The Best Bang for the Buck Digital Camera

Paulo Makalinao
Dec 7, 2020 · 7 min read

Quick and easy, the EOS RP is, in my opinion, the best bang for the buck digital camera that you can get right now, considering it’s still around December 2020 when you’re reading this. I actually bought this camera for it’s full, original MSRP in February 2019 at $1299, which included the body, a grip, and an adapter for my EF lenses. Even then, I thought this was a stellar deal. Now, although it’s just the body, the EOS RP can often be had for sub-$1000 and even sub-$700 if you buy it certified refurbished on Canon’s website. Keeping in mind its price, here is what the EOS RP has going for it and what it lacks. But despite its setbacks, its value per dollar is the best.

The Great Things: It’s Full Frame

In recent years, full-frame has really taken off in popularity. There’s an appeal to a full size 35mm sensor, which is double the size of the APS-C sensor’s 1.5x crop. Full frame cameras tend to have cleaner images since the pixels are generally larger. Full frame also gives lenses their entire field of view, and since you can frame closer to your subject, full frame cameras tend to be seen as having a more shallow depth of field. A shallower depth of field contributes to more creamy backgrounds and bokeh, which is the dream of many portrait photographers like myself.

It’s Mirrorless

The EOS RP benefits from all the great aspects that mirrorless cameras have brought about. What really brought me around to the EOS RP as opposed to its DSLR counterpart, the 6D Mark II, was the RP’s focusing. Not only could the EOS RP’s focusing points be moved anywhere on the frame, but the RP provides stellar subject tracking and even eye autofocus. The EOS RP has made taking photographs easier than ever, given that my only worries are the composition and exposure. The autofocus is stellar and can lock on almost anywhere in the frame.

Actually, hitting the right exposure is also so easy on mirrorless cameras like the RP as well since the electronic viewfinder provides exposure previews, so you know how your image is going to turn out before you have even taken the photo. This is a feature that is not present on typical optical viewfinders in DSLRs.

Like many other mirrorless cameras, the EOS RP is also incredibly small. To date, it is still Canon’s smallest full frame camera and likely one of the smallest full frame cameras in the entire camera market. This makes bringing around the RP a piece of cake, especially when paired with small lenses. The RP has proved to be both an excellent travel camera and an excellent street photography camera thanks to its small and compact size.

An Amazing Selection of Lenses

Canon falls short in a lot of areas when it comes to their mirrorless and DSLR line up. Where they do not fall flat is their line up of lenses. Being part of the new RF system means that the RP has access to the amazing new lenses Canon has been producing. Luckily, Canon has really started focusing on more affordable lenses for the RF lens system and has recently completed a trinity of more inexpensive primes such as the 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm.

And if you have an arsenal of EF lenses from Canon like myself, then the RP is still an amazing choice. If you can get your hands on an adapter (which unfortunately has been pretty sparse these days), you can have access to the entire lineup of EF lenses, which is highly touted as the greatest selection of glass ever made. In my observation, my EF lenses actually work better on the RP since the RP’s fantastic on-sensor, dual pixel autofocus makes lenses never miss focus, even the older ones from the 1990s.

And furthermore, since the camera is mirrorless and therefore the flange distance is very short, adapting old vintage lenses like Pentax K, M42, or Canon FD is amazingly easy and inexpensive given that the adapters are more or less hollow tubes with the correct mounts on either side.

The Perfect Camera for Video on Social Media

I also believe that the EOS RP is a capable video camera for a lot of lighter projects. The EOS RP shoots pretty amazing 1080p up to 60fps. With great autofocus and a full frame sensor in a small body, I really believe it is one of the best cameras for making content specifically on social media. The Canon colors in video are always great, and the camera is extremely easy and intuitive to use. But there are some more video features I feel the camera is lacking for more professional-oriented work.

My video reel which was shot almost completely using the EOS RP

The Not-So-Great Things: Frames Per Second

The EOS RP maxes out, when shooting stills, at 5 FPS, which is not very fast at all. It’s never been an issue when shooting portraits, but for sports, this camera is very lacking. I have indeed gotten a lot of great action shots on the camera, but there is a lot left to be desired. I will say, though, that at least with the stellar autofocus, out-of-focus photos are few and far between, so at least I know the images are tack sharp.

Lack of Dual Card Slots

This one is pushing it a little for a camera that hovers around $1,000, but I really do wish the RP came with dual card slots just for the peace of mind on a photoshoot. It’s not expected for the price point, but it would definitely have been much appreciated. You can, however, backup full-sized RAW or JPEG images when tethered to your phone to back things up, and this has proven useful. However, there is indeed nothing like having two card slots since it removes any extra steps.

Missing Video Capabilities

There are a lot of video capabilities that I wish the EOS RP had. The camera does have 4K, but it comes with a 1.6x crop and no longer has the stellar dual pixel autofocus. Along with a pretty bad rolling shutter, this makes the 4K almost useless. I also wish the camera had 1080p at 120 frames per second as well as C-Log for more dynamic range when color grading video footage. All these features are usually present on Sony Cameras, which have non-crippled 4k, 120 fps, and S-Log. This is not to say you cannot make great videos with the RP because you definitely can, and I certainly feel I have. But the lack of video specs and the growing demand for video from my clients has pushed me to want to upgrade.

A Better Sensor?

I put a question mark here because it’s not too bad of a fault on the EOS RP. The camera does have a 26.2-megapixel sensor, which for me is more than enough resolution for the work I do. I have noticed, however, that the dynamic range of the camera lacks by a stop or two at lower ISOs when compared to other full frame cameras, although those cameras do tend to cost a bit more. The RP shares its sensor with the 6D Mark II, which also had similar DR complaints. For a lot of portrait and stage performances, this hasn’t been too big of an issue, but I can see that for some people, the sub-par dynamic range at low ISOs is a disappointment.

The EOS RP also has a silent shutter like many other mirrorless cameras, but it is only accessible through a creative function option. And so the silent shutter cannot be manually exposed, which makes it more or less useless for me. But the mechanical shutter is very quiet, so it has not been too big of an issue.

But Still A Fantastic Camera

Despite it’s setbacks, at the end of the day, the Canon EOS RP is a full frame mirrorless camera that can be had for less than $700 when bought certified refurbished. It has great autofocus and decent video capabilities for anyone wanting to get their feet wet on social media or Youtube. In the right hands, the photos on an EOS RP are indistinguishable from cameras that are five times its price. I honestly think this camera is a steal. Whether you are looking to buy your first full frame or just simply want to just get into content creating, there is nothing that really beats the EOS RP at price to performance.

Originally published at https://www.photoparadox.com on December 7, 2020.

Photo Paradox

Helping you become a better content creator, photographer, and videographer one article at a time.

Paulo Makalinao

Written by

An avid portrait photographer and media content creator. Currently attending Stanford University. Originally from Matawan, NJ.

Photo Paradox

At Photo Paradox, we discuss cameras, lens, technique, and workflow. We also talk about overused or underused gear, gear recommendations, and gear reviews so you know what to buy next.

Paulo Makalinao

Written by

An avid portrait photographer and media content creator. Currently attending Stanford University. Originally from Matawan, NJ.

Photo Paradox

At Photo Paradox, we discuss cameras, lens, technique, and workflow. We also talk about overused or underused gear, gear recommendations, and gear reviews so you know what to buy next.

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