Canon 5D Mark IV Review
|Full model name:||Canon EOS 5D Mark IV|
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 32,000|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 102,400|
|Shutter:||1/8000 - 30 seconds|
5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0 in.
(151 x 116 x 76 mm)
|Full specs:||Canon 5D Mark IV specifications|
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5D Mark IV Summary
The Canon 5D Mark IV offers a ton of new features and performance upgrades, but keeps things modest and familiar with its similar yet refined design. The fourth iteration of Canon's popular 5D series gains a new, higher-res sensor, a faster processor, a full touchscreen interface, built-in wireless connectivity and Cinema 4K video recording. Aimed at professionals and advanced enthusiasts, the 5D Mark IV offers features and performance for a variety of subject matter, both with still photography and videography, making it a well-designed, highly versatile DSLR.Pros
Superb image quality from RAW files; Improved dynamic range; Excellent high ISO performance; Fast 7fps burst rate with unlimited JPEG buffer; High-quality cinema 4K video; Built-in Wi-Fi; Dual Pixel CMOS AF is very good.Cons
JPEG files look soft at default settings; 1/200s flash sync; 4K video codec is cumbersome; 29:59 continuous video recording limit.Price and availability
On sale since September 2016, the Canon 5D Mark IV is available in three configurations: US$3,500 body-only; US$4,400 for a kit that includes the EF 24-70mm f/4 L lens; and a second kit paired with the updated EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens for US$4,600.Imaging Resource rating
5.0 out of 5.0
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Canon 5D Mark IV Review
08/29/2016: First Shots & photo shoot Gallery images posted
08/29/2016: A day in the studio with Parish Kohanim posted
08/31/2016: Image Quality Comparisons special supplement posted
09/29/2016: Performance test results posted
10/12/2016: Gallery Images updated
10/21/2016: Field Test Part I posted
01/05/2017: Print Quality Analysis posted
02/02/2017: Field Test Part II posted
02/17/2017: Review Conclusion posted
For years now, Canon's 5D-series DSLRs have been incredibly popular with photographers and videographers alike. The 5D, 5D II and 5D III each hit a sweet spot in terms of price and performance for a full-frame camera, but after debuting in March 2012, the Mark III was getting a bit long in the tooth.
Now, the Canon 5D Mark IV is here to take the 5D lineup into the future, and it sports a wide range of significant updates throughout, many of them borrowed from the flagship 1D-series or even marking firsts for Canon or the industry as a whole. No doubt about it, this is one extremely exciting and important camera!
Canon 5D Mark IV Product Tour
A brand new, higher-res image sensor and faster processor
Perhaps the most important change of the bunch is a brand-new full-frame image sensor. In place of the earlier 22.3-megapixel chip used in the 5D III, the Canon 5D IV's sensor now has an effective resolution of 30.4 megapixels. It also adds support for the company's Dual Pixel CMOS AF system, which we'll come back to in a moment.
Accompanying the new image sensor is an upgraded image processor, something that has allowed Canon to make a step forward in performance despite the significant increase in pixel count. The new DIGIC 6+ image processor replaces the earlier DIGIC 5+ chip, and was previously seen in the Canon 1DX II. (That model included twin DIGIC 6+ processors, however, where the 5D IV makes do with just the one.)
Swifter performance and a wider default sensitivity range
Canon rates its new camera as capable of up to seven frames per second in burst shooting, up from the six fps provided in the earlier 5D III. As well as the higher resolution and swifter performance, the new image sensor and processor together allow an improvement in sensitivity. Or at least, in that portion of the sensitivity range which Canon feels is good enough to merit availability by default. The overall expanded sensitivity range of ISO 50 to 102,400-equivalents is unchanged from the 5D III, but the Canon 5D IV allows everything from ISO 100 to 32,000-equivalents by default. The earlier 5D III, by contrast, topped out at ISO 25,600-equivalent unless you enabled ISO sensitivity expansion.
The Canon 5D IV has updated metering and autofocus systems, too
To better take advantage of its new sensor and processor, the Canon 5D Mark IV also sports updated metering and autofocus sensors.
In place of the earlier 63-zone dual-layer iFCL metering sensor borrowed from the 7D, the Canon 5D IV now uses a 153,600-pixel, 252-zone RGB+IR metering sensor. This new design was borrowed from the 7D II, and thanks to its much greater resolution, it should allow for better, more accurate face recognition and tracking in particular. It should also deal with hard-to-meter subjects better thanks to its improved granularity.
The new autofocus sensor, meanwhile, retains the same 61-point count (complete with 41 cross-type points) as in the earlier 5D III. The change in the new High Density Reticular AF II chip -- the earlier variant lacked the 'II' designation -- is that the AF sensor in the Canon 5D IV now has wider coverage, better low-light sensitivity and improved performance.
To put a number on the improvement in low-light AF, where the 5D III had a lower limit of EV -2 to 18, the 5D IV will be able to focus down to EV -3 with its center point and an f/2.8 maximum aperture. And in live view mode, it will focus in even dimmer conditions, all the way down to -4 EV.
And as for the coverage improvement, the Canon 5D IV's AF points now cover 24% more of the image frame horizontally, and 8% more vertically.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF with a touch-screen (and its not just for movies!)
Like the Canon 1DX II before it, the EOS 5D Mark IV now sports Canon's clever Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. In a nutshell, what this does is to allow for phase-detection autofocus across much of the image frame, either in live view shooting or during movie capture. And just like its flagship sibling, the Canon 5D IV includes a touch-screen to help you get the most from this new feature.
But where the 1DX II limited use of that touch-screen to use during movie capture and in playback mode, there are no such limitations on the 5D IV. Instead, you'll be able to use the touch-screen to specify your subject for autofocus either in movie mode or in live view shooting.
And now, Dual Pixel RAW arrives to let you subtly fine-tune focus post-capture, too
And not just that, but the Dual Pixel CMOS AF tech is also being used in an entirely new (and we have to say, very clever) way in the 5D IV, courtesy of what Canon is calling Dual Pixel RAW.
It's such an interesting and exciting new feature that we've devoted an entire section of this review to it, which you can read here. In a nutshell, though, what it allows is for minor post-capture adjustments to autofocus, bokeh and ghosting. You can also combine adjustments to all three, if you like.
Much more on this brand-new tech can be found in our Dual Pixel RAW Insights section below.
Ever more capable movie capture including in-camera 4K and high frame-rate video
The 5D III was already a favorite of videographers, and for good reason. Recognizing that, Canon has really worked to make the 5D Mark IV an even more capable video shooter. We've already mentioned the availability of full-time phase-detection autofocus during video capture, but what else is new?
Perhaps the most significant change in this area is in-camera 4K video capture, just as in the flagship Canon 1DX II. And just as in that camera, there's one important thing to note: The sole compression type for 4K video is Motion JPEG.
That's both good and bad news. Since there's no interframe compression, image quality in 4K mode is good. However, file sizes will also be spectacular. (Although not quite as much so as is possible with the 1DX II, because where that camera tops out at 60 frames per second in 4K capture, the 5D IV is limited to 30 fps capture.)
Just as in the 1DX II, the Canon 5D IV allows you to extract single high-quality 4K frames at their native 8.8-megapixel resolution in-camera, as well.
And even if you're not shooting 4K yet, the Canon 5D IV brings other video improvements for you. For one thing, you can now shoot Full HD (1080p) at up to 60 frames per second, instead of the earlier 30p limit. And if you're willing to drop the resolution to HD (720p), you'll get 120 fps capture for either silky-smooth motion, or up to a 4x slow-motion effect without dropping your output below 30p.
There's also a new HDR movie function, which allows true high dynamic range shooting. This shoots frames at 60 fps, then combines them to create a Full HD output video at 30 frames per second. And if you want to record video externally, there's also a clean video output via HDMI, although this is at a maximum of Full HD resolution, not 4K, sadly.
Wireless networking and geolocation no longer need clumsy external accessories
If you had the need, the Canon 5D III could be connected to wireless networks to share photos and videos, and could automatically tag your photos with their capture location. Both functions needed external accessories that were expensive and radically changed the camera's handling.
The Canon 5D IV fixes all this, sporting Wi-Fi wireless networking and GPS without the need for external accessories. Instead, these features are built into the camera itself. For Android users, the Wi-Fi connectivity comes complete with NFC for quick-and-easy pairing.
Incidentally, it's worth noting that even if you don't want GPS for its geolocation capabilities, it's also handy for keeping your camera's clock updated. This could be particularly useful if you're shooting multiple cameras, and need their internal clocks to be synced extremely accurately.
A redesigned, better-sealed body, but you'll need to buy a new battery grip
Although it has almost the exact same layout as its predecessor in terms of the controls and features, the Canon 5D IV has a newly-designed body. That means you'll also need a new battery grip accessory, if you're upgrading from the earlier 5D III. In place of that camera's BG-E11 battery grip, the Canon 5D IV requires a new BG-E20 grip.
On the plus side, Canon says that it has taken the opportunity to improve the 5D Mark IV's weather-sealing. It's now said to be similar to the 7D Mark II in this area, with the controls better-sealed than they were in the 5D III.
One change of note to the controls is the addition of a new AF Area Select control on the back of the camera. It's customizable, so if you don't want to use it for this function, you can repurpose it for something else. Oh, and if you're looking for the remote control terminal, it's now been moved to the front of the camera.
Canon 5D Mark IV pricing and availability
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV went on sale in the US market in early September 2016 in a body-only configuration or in a kit with the EF 24-70mm f/4 L lens. A second kit, opting instead for the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens, is also available and went on sale in late October 2016. Pricing is set at around US$3,500 body-only, the exact same point at which the 5D III launched back in 2012. The 24-70mm kit retails for around US$4,400, and the 24-105mm kit for US$4,600.
Canon 5D Mark IV Field Test Part I
A wealth of useful upgrades in a familiar shell
The Canon 5D Mark IV: An evolution of the 5D series
I've been a Canon fan for a while now, having purchased my first one, a Canon 7D -- that's still working perfectly by the way -- back in 2010. I've shot with various Canon DSLRs along the way since then, including the 5D Mark II extensively as well as their latest beast, the 1D X Mark II. However, between then and now, I've gravitated towards the mirrorless world, as the size and weight advantages have become rather important qualities if I am to haul some photo gear around with me. Hiking, traveling, or social gatherings all lend themselves to having smaller, lighter camera gear.
So, when the Canon 5D Mark IV made its debut, I was a little hesitant to get excited about the camera, at least from a size and ergonomics standpoint. For one thing, I wasn't too excited about its typical DSLR bulk and weight. Under the hood, on the other hand, the 5D IV sports a lot of great new features, including some nice amenities, such as built-in Wi-Fi and a touchscreen; two features that have quickly become must-have features on my own personal cameras.
So, without further ado, let's dive in and see how Canon's latest 5D-series camera performs out in the field.
Canon 5D Mark IV Field Test Part II
Testing performance capabilities, 4K Video and Dual Pixel Raw
Performance for almost any type of shooting
If there's one thing you can count on from an enthusiast or pro-level Canon SLR, it's superb responsiveness, and the 5D Mark IV does not disappoint. It just does everything fast. For example, I know that it can't actually shoot at the exact moment that it's turned on, but the lag is so short I can't detect it — power-on to first shot seems instantaneous. Every other camera operation and control are similarly quick. When I'm shooting, I often take 3-shot bracketed sequences, and the 5D Mark IV rips through these in a 1/3 of a second. During my time with the 5D Mark IV, I never found myself waiting for the camera, which is, of course, exactly as it should be for a pro-level tool.
The Canon 5D Mark IV's autofocus as advanced as it gets
As we noted in our overview, the 5D Mark IV comes equipped with an extremely advanced autofocus system, very similar in many ways to the EOS 1DX Mark II. In my tests, it's pretty amazing in low light, able to focus reliably and relatively quickly in situations so dark that I can't really see the subject with my naked eye. The good low light sensitivity holds for both normal viewfinder operation and in live view mode thanks to Dual Pixel CMOS AF.
A day in the studio with the Canon 5D IV
Canon Explorer of Light Parish Kohanim puts the 5D Mark IV to the test
About a week before the EOS 5D Mark IV's release, we had an unusual opportunity to spend a day with it and Canon Explorer of Light Parish Kohanim in his studio here in Atlanta.
Parish is an incredible photographer; it's well worth the time to visit his site and check out his work. A lifelong Canon user, he was one of the first Explorers of Light, when the program first began almost 30 years ago.
Besides a chance to see the 5D IV at work in a studio environment, it was fascinating for us to see such an exceptional pro at work. All of us here love photography and taking pictures, and I myself -- this is Dave E. writing this section -- have been in quite a few commercial photo studios. Those studio environments were always pretty cut and dried, though; the task at hand simply being to capture product photos or very standard catalog-style fashion shots in a pleasing manner.
Canon 5D Mark IV Dual Pixel RAW Insights
Is it a post-capture focus adjustment or not?
The Canon 5D Mark IV introduces a new technology called Dual Pixel Raw for the first time. What it amounts to is the ability to shift the apparent focus very slightly after a picture has been taken. Alternately -- or in combination with the focus tweak, if you prefer -- you can make small changes in the bokeh or out of focus areas of the image, or you can reduce ghosting to a degree.
Canon was very careful not to use the word "focus" when describing Dual Pixel Raw to us, saying that they don't want people to get the idea that they can make significant post-focus adjustments in software. Instead, they refer to it as a "micro adjustment". That obviously begs the question of what's being adjusted, and as long as you promise not to tell anyone, we'll go ahead and say that it's focus. (Or bokeh, or ghosting reduction, as noted above.) But do see the full discussion below, to understand why Canon is being careful not to use the "f-word" ;-)
Canon 5D Mark IV Technical Info
A more detailed look at what's under the hood
Although it looks much like the 5D III before it and features almost exactly the same control layout, the Canon 5D Mark IV actually has a newly-designed body. Compared to that of the 5D III, the 5D IV's chassis and external panels are designed both for greater rigidity, and to better-radiate heat during operation. (Most likely, heat output during 4K video capture was a primary concern during development.)
Inside, the 5D IV's chassis consists of aluminum and engineering plastic, while the mirror box is also plastic. On the outside, magnesium alloy is used for front, rear and bottom panels, and Canon says that a new coating on these has better wear resistance.
The company also tells us that the EOS 5D Mark IV is weather-sealed to the same degree as the 7D Mark II, and to a greater level than was the 5D III before it. In particular, sealing around the lens mount, shutter button, video switch, battery and card compartment doors, and the windows for the remote control, self-timer lamp and card access lamp are said to have been improved.
Canon 5D Mark IV Image Quality Comparison
With Special Supplement: 5D IV vs. 5D3, D810, K-1 and A7R II
The high-end enthusiast and professional camera market continues to see advances in image quality as successive models arrive year after year, and we thought it would be interesting to go ahead and post some side-by-sides for you from our Still Life test target of the 5D Mark IV as compared to its popular predecessor, the 5D Mark III, as well as to some current high-end competing full-frame models from Nikon, Pentax and Sony in the D810, K-1 and A7R II.
It's interesting to note that four of five of these heavyweight models sport dramatically different sensor resolutions, and as a result it's sometimes difficult to gauge noise levels when viewing at different apparent 1:1 sizes. For this reason in the ISO 6400 comparisons we've shown them first "as-is" at 100%, and then also with the higher resolution model down-sampled in order to show them at a similar apparent size to make them easier to compare. First let's take a quick look at the competitors.
Canon 5D Mark IV Print Quality Analysis
How big can you print as sensitivity rises?
Print quality and image quality are similar but not identical, because what you see on a print isn't always the same as what you see on the screen. Our print quality analysis answers the important question: "Just how big can I print my photos at higher ISOs?"
With its higher-resolution sensor and updated image processor, the fourth-generation of Canon's popular 5D series of DSLRs makes a very solid showing in our print quality testing. From extended low ISO all the way to ISO 800, the Canon 5D Mark IV is capable of excellent, sharp prints up to 30 x 40 inches. As ISO sensitivity increases, the camera displayed very well-controlled noise characteristics, allowing for some impressively large prints, such as 13 x 19 inch prints at ISO 6400 and 11 x 14 at ISO 12,800. While the native ISO range of the 5D Mark IV stops at ISO 32,000, the camera still managed a usable 4 x 6 inch print at its first expanded ISO of 51,200; however, prints should be avoided at the maximum expanded setting of ISO 102,400.
Canon 5D Mark IV Conclusion
The familiar yet refreshed 5D Mark IV is a top-notch professional DSLR
Classic, familiar 5D-series styling with modern refinements
Canon's classic 5D-series undergoes its fourth revision, bringing a host of important new features and upgrades, but without totally reinventing the wheel. It's still the familiar 5D camera that professionals and enthusiasts alike know and love, and we think that's great. Aimed at professional and advanced enthusiast photographers and videographers, the familiarity of the 5D-style camera is a welcomed aspect, as it lets them just pick up the camera and go without any steep learning curve.
Design-wise, there are few notable changes, the primary one being the inclusion of a touchscreen -- a first for a 5D series camera. Like other touch-enabled Canon cameras we've tried, the 5D IV's works really well; it's fast and responsive and works great for tapping to adjust the focus point if you're framing shots with live view or shooting video. The menu system and Quick Menu are also now fully touch-enabled, and while the menu GUI hasn't changed to accommodate finger-sized navigation, it wasn't frustrating to use, in our experience.
And while the body design is similar, it's different enough to necessitate a new battery grip. You can't just use your old 5D Mark III grip, so keep that in mind when budgeting for the new Mark IV.
In the Box
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body-only retail package (as reviewed) contains the following items:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera (Body Only)
- LP-E6N Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1865mAh)
- LC-E6 Charger for LP-E6 Battery Pack
- Eyecup Eg
- RF-3 Body Cap for Canon EOS Cameras
- IFC-150U II USB 3.0 Interface Cable for DSLRs
- Cable Protector
- Wide Neck Strap
- Canon Digital Solution Disk
- Warranty Card
- Large capacity SD and/or CompactFlash memory cards
- USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt Card Reader
- Given the high resolution and large file sizes of the 5D Mark IV, 32GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity. If you plan to capture high-definition or 4K movie clips, shoot image bursts, or shoot in RAW format, opt for the fastest cards you can afford. Canon specifies that 4K requires the following write speed requirements: CF UDMA7 (100MB/sec. or faster); SD UHS-I (90MB/sec. or higher).
- Extra LP-E6N lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack for extended outings
- External shoe mount flash (e.g. Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT)
- BG-E20 Battery Grip
- Canon Remote Switch RS-80N3
- Medium to large camera bag
Canon 5D Mark IV
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