The Canon EOS RP is Canon’s entry level mirrorless camera. It’s a complex and feature rich camera that uses Canon’s new RF lens mount. Will it take better pictures when set to all automatic, compared to a modern phone? No, definitely not. Will it take better pictures when properly configured and set up? Yes definitely, especially when used outside your phone’s comfort zone. So with less light, telephoto lenses, fast moving objects, etc. etc.
One thing that the RP struggles with is autofocus. Yes, it works fine, I know… until you get well outside your phone’s comfort zone. Just the situations that you expect your >> 1000 Euro investment to perform. For those difficult situations, you can switch to manual focus and enjoy the mirrorless advantages.
It was about manual focus and the 24-105 STM lens (kit lens) that someone asked a question on some forum. The answers he got were really really bad and did not helped him at all. So that’s why I wrote this post, to explain using manual focus with the kit lens and others.
RF zoom lenses like the 100-400 USM have a zoom ring (duh), a focus ring and a control ring. The control ring can be programmed for various settings, but not for manual focus. Which makes sense with this 100-400 lens. The 24-105 STM lens has a zoom ring and a control ring. So the focus ring is missing and Canon solved that situation by adding a switch “FOCUS<>CONTROL”. With this switch, the “control ring” on this lens can function either as control ring or focus ring. Does this switch have anything to do with manual focus? No !
Why is this confusing? Well, the 100-400 USM lens does have a “MF<>AF” switch, manual focus <> auto focus. With this lens fitted, the “Focus mode” menu setting is even greyed out. The switch on the lens is in charge!
Why does enabling the focus ring on the 24-105 lens not enable manual focus? What’s the use of it in auto focus mode anyway? Well, Canon has implemented a cool feature called manual focus override. When enabled, you can turn the focus ring in auto focus mode (with shutter half way pressed), and the camera switches to manual focus mode temporarily. This is indicated by MF blinking in the view finder. You can even enable an auto enlarge function for precise focussing.
To switch to “normal” manual focus with the 24-105 lens, you have to go into the menu and change “Focus mode” to MF, AND set the “control ring” function on this lens to “FOCUS”. Indeed, two separate steps, the price to pay when using that lens. Automatically enabling manual focus when the focus ring is turned might sound useful, but how do you switch back to AF then? I’m happy with Canon’s MF override feature which I think is very useful. Best to put the “Focus mode” menu item into My Menu (the green one) for quick access..