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  • EOS RP Review: The full-frame family hybrid according to Canon

    EOS RP Review - EOS RP, After a disappointing EOS R , Canon has released a second, even more stunning, full-frame sensor hybrid camera: the EOS RP. Sold for 1500 euros, this camera is astonishing in that it does not really stick to the optical line up that Canon produces in R mount.

    Between the 85 mm f / 1.2 in the optical dream formula, a professional zoom 70-200 mm f /2.8 of unprecedented compactness and an astounding 50mm f / 1.2, Canon prefers to launch an entry-level family camera not really "at the level" of these competition lenses. Fortunately, Canon has still produced an optic that sticks with the target of the EOS RP, a 24-240mm unprecedented in the genre. It is with this lens that we tested the EOS RP.


    EOS RP Maxi sensor for a mini box too mini?

    At 485 grams on the bare body scale (with battery and memory card), the EOS RP is one of the smallest full-frame hybrid cameras ever to be launched. It is not the smallest, however: the first Sony A7 of the name launched in 2013 was 11 grams lighter and 6 mm narrower.

    But the EOS RP nevertheless belongs to the family of small thumbs, not only for full-frame cameras, but also for hybrids in general: a Fujifilm X-T3 with APS-C sensor, however smaller, displays at 539 grams in the same configuration.

    Canon has resorted to the race for simplification which has sometimes negative consequences such as the absence of a dedicated memory card door, which is located in the battery slot under the camera.

    As usual with Canon, we feel the neat construction and quality materials, although it is regrettable that the body is not certified "all weather" as can be competing cameras at this price level. But the format questions: it is only comfortable with one of the two lenses corresponding to its “range”, such as the fixed focal length RF 35 mm f / 1.8 IS Macro STM.

    The 24-240mm with which we tested it is indeed a little too long and heavy for the whole to be comfortable. Canon seems here to reiterate the mistakes of the small Panasonic Lumix - GF3, GM1, etc. - which were also, in their time, feats of miniaturization, but whose format turned out to be too small for many lenses.

    In addition to this failure to take into account the nature of the optical equipment (very professional), this miniaturization hides a shortcoming: the absence of mechanical stabilization of the sensor.


    No mechanical stabilization, poor Eye AF, 4K video cropping

    The hybrids have brought a major improvement in image quality and sharpness: the mechanical stabilization of the sensor. While some Pentax SLRs integrate it, neither Canon nor Nikon offer this technology in their SLRs. As for hybrid brands, even those that based everything on optical stabilization (Panasonic, Sony and Fujifilm), they are increasingly systematizing this complementary technology to optical stabilization.

    Complementary indeed, because each methodology corrects more or less well the various parasitic movements: the optical stabilizer shines with long focal lengths, that of the sensor helps at wide angle and above all makes it possible to stabilize more or less all fixed focal lengths, which are rarely so and coupling the two allows for example Olympus to claim 7,OM-D E-M1X .

    By ignoring the mechanical stabilization of the sensor in favor of "electronics that use the internal gyroscopes of the optics and the body" - malfunctioning, let's be frank - Canon is not helping photographers. So many more than adequate speed images that looked sharp on the screen turned out to be slightly blurry, as with the EOS R. In 2019/2020, sensor stabilization is not a luxury. , it should be standard on all full-frame hybrids.

    Another technological lack: effective eye detection. Sony, Panasonic, but also Olympus and Fujifilm now offer this function which allows to maintain the point (and therefore the sharpness) on the eye of a subject, guaranteeing portraits which "snap". If Canon has developed a firmware update that offers this Eye AF, its implementation is far inferior to the competition. And far, far from Sony, champion of the category.

    Finally, this EOS RP is criticized for cropping video in 4K bordering on absurdity: what is the point of having a 24 mm wide-angle focal length if it is only to end up with a 40 mm when you shoot?


    Technological heir to the EOS 6D Mark II

    If it is equipped with a Digic 8 processor and not a Digic 7, the EOS RP is nevertheless the heir to the EOS 6D Mark II, an SLR launched two and a half years ago. This is also a mid-range body whose RP seems to recover the 26 Mpix sensor: same definition, same Dual Pixel technology, same number of AF zones, same dynamic range and same ISO range.

    Like the 6D mark II, the EOS RP is a small box in its category, as it manages Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, like it, its screen is a 1.04 Mpix LCD touch screen. He too must be satisfied with a mechanical shutter at 1 / 4000th. Thanks be to the Digic 8, it can shoot in 4K, but unfortunately, like the EOS R, at the cost of a very violent crop.

    The new kid does not, however, equal the original in all areas. From battery endurance, to case resistance to bursting, the much older 6D Mark II dominates its heir in many areas.

    The two boxes are displayed at the same price of $ 1818, the choice between the two devices will be made on the optical park (6D Mark II advantage), on resistance or endurance (6D mark II advantage) or on compactness ( advantage EOS RP) rather than on the image quality, substantially similar. Very good image quality, especially in JPEG.


    Image quality: beautiful images in daylight, significant smoothing at night

    The EOS RP's default JPEG processing is very good, allowing it to fulfill its mission of producing good shots without running the files through RAW development software. The image rendering is typical of the world of the SLR, ie less chiseled images than those produced by Sony and other Panasonic.

    Impossible to discern the slightest difference between a shot of this EOS RP from a 6D Mark II, the transitions are rather smooth, the details precise but not sharp.

    The default JPEG rendering (Picture Style A in settings) is a real masterpiece, with soft, warm tones and flattering contrasts. On the other hand, it gets lost a bit under very dense and gray skies - greens that fart a little too much - but this is the lot of almost all competing cameras (Fujifilm excepted).

    RAW files do not offer as wide a dynamic range as the competition, due to the structure of the photosites of the Dual Pixel sensor. We get less detail in the shadows, especially when shooting in low light.

    Since we are talking about the night, if the colorimetric consistency is good by default, the shadows are always subject to a form of banding - artifacts that degrade the image - and the very important smoothing of the details flattens a little too much. the details. Which leads to very “flat” images, with less relief. But Canon obliges, the colors are correct and the quality of the shots in broad daylight is excellent.


    Speed: mixed results
    The Canon-designed and manufactured Dual Pixel sensor, which has been used in SLRs and hybrids for several generations, is widely praised for its speed of focus. In single AF mode, it is true that the camera quickly catches the selected area. But in the end.

     Canon's technology does - at best - only match what Sony can offer in terms of simple autofocus. And it remains far, very far in terms of speed of acquisition of moving subjects, burst rate, etc. .

    If Canon has added an autofocus on the eye - Eye-AF - Sony style, the level of performance has absolutely nothing to do with it. When the capture and tracking of third-generation Sony hybrids is both swift and relentless in maintaining focus, the technology in this Canon RP smacks of attempt. This is not what we expect from the world number 1 in images.

    As for the burst, Canon has largely castrated its entry-level camera - a common practice in the industry - which tops out at 4 images per second.


    Optical range in total mismatch with the boxes
    At the 2018 photokina, a top frame from Canon confirmed that the EOS R was not a professional body for the brand, but an “enthusiastic” body. A thousand euros cheaper, the EOS RP is an amateur / family camera which means that Canon does not have a "Pro" camera in RF mount.

    However, when we take a look at Canon's RF optical range we are entitled to be lost: apart from the RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM and the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM, the eight ( seven plus a variant) other optics are high-end zooms and fixed focal lengths, even very high-end. The RF 28-70mm F2L USM at $ 3517 is thus the brightest zoom of its kind ever designed, the RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS is a jewel that combines soft blur and sharpness of image for "only" $ 4244, etc.

    In short: if you bite into Canon's RF mount system by purchasing this EOS RP, apart from the two aforementioned lenses which are displayed at $ 727 and $ 1212 respectively, you will have to break the PEL to equip yourself with other " pebbles ”.

    Fortunately, Canon obliges, the optical quality is there. And this, as well in the top of the range as on the more family zooms like the 24-240 mm.


    RF 24-240 mm F4-6.3 IS USM: excellent family look

    On paper, the RF 24-240MM F4-6.3 IS USM is not the precision jewel that fans of “beautiful optics” dream of. It is a x10 zoom suitable for the use of the general public looking for a zoom to do everything, far from the claims of fixed focal lengths at $ 3638 in the RF range. But if this lens is not very bright because of the large optical gap it must offer - f / 6.3 at the end of the zoom - the lens sometimes behaves in a fabulous way.

    Its ability to generate blurs with great smoothness and character is the hallmark of the in-depth work of Canon's optical engineers.

    In addition to its intrinsic optical qualities (good sharpness of image, suitable homogeneity for such a zoom, software corrections integrated into the files), Canon was keen to work on the “signature” of its optics. A rare thing for an optics at 1000 euros which plays it “super zoom x10 for full frame reflex”.


    The EOS RP overtaken by the "old" Sony Alpha 7 Mark II

    If Canon wanted to strike hard by offering a full frame camera at $ 1819 with a bare body, the concern for Canon is that its EOS RP has to face an even cheaper body: the Sony A7 Mark II . Launched in 2015, this camera is displayed at $ 1332 naked and 1299 euros with a 28-70MM f / 3.5-5.6 and this, at the official price, in “real” photo shops. And excluding exceptional promotions of the Black Friday type where it has fallen even lower.

    Even if it is older than the Canon model, the Alpha A7 Mark II has some great advantages for it in addition to its even more aggressive price. Its stabilized sensor allows it to produce many more sharp shots with fixed focal lengths, its battery is more enduring (350 shots against 250 for the RP).

    Its mechanical shutter goes up to 1 / 8000th (1 / 4000th for the RP) , its native optical park is much larger and its video mode is without cropping (and the compression of better quality). finally, it holds better in hand with a little heavier optics.

    The EOS RP has 4K video for it, but at the cost of an aberrant cropping (x1.8!), Its lighter weight and a touchscreen LCD screen.

    On paper and in practice, the Alpha A7 Mark II is a much better choice for a photographer wishing to equip a full frame sensor hybrid. Sony is taking advantage of the winning strategy of leaving its boxes in the range as long as possible in order to stick to all budgets. Faced with him, Canon can only offer meager technical resistance.

    But the giant still has the advantage of having an audience of loyal users who will appreciate the full compatibility of their optics with the EOS RP. Even if it comes at the cost of poor handling.

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