Canon 5D Mark IV Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good performance for its class.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.5 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.2 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Powering on and taking a shot was fairly quick for a DSLR, at about 0.5 second. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was faster, at about 0.2 second.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single-point (center) AF

0.165 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. All AF timing measured with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens.

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
TTL flash enabled

N/A

Time to capture while forcing flash to fire. Preflash metering pulses from flash often slow shutter response.

Manual Focus

0.077 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.057 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View

Prefocused
Live View

0.057 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Canon 5D IV's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times (with no change of focus setting between iteration, to remove the impact of lens AF speed), its full autofocus shutter response was good for a pro DSLR. Using the optical viewfinder with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens (a lens that may not be fast at actually changing focus, but is very fast at focus determination), we measured 0.165 second for full AF lag using single point (center) AF, which is quite fast.

Shutter lag using manual focus was quite good at 77 milliseconds. When "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure, the 5D IV's shutter lag was very low for a DSLR, at only 57 milliseconds.

The Canon 5D IV's prefocused shutter lag time in Live View mode was also only 57 milliseconds, which is incredibly fast for a DSLR. Note that we no longer test full AF lag in Live View mode for DSLRs, because the lens used usually makes such a huge difference that comparing is pointless. We'll try to comment on real-world Live View AF performance in our shooter's report.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.37 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.37 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous High
Large/Fine JPEG

0.14 second (7.0
frames per second);
unlimited frames;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 174 shots with no signs of slowing (we'll call that unlimited).

Continuous High
RAW

0.14 second (7.0
frames per second);
19 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 19 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.36s or 2.8 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous High
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.14 second (7.0
frames per second);
12 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 12 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.71s or 1.4 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous High
Dual Pixel RAW

0.20 second (5.0
frames per second);
7 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.69s or 1.5 fps when buffer was full.

Continuous High
Dual Pixel RAW +
L/F JPEG

0.24 second (4.2
frames per second);
6 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 6 shot buffer capacity, then slowed to an average of 0.84s or 1.2 fps when buffer was full.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a 64GB Lexar Professional 1066x UDMA 7 CompactFlash card. Slower cards may produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were quite fast at under 0.4 second for both best quality JPEGs and RAW+JPEG files. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG modes.)

Full-resolution continuous high mode speeds were very good for a high-res full-frame DSLR. We measured 7.0 frames-per-second no matter the file type, matching Canon's specifications. The 5D IV also has low-speed and silent continuous shooting modes which are both rated by Canon at 3.0 fps, however we did not test those modes in the lab.

Buffer depth for best quality JPEGs appeared limitless with our fast Lexar 1066x UDMA 7 CompactFlash card. When shooting standard RAW files, buffer depth was 19 frames and for RAW+JPEG it was 12 frames before the camera slowed. (Note: The Canon 5D IV also accepts SD cards but doesn't support faster UHS-II types, and the CompactFlash card we used for our tests is faster than the fastest UHS-I card available.)

Buffer clearing times were quite good considering the resolution, ranging from only 2 seconds after 174 best quality JPEGs to 8 seconds after a burst of 12 RAW+JPEG frames, and the camera lets you adjust settings or shoot additional shots while clearing, however you can't view just-shot photos during buffer clearing.

Unsurprisingly given the much larger file sizes, the Canon 5D IV slows down with reduced buffer depths when shooting in Dual Pixel RAW mode. The camera managed just over 5.0 fps for Dual Pixel RAW frames in continuous high mode, and 4.2 fps for Dual Pixel RAW+JPEG frames, while buffer depths fell to 7 and 6 frames respectively.


Bottom line, the Canon 5D IV offers very good performance for its class, with quick powerup, very low prefocused shutter lag, swift autofocus, and fast burst speeds for a high-resolution full-frame DSLR.

Battery

Battery Life
Good battery life for compact pro DSLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
900
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
300

The Canon 5D IV uses a custom LP-E6N rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated battery charger. Battery life good for a compact professional DSLR using the optical viewfinder, CIPA-rated at 900 shots per charge (but keep in mind the 5D IV has no built-in flash, which is normally enabled for 50% of shots during CIPA battery life testing). Of course Live View mode draws a lot more power reducing battery life considerably, to 300 shots. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand, or consider purchasing the BG-E20 battery grip which doubles battery life with a second battery installed.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon 5D IV is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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