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Canon EOS RP $1,300 full-frame mirrorless aggressively targets enthusiasts

It's so small and light you'll hardly feel it in your hands.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Canon's new EOS RP wants to lure enthusiasts looking for something a little less chunky. It's a mirrorless equivalent of the EOS 6D Mark II DSLR, boasting an aggressively competitive price and, for its class, an impressively lightweight body.

The body goes for only $1,300 (£1,400, AU$2,100), and comes in a kit with the RF 24-105mm f4 L lens for $2,400 (£2,330, no kit in Australia). At those prices, it's competing with older models that have experienced price drops over the years, most notably the Sony A7 II.

Because Canon doesn't have any inexpensive lenses for the RF system, though, that kit price puts it in competition with the recent Sony A7 III and its (admittedly meh) 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 lens. But the A7 III has more flexible video options, better battery life, faster continuous shooting and in-body image stabilization.

Aloysius Low/CNET

There are some RF lenses on the 2019 roadmap, namely:

  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM
  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS
  • RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

That last one -- not part of Canon's "L" professional line -- will likely be the cheap lens for a future kit, so I'd expect a less-expensive kit choice by holiday shopping season rather than in time for the RP's Feb. 27 initial availability (you can preorder now, though). But 24-240mm is a nice comprehensive focal range for an all-in-one lens.

One pricing oddity, at least in the US: The 24-105mm lens is currently on sale for $900 on Canon's site, making it cheaper to buy the body and lens separately than as a kit. And at full price, the kit costs the same as buying the lens and body separately. Normally, a kit costs less than the sum of its parts.

Aloysius Low/CNET

You can, of course, use existing EF-mount lenses with the RP, as you can with its big brother, the EOS R. The RP doesn't come bundled with the adapter, though, so that will cost you another $100. And the EF lenses are bigger, which diminishes some of the advantages of the smaller body.

The RP looks like the EOS R from the front, but has Canon's more consumer-oriented control layout on the top and a different location for the viewfinder's eye sensor. It's smaller than the EOS R, but still larger than Sony's A7 models. 

What we do like about the camera so far is just how light it is -- at just over a pound (485 grams), you'll hardly feel it in your hands if you're used to DSLRs. (Early leaked specifications put it at an absurdly light 14 ounces (400 grams), but that's without the battery and SD card.) But Canon can cut the weight because it doesn't use in-body image stabilization; expect the OIS lenses to weigh it down a bit.

You may not care about the tradeoffs Canon makes for the low price, but there are a few. At the top is the awful battery life: It's rated at 250 shots, which is worse than the original Sony A7's, which everyone complained about. Continuous shooting speed only hits 4 frames per second with continuous autofocus and autoexposure. 

4K UHD recording tops out at 24 fps and it doesn't support Canon's C-Log profile. While the updated Digic 8 image processor should eke some improved image quality out of the 26.2-megapixel sensor it inherits from the 6D Mark II, it's still an unimpressive sensor compared with the A7 II. And Canon's still an optical-stabilization-only holdout.

Compare specs

Canon EOS RP Sony A7 II
Sensor effective resolution 26.2 Dual Pixel CMOS 14 bits 24.3MP Exmor CMOS 14-bit
Sensor size 35.9 x 24mm 35.8 x 23.9mm
Focal-length multiplier 1x 1x
OLPF Yes Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 50 (exp)/ISO 100-ISO 40,000/102,400 (exp) ISO 50 (exp)/ ISO 100-ISO 25,600
Burst shooting Up to 4fps 50 raw/unlimited JPEG (5fps with continuous focus/tracking) 5fps n/a
Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag) OLED EVF 100% coverage 2.4m dots 0.4 in/1 cm 0.7x/0.7x OLED EVF 100% coverage 2.4m dots 0.5 in/1.3 cm 0.71x/0.71x
Hot Shoe Yes Yes
Autofocus 4,779-point phase detection Hybrid AF system Full frame: 25-area contrast AF;117-pt phase- detection APS-C: 25-area contrast AF; 99-point phase detection
AF sensitivity (at center point) -5 to 18 EV -1 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb, 1/180 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync
Shutter durability
Metering 384 zones 1,200 zones
Metering sensitivity -3 to 20 EV -1 - 20 EV
Best video QuickTime MOV H.264 4K UHD/24p at 120Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0, 1080/60p XAVC S 1080/60p, 720/120p @ 50Mbps
Audio headphone jack, mic input Stereo; mic input; headphone jack
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time 29m59s 29 minutes
Clean HDMI out Yes Yes
IS Optical Sensor shift 5-axis
LCD 3 in/7.7 cm Articulated touch screen 1.04m dots 3 in/7.5cm Tilting 921,600 dots plus extra set of white dots
Memory slots 1x SDXC (UHS II) 1x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) , Bluetooth Wi-Fi, NFC
Flash No No
Wireless flash Yes No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 250 shots (1,865 mAh) 270 shots (VF), 350 shots (LCD) (1,080 mAh)
Size (WHD) 5.2 x 3.3 x 2.8 in 133 x 85 x 70 mm 4.7 x 2.7 x 1.5 in 127 x 96 x 60 mm
Body operating weight 17.1 oz (est.) 485 g (est.) 22.2 oz 628 g
Mfr. price (body only) $1,299, £1,399, AU$2,099 $1,000, £1,699, AU$1,899
Primary kit $2,399, £2,329 (with 24-105mm f4 lens) $1,200, £1,979 (with 28-70mm lens)
Release date February 2019 December 2014