Mirrorless Dilemma

I am a spontaneous person, so you may be surprised that it took me almost two years to buy my very first mirrorless camera. Before you read my review of Canon RP, I must stress that the choice of a model and make has been influenced heavily by my needs (the way I shoot and my preferences of subjects). This blog is not intended to be a full review of all the features of this camera. I am an SLR and DSLR person through and through. I started my journey into photography with unsophisticated Zenith, Zorki and other Russian cameras. My best ever film camera was Minolta Dynax 9; for me it was the finest SLR on the market at the time. Sadly, Minolta lost the race in a newly developing digital market, so in 2005 I have decided to buy a Canon camera.  I like clarity and simplicity. I like buttons and knobs, not hundreds of menus and sub-menus. I love looking through a viewfinder and composing my images seeing clearly the world around me. Canon 5D offered a logical layout of buttons and it felt good in my hand. I replaced it in 2008 with two bodies of Canon 5D II. In 2014, I started to use occasionally a lighter camera, Canon 6D and it quickly became my favourite. My hands are quite small and it offered a better grip, reasonable weight and high quality images. I started to look at mirrorless cameras when long treks with a heavy rucksack became painful on occasions. My primary search criteria were as follows: good image quality with a dynamic range at least as good as Canon 6D, comfortable weight, pronounce grip and reasonable price. The choice was narrowed down to: Sony 7III, Fuji XT3, and Canon RP. Then I realised that only full frame will do, as many of my images are cropped to a square and I want my files big for printing, so Fuji was eliminated. Then there were two…Sony 7III weighing 650g and Canon RP, 440g. With all Canon lenses that I have, it was a sensible decision to go for Canon RP, especially that it also offers multiple exposure function that I occasionally use. Canon RP has a delightful grip and a reasonable EVF. Most reviews indicate that a dynamic range and the overall quality of images is equal to 6D – I would argue, both are noticeably better. The rear LCD, which is a fully articulated touch pad is very handy for selecting AF points. So responsive and accurate the pad is that I may not use a cable release for longer exposures, as a gentle touch of a pad so far has not created any vibration of the camera. Underwhelming battery life is a minor problem and I was aware of it – I bought two batteries, but I may have to buy yet another one for some intense shooting trips. RP copes very well with night lights and long exposures, and the quality of images taken so far indicates that it is a solid, full frame professional camera. So, what are my other likes and dislikes: I love the camera ergonomics, its balanced feel and chunky grip. Image quality within the range I tested (100-800 ISO) is seriously good, so are the famed and loved by me, Canon colours. After two weeks of shooting, I still find EVF “artificial” and I need to “think” how to change some settings, instead of doing it instinctively, as the camera differs significantly from DSLRs. The camera’s AF seems to struggle to focus in some challenging situations (for example a dense fog with not well defined trees’ branches) but I need to do more tests to be fair in my assessment. Although Canon RP is marked as weather sealed, there is very little information how well it behaves in the rain. I can only assume it is not brilliant and as I am not prepared to soak my new shiny camera, I bought a very decent cover for shooting in downpours and photographing the waves in the storm. Canon RP is not a DSLR, but it looks and feels familiar and with a bit of learning and changing some of my old habits, I will learn to love it. I think it will fulfil most of my landscape and architectural photography needs when travelling light. But my DSLRs stay for a little while longer.

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