EOS RP – 6 months review

So, I’ve been using the EOS RP for a little over 6 months now. I’ve taken it up mountains, to the coast, countryside and into cities. I’ve even shot a wedding with it. How did it perform? Am I happy with it?

Landscape Photography

The RP is a really good landscape photography camera. It’s easy to use and has all the settings you realistically need for landscape.

Landscape is, possibly, the least demanding genre of photography, as far as the camera is concerned. As long as it supports manual mode and manual focusing then it already has most of what you need. The RP, of course, supports all this and provides a whole lot more.

The features I’ve used most on the RP are:

  • M mode (manual)
  • AV mode (aperture priority)
  • FV mode (its unique multi-settings mode – more on this later)
  • Auto focus with single, user selected focus point
  • Manual focus
  • Auto focus with manual focus override
  • ISO 100 (sometimes ISO 200-400)
  • Auto exposure bracketing (5 images around 1/2 to 1 stop difference between each shot. For HDR use)
  • Histogram in RGB mode
  • Spirit level

Generally, I’m using a tripod so I leave the ISO at 100. If I am hand holding then I may adjust the ISO to 400 or above. If the light is changing a lot or I’m in a tricky environment, I use the FV mode, where I tell the RP that I want a single constant (usually the aperture) and it adjusts the shutter speed and ISO for me to make hand holding possible without sacrificing too much quality. It’s a surprisingly useful feature.

Image Quality

There is more to IQ than the camera – here the lens plays a big role. Additionally, image quality is hugely affected by the person behind the camera! It’s a case of learning the camera’s capabilities and limitations, the lens’ strengths and weaknesses and then using them to maximise the quality of the output.

Mush has been said about the RP’s sensor – that it is poor and lacks dynamic range, etc. I couldn’t disagree more with these assessments. On paper, under a microscope (as it were) then other chips by Nikon and Sony are ‘better’ but, if the RP is using the same chip as the EOS 6D MKII, then it has a dynamic range of 11.9 stops. (DXO hasn’t tested the RP yet, so I’m using its 6D MKII’s results).

11.9 stops? That is not bad at all! Fuji Velvia has been measured at 5 stops and we did ok with it. I always shoot with the histogram displaying in RGB mode, so I can see at a glance if the shadows or highlights are being clipped. If they are then I don’t live with it, I deal with it! It’s either time to go into HDR mode by turning on the exposure bracketing or time to use some ND grad filters.

It is true that the RP suffers with more noise in the shadows than other cameras when lightening the shadows during RAW conversion. But it isn’t so great as to make the image unusable. Indeed, it’s not even likely to be noticeable after resizing the image for normal viewing on screen or for printing. And noise removal software does exist… In any case, I use Topaz Labs AI Clear as part of my workflow regardless of whether the image has noise in it. If it has, AI Clear eliminates it, so I just don’t find criticisms of the RP’s image quality very compelling. To the contrary, it takes great images.

Camera Performance

When shooting landscapes, I don’t really care about camera performance. Landscape photography is not about speed. However, when I recently shot a wedding with the RP (two RP’s actually) I gained more insight into how the camera performed.

To facilitate changing modes between FV mode (for indoor, handheld, shots) and AV mode I just created custom settings and assigned them to C1 and C2 on the mode dial. Simple.

In general I enjoyed using the RP for the wedding, but there were a number of issues that prevented it from being completely trouble free:

  • Auto focus face and eye detection. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t
  • Focus point selection by dragging your thumb across the screen when using the viewfinder – sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t
  • Focus point selection by using the dial – sometimes holding the dial down moved the focus point continually and sometimes it didn’t
  • Lack of vertical grip makes portrait orientation awkward

In consequence of this, I missed some photos. Nothing terrible, but somewhat disappointing. The RP is definitely NOT a camera for capturing fast action such as sports. It’s not just the slow frame rate but the unreliability of the auto focus point selection. Hopefully, Canon will be able to address some of these issues with a a firmware upgrade.

Hiking photography

I’ve taken the RP on several hikes in the UK Lake District and it has performed well. The main problem I have with it is that, as a full frame camera, both it and the lenses weigh more than with an APS-C mirrorless system. This cannot be considered as a weakness of the RP – the laws of physics come into play here and the larger the format the larger (and heavier) the gear.

The RP is still much lighter than a full frame DSLR and Canon have just released the RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM lens, which (if it’s any good) may be an ideal do it all lens and reduce the weight of the overall system.

Although the RP is not fully weather sealed, it seems to resist bad weather quite well. I got caught in a heavy shower when photographing in the mountains and the camera was very wet. I dried it off fairly quickly and it suffered zero ill effects.

Lenses

Canon make a lot of lenses. The RP, with its adapter, can use any EF and EF-S lens, as well as the new RF lenses.

Currently, my lenses of choice for the RP are as follows:

  • RF 24-105MM f/4L IS lens – fairly light, very sharp. If I only take one lens, it is this one.
  • EF 16-35MM f/4L IS lens – fairly light, incredibly sharp. Combined with the RF 24-105 f/4L it covers 95% of the focal lengths I use.
  • RF 35MM f1.8 IS Macro – a lovely little prime lens. Sharp and the 1/2 macro capability makes it a very versatile lens indeed

When taking portraits (and the occasional telephoto landscape) I use the EF 135MM f/2L lens. For longer telephoto shots I use the EF 200MM f/2.8L lens and I sometimes combine it with the EF 2x Extender III, a combination that works really well on the RP. (It also works really well on the EOS M50 using the adapter, yielding a field of view equivalent to 640MM!)

The quality of all these lenses is exceptional and I am more than happy with the images I have taken with the RP using them.

Battery life

Battery life is far better than expected. I can usually make a battery last all day. My technique is simple. I turn the camera off when I’m not using it. I found ECO mode turned the screen off way too quickly – setting up a landscape shot on a tripod takes time and ECO mode would cut in too fast.

I also have an USB-C portable battery which can charge the EOS-RP’s battery in camera. This is really useful as I can top up the RP’s battery during breaks and when hiking. Not all UBS-C devices will charge the RP. I think it depends on the output voltage (or something like that) so it is a case of try before you buy. But my portable battery has both USB and USB-C outputs, so I can charge the RP and my phone simultaneously.

Conclusion

EOS PR – Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Very easy to use
  • Huge selection of high quality lenses
  • Excellent image quality
  • Excellent viewfinder
  • Excellent screen
  • Reasonable battery life
  • Better weather resistance than I expected

EOS RP Cons

  • Autofocus point selection erratic when using the camera viewfinder. Works fine when only using the screen.
  • Not fast enough for action photography
  • No vertical grip
  • Single SD card slot makes me a little nervous, although I’ve never had a card fail on me…

All that remains is to show you a few sample images…

Sample Images

 

 

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