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If I didn't already own a camera, this is the one I'd buy this holiday season

Canon EOS RP

As someone who reviews cameras for a living, I constantly get asked "What camera should I get?" by friends and family. However, something that people rarely ask me is, "James, what camera would you get?" 

And that's a really interesting question. Because recommending a camera for somebody else is like recommending a car for somebody else; what do you want to use it for, where do you want to take it, what would you like it to do with it… these are all personal questions, and your answers are going to be different to mine. 

So it's interesting to consider, if I didn't already own a camera (full disclosure: I currently own fourteen cameras, six of which are in constant use for different purposes), which one would I actually buy for myself? 

The answer, right now, is the Canon EOS RP. This is a camera that I've used on and off since its launch in 2019, and in my opinion it is one of the absolute jewels of the EOS R system. 

Right now it's just $099 in the US and £1,049 in the UK – which is a ridiculously good price for a full frame mirrorless camera, especially with the Canon caliber. And aside from lacking in-body image stabilization, it has everything you could ask from a modern mirrorless. 

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Canon EOS RP

(Image credit: Future)
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Canon EOS RP

(Image credit: Future)
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Canon EOS RP

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon EOS RP

(Image credit: Future)

A punchy 26.2MP image sensor, crisp 4K video capability (albeit with a moderate crop factor), fully articulating touchscreen, brilliant Dual Pixel AF phase detect autofocus, a great app to quickly transfer files to your phone… and it boasts a light, compact chassis that's a million miles from some of the chunkier mirrorless bodies on the market. 

Crucially, it not only supports the best Canon RF lenses (which are some of the best lenses on the market right now) but also the best Canon lenses for DSLRs – so you can pick up older, more affordable EF-mount glass as well as cutting-edge RF optics. 

And here's another crucial thing; not only is the RP itself an affordable purchase, but the new generation of RF lenses are both cheap and compact as well. This stands in stark contrast to when the EOS R ecosystem first launched in 2018, with lenses that were huge and expensive. 

One of my favorite combos is the Canon EOS RP with the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 – a perfect street shooting setup

Now, though, we've got truly pocket-sized and pocket-friendly primes like the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8, Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 and Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro, along with brilliant zooms like the Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 – all of which are perfectly proportioned to sit on the smaller EOS RP. 

For just over a grand, you can have an RP with a nifty fifty – one of the best all-purpose shooting setups on the market, which anyone would be lucky to shoot with. And if I was buying a camera for the first time, right now, that's exactly what I would get. And if you're in the same position, I'd recommend it to you, too.

Read more: 

Canon EOS RP review
Best Canon Black Friday deals
Best Canon cameras
Canon EOS R vs RP

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Phot0: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.