Canon EOS RP Portraits

Here are some portraits with the Canon EOS RP in different situations.  Right now, it’s not an A camera for me.  It’s more of a third option.  For video it’s really nice though.  Again, I don’t have any native RF glass yet, I have to use the older EF lenses via the adapter.  While many have praised Canon EF glass for years, they really haven’t upgraded most of the designs in ages, so lenses like the 35mm 1.4L and 24mm 1.4L go back like 20+ years.

The little camera has a nice in camera lens correction feature for vignetting, CA, and distortion, but the nature of certain Canon 1.4 is that you just have to stop them down to get any resemblance of clean technical images.

Having said that though, most of my friends could care less about pixel peeping images, and just enjoy the fact that it has a flip out turn around screen for selfies and fun pictures.  🙂  Onward with some samples and what I’ve gleaned from the EOS RP .cr3 RAW files in Canon’s Digital Photo Pro software.

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L @ 1.4

The first image was intentionally overexposed in camera, at +3.  Bringing the 26MB uncompressed raw file into DPP and moving the exposure slider back -3, you have the picture in the middle (which is probably unusable).  The third image is -1.5, which for this particular lighting situation is probably the best case scenario if you wanted to rescue the highlights.  Canon’s sensors have never been about high dynamic range or the ability to rescue images in post.  You pretty much have to be on it when it comes to exposure.  I’m thinking I might shoot compressed .cr3 raw’s from now on since a 26MB file has way less DR than even a D7000 at 16MB.

One thing I have enjoyed with the RP is Canon’s new face detect plus eye autofocus.  With certain lenses like the EF 35mm 1.4 and traditional DSLR’s (5D’s etc), the focus recompose method just does not work since that changes where the focus plane lies.  This is one example where the new tech really does help and erases the old conventions of the past.

The other day I was browsing books at the Goodwill and came across an old school photography book from the 1980’s.  It’s crazy how one could seriously just throw it all away.  Some of the knowledge is good and forever useful, like the differences in PSAM modes, but times have really changed.  Imagine new camera buyers today just getting into photography.  Their first cameras would most likely be the Canon RP or Sony A7III.  That’s a heck of a lot of advanced tech to get started with.

Myself, I started with an old Minolta Maxxum film camera, was a very early adopter of digital imaging in the 90’s, and then really jumped into DSLR’s with the Nikon system in the early 2000’s.  I like to always say, the difference in the cameras from every generation are minute (and the goalposts are always moving), but the differences in the people that use cameras are vast.

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L @ 1.4

The image above was shot into the sun via the EVF.  The software options for boosting shadows in DPP is pretty poor, this is about the best you can do.  Moving the exposure slider would be better, but of course you’d be left without any blue or color in the sky and background.  (I know this is an extreme situation most cameras would struggle in, next time I’ll test out the RP with off camera flash and ND filters) One could export two images at different brightness levels and blend the two in Photoshop, but I think most Nikon shooters like myself have been spoiled for so many years.  As in the following example:

Nikon D600 + 105mm 1.4 | Split screen of an underexposed image recovered in post (Nikon Capture NX2)

The above example is from a Nikon D600 (an internet “hated” camera that came out in Oct/Nov of 2012).  I still use mine because I just know it so well, and the results I can get from the raw files are still top tier in my opinion.  The pic above was an underexposed studio shot (flash didn’t go off).  With other cameras you’d normally just delete a photo this dark since upping the exposure in post will create some ugly noise patterns (like horizontal banding in Canon’s), but the dynamic range in these modern Nikon tuned Sony sensors is just crazy.  Obviously you’d want to shoot as correct as possible in camera, but there are plenty of situations where having a robust raw file from a Sony or Nikon camera can save you.

On a side note, I browse used camera and lens prices often.  It’s crazy to see how unwanted the D600/D610 is due to the problem with dust and oil getting on the sensor, which makes for small aperture landscape photos very annoying in post, but I’ve found if you only shoot things at f/2.8 and lower, none of it shows up.  The malleability of the Nikon .nef’s is still amazing.  Hopefully going forward there will be a steady supply of cheap D600’s for the foreseeable future.  It’s a really good sleeper camera that I would suggest if you really like editing photos like me.

Okay, back to the Canon RP images, examples of the different white balances you can toggle in post.  I would have to say this camera is “warmer” than previous generations of cameras.  If you are looking for a “5D” type of feel, Auto WB White priority is suggested:

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, Auto White Balance Ambience Priority

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, Daylight White Balance

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, Tungsten White Balance

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, Auto White Balance White Priority

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, FL White Balance

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | Portrait Picture Style, Edited to my preference

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L | You can see the color fringing on the petals in the foreground. This lens was designed for film close to 30 years ago, and behaves differently on digital. The new RF lenses are very expensive, but probably worth it since they don’t suffer from the older lens “problems”

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L

Canon EOS RP + 35mm 1.4L

Canon EOS RP + 24mm 1.4L

Canon EOS RP + 24mm 1.4L | Never underestimate the power of a flip out turn around LCD screen for photos! Combined with the tap to focus/shutter release and face detect, this camera will make a lot more sense for anyone coming from a camera phone.

Canon EOS RP + 24mm 1.4L

Canon EOS RP + Nikon 85mm f/1.4D

Canon EOS RP + EF 24mm f/1.4

Canon EOS RP + EF 24mm f/1.4

Canon EOS RP + EF 24mm f/1.4

For me, I think I’ll forever be a traditional DSLR person.  I’ll still use the original 5D “classic” for lots of shoots and even some outdoor weddings because the pretty color and raw files is really different and still viable in 2019.  There’s just too many advantages in that “old” form factor and design of a DSLR.  As time marches on we really have to think about individual DSLR’s from all brands as being as unique as film.  You can only get certain looks from certain tools, and just because something is newer doesn’t mean it’s the best, or that the old thing we once used and loved is worthless.

Before anyone jumps ship to any all digital electronic mirrorless camera, I would suggest going to the store and seeing if the features are what you need, and most importantly in my opinion, do you prefer viewing the world through optical glass with a camera that barely sips power and is always ready to fire like a good blaster by your side, or do you prefer taking pictures with an electronic screen, real time image preview and a bunch of creature comforts like in a modern car, or ahem…a smartphone.  😉

Regardless of what you use most everything these days is great technology to document our limited days here with friends and family.  I still put good ol’ film cameras in that category too!  Enjoy the first days of Spring everyone!

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Updates and Rolling Thoughts:

I still prefer the look of images from the 5D series to the RP.  Canon did something to these raw files, a type of baked in mushiness in the NR that just doesn’t give portraits the look, color, and acuity of the older cameras.

I’m still going to keep on with the camera on random work gigs and fun personal shoots though.  My goal has always been to see what advantage or unique trait that every camera or lens has to offer.  More portraits in a future post!

My Other Canon RP Posts:

Canon EOS RP Follow Up Review

Canon EOS RP Sample Photos and Mini Review

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