EOS 5D Mark IV: NEW Full Frame

Even before the EOS 5D Mark IV was officially announced, it had the rumor mills abuzz about the gigantic leaps Canon will make in terms of a DSLR body. The actual launch of the camera was a lot more subdued affair. Under the hood, however, the 5D Mark IV is an immensely advanced camera in every sense. It is a worthy successor to the extremely popular 5D Mark III, and carries forward the esteemed 5D lineage with élan.

Sensor

  • The 5D Mark IV boasts a significantly powerful sensor than the older 5D Mark III.
  • The new sensor is a 30.4-megapixel full frame behemoth compared to only 22.3 megapixel on the older sensor.
  • The larger sensor is capable of producing large fine JPEGs and RAW frames of the size 6720 x 4480 pixels. A larger number of pixels means the camera is capable of capturing a lot more detail and therefore should interest fashion, product and landscape shooters.

Image Processing

Image processing on the new camera is powered by DIGIC 6+ image processing engine compared to DIGIC 5+ on the old one. DIGIC 6+ is a new generation digital image processor, endowing camera systems equipped with this new sensor with improved continuous shooting speed as well as faster image processing. The EOS 5D Mark IV can shoot at up to 7 frames per second.

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
  • 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting
  • Up to 7.0 frames per second continuous shooting speed
  • 61-point AF system with 41 cross-points for expanded vertical coverage
  • ISO range 100-32000 with 50-102400 expansion
  • 4K video recording at 30p or 24p and in-camera still frame grab of 8.8MP images

Metering

Apart from the DIGIC 6+ image processor, the 5D Mark IV also comes with a 150,000 pixel RGB + IR metering sensor for better scene recognition and therefore more accurate metering in automatic and scene modes.

Auto-Focusing

It has become a trend of sorts with the release of every new DSLR to have advanced features trickle down from higher end cameras. The auto-focusing mechanism on the 5D Mark IV is an example. The 5D Mark IV features a 61-point high-density reticular AF system which has been borrowed from the flagship 1D X Mark II.

41 of these sensors are cross-type with the center AF point sensitive to up to negative 3 EV. The spread of the 61 AF points allows a better selection of AF points when making off-center compositions. Also, when tracking a moving subject the presence of a larger number of AF points helps in better tracking.

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Live-view shooting and video is assisted by Canon’s dual-pixel CMOS AF system. Dual-pixel CMOS AF has been a game changer of sorts for Canon. Although this is no longer a new technology, it continues to find new platforms.

The EOS 5D Mark IV is the first full-frame Canon camera that comes with a Dual Pixel CMOS AF System. The camera benefits immensely from this technology. It would now be possible to keep the continuous focus on a moving subject much more effortlessly, both during movie recording as well as live-view still shooting.

Still Recording

The improved auto-focusing and image processing engine make an immediate impact on the continuous shooting speed and subject tracking of the camera. The Mark IV shoots at 7 fps compared to 6 fps on the Mark III, with dual pixel CMOS AF helping better subject tracking, even in low light.

Video Recording

The 5D Mark IV brings 4K (4096 x 2160) video shooting capabilities with continuous auto-focusing into the scheme of things. This is a quantum jump over the previous full-HD video capability of the older camera that it replaces. A fantastic feature on the 5D Mark IV is the 4K frame grab.

Using this feature you can literally grab up to 30 still frames (8.8 megapixels each) while recording movies in 4K quality. This is going to significantly up the number of frames you have at your disposal to choose from.

Viewfinder

The large bright pentaprism powered viewfinder of the 5D Mark IV gives 100% frame coverage. The rear LCD screen of the camera is pretty large too.

Rear LCD Screen

The 3.2” LCD screen has a larger resolution of 1,620,000 pixels compared to only 1,040,000 pixels on the Mark III. The new LCD screen also gets touch capabilities. The touch capabilities now give the 5D Mark IV the ability to touch and focus and select menu items without having to use any other buttons and dials. However, we would have loved to see the screen articulating. If not by 180 ˚ at least tilting a bit to make some sense of the better live-view AF.

Dual Pixel RAW

Dual Pixel RAW is a feature that was announced with the Canon 5D Mark IV. Dual pixel RAW is inherently about exploiting the dual-pixel architecture of the individual photodiodes on the sensor. They capture two distinctive RAW images using the left and right pixels. These two images are not combined together, rather they are left untouched.

The advantage of this is that you can make minuscule adjustments to the image including bokeh shifts, ghosting reduction and a few more during post-processing. Don’t think this would work like light field cameras. That technology is completely different and the degree of adjustment is very little to make any significant changes.

Low Light Sensitivity

Together, the newly develop sensor and the image processing engine is capable of shooting within a native ISO range of 100 – 32000. It can be further extended to 50 – 102400. It is another thing though whether the frames shot at ISO 32000 and beyond will be of any use.

The EOS 5D Mark IV isn’t ISO-invariant. ISO invariance is a term that is generating a bit of interest these days.

ISO invariance refers to the ability of a camera’s sensor to produce an image at low ISO that can be later adjusted for exposure during post-processing without introducing noise any more than that it would have been had the image been shot at the appropriate ISO level.

Let’s say that the appropriate ISO for an image is 800. However, the image was shot at ISO 100 using the same shutter speed and aperture applicable for an ISO 800 exposure. Invariably the image will be underexposed in such a situation.

The image was then adjusted for +3 EV during post-processing. The resulting image, if it does show an amount of noise equivalent to or more than an ISO 800, then the camera would be considered to be ISO-invariant. The EOS 5D Mark IV isn’t ISO-invariant for shots at lower ISO.

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Weather Sealing

Weather sealing on the 5D Mark IV has been improved over what we have seen on the 5D Mark III. The new camera has a lot more seals, especially around the lens mount and the ports where you would plug in a USB cable or an external accessory. Though still not in the same league as the 1DX Mark II bad weather operability is better.

Connectivity

The Canon 5D Mark IV has built GPS, Wi-Fi and NFC. GPS is handy for embedding location data of your images. Wi-Fi seriously is a great feature whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors. It helps in backing up the data over a wireless connection without the need for cables running all over the place. GPS is a power draining feature. It is advised that you turn it off when you don’t intend to use it.

Conclusion

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is in many ways the most complete Canon full-frame.

  • In terms of resolution it sits between the 5DS (and R) and the 5D Mark III.
  • In terms of continuous shooting speed as well as all-weather durability, it is beaten hands down by the 1DX Mark II.
  • But in terms of continuous auto-focusing the 5D Mark IV is the camera to beat.

It is by far the better live-view shooter among the other Canon full-frame cameras and except for the 7 fps burst rate is a formidable still shooter as well.

Plus, it combines a plethora of features, a few borrowed from the advanced full-frame cameras while mostly freshly developed which makes it a versatile choice for users looking for an all-around full-frame solution.

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Rajib

Rajib's love for the road is second only to his love for photography.
Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.

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Rajib

Rajib's love for the road is second only to his love for photography.
Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.

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