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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review: Should You Buy this Camera?

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Design

Key Features

  • 4 MP Dual Pixel AF CMOS full-frame sensor
  • 2-inch 1.62M-dot full touchscreen LCD display with 3:2 aspect ratio
  • 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type sensors, center point sensitive to -3 EV
  • DIGIC 6+ image processor
  • ISO sensitivity of ISO 100-32000, expandable to 102400
  • 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor and 252-zone TTL open-aperture metering
  • Eye-level pentaprism viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and 0.71x magnification
  • 7 fps continuous shooting
  • DCI 4K 30/25p video recording using motion JPEG + 4K Frame Grab
  • Dual Pixel Raw (image microadjustment, ghosting reduction, bokeh shift)
  • Shutter speeds up to 1/8000th seconds
  • Built-in bulb-timer interval timers
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with support for NFC
  • Built-in GPS that provides geotag information

Introduction

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is certainly one of the best-recognized DSLRs that is not only designed to appeal a wide range of photography enthusiasts but also the professionals. The camera was first announced in August 2016 and comes as a successor to EOS 5D Mark III. When it comes to the design, the camera is nearly identical to its predecessor. However, it receives some major upgrades that include a higher resolution sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus, a touch-sensitive screen, an upgraded AF system, 4K video capture, and built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and GPS support.

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Design, Build, and Handling

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is nearly identical to Mark III which is the previous model of the 5D series. The camera weighs around 800g without the battery, body cap, card, and eyecup which is 60g lighter than 5D Mark III. However, there are small tweaks that have been made to its design. There has been an increase in the number of gaskets and seals which certainly leads to a better weather sealing. The improvements regarding weather sealing are specifically made around the shutter button, lens mount, and the battery door.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Connectivity

The remote shutter port has been relocated to camera’s front. The ports for microphone and headphone have been repositioned towards the camera’s base. This is a very clever move as this will help you to keep all the cables out of your way while using both the external mic and headphone. Behind these ports, there is a separate door for a mini-HDMI jack and USB 3.0 socket. The camera ships with a rechargeable LP-E6N Lithium-ion battery with an optional battery grip.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Controls

The top of the camera offers the same buttons and looks exactly same as its predecessor. There is a new AF area selection button directly below the AF joystick. The button is disabled by default, but a variety of functions can be assigned to it (cycling through the active area modes). Canon has added an Intelligent Viewfinder II that shows all the selected information via an LCD layer. The finder has frame coverage of 100% with a 0.71x magnification.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Display

The camera sports a 3.2-inch 1.62M-dot LCD that is touch-sensitive. So, the camera gets a resolution bump over its predecessor (1.04M-dot) and the inclusion of a touchscreen adds extensive touch-capable functions and more convenience. You can make the use of the touchscreen to navigate through menus, access the Q menu options and touch-to-focus in both Live View stills and video. The Q menu is customizable and you can wish to choose which options to appear.

The buttons and dials of the camera customized via the Custom Controls option. Mark IV offers 10 customizable buttons and dials and also an option to customize the Fn button on Canon lenses. There are a variety of buttons that can be repurposed to varying degrees. These buttons include AE Lock, AF-ON, DOF Preview, SET, M-Fn, the AF area selection button, the multi-controller (Joystick) button, and both the rear wheel and the main dial.

When you assign ‘Metering and AF Start’ to a custom button, it lets you a quick access to various AF behavior with a nice level of user control. Setting up the ‘Register/Recall shooting func’ or ‘Switch to registered AF Func’ also allows you to change the AF behavior. It should be noted that these functions can be used to engage the autofocus. The camera adds a fully-programmable Auto ISO with an adjustable ‘Auto’ threshold setting and a full set of minimum shutter speed thresholds.

Performance and Image Quality

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV carries the same autofocus system as the EOS-1D X Mark II. The camera sports a 61-point AF system, 41 being the cross-type with the center point being sensitive to -3 EV. However, the 1D X Mark II sports a 300k-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, 5D Mark IV uses 150k-pixel metering sensor that half of that resolution. The AF system is a bit complex which will take you some time and practice to understand the system better.

The EOS 5D Mark IV is the first full-frame DSLR from Canon that is capable of shooting continuously when using Live View Servo autofocus. The maximum burst rate available is 4.3fps in this mode. We found the subject tracking in Live View to be more accurate than shooting through the viewfinder using Canon’s iTR. The camera offers six preset ‘case modes’ that helps you in making most out of the autofocus system. The face detection feature is available for both viewfinder and Live View shooting and it works quite well.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

The camera includes an improved phase-detection AF sensor for viewfinder shooting. It also gains the new Dual Pixel AF system in Live View which means now it offers more extensive footage with a high level of accuracy and precision for shallow d-o-f photography. The subject can be selected with a single tap of the screen or switch between detected faces using the joystick. The camera tracks and refocuses the subject anywhere it moves in the frame.

Canon EOS 5D IV is capable of saving double-size Raw files storing data from the right and left-facing separately. This is happening for the first time and we get an advantage of this separation. The camera gets a slight hint of the direction that the light source has come from. This means the images can be rendered with a slightly different point of focus when they are processed in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software. We found the degree of correction in Canon’s ‘image microadjustment’ extremely small. But the concept itself sounds interesting and we would definitely want the company to develop it further.

Additionally, due to the use of two different views, you can view the out-of-focus areas of the image from either of the views. This allows you to slightly shift the bokeh position. It can also be useful in ghosting reduction. As we all know, flare using crops up from the light source coming from one side of the lens. This means the flare would be visible only on either of the sides. This allows you to selectively use the information from the better half of the sensor to drop the effect of flare.

Coming to the image quality, the greater pixel count in 5D IV can capture a high level of detail when compared to its predecessor. Due to the inclusion of optical low pass filter, the images shows much lower levels of false color aliasing that is especially visible in the high-frequency patterns and high-contrast areas. The low levels of false color moiré are also suppressed in the JPEGs.

The camera performs at par with its immediate contemporaries like Nikon D810, Pentax K-1 or the Sony a7R II at high ISOs. Therefore, we may say that the high ISO performance is a strong point with some good color rendition and fair retention of detail even at the highest native ISO32000.

The camera reveals a significant upgrade in exposure latitudes due to its increased dynamic range. After a 5 EV push, the camera is 2/3 EV ahead of 5D Mark III and nearly matches to Sony a7R II. However, after a 6 EV push, the camera falls behind peers like Nikon D810. Mark IV has a decent burst performance offering around 20 shots in Raw + JPEG or 30 shots in Raw only.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is capable of recording 4K video at both 30p and 24p which is a major upgrade from the 1080p recording on the Mark III. Canon has implemented the 4K video on the basis of DCI standard (4096 x 2160) which means the 4K video in Mark IV has a much wider aspect ratio. However, the 1.64x crop factor might prove to be a bit struggling for someone who likes to switch more often between video and stills (as the effective focal length will change quite significantly in the whole process).

Moreover, the 4K recording is limited to Motion JPEG which means the camera is capable of providing some extracting stills from the video. The frame grab option lets you pick the frames in the playback. The camera features several compression algorithms such as All-I, IPB, and IPB Light variants, but these are only available when you are shooting 1080p video. The camera has a support for clean HDMI-out which is again limited to 1080p. The 1080p recording is now available up to 60p and the camera is also capable of shooting 720/120p video (without audio).

As we discussed earlier that the camera sports a Dual Pixel autofocus system that is known for its accuracy, precision, and natural appearing focus transitions. Apart from the Dual Pixel AF, the face detection and the depth tracking is equally effective with smooth and hunt-free focus transitions. You can adjust the autofocus speed in ‘Movie Servo AF’ mode by 10 increments which allow you to customize the AF based on the movement or speed of your subject. The camera includes three AF modes (Face+Tracking, FlexiZone-Single, and FlexiZone-Multi) with a tap-to-focus support that can be managed via the touchscreen.

Canon has also included the HDR video which works by recording at 1080/60p to capture two 1080/30p clips: one optimized for shadows and one for highlights. The camera combines both the clips to produce a high DR 1080/30p video with IBP compression. Mark IV offers its users a complete control over all the exposure settings which might be appealing for videographers. The ‘Auto Lighting Optimizer’ mode boosts the shadow detail in the video without altering the highlights.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Build

The EOS 5D Mark IV has a built-in Wi-Fi that works with the Canon Connect app. The support for NFC makes an easy pairing with your smart device. You can also transfer the images directly to the computer, to DLNA device, a printer or between cameras via Wi-Fi. The Mark IV uses rechargeable LP-E6N Lithium-ion battery which Canon has used in recent EOS DSLRs. The camera is capable of capturing 900 shots while shooting through the viewfinder and 300 shots in Live View shooting. However, the battery life can be doubled by using an optional BG-E20 battery grip.

Should You Buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV?

The Canon 5D Mark IV is priced at $3499 (body only), $4599 (with 24-105mm), and $4399 (with 24-70mm). This highly anticipated camera is the most refined model of the 5D series. Though the camera takes quite a big step further but it moves a lot slowly as compared to the previous models in the series.

However, you get some good offerings such as a high-resolution sensor, Dual Pixel AF, and a touch-sensitive screen that offer more shooting options, 4K video, and built-in Wi-Fi with NFC. The update might be a revolutionary one, but it will likely to find its way to the hands of many professionals for its improved image quality and all round performance.


Pros

  • 61-point AF system with a wider coverage as compared to its predecessor
  • All autofocus points work down to F8
  • Improved base ISO dynamic range
  • Good high ISO image quality
  • Responsive touch-sensitive screen with an excellent interface
  • Dual Pixel Raw allows for some micro-adjustment, in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer when shooting JPEG, and diffraction correction technologies
  • HDR 1080p + 4K/30p video
  • Configurable Q menu
  • USB 3.0
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and GPS

Cons

  • Optimizing AF settings requires practice
  • iTR subject tracking is not that precise and reliable
  • Spot metering cannot be linked to the chosen AF point
  • 4K video is limited to Motion JPEG
  • 4K/30p video recording needs CF card
  • Limited video tools (no Log gamma, zebras, or focus peaking)
  • Fixed screen limits the camera’s use especially while working at odd angles
  • HDMI-out is limited to 1080 video

 Canon EOS 5D Mark IV accessory

 

About Richard Smith

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