Canon EOS RP Review & Tests | After 2 years of use
The Canon EOS RP is Canon’s cheapest and smallest full-frame camera. Then you would think there is a catch. I was skeptical about this camera at first, but I liked it.
I’ve been using the EOS RP for about two years now, and only recently replaced it with another camera. Enough experience to tell you something about it, and I’m happy to do so.
In this Canon EOS RP review, I explain exactly what the good and bad points are of the RP, so you can make a much better choice. I will also tell you why I chose the RP, always useful to know.
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. You can support me without any additional fees. I used some of the products mentioned, not all.
Why did I chose the Canon EOS RP?
I would first like to share the reason why I chose the Canon EOS RP in the first place, I think that helps to better understand the review and perhaps you can agree with it too.
I have been a photographer for several years and have owned a number of cameras, before the RP I had a Canon 6D. That was a full-frame camera and the video quality in particular wasn’t good.
That was mainly the reason to look for a new camera, at that time Canon only had the EOS R and RP as mirrorless cameras, and the EOS RP was an affordable option for me.
With the promise that it could shoot 4K video and had a full-frame sensor, I picked up the camera in good spirits and it did not disappoint.
Now that I have shared this, I will talk about the different aspects of the Canon RP, such as image quality, video functions, and burst mode.
Full-frame image quality
When I first received the RP and started taking photos, I noticed that the image quality was pretty good. Both during the day and in the dark. I only shoot in RAW, but for the tests in this Canon EOS RP review, I shot in both RAW and JPEG.
The photos I’m showing were all taken with the RP, and they were all posted straight out of the camera with no post-processing. I also have the RAW version of each photo, which you can download.
The colors of the EOS RP
When I look at the photos I took, the colors immediately stand out, they are beautiful, natural colors that correspond to reality.
Even at a higher ISO, I see that the colors remain vibrant.
Well, I have to say that it was not the nicest day to take photos, I will show all example photos at the end of this article with a download link to the RAW files. This way you can check the quality yourself.
RAW vs JPEG colors of the Canon RP
There is a significant difference between the RAW and JPEG files of the EOS RP, which is not surprising. I shot all photos on the ‘normal’ color profile, only the JPEGs are affected by the color profile.
When I put the photos together in Lightroom, a clear difference is visible. Without post-processing the RAW photo, I see that the colors in the RAW photo are a lot more vibrant.
You can choose multiple color profiles in the camera, there are 8 in total. You can also create a color profile yourself and save up to three different ones.
The dynamic range is something I should not forget because how much detail there is in the shadows and highlights is important.
I’ve used the camera for professional photo shoots for years and have never had a dynamic range problem. With always enough detail in both the highlights and shadows, I was satisfied with the photos.
I do recommend that you slightly underexpose the photos if you photograph high-contrast images. There are more details in the shadows than in the highlights, which is something I immediately noticed with the Canon RP.
Less dynamic range with high ISO
I know that the dynamic range deteriorates if you use a high ISO, which can also be seen on the graphs in the EOS RP tests.
Well, I don’t think those graphs say much, I prefer to see examples from the camera itself so that I can decide for myself.
If I edit a photo at ISO 2000 and raise the shadows, I quickly see noise appear. Now I’m going to talk about the noise performance in a moment, but this affects the dynamic range.
You quickly lose details if you push the shadows in post-processing, but in the parts that are well exposed this effect does not apply at all.
Noise performance of the Canon RP
A topic directly related to dynamic range is noise performance. The higher the ISO, the lower the dynamic range and the duller the colors. This is the case on every camera, so it is no different on the Canon EOS RP.
I’ve had many crop-sensor cameras in the past, all of which were a lot less good when it comes to ISO and noise. Ever since the EOS 6D, I wanted nothing more than a full frame.
The Canon RP is therefore a very good camera when it comes to ISO and noise. In the sample photos I sent you can see that I photographed in a forest while the sun had almost set.
So I regularly had to take photos with ISO 2000-4000 and sometimes even ISO 6400. On the JPEGs, you can see that the noise is well reduced and is almost invisible. You see more noise in the RAW files.
Click on a photo to enlarge!
Noise in RAW vs JPEG
I took a photo at ISO 12800, so you can see the difference in noise between the JPEGs and RAWs. Now I have to be honest, I would normally rarely photograph at such a high ISO, but it is useful for the test.
You can see more noise in the RAW photo, after all, no noise reduction has been applied to it yet. You can also see that there are many more details in the RAW photo. With the JPEG you see some soft edges, edges that should be sharp.
I also see a small difference in sharpness in other photos taken with ISO 2000, for example, the RAW files are generally a bit clearer when I look at the details, which you can see in the example below.
Autofocus: The hidden talent of the Canon EOS RP
Right, I don’t hear that many people talking about the autofocus of the Canon EOS RP. It is a very positive point that I would like to mention.
I am aware of, among other things, the new deep-learning autofocus algorithms in the newer Canon R5, R6, and so on. Unfortunately, the Canon RP does not yet have that technology, but what it does have is Dual Pixel AF.
This means that it cannot recognize subjects such as birds, cars, and animals, but it can recognize people’s eyes.
If a restaurant has a small menu, the dishes are often good. This is also the case with the Canon EOS RP because the tracking is very fast and accurate.
I have also taken portrait photos, both in recent years and in the tests I did. The EOS RP recognizes the eyes almost immediately and focuses on them, provided you have selected the correct autofocus mode.
The autofocus settings of the Canon RP
The Canon EOS RP has many different autofocus modes, you can choose from 6 modes in total. These are the following: Tracking, Spot AF, 1-point AF, Expand AF area, Expand AF area: around, and Zone AF.
I will briefly explain the autofocus types and also what they look like on the screen. I like visual examples, so you have a much better idea of what I am explaining.
The first autofocus method is self-explanatory, the tracking mode. The camera can recognize people’s faces and eyes. Not only that, if there is no face visible, the camera chooses what it wants to focus on.
You can also touch the screen to choose a subject yourself, then you will see a square on the area you tapped. Even if you have taken an image, the camera will remember this, but it is not 100% accurate.
In any case, it works well enough, and the fact that the camera remembers this point, even after you have taken a photo, is something that positively surprised me.
The next mode is also fairly obvious. The spot AF is an autofocus mode in which a very small square comes into view on which the camera focuses.
I don’t use this mode often, as it’s only useful for macro photography. You can determine very accurately at which point the camera focuses.
I personally find this mode inconvenient, because the Canon EOS RP quickly searches for focus when little contrast is visible. Are you focusing on a wall? Then the camera will search for focus.
I therefore much prefer to use the following mode.
I much prefer to use this mode, the 1-point AF, when I just take photos. In principle, this is very similar to the spot AF mode, but the square is a lot larger. You can see in the photo above that there is a difference between the two options.
When I use this mode, the camera searches for focus much less often, after all, it has a larger surface area to look for contrast.
You have less influence on the autofocus when you do macro photography or portrait photography because with these types of photography, you have to focus on very specific parts.
Expand AF Area (Around)
These are two very similar modes. Both are an extension of the 1-point AF mode. With the Expand AF area, you have four extra dots (the size of spot-AF) that surround one point.
The camera first looks at the large point and then at the other four dots to focus.
The Expand AF area: around is an extension of the first mode. You have 8 spot-AF points around the larger AF point. The Canon EOS RP has more options for focusing.
I don’t do a lot of wildlife photography, but if I were photographing birds with the EOS RP, this would be the autofocus mode I would use.
Finally, the Canon RP has a Zone AF mode, which gives the camera a larger area to focus on.
You can move the zone by moving your finger on the touchscreen (when you look through the viewfinder).
This mode is also useful if you do not necessarily want to use one point, but want more certainty. This mode is also useful for nature photography.
It’s difficult to track birds in flight with Spot AF or 1-point AF, so my choice would be this mode on the Canon EOS RP.
Focusing in dark conditions
I only talked about focusing during the day, when the light is good. Then the Canon EOS RP is of course very fast and accurate. It also works well in the dark.
I notice that he searches for focus more often, so focusing takes a little longer. The EOS RP also has difficulty tracking a subject in tracking mode when I tap a subject.
In general, the autofocus works fine in the dark, the tracking just has some difficulty and you also need a little more patience.
A compromise you have to make: the video qualities
Well, I haven’t talked about the video specs yet, for good reason. The video specs of the Canon EOS RP are not the best, to say the least.
The rolling shutter is very present, when moving from left to right and walking forward you see that everything is distorted.
The ISO is quite good, you can film quite well in the dark up to ISO 6400.
Take a closer look at the photos below, these are photos taken from the video. If you click on a photo you will see an enlargement.
Burst mode & buffer of the EOS RP
The burst mode on the Canon EOS RP is not surprisingly high, I did not buy it to capture fast action, even though I do use the burst mode regularly.
During events, for example, I use the 5fps burst mode. This is not very fast, most cameras have a burst mode of 10fps or higher.
In any case, it is fast enough for my purposes. The burst mode decreases during AF tracking, to approximately 4fps.
Canon EOS RP buffer size
Speed is not the only important thing, with cameras like the EOS RP I am used to the buffer not being that large. Then the burst speed decreases after a few seconds because the buffer starts to fill up.
On Canon’s website, the buffer is referred to as ‘until the SD card is full‘ when you shoot JPEG and up to 50 photos if you shoot RAW.
Well, I tested that for you, as the figures are often not entirely correct. I tested the burst mode and buffer size with the Lexar Professional 1000x 64GB V60 (150mb/s). This is not the fastest card, but it is fast enough for this camera.
The JPEG buffer is indeed full until the SD card is full. With a 64GB card as above you can take approximately 6500 photos, that is what the EOS RP indicates. That is the largest format JPEG (L).
The RAW speeds are as follows:
- RAW – 5fps – No tracking: 109 photos – 21 seconds
- RAW – 4fps – AF tracking: 71 photos – 18 seconds
- CRAW – 5fps – No tracking: stopped after 430 photos – 90 seconds – Continues until SD card is full.
- CRAW – 4fps – AF tracking: stopped after 230 photos – 60 seconds – Continues until SD card is full.
- RAW + JPEG – 5fps – No tracking: 52 photos – 10 seconds – 12 seconds before buffer is empty again.
- RAW + JPEG – 4fps – AF tracking: 35 photos – 9 seconds – 12 seconds before buffer is empty again.
So you can see a clear difference between the RAW and CRAW speeds of the Canon EOS RP, and there is also a big difference in the AF tracking. During tracking, I selected a subject and pressed the AF-ON button the entire time.
With the RAW + JPEG burst test, the noise reduction is turned off in the camera, as this affects the speed of emptying the buffer.
Also important to note is that the EOS RP does not stop shooting completely, but simply slows down after the time stated above.
How does the Canon EOS RP feel: Ergonomics
Now I’ve talked enough about image quality, autofocus, and video. On to the other important aspects of the Canon EOS RP. At least, I don’t think the ergonomics are unimportant.
To start with the grip feels quite small. It is of course Canon’s smallest full-frame camera, so you shouldn’t expect too much. The grip is just not big enough for my whole hand to hold it.
I have fairly large hands and my pinky finger doesn’t hold the camera. I find that quite annoying, especially with a larger lens like the 24-70mm.
Buttons of the EOS RP
Now that we’re talking about the buttons and layout, I can say something. The buttons are well placed, with the on/off button on the left, the video recording button near the shutter button, and multiple dials.
Still, it is not perfect, there is no dial on the back (next to the screen), so you have to adjust three settings with two buttons.
So it is a fairly cumbersome way that can get you in trouble if you have to work quickly, for example at an event or wedding.
I have been using back-button focus for years because I find it works better. The AF-ON button is in an awkward place, not exactly near my thumb.
If you look at the more professional cameras (EOS R6), you will see a big difference. If you also like to use back-button focus, this is something to keep in mind.
Screen and viewfinder
The touchscreen on the back is very responsive and of high quality. I’ve never had any problems, not even with bright sun. The screen can sometimes be too dark. In that case, I use the viewfinder to review photos.
Speaking of the viewfinder, it is also of good quality, not too dark or bright. There is a very short delay, but it is so short that you won’t notice it if you don’t pay attention.
If you look at the photo below you will see exactly what information you can display in the viewfinder. Option 3 is checked, with options 1 and 2 you see less information. So you don’t see a spirit level and histogram.
Weight & design
I just said that this is Canon’s smallest full-frame camera, and that is visible when you see the comparison between the Canon EOS R and the EOS RP.
The RP is very narrow and the grip is also quite small. The weight is also not high, it weighs less than 500 grams.
I am not completely satisfied with that weight, I use heavy lenses, weighing 1kg, and the camera is not balanced at all. That, in combination with a small grip, ensures that my wrist has a reasonable amount of stress.
On the other hand, the low weight is nice, if you use a small and compact lens, the Canon EOS RP is a perfect camera.
It’s so small that I can now put it in my camera bag as a backup camera without it bothering me. Such a small camera is really handy!
Ease-of-use & menu
I can only say positive things about the ease of use, it is a small and compact camera with enough buttons for what you need.
The menu is fairly simple to follow, there are not very many tabs, but you can adjust many settings.
This way you can customize almost all buttons yourself, including the custom button that is just above the shutter button. By the way, I set it to ISO, so I can quickly adjust my shutter speed, ISO, and aperture.
I think that as a novice photographer, you can get along well with the simplistic Canon EOS RP, the newer Canon EOS R8 is just more aimed at the beginner through the ‘guided UI’.
Canon EOS RP in daily use
So I have been using the EOS RP for two years, and I take photos with it every day. However, I recently replaced it to get better video specs, namely the Canon EOS R6.
So it sits in my camera bag as a backup camera, and it fits there perfectly. It’s a small camera that you can take anywhere.
The battery is not very good, it is a small Canon LP-E17 battery, which cannot be compared with larger batteries.
After a few hours of shooting it will be empty, and if you use a lot of tracking it will go even faster. I regularly photograph events and always have to have an extra battery in my pocket.
Is the Canon EOS RP the right camera for you?
This is a good question to ask, so I’m going to answer it now. I’m a photographer who doesn’t shoot much action and doesn’t shoot much video, so the answer is simple: yes, the EOS RP is the right camera.
Canon EOS RP for wildlife photography
The EOS RP is not the optimal camera for wildlife photography, it does not have the new autofocus algorithms of the EOS R8, so recognizing animals will be difficult.
The burst mode is not exactly fast either, you can of course take some nice pictures if you are patient, but I can get very frustrated when I see the perfect moment in front of me and the camera does not work properly.
When I look at the buffer, it is very good, you can easily photograph for up to 10 seconds in a row, so I have nothing to complain about.
All in all, the Canon EOS RP is not the best camera for wildlife photography, so I really recommend the Canon EOS R8.
Canon EOS RP for portrait photography
This is a completely different kind of photography, for portrait photography, the EOS RP is a very good camera. The autofocus works extremely well and the tracking is almost flawless for people’s eyes.
I was surprised when I first started taking portrait photos with the EOS RP, the camera was able to recognize eyes from a great distance and the success rate was almost 100%.
You do need to take an extra battery with you, I always take hundreds of photos during a portrait session and the battery runs out quickly.
Canon EOS RP as a back-up camera
Now that I use it as a backup camera myself, I can also tell you something about this. My EOS R6 has never let me down and I’m not bothered by the wasted space in my camera bag.
It’s a small and light camera, even lighter than most of the lenses in my bag. The quality is good, so you can also use it as a second camera at an event or during a wedding.
If you are curious about whether you can purchase the Canon EOS RP as a backup camera, I can recommend it.
Canon EOS RP Review: conclusion
On to the conclusion of the review of the Canon EOS RP. It is a small and compact camera that is perfect if you travel a lot. With a full-frame sensor, you can take really beautiful, vibrant photos.
You can also get along well with the EOS RP in the dark. I shot photos at ISO 6400 and they are quite usable.
You have to be careful if you shoot a lot of action, the camera does not have extensive tracking options, so birds in flight become quite difficult.
All in all, the EOS RP is a nice camera to work with, the only weak point is the video side, for which you should buy another camera.
Don’t forget to share this review with fellow photographers and leave a comment if you have any questions.
Canon EOS RP Sample images
You may only use the images for personal use, sharing is not allowed.
Who is Sebastiaan?
Hi! I am Sebastiaan, the writer of this blog. With years of experience as a professional photographer, I want to share my expertise with you. From recommending cameras and lenses to giving tips that make a world of difference, that’s what I enjoy doing most.
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