My outdoor adventure companion: Canon EOS RP

Adventure photographer Jake Baggaley explains how the lightweight EOS RP gives him a creative edge when shooting in remote locations and challenging situations.
A person kayaking on still water, in silhouette, with the setting sun turning the water orange.

The Canon EOS RP is armed with a suite of powerful features to help you get creative, including silent shooting, focus bracketing, multiple exposure and 4K time-lapse. "The built-in intervalometer is such as useful thing," says adventure photographer Jake Baggaley. "I was on a kayaking trip and I had to make a one-minute time-lapse for the client as well as doing photos. I used the EOS RP since weight was an issue, because we were kayaking in a fairly remote area in Sweden." Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at 105mm, at 1/2500 sec, f/4 and ISO100. © Jake Baggaley

The Canon EOS RP is the lightest, most compact and most affordable full-frame mirrorless camera in the EOS R System. Designed to be a simple to use, it has an uncluttered array of controls that make it easy for photographers stepping up from an APS-C DSLR, and also ideal for pros looking for a streamlined second camera.

The EOS RP has become the camera of choice for outdoor lifestyle and adventure photographer Jake Baggaley, who shoots action sports including climbing and distance running in remote locations and challenging conditions but values being "part of the action rather than just a spectator," as he describes his characteristic style.

"The thing that attracted me to the EOS RP the most is the fact that it's so lightweight," Jake reveals. "It's such a big leap from the EOS 5D series cameras that I was using before, and it meant that I could go from lugging kilograms of kit up a mountain to having this small full-frame mirrorless camera that I can always have with me. It really opened up the possibilities of being able to move and work faster, which gives me an edge when I'm photographing athletes running through the landscape.

"I'll go further," Jake continues. "A lot of my shots would not have been possible without the compact combination of the EOS RP with the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens – which for me is a perfect 'do-it-all' lens for action sports. When I am in extreme terrain over long distances or running alongside athletes, the weight of my kit really plays a key part in whether I can keep up. To be honest, with bigger, more intrusive kit, half the time it just wouldn't be possible.

"I made the switch to Canon's full-frame mirrorless cameras based on my experience of the EOS RP," adds Jake, who has now added a Canon EOS R5 to his kitbag as well.

Of course, there's much more to the EOS RP than just its light weight. Here, Jake details some of the key features and options that he finds invaluable in the EOS RP, while John Maurice, European Product Marketing Manager at Canon Europe, provides some useful technical insight.

A man sits on the ledge of a cliff, his feet dangling over the edge, overlooking a sweeping coastline with craggy inlets snaking into the distance.

To get this shot of a climber on the Dorset coast of the UK on assignment for a sports clothing brand, Jake also had to make the climb himself. "It's such a stunning part of the Dorset coast, which is fairly hard to reach and shows the scale of the cliffs in the area," he says. The EOS RP's 26.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor hits the sweet spot for outdoor and action photographers, offering great low-light performance with low noise thanks to a DIGIC 8 image processor and in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO). Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1/250 sec, f/1.8 and ISO800. © Jake Baggaley

A man captured in mid air as he runs over a wooden bridge over a stream in front of Mont Blanc.

Jake says the Image Stabilizer in the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens allows him to shoot handheld at 105mm in situations where he'd normally have to use a tripod. "We were running around the mountains to get from spot to spot, and this iconic view from Lac Blanc really sums up the beauty of the Chamonix valley to me," he says. "With the Canon EOS RP's Dual Sensing IS," adds John, "the image sensor is able to detect the amount of motion that is occurring and communicate that back to the lens in order to make it even more effective at correcting shake. This all happens in real-time thanks to the communication speed of the RF lens mount." Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at 1/1000 sec, f/4 and ISO100. © Jake Baggaley

Customise the camera controls

The Canon EOS RP is aimed at shooters new to the EOS R System and potentially moving up to full-frame from APS-C DSLR models. As a result, it isn't overwhelmingly complicated to use and doesn't feature the same number of control buttons as other cameras in the EOS R System range, including the EOS R. But there are 12 operating controls with an array of functions that can be registered to the buttons, within the menu and the electronic viewfinder layout. The benefit is that you can work simply or customise your camera to suit your preferences and your own style of shooting.

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"I've ended up using the custom modes a lot," says Jake. "I'm often using the EOS RP in quite a fast-paced way when I'm photographing athletes, so I would typically set the C1 custom mode to Servo AF with AF point Expansion and Face Detection. Then I'd set C2 to optimised settings for darker situations, perhaps with expanded ISO enabled, and C3 would be set to One Shot AF and Spot AF, ready for shooting details such as close-ups of training shoes.

"It just means that I can have everything set up before I go out for the day, and then instantly adapt the camera to the situation. It's got a mode dial rather than the top OLED screen like other EOS R System cameras, which means you can change the mode really quickly."

Another EOS RP customisation that Jake finds useful is that he can quickly crop to a smaller APS-C format. "While it does reduce the resolution, it's really useful when I want to get that extra bit of reach and I don't necessarily have time to change the lens. I've customised the controls, so I can punch in and out at the press of the magnify button. It's obviously the same as cropping the image in post, but it just gives you that creative control of seeing what the picture is like in-camera."

A woman with her arms raised in the air, standing on a steep, grassy hill, with rocky crags rising into view through the clouds in the background.

"This was a genuine reaction at the clouds clearing and revealing the ridge we had been hiking up to photograph in the Dolomites," Jake reveals. Thanks to the EOS RP's Wi-Fi capabilities, he was able to use his smartphone to trigger the shutter remotely, eliminating any risk of shaking the camera. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO100. © Jake Baggaley

A church with a tower topped with an onion dome sits isolated on the edge of a dense forest with steep mountains in the background.

Travel photography is another of Jake's passions, but striking photo opportunities sometimes present themselves when you're on a different assignment. In this case, he had only a 50mm lens with him at the time, but was able to "punch in" manually to reframe this shot in-camera and achieve the closer view he wanted. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 50mm F1.2 L USM lens at 1/1250 sec, f/3.2 and ISO100. © Jake Baggaley

Make the most of RF lenses

With its large-diameter, high-speed RF lens mount, the EOS RP supports the growing range of high-quality, next-generation RF lenses, as well as the vast choice of EF and EF-S lenses with full compatibility and no loss of quality via one of the EF-EOS R Mount Adapters.

Jake says the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens is perfect for his brand of shooting demanding outdoor action because it provides a versatile range of focal lengths and, just like the camera, is light in weight, certainly when "compared to carrying multiple zooms, which would have only slightly more reach at either end of the range!

"In addition to the RF 50mm F1.2L USM, I often paired it with the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens with an EF-EOS R Mount Adapter if I needed any super-shallow detail stuff – it's super light weight and super cheap, which means I can just stick it in a running pack or hike pack and not worry about it too much," Jake quips.

On the whole, though, Jake says he loves the quality of his RF lenses. "I'm also a big fan of the control ring on the RF lenses," he adds. "It's been a game-changer for me in adding another option for quick control of the settings when I need to move fast to capture the action."

John suggests that the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM lens also makes a great pairing with the EOS RP, and it's particularly well-suited to travel photography because it weighs just 395 grams – so overall, with the light 485g EOS RP body, the whole kit weighs less than a bag of sugar. "The main benefits of the RF mount are the ability to make new lenses with higher quality, reduced weight and increased possibilities," John explains. "This lens is no exception – the quality is higher than you would expect, it's lighter than you would expect, and it's also possible to use the f/7.1 aperture at 105mm because the autofocus system can work seamlessly with apertures beyond f/5.6 (and well in excess of this!) and the brightness of the EVF does not decrease like a conventional optical viewfinder. It even features a centre-focus macro mode for increased creativity. All this makes this an exceptionally versatile all-purpose lens with a very useful range of focal lengths, and it's a good choice for movies as well, because it uses an STM focus motor, which is smooth and quiet.

Cross-section showing inside a Canon EOS R camera and RF lens.

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"You've also now got a set of lightweight, affordable and versatile prime lenses for the Canon EOS RP," John adds. "There's the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM lens, for example, which offers higher image quality when used at its maximum aperture compared to the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens. And it comes with added functionality in the shape of a customisable Lens Control Ring and close-focusing for macro, as well as Hybrid IS for steadier macro results. Then there's the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens, which also has IS and macro functionality, as well as the recently introduced Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM lens."

Set up Touch-and-Drag AF

For Jake, who's moved to the Canon EOS R System from the EOS 5D line, the EOS RP's Vari-Angle touchscreen offers a level of versatility he hadn't been accustomed to. This applies not just to being able to turn the screen around, which helps when shooting from unusual angles, but also to the AF features.

"To keep the camera small and streamlined, there's no joystick to select the AF point," he explains. "But one of the things I love about the EOS RP is that you can use your thumb on the rear screen to move the AF point around when you're looking through the viewfinder. In many ways it's more intuitive and quicker than using a joystick."

Touch-and-Drag AF can be customised in several ways. You can switch between two Position methods, for example: Absolute positions the AF point precisely where you touch or drag it on the screen, while Relative moves it relative to the direction and distance that you move your thumb.

You can also customise which area of the screen activates the Touch-and-Drag function. "When I had the whole screen active, my nose would sometimes move the autofocus point when I was looking through the viewfinder," Jake reveals. "But by choosing to have just the right-hand side of the screen active, I can grab the AF point with my thumb while still holding the camera, and my nose pressing against the screen doesn't change it. It's great to have that level of control."

A runner in near silhouette is reflected in still water as she runs along the shore at sunset.

Canon RF lenses feature a customisable control ring that enables you to make changes to key camera settings without taking your eye from the viewfinder. "If I'm shooting in Manual mode then I'll assign aperture to the control ring, because I love that it feels like a proper old film camera," says Jake. "And then if I'm shooting in Aperture Priority, as in this case, I'll set it to adjust exposure compensation instead." Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at 39mm, at 1/640 sec, f/4 and ISO5000. © Jake Baggaley

Three young children clapping, playing on a set of steep stone steps in Morocco.

The compact and unobtrusive size of the EOS RP was one of the big draws for Jake. "These kids cheering an athlete in Morocco didn't give me a second glance, so I was able to capture this natural moment. If I had been shooting on the EOS R5 with one of the big RF lenses on it, instead of the EOS RP and Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, chances are they would have noticed me and stopped what they were doing." Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM lens at 32mm, at 1/1250 sec, f/4 and ISO1000. © Jake Baggaley

Get connected with Wi-Fi

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth add to the EOS RP's versatility, enabling you to control the camera from your smartphone, browse images on the memory card and download them to a mobile device, or even log GPS information. "I use the Wi-Fi a lot for keeping my social channels updated and also for checking shots at the end of the day," says Jake. "Being able to hook up the EOS RP to my phone or my tablet and just check through the shots is really convenient.

"Thanks to the Canon Camera Connect app, I've also used my phone as a remote shutter quite a lot, either for getting steady shots on a tripod or occasionally if I need to include myself in a picture. I did a shoot in the mountains in Georgia, where I was attempting to run a speed record for a certain route. I was alone in a completely remote area, so being able to control the camera from my phone and get pictures of myself in context was incredibly useful."

Shoot high-quality video

If you want to record moving pictures alongside stills, the Canon EOS RP has a range of versatile video options to help you achieve high-quality results. As well as offering 4K resolution, it can deliver Full HD at up to 60fps, and has a Full HD HDR movie option too.

"The EOS RP also has a microphone (line-in) socket and a headphone socket, so it's a good proposition for content creators who are looking for a lightweight, full-frame camera," says John. "And its Vari-Angle screen is obviously appreciated by people shooting video, as well as photographers looking for creative angles. It also features a 4K Frame Grab option, enabling you to extract 8.3MP JPEG still image frames from a 4K movie."

A late afternoon scene with buildings clinging to large, steep rock formations in the striking, verdant valley of Meteora, Greece.

Jake had wanted to photograph the breathtaking rock formations and monasteries of Meteora in Greece for years, and again found the EOS RP was the ideal choice when hiking through the mountains for long distances. To extend the battery life of the EOS RP when he's working in remote areas, Jake says he sets the Power Saving menu option to automatically turn off the display after a few seconds. "It means that when I'm up in the mountains or out in a kayak, I don't need to worry about taking multiple batteries with me – I can last almost all day with just one or two." Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1/250 sec, f/8 and ISO1000. © Jake Baggaley

Install the latest Canon EOS RP firmware

Canon periodically releases EOS RP firmware updates, which are available to download from the camera support page. Much like a system update for your smartphone, the latest firmware brings improvements and new features to your Canon EOS RP.

"To get the most out of the latest lenses, a firmware update is required," John explains. "And we're adding functions to the camera all the time. For example, we introduced a cinematic 24fps recording option for video, and we've enhanced the Eye Detection and Tracking autofocus.

"As well as adding to the functionality, we also use firmware updates to keep the system working consistently. One of the benefits of the EOS system is that it all works together. Of course you can have many, many combinations of equipment and shooting settings, but it's a family of products. You may have bought a Speedlite flash or EF lens many years ago, but it will still work with the EOS RP, and lenses function as you would expect when using one of the three EF-EOS R Mount Adapters available for the EOS RP.

"Whether you want to take your photography up a level or you're moving up from APS-C to full-frame and want a body with a similar weight and size but without any added complexity, EOS RP is ideal."

Marcus Hawkins

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