Canon EOS RP Video Features, Specs & Analysis

by Jaron Schneider | Posted: 06/04/2019

Canon EOS RP 4Kp24 Sample Video #1
Download Original (185.6 MB MP4)

You could argue that many of the mirrorless and DSLR cameras on the market today are not video cameras, and you wouldn't be wrong. Though every camera released in the last several years has the capability of capturing movies, only a select few of them do it well enough to be labeled as a "video camera." So while a camera like the Sony A7 III is less of a "video camera" than, say, the Nikon Z6, they're both usable as such.

Where am I going with this? When looking at the Canon EOS RP, though it is a camera capable of video capture, its overall video features, or lack thereof, do not make it a compelling option if you're primary focus is video. The RP brings a lot to the stills capture area for entry-level photographers who want access to full frame, but most will find that it's best to pretend the RP cannot capture video, so disappointing you will find the experience.

The EOS RP doesn't take bad-looking video for the most part, but the problems with the camera are rooted in the perplexing choices Canon made in the implementation of its abilities. In our Field Test of the RP, I mentioned the most irritating design choice on the camera when looking at its video capabilities lies in limited frame rate options:

  • 4K (UHD, 3840 x 2160)
    • 23.98, 25 fps / IPB: 120Mbps // 869 MB/min
  • Full HD
    • 59.94p/50.00p / IPB: Approx. 60 Mbps // 440MB/min
  • Full HD
    • 29.97p/25.00p / IPB: Approx. 30 Mbps // 225MB/min
  • Full HD
    • 29.97p/25.00p / IPB Lite: Approx. 12 Mbps // 87MB/min
  • 720p HD
    • 59.94p/50.00p / IPB: Approx. 26 Mbps // 196MB/min

The EOS RP can only capture 4K video at 23.98p (or 25p for PAL) and only offers Full HD capture at 29.97p and 59.94p.

Canon EOS RP 1080p30 Sample Video #1
Download Original (64.2 MB MP4)

For a novice, frame rates are generally either ignored or not understood at all, so it's possible that the target market for this camera would not care about any of this. But from the perspective of an informed user, what Canon has chosen to do here is baffling. I understand if the RP's processor isn't capable of managing the extra 6 frames per second in 4K to offer 30p, but that doesn't excuse not offering 24p from being available in the 1080p option. It just doesn't make sense.

The problem is made worse by comparing the quality of footage captured on the RP.

If you care about the quality of your footage, shooting in 4K is the only way to go on the RP. Like most Canon cameras released in the last five or so years, the 1080p footage looks pretty drab. On the RP, I can't say it looks the worst out of what Canon has released in recent years (the 80D has been my least favorite 1080p footage captured in recent memory), but it is noticeably lesser in quality than 4K captured footage. When you see how rich the colors look and how much sharper details are in 4K compared to 1080p, it's hard not to wonder why that happens. I can't personally explain it, but I do know that it bothers me. I am usually able to forgive it and know that I'll later scale down 4K footage for 1080p use, but with the RP your options here are minimal thanks to the frame rate exclusivity between 4K and Full HD capture.

Canon EOS RP 4Kp24 Sample Video #2
Download Original (200.4 MB MP4)

If you prefer the look of 30p, you can't have that with the upgraded visual quality of the RP's 4K. If you don't really care about the loss in quality to 1080p, but like the look of 24p motion, you're also out of luck as you will be forced to capture 4K.

It's disappointing.

Canon EOS RP 1080p30 Sample Video #2
Download Original (56.3 MB MP4)

All of this is unfortunate given that besides these glaring issues, the RP actually looks like it could have been a great video camera. Unlike many other entry-level cameras from across the board, the RP actually features both a headphone jack and mic jack. Because it's a mirrorless camera, there is focus peaking as well. Though you can't customize each of the view options, one of them includes a histogram and another is fully clean of any visual/text-overlay distractions (the latter being something that not even offered on the Nikon Z6, an arguably video-focused camera).

The RP comes packaged with a time-lapse movie feature, excellent touch-and-drag autofocus capability, the nearly-always awesome Dual Pixel CMOS AF* that features Eye-AF and Face-detection. There's even clean 4K 4:2:2 8-bit HDMI out, which is rather nice.

These all sound great! If the RP only offered better frame rate options, this actually would be a pretty easy recommendation for a run-and-gun or vlogging camera.

Other notes:

  • *No Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality with 4K video; 4Kp24 uses contrast detect for AF.
  • There is no in-body image stabilization, and the I.S offered in Canon RF lenses right now is limited and doesn't seem to help reduce vibration much even in lenses where it is present. So while the RP is small and light, shooting without a gimbal will result in shaky, jittery footage.
  • There is no Log profile available in the RP, though this shouldn't come as much of a surprise as Canon seems reticent to offer C-Log as a standard feature.
  • There is a large crop factor between 4K and 1080p footage, and as annoying as this is, it's par for the course when it comes to Canon cameras.
  • The RP launched in an environment where it was the cheapest full frame camera ever, but at the same time had few native lenses that allowed it to stay that affordable. Most RF-mount lenses currently available are high-end L-series lenses, and those will be very much beyond the price point of those interested in this entry-level camera.
Canon EOS RP still frame from 4K footage.

Canon EOS RP still frame from Full HD footage.

Summary

Consistent frame rate options are kind of the base of a good video camera. If you don't get that right, then it's hard to say the camera can do its job well. In the case of the RP, the disappointing core of the camera is surrounded by what should have been seen as great video-making features, but instead will be ignored thanks to Canon's perplexing choice offer only a few frame rates options. Having both a headphone and mic jack, 4K capture, internal timelapse capture, clean HDMI out, great autofocus performance and good ISO performance all don't do anything for a video creator who doesn't have full access to basic frame rate choices. It doesn't help that Canon has yet to figure out how to make their Full HD footage look as crisp and rich as their 4K footage, and in 2019, it's becoming expected that cameras worth their salt also offer enhanced high-frame rate capture in Full HD at the very least, and 4Kp60 if they want to really get attention. Sadly, the RP doesn't do either of these things.

So while the Canon RP is a good entry level stills camera, given its price point, it's not a particularly good video camera. Sure, you can probably capture video you'll be hapy with on the RP, but it won't be doing you any favors in the capturing experience.

 



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