Canon EOS RP vs EOS R – Which is Right for You?

Canon EOS RP vs EOS R – Which is Right for You?

Joining Canon’s new RF mount fleet is a smaller, more affordable version of their high-resolution, full frame mirrorless EOS R. The EOS RP is Canon’s smallest full frame camera (at the time of this writing) and pairs flawlessly with EF mount lenses using one of three adapter styles. Despite being so small (5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8″), the RP retains the large 54mm mount diameter with the close flange distance of 20mm and a robust 12-pin connection point.

Here are the specs the two cameras have in common:

• Dual Pixel CMOS AF (not available in 4K on the RP)
• 3.5mm Microphone Jack, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, and HDMI C
• Built-in WiFi
• Compatible with EF and EF-S Lenses with Adapter (RF Lenses Natively)
• UHS-II SD Card Slot
• Fully Articulating LCD
• Electronic Viewfinder
• Hot Shoe
• Sensor Crop in 4K
• New Semi-Automatic Mode, Flexible-Priority (Fv)
• Dual Sensing IS (Only for IS-Equipped RF Lenses)
• Digital Lens Optimizing System
• Face Detection Focus System
• 30 Minute Continuous Recording Limits

Aside from that list, the cameras are quite different. Depending on your needs, the extreme portability of the EOS RP may far exceed some of the features lost when compared to the EOS R. There is also a large price difference. The EOS RP has some great stats but they will be modest when comparing them directly to the R. When comparing the RP to similarly-priced DSLRs, the stats are good. Here is what you need to know.

Size: The EOS RP is Excellent for Travel

At only 2.8″ deep and 3.3″ tall, you’re not going to get a better travel companion with a full frame sensor than the EOS RP. It’s about the same size as a Canon SL2, but the SL2 only has an APS-C sensor. However, the RF lens lineup isn’t any different (at the time of this writing) than what was available when the EOS R came out. RF lenses are quite large. The Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 is 1.05″ longer than the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and sports a massive 95mm front element. While the RF 24-105mm f/4 sacrifices light gathering ability, it will be a better fit for travelers thanks to being over 1.5 lbs lighter than the 28-70mm. It also has a more standard 77mm diameter. However, it’s still over 4″ long. The most portable RF lens right now is the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM, which doesn’t give you any range flexibility but is a great choice for street shooting and candid/photojournalist/documentary work.

If you pair the EOS RP with smaller EF-mount Canon lenses, know that the required adapter will add an automatic inch to your mount. You have your pick of 4 different adapters (listed at the end), all which provide direct mechanical and electrical coupling between your EF mount lens and an RF mount camera. If you’re pairing an EF-S lens to one of the RF mount cameras using one of these adapters, the cameras will automatically switch to crop sensor mode. These adapters maintain seamless support for AF and are even compatible with EF extenders.

Ergonomics and Handling of the EOS RP vs EOS R

As specifications get better and more competitive in all cameras, some of the winning differences come out in the build and handling of the bodies. These details can greatly affect workflow and how comfortably you’re able to capture the scene.

Connectivity

While both have hot shoes, mic, and headphone ports, only the EOS R has a PC sync port for connecting a sync cable to a strobe (you can certainly still fire strobes from the EOS RP, you just have to use a hot shoe-mounted trigger). Both have ports for connecting a remote shutter release, but they are not compatible with the same model. The EOS RP uses the E3 type – the same as in the 80D and the Rebel series. The EOS R uses the N3, which is compatible with the 5D, 7D, and 1D series.

Composing and Layout

Both have fully articulating touchscreens but the EOS R’s is a nice, roomy 3.15″ while the RP’s is only 3″ (which is still a great size).  The EOS RP is equipped with a .39″ OLED EVF while the EOS R tops that with a pretty substantial .5″ OLED EVF. The EOS R also has an ever-so-slightly larger eyepoint, which might be more comfortable for folks who wear glasses. Users may find that they have to compose with their eyes a little closer to the viewfinder on the RP vs the R. The top plate settings readout LCD and the multi-function bar are omitted from the EOS RP. Instead, it has a more conventional mode dial. There is also only 1 mappable function button the RP. This small body sacrifices the customization tools offered in the EOS R.

Other Physical Features

The two cameras do not accept the same battery type. The EOS R uses the beefier LP-E6N while the EOS RP uses the LP-E17 (the same battery found in the EOS M3 and M5). The LP-E6N has a longer lifespan at 350-430 shots per charge vs the mere 250 with the LP-E17. The EOS R is backward-compatible with the LP-E6 batteries (just don’t expect the same lifespan). The EOS R offers an optional BG-E22 battery grip, while the RP only offers an extension grip – which doesn’t expand shooting time, it merely provides a different hand positioning option.

The RP provides a ton of options for on-the-go photographers. You get large, perfectly crop-ready 6240 x 4160px files out of the 26.2 megapixel sensor. This is simply not far off from the EOS R’s 30.3 megapixels.

Performance Options for Photographers

The RP provides a ton of options for on-the-go photographers. You get large, perfectly crop-ready 6240 x 4160px files out of the 26.2 megapixel sensor. This is simply not far off from the EOS R’s 30.3 megapixels. The EOS RP has the same sensor as the 6D Mark II but with some micro lens adjustments to make it suitable for a mirrorless build. It is well positioned as an upgrade for anyone who has been eyeing full frame but is attracted to the benefits of mirrorless over a more traditional DSLR.

ISO

Lighting conditions aren’t likely to limit your creativity when you have the kind of range the RP offers: 100-40000 ISO and a stunning 50-102400 ISO in extended mode. For context, the 80D’s extended range is 100-25600 and the Rebel T7i’s is 100-51200. The RP is comparable in this area to the 5D Mark IV with 100-32000 ISO (50-102400 extended) and the 6D Mark II with 100-40000 (100-102400 extended). It pales in comparison to pro cameras, like the 1D X Mark II with its 50-409600 extended range, but that camera runs between $4,000-5,000. So the RP provides a lot of latitude in variable lighting situations, which is great for travelers and event shooters.

Shooting Speed and AF

The EOS RP tops out at 5 frames per second in single-shot AF mode. This is fast enough for vacationers and most casual events but will feel lacking for sports and wildlife. It tops out at a painfully slow 3 FPS in continuous AF mode.  It’s certainly not impossible to capture fast subjects at 5 frames per second. It’s just that most people feel more confident with at least 8 FPS.

Several AF Control Options

Acquiring focus should be no problem, however, with 4779 selectable on-sensor phase-detection points. Dual Pixel Autofocus works very well for photography even in the dimmest lighting conditions. Touchscreen AF provides an intuitive way to select your AF point (but note that the RP does not have an autofocus joystick, though the D-pad can be mapped to serve that function). Tracking AF with face/eye detection works even in continuous/servo mode, a great feature for candids or for nailing subject focus even with the shallowest depth of field.

Focus Stacking

Speaking of shallow depth of field, the EOS RP has integrated focus stacking for macro photography in the form of a Focus Bracketing mode (though merging has to be done either manually or with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software). Also note that only certain lenses are officially compatible with this feature. In addition to the RF lenses, you can use Focus Bracketing with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS, the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS, the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro, and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS (at the time of this writing, when paired with one of the adapters).

New Exposure Control Options

New shooters may be familiar with Program mode, which allows the camera to choose optimal settings for you that can still be overridden with the exposure compensation dial. It’s great when you trust the camera to do the work for you but often you need more control than that, which means switching to a semi-automatic mode or to manual mode. The EOS RP’s Flexible-priority (Fv) mode behaves like Program mode with the option to take control of an individual setting (shutter, ISO, or aperture), effectively having all modes available to you in a single mode without having to take your eyes off the viewfinder.

Performance Options for Videographers

The EOS RP is suitable for casual videography. It is not recommended for serious video work or even for serious vlogging assignments. However, it offers enough for anyone who wants to incorporate video coverage into their travel plans, family events, or who are starting to get into casual vlogging.

4K Limitations

It shoots UHD 4K up to 24p at 120MB/s with in-camera 4:2:0 sampling and 8-bit color depth (8-bit 4:2:2 possible when shooting to an external recorder via HDMI). There is a built-in 3.5mm microphone jack and a headphone jack, which is very handy. You cannot shoot 4K in Tv or Av exposure modes like you can with the EOS R, nor can you take advantage of Dual Pixel CMOS AF. You are stuck with contrast-detection AF only unless you drop down to Full HD. However, you cannot shoot 4K at all with the 6D Mark II nor the 80D, so if you want to dabble in 4K for a good price, the EOS RP may still be quite worth it to you.

It’s important to note that you cannot shoot 24 FPS in 1080p – only 60 FPS and 30 FPS.

1080p Limitations

It’s important to note that you cannot shoot 24 FPS in 1080p – only 60 FPS and 30 FPS. You can certainly default to 24p in 4K but the file size and battery drain could be a bit of a burden so not having the option to shoot at this industry standard frame rate in 1080p is baffling. You can still shoot 30p, which is a TV standard, but for purists seeking the most “filmic” look, this omission is a bit of a bummer. 60p is a nice-to-have for slow motion, but it’s at the lowest end of slow motion and there are many other mirrorless cameras that can do 120 and sometimes even 180p in HD. For a list of cameras we rent that can shoot in frame rates of 100 FPS and above in, at the very least, Full HD resolution and ranging up to 4K, please check out our Ultra Slow Motion Video Cameras collection.

4K Sensor Crop

Lastly, as in the EOS RP, footage is cropped rather severely, so you’ll have to choose much wider lenses than average to achieve a certain field of view. You’ll experience a horizontal crop at 4K (1.6x of the full width of the sensor) – so it’s going to be tighter than the more standard 1.5x crop found in Super 35mm. There is a 1.76x crop on the EOS R. Full frame is available for 1080p video.

Stabilization Options

In-camera image stabilization will correct for shake when using a function called Movie Digital IS that operates even when using lenses without stabilization. It does this by magnifying your image (or, another way to think about it, by “trimming the edges”). The image is electronically moved and compensated for in reaction to movement detected by the sensor. This style of shake suppression is suitable for casual videographers. It’s kind of like having Adobe’s Warp Stabilizer inside your camera. It’s a nice feature to have when shooting fairly static subjects handheld but you need a little extra help getting steady results. Traditional stabilization can only be found when pairing with IS lenses. Most of the lenses we’re expecting from the RF lineup in the coming year will have image stabilization.

Video Snapshots and Other Fun Features

With Video Snapshots, you can set the EOS RP to shoot a series of very short videos and combine them for a cute video snapshot reel, which is great for vacations. If you’re faced with a very high-contrast scene, HDR Movie mode is available for helping you retain detail in highlights and shadows. Time-lapses can be stitched together automatically in a 4K time-lapse movie.

Conclusion

If you are currently using a crop sensor DSLR and want to upgrade to full frame while also getting to take advantage of the benefits of mirrorless, the EOS RP is a great choice. It’s ideal for photographers who want something lightweight but who are also excited to use high-speed, large-element RF mount lenses. It’s a good choice for travelers and family/event shooters who want to start incorporating video into their lives without a big learning curve. It’s cheaper than the EOS R but glass will still be an investment. If you already own Canon EF mount lenses, the adapters integrate flawlessly with this new system. Before committing either way, the EOS RP can be rented for only around $67 a week. Try it out with your current EF glass using one of the high-quality adapters, all of which provide direct mechanical and electrical coupling between the camera and your lens:

Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Canon EOS R Camera ND Filter Adapter (comes with a removable neutral density filter, $30 for a week)
Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Canon EOS R Camera Polarizing Filter Adapter (comes with a removable circular polarizing filter, $20 for a week)
Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Canon EOS R Camera Control Ring Adapter (includes the customized settings control ring, $15 for a week)
Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Canon EOS R Camera Adapter (straight adapter, $12 for a week)

See our entire Canon Full Frame Mirrorless Collection here.

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Alexandria Huff's photography and lighting tutorials can be found on 500px and her blog. She is a Marketing Coordinator for BorrowLenses.com and also writes for SmugMug. She learned about lighting and teaching while modeling for photographers such as Joe McNally and has since gone on to teach lighting workshops of her own in San Francisco. Previously, she shot motorsports for X-Games, World Rally Cross, and Formula Drift. See her chiaroscuro-style painterly portraits on her website.

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