Canon, one of the leading manufacturers of digital SLR cameras, was late to enter the mirrorless camera game. It only introduced its first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the Canon EOS M, in 2012—six years after Leica released the Leica M8.
However, six years after the launch of the Canon EOS M, the company finally launched its first full-frame mirrorless in the latter half of 2018, the Canon EOS R. It followed this just five months later, in 2019, with the Canon EOS RP.
These two devices are Canon’s most affordable full-frame mirrorless cameras. The Canon EOS RP is cheaper than the EOS R—but is the latter really better than the former? Let’s find out.
Specifications: Canon EOS R vs. Canon EOS RP
Although these cameras are already more than three years old at the time of writing, they’re still highly-capable imaging devices. That’s because no amount of computational photography could compensate for the physical size and capabilities of the camera lens you can attach to these camera bodies. These are the type of lenses you need to cater to every situation.
However, the cameras themselves have some significant differences. Here are the specifications of the Canon EOS R and the Canon EOS RP.
|Canon EOS R||Canon EOS RP|
|Maximum Resolution||6720 x 4480||6240 x 4160|
|Effective Pixels||30.3 megapixels||26.2 megapixel|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame (36 x 24mm)||Full Frame (35.9 x 24mm)|
|Processor||DIGIC 8||DIGIC 8|
|ISO Range||Auto, 100 – 40,000||Auto, 100 – 40,000|
|Boosted ISO (Min / Max)||50 / 102,400||50 / 102,400|
|In-body Image Stabilization||No||No|
|Number of Focus Points||5,655||4,779|
|Lens Mount||Canon RF||Canon RF|
|Screen||Fully Articulated TFT LCD||Fully Articulated TFT LCD|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||30 sec||30 sec|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000 sec||1/4000 sec|
|Continuous Drive||8.0 fps||5.0 fps|
|Weight (including battery)||660g||485g|
|Dimensions||136 x 98 x 84mm||133 x 85 x 70mm|
On paper, the older Canon EOS R performs much better than the newer Canon EOS RP. It has a higher pixel count, more focus points, a bigger screen, and is even environmentally sealed. The only advantage that the latter has over the former is that it’s 25% lighter and slightly smaller.
While the Canon EOS R has impressive specifications, it’s also Canon’s first foray into the full-frame mirrorless camera category. As such, it shows in some aspects of the camera. For example, Canon experimented with the touch-sensitive Multi-Function bar while it ditched the physical mode dial.
According to Digital Photography Review, many photographers found some button placements and the front dial on the EOS R hard to reach. Furthermore, single-handed users found it difficult to operate the camera’s controls with their right hand while maintaining an adequate grip on the device.
On the other hand, the Canon EOS RP’s lighter and smaller frame is much easier to hold, even if you have larger hands. However, it becomes a bit unwieldy and difficult to balance if you pair it with larger lenses like the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM or the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM.
Nevertheless, the Canon EOS RP is an excellent camera for those who want a full-frame backup camera or are upgrading to a full-frame camera for the first time.
Canon EOS R and EOS RP in Videography
Although both mirrorless cameras can record 4K video, the older EOS R allows you more quality options. It can record up to 4K@30, while the EOS RP can only do 4K@24. The older camera can also record as fast as 120 frames per second, but only at a dismal 720p.
Nevertheless, both cameras are let down by the lack of in-body image stabilization. Furthermore, both devices suffer from rolling shutter effects and have difficulty with autofocus. You also get significant crop with both devices when recording 4K video, making capturing wide scenes difficult.
While you can use either of these cameras if you’re in a pinch, it isn’t recommended. But if you’re only occasionally shooting video but still want a full-frame mirrorless camera for photography, then either option would do the trick.
Canon EOS R vs. Canon EOS RP: Which Is More Affordable?
When the Canon EOS R launched, it was priced at $2,299. This amount was just slightly above the mid-range full-frame Canon EOS 6D Mk II’s $1,999 cost but significantly more affordable than the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV’s $3,499 introductory price.
However, its price has since fallen. Today, you can get the Canon EOS R with an RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM kit lens for $1,899. If you’re opting for a body-only option, you only need to shell out $1,599 on the Canon website at the time of writing—down from its list price of $1,799.
On the other hand, given that the Canon EOS RP is Canon’s entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera, it’s still the far more affordable option. It launched at $1,299, but the Canon EOS RP is now priced at $999 for a body-only configuration. You could get the Canon EOS RP with an RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM Kit Lens for its launch price.
Does the Canon EOS R Offer More Value for Money Than the Canon EOS RP?
The Canon EOS RP is an excellent choice if you want to upgrade to a full-frame camera in the Canon ecosystem. It’s more affordable than the Canon EOS 6D Mk II while still delivering excellent performance. Furthermore, it can use Canon’s extensive line of EF lenses, provided you’re willing to use a Canon EF to EOS R Mount Adapter.
And while the Canon EOS R does offer a few advantages over the EOS RP, its $600 premium over the latter isn’t justified. The image quality of both cameras is at par with each other, but their video-recording capabilities are both mediocre. And while the former does have more video recording options, a higher megapixel count, a higher maximum shutter speed, and environmental sealing, these are things that most users won’t really need.
If you’re a professional, the EOS R will do the job if you’re looking for a backup or travel camera. But if you want to upgrade your current Canon DSLR to a mirrorless system or if you’re looking for a more robust mirrorless Canon camera, then consider investing in a Canon EOS R6 instead.
Although it’s far more expensive than the Canon EOS R, it’s worth spending on the ergonomic and performance improvements you get. Besides, it’s also newer, having been launched in 2020.
The More Expensive Choice Isn’t Always Worth It
The entry-level full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS RP is the best option if you’re looking for an affordable full-frame Canon camera. Although the RF line of lenses is still limited compared to what other brands offer, you can access Canon’s wide range of EF lenses if you’re willing to use an adapter.
Although the EOS R has more features than its entry-level counterpart, the price difference isn’t worth it. It also has some first-generation teething issues, like control ergonomics, so you’ll have to deal with that as well.
Don’t be blinded by higher numbers or better specifications. After all, a better camera won’t make you a better photographer.
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