Hi. George McKenzie here for PhotoShelter. This week I’ve got a review of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. And I’m going to admit it right up front: I had mixed feelings about this camera. The Mark IV had a lot riding on it given the past three models of the Canon 5D introduced to the market — each one really outdoing the last in terms of new features and tricks. That being said I was really excited to get my hands on this camera.
Full disclosure: I normally shoot with a 5D Mark III with the 24-70mm f/2.8II. I used the Canon 5D Mark IV exclusively for about two months to shoot jobs for clients along with a few personal projects. Thanks to the team at B&H for the loaner!
A couple of highlights:
The first thing I noticed was that the 5D Mark IV looks and feels just like my 5D Mark III — though it did seem a bit lighter, even after inserting the battery and attaching my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.
First on the agenda for the Mark IV was the birthday party of a photographer friend of mine. I immediately liked what I heard, felt and saw with the camera. The shutter on the new 5D Mark IV was almost silent compared to the 5D Mark III. There was a smoother shutter feeling when you press the shutter button. And, it seemed like Canon had changed this from even the 5DS R. The other bonus, there was no real noise at ISO 4000. Needless to say, I was pretty impressed.
What I did discover was that the 5D Mark IV is definitely not a video camera, despite the 4K digital capture. And the other “new” features did not blow me away, either. So I, like others who were hoping for a big leap forward based on what Canon had done with the original Mark I and even the Mark II, was a bit underwhelmed.
Bottom line, if you’ve already got a Mark III or other comparable body, I wouldn’t rush out to get this one. But, if you’re in the market to step up your gear game, then the Canon 5D Mark IV is a solid purchase. Hopefully, though, this is the last “safe bet” for Canon on the EOS 5D series. There’s a ton of competition from Sony, Nikon and even Fuji and Pentax. If they want to retain their loyal “Team Canon” photographers, they’ll need to step it up next time around.
Pros of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV:
- LCD: The LCD on the back of the 5D Mark IV is vastly improved vs the 5D Mark III; it’s brighter and you can see more dynamic range on your images.
- Touch Screen: This is a game changer on the 5D Mark IV. When it comes to shooting in live mode, you can simply point and touch exactly where you’d like the camera to focus.
- GPS: The 5D Mark IV is the 2nd high megapixel DSLR with GPS. Having GPS is great when you’re looking for images or you need to remember a location and find directions on how to get there. This isn’t available on the Sony A7RII or the Nikon D810.
- Auto Focus: The AF on the 5D Mark IV is vastly improved vs the 5D Mark III. I definitely notice 5D Mark III struggled to get that focus point whereas the 5D Mark IV gets it easily!
- ISO: The 5D Mark IV ISO ranges from 100 up to 32,000 (102,400 expandable) the low light capability on the 5D Mark IV has improved a lot with my 5D Mark III I really worry about noise above 1600 ISO but with the 5D Mark IV I’m shooting comfortable at ISO 4000.
- WiFi: Yes the 5D Mark IV has WiFi. It’s not the best WiFi application; it doesn’t come close to what Sony or Fuji offer with regards to app functionality. But, it’s only the 2nd large megapixel full frame camera that has WiFi. Again, something missing on the Canon and Nikon 5DSR and D810 models respectively.
- Dual Card Slots: This is extremely important because memory cards fail. If you’ve never had a memory card fail on you, it’s only a matter of time. The ability to write to both cards at the same time is extremely handy.
- USB 3.0: If you tether, then it’s perfect.
- FPS: Coming in at 7fps the 5D Mark IV is no 1DX II but if you put it into jpeg mode you can get really close to achieving the Canon 1DX II frame rate.
- No sensor stabilization: The 5D Mark IV doesn’t have the sensor stabilizing feature found in the Sony Alpha series and Pentax K1.
- Dual Pixel Raw: This is the feature being sold as the ability to fix minor movements by your subject. That being said, I didn’t find it worked as advertised. It also requires you to use Canon’s proprietary software which isn’t the easiest thing to add to your workflow.
- Video: IMO, the video capabilities on all DSLR’s is pretty poor, but the video on the 5D Mark IV isn’t anything to write home about, either. It’s shooting 4K with a very old codec that takes up too much space on your memory card.
- AA Filter: The 5D Mark IV has a built in AA filter that takes away from the image’s sharpness.
Price & Features Comparison:
So it doesn’t have all the features you’ve been hoping for; it doesn’t beat Sony or Nikon in terms of image quality. Yet, it’s still a Canon and it’s still the most reliable camera out there. Not to mention it also has some of the best glass out there. It’s still my recommendation for working pros who need to get work done day after day, after day.
To see my review of the Pentax K-1, click here.
George McKenzie is a photographer and manager of partnerships for Street Dreams Visual Agency. He has been working with PhotoShelter for the past year to build community and organize events with emerging photographers.