG|
4:2:2 10-bit – HDMI
|250 screen / 210 EVF|
Eco mode: 250 screen/ Power saving: 210 EVF
|350||470||390 LCD/ 370 EVF|
|Battery grip||None, only pinky grip at this time||yes – VG-C2EM vertical grip||yes – MB-N10 battery grip||yes – VG-XT3|
holds two additional batteries
|Lens mount||Canon RF||Sony E-mount||Nikon Z||Fujifilm X|
|Card slots||1 x SD card (UHS-II)||1 x SD card (UHS-I)||2 x SD cards|
|2 x SD cards|
|Dimensions (approx.)|| 5.22 x 3.35 x 2.76″|
132.5 x 85 x 70mm
|5.0 x 3.8 x 2.36″|
127 x 96 x 60 mm
|5.28 x 3.96 x 2.74″ 134 x 100.5 x 69.5mm||5.2 x 3.7 x 2.3″|
133 x 93 x 59mm
with battery and card
Sony A7II vs Canon EOS RP
The A7II was released originally in 2015, and it is now succeeded by the higher spec’d A7III. Yet, you can still buy the A7II new and it remains an excellent full-frame mirrorless camera. Keep in mind that the EOS RP essentially uses the sensor from 2017’s 6D Mark II.
The Sony A7II has sensor resolution of 24.3MP, which is only just below the EOS RP. You get much better battery life and a larger LCD screen on the Sony, though unfortunately no touch screen.
It comes with in-body image stabilization and Sony has a huge range of lenses available. You will also benefit from Sony’s sophisticated and very well developed autofocus system. Its Eye AF is brilliant and it tracks very well even with far fewer AF focus points.
What you don’t get is 4K video. The screen on the Sony also only tilts, rather than being fully articulated.
The Sony A7II is now available for really amazing prices. The newer Sony A6400 (APS-C) is also worth a look.
Nikon Z5 vs Canon EOS RP
The Z5 is Nikon’s entry level full-frame mirrorless. It is clearly aimed at similar customers as the EOS RP, but is freshly launched and will set you back a few hundred dollars more.
So, what do you get for the extra money? The 3.69M dots EVF is brilliant and a significant increase—surprisingly the same EVF as on the Z7. The still image quality is superb, and it has a better dynamic range than the RP. You also get in-body image stabilization, and proper weather sealing.
Unlike the higher Z6 and Z7 models, the Z5 shoots 4K from a cropped sensor. That is the same as the EOS RP, but it does manage to shoot 4K up to 30fps. The LCD screen is missing the full articulation of the EOS R, but the resolution is comparable.
Take a look at the Nikon Z5 for a solid all-round entry level full-frame mirrorless. The Nikon Z50 APS-C camera is also worth looking at, and it is lightly cheaper than the EOS RP.
Fujifilm X-T3 vs Canon EOS RP
With the introduction of the XT-4, the X-T3 price has dropped. The X-T3 was a big leap in technology for Fujifilm, and its previous flagship mirrorless. It has been a very popular camera for good reason, and still shines. It is a standout if action shooting or video capabilities are important for you.
The sensor is the cropped APS-C, but it offers virtually the same 26MP resolution as the EOS RP. It has a super fast and impressive autofocus system with 2.16 million phase detection sensors which cover the full image.
The body is very compact, though it also has no image stabilization. Main settings are set via dials that simulate old analog cameras. It offers simple and direct control, and lets you see your settings even when the camera is off. The lens range extensive and there are many compact choices.
You will also get 4K video at up to 60fps and 10-bit recording. Its burst shooting speeds far surpass the EOS RP—at up to 11fps with the mechanical shutter, and 30fps with the electronic shutter in its 1.25x cropped sports finder mode. With the electronic shutter you get uninterrupted live view.
At the current low prices, the great video features on the Fujifilm X-T3 make it extremely enticing.
Despite some shortcomings, the biggest selling point of the Canon EOS RP always rises to the top. It realizes the benefits of the mirrorless system extremely well. It is light and very portable. You can easily put the EOS RP in a bag and bring it with you almost anywhere.
The combination of full-frame, compact size and very appealing low price makes the Canon EOS RP a winner for enthusiast photographers who primarily shoot stills.