But by default, just about all digital cameras and phones employ something called “Auto White Balance”. They analyse the image they see before them and adjust the overall “temperature” of the light to remove general colour casts. Thus, when you’re taking photos under incandescent lights (if you can still find any) the orange caste will be removed, and you’ll get a more natural result.

And that of course also removes such things as a reddish atmosphere. But as with all decent cameras you can switch the white balance to something fixed. For this kind of effect, it’s best to choose the “sunlight” setting and that tends to give accurately recorded colour.

For most of the time I was using the camera I found that it took nine button presses just to get to the white balance setting. Eventually I decided I’d better see if there was a better way and checked the manual. Ah! It turns out that there’s this little button on the top labelled “M-Fn” for “multi-function”. When you press that, you can use the rear dial to select between ISO, single/burst/delay shooting, single or continuous autofocus, white balance and exposure compensation for flash. You use the top dial to change each setting as required.

Canon EOS RP

RTFM

That’s a lot faster. As always, RTFM. Several times. With care. That goes with all modern cameras if you really want to get full value for the hundreds to thousands of dollars that you’re spending.

My problem is that I use lots of camera and my instincts are often wrong, having been moulded by one brand and thus being inappropriate for another. For example, Canon provided one zoom lens and two prime lenses with the review camera. As has been my previous experience with some Canon cameras, the zoom lens ring works in the reverse direction to those on Pentax, Sony, Nikon and Panasonic cameras. That’s not the slightest of problems if you purchase and use the Canon EOS RP camera pretty much exclusively. You’ll soon become the master of it, and instinctively turn everything the right way.

Nonetheless, there are still some efficiencies that Canon could provide. For example, on the main menu, as far as I could work out, to get from the “Shooting” section of the menu to the “Playback” section you have to arrow through nine pages of options. Most cameras let you step back to the higher level, then arrow to the next main option and then go into it. That’s three button presses instead of nine.

That said, you can create a custom menu so you can put all your favourite stuff in the one place. You can also create up to three shooting modes, assigned to the three custom positions on the mode dial.

Canon EOS RP

Lenses

Canon provided three lenses for use with the camera. One was a 35mm slightly wide-angle f/1.8 prime lens with macro mode ($749). One was a magnificent 50mm f/1.2 prime lens ($3,299). And the zoom was an f/2.8 24-70mm lens ($4,499).

I mostly used the zoom and the 50mm prime. I kind of fell in love with the latter. Remember, back in the day of 35mm SLR cameras, 50mm was pretty much the standard focal length. It was with a 50mm lens (although a slower f/2 one) that I learned proper photography on a fully manual Pentax K1000 film camera.

This lens is so old-school, it doesn’t feature image stabilisation.

As I mentioned, Canberra was fogged by second-hand smoke, perhaps at its worst on New Years Eve. I snapped the 50mm lens onto the camera and went for a walk. After about an hour, my eyes were starting to sting. But that extremely wide aperture allowed excellent night-time photography.

Canon EOS RP

At the time, I hadn’t realised that this lens did not include image stabilisation. But the shots didn’t seem to suffer for it. The camera managed to maintain a minimum shutter speed 1/60th of a second for almost all the shots, only slowing the shutter speed below that when the automatic ISO was pushed to 12800, and it still wasn’t enough. (Note, all settings were automatic, chosen by camera in “P” mode.)

Images

Support for a pedestrian suspension bridge, 1/50, f/1.2, 50mm, ISO 12800.

ISO 12800 would typically give a harshly grainy result. Not with this camera. Yes, there was grain in the above picture, but even zoomed in it’s modest:

I prattled on earlier about the white balance. It just would not have been right to artificially balance out the colour. This is much closer to what it looked like:

1/60, f/1.2, 50mm, ISO 1250

And, of course, a wide aperture of f/1.2 combined with the largish frame size of the Canon EOS RP camera allows a shallow depth of field. But less shallow than I would have expected.