Like the EOS D30, the 300D and the original 5D; Canon's new EOS RP delivers a new level of affordability and accessibility for anybody contemplating the purchase of a full-35mm format mirrorless camera. While the recent emphasis in this sector has been on higher-end models (from Nikon, Panasonic and Sony, as well as from Canon), the EOS RP is not only the least expensive full-35mm mirrorless camera body on the market, it’s also the smallest and lightest.

Photo: Canon

Canon says the EOS RP is the most compact and lightest full-frame digital camera it has ever made, noting that it’s 25 percent lighter than the EOS R and ten percent smaller. Compared to the EOS 6D Mark II – the nearest Canon D-SLR in terms of capabilities and specification – the EOS RP is 35 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller. Seen side-by-side, the size difference between these two cameras is quite dramatic. While Canon Australia hasn’t officially announced pricing for the EOS RP, the suggestion is that it will be around the $2000 mark for the body only (so think $1999) which will easily make it the cheapest full-35mm mirrorless camera on the market. Canon is clearly targeting the owners of its ‘APS-C’ format D-SLRs who could easily be convinced to not only ‘go mirrorless’, but also move up a sensor size in the process. It’s worth remembering here that, unlike with Canon’s full-35mm D-SLRs, the mirrorless cameras can be used with the EF-S lenses (via an RF mount adapter, of course, of which Canon offers three versions).

Photo: Canon

The RP’s sleek body has magnesium alloy covers with sealing against the intrusion of dust or moisture, but not to the same level as the EOS R. The body weight is just 485 grams. The CMOS sensor has an effective pixel count of 26.2 million and is mated with Canon’s latest ‘DiG!C 8’ processor. An optical low-pass filter (OPLF) is retained. The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 100 to 40,000 with extensions down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 102,400. While the RP sensor’s basic specs are similar to those of the 6D II’s, Canon says that it is not the same imager. Continuous shooting is possible at up to 5.0 fps with the AF and AE locked to the first frame or at 4.0 fps with frame-by-frame adjustments. Like the EOS R, the RP has a single memory card slot for SD format devices, and with UHS-II speed support. RAW files are captured in Canon’s latest 14-bit CR3 format with the option of saving a more compact RAW file (cRAW) which is 40 percent smaller due to the use of lossy compression algorithms.

Not surprisingly, the EOS RP has Canon’s ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ on-sensor phase-difference detection system with a total of 4779 measuring points, low-light sensitivity down to EV -5.0 (at ISO 100 and f1.2) and support for a maximum aperture size of f11 (accommodating telephotos fitted with teleconverters). The number of points – which is still massive – is lower than that of the EOS R simply because the RP’s sensor has fewer pixel sites. However, scene coverage is the same 88 percent horizontally and 100 percent vertically.

The EOS RP has a much more conventional control layout than the R and is based around the traditional main mode dial, mainly to maintain familiarity for new converts from D-SLRs. The EOS R’s multi-function touch bar – equally liked and disliked – isn’t reprised on the RP. However, it does retain a fully-adjustable ‘Vari-Angle’ LCD monitor with full touchscreen controls including the ‘Touch And Drag’ control for easier AF point selection when using the EVF. The viewfinder is a 1.0 cm OLED-type panel with a resolution of 2.36 megadots and a magnification of 0.7x.

The EOS RP records 4K video in the Ultra HD resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, but again with the same hefty 1.7x crop as the R and at only 25 fps (or 30 fps in NTSC)… so there’s no 50 fps option. There are, however, 4K time-lapse and HDR movie modes, and Canon’s ‘Movie Servo AF’ continuous autofocusing. Electronic image stabilisation with five-axis correction is also available when shooting video. The built-in stereo microphones are supplemented by an audio input and there’s also an audio output for connecting headphones (both standard 3.5 mm minijack connections). There’s both WiFi and Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity.

New RF mount 70-200mm f2.8L zoom is much more compact than Canon's EF mount version for D-SLRs. Photo: Canon.

At the launch of the EOS R back in September 2018, Canon stated that the future direction of its new RF mount lens system would have an emphasis on “f2.8-speed L series zooms”. Three of the six new RF lenses announced along with the RP body are, indeed, f2.8-speed L series zooms – a 15-35mm f2.8L IS USM model, a 24-70mm f2.8L IS USM and a 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM. As can be seen from the model designations, all three have optical image stabilisation (neither the EOS R nor the new RP have in-body stabilisation) and, of course, the latter two models deliver the ‘staple’ f2.8 zooms demanded by many working photographers.

RF mount 24-240mm zoom will likely be a kit lens for the EOS RP. Photo: Canon.

Exact launch dates for the new RF lenses has yet to be revealed beyond Canon stating that they will arrive some time during 2019. The other three models – which will bring the RF mount line-up to ten by the end of 2019 – are an 85mm f1.2L USM and a DS (Defocus Smoothing) version of this fast prime lens aimed at portrait photographers, plus a 24-240mm f4.0-6.3 IS USM 10x superzoom that will be the ideal companion to the RP for many users, leveraging the camera’s more compact design. Incidentally, for anybody who finds the RP is actually too compact, Canon is offering a ‘grip extension’ accessory which bolts to the camera’s based to lengthen the handgrip a little. It is neither a vertical grip nor a battery grip, but is available in a choice of three colours with the red and blue versions adding a nice little coloured highlight to the otherwise all-black RP.

The EOS RP goes on sale in Australia on 27 February and will be available as a body-only purchase or packaged with the standard EF-EOSR mount adapter. For more information visit http://www.canon.com.au