August 5, 2016

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon's Update to the Incredibly Popular 5D Range is Imminent, The 5D Mark IV

Post updated January 2018: Camera bought in 2017 and full review now online: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Review. Also, check our our DSLR page where we run you through all the buttons, switches and dials on the 5D Mark IV.

Ever since the original Canon EOS 5D was released, I have been a big fan of Canon. I have used a wide range of Canon cameras, lenses and accessories over the years along with some very nice glass:

  • Canon EOS D30, 10D, 20D, 5D, 5D Mark II, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark III
  • Canon EF 50mm 1.4, 16-35L 2.8, 24-70L 2.8, 70-200L 2.8 IS
  • Speedlights 580 EX, 580EX II…

My Canon L lenses are amazing and are still going strong after more than a decade in my camera bag. But are things about to change?

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D History

When the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was still in its prime, I waited with baited breath for the release of the Mark III. When it finally came, I was personally very disappointed. I tried and tried to match the image quality of the Mark II but simply couldn't.

It lacked a lot of features I had hoped for in particular with regards to image quality and video. So much so I ended up buying a second 5D Mark II. When I thought the 5D Mark IV was to be announced last year, I sold one of those Mark II's in anticipation. But the Mark IV became delayed.

This meant I only had one DSLR for this year's weddings (I only have a few to shoot this year due to a huge workload with other photo/video work). So, I opted to bite the bullet and rent a Canon EOS 5D Mark III for one wedding a few weeks ago. I used that as my main camera.

There were some things I liked about it such as the design that was similar to the original 7D and the fact that the menu was very "familiar". However, when I got home to process the images from the 5D Mark II and Mark III, I still noticed a huge difference. Again, I was very disappointed.

The images from the 5D Mark III were quite "mushy" and not as defined as the still fabulous Mark II. Exactly as I found when comparing the two when the Mark III was released.

So what does all this mean?

Well, the arrival of the new EOS 5D Mark IV is now imminent. Canon are set to announce the specs and release date this month (August 2016). But is it too little too late?

I never thought it would happen but I have become more and more disengaged with Canon over the past few years. Especially as the Sony and Panasonic camps have been producing some spectacular, mirrorless cameras. As have Fuji, Olympus etc.

Have Canon missed that boat? Will the 5D Mark IV be enough to retain my commitment to Canon?

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

I have been so excited about the release of the EOS 5D Mark IV, I even have the money set aside to buy it right away. However, I will certainly need to see some RAW files before hitting the buy button regardless of what specs it has.

If the low pass filter used on the EOS 5D Mark III (which I blame for its less than super-sharp images…in my opinion) is used on the Mark IV, I will definitely pass on it for sure and may well leave Canon for good.

If, however, they decide to offer the option of a low pass cancellation filter I will be all over it! For me, image quality is everything.

Canon EOS 5DSR

So, what are the rumoured Specs for the 5D Mark IV?

I have now become, for whatever reason, embroiled with 4K video and filming in general. Ever since I filmed Girls Aloud at a wedding in 2007, video has increased dramatically in my workflow. Along with aerial imaging with my drone.

With that in mind, I am hoping for a minimum of 4K video. Frame rates of up to 60fps and 1080p at 120fps would allow nice, slow motion footage. Staying with video, I would like to have decent microphone and headphone inputs (XLR inputs would be nice but probably not practical). Plus focus peaking, zebra stripes for exposure and a good sound level displays.

As mentioned above, I would also like to see the same low pass cancellation filter as the EOS 5DSR. This would give me super sharp, high resolution images of 28mp or more.

All the other "gimmicky" features I can take or leave but here are the rumoured specs according to various tech sites.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Specs

  • 24.2MP Sensor (hopefully higher as rumoured by some sites)
  • 61 AF Points (41 cross-type)
  • DIGIC 7+ (Single)
  • 12 fps
  • 4K Video Recording (hopefully 60p)
  • 1080p up to 120fps (nice)
  • ISO 100-51,200 (expandable options and hopefully superb low light performance)
  • 3.2" touchscreen LCD (nice)
  • CFast/SD card slots (nice)
  • Built in Wi-fi
  • Built in GPS
  • BG-E20 battery grip
  • LP-E20 battery
  • Maybe a slight reduction in weight

A few sites are stating Canon as saying:

"Canon will unveil a new feature in the 5D Mark IV that will be the first to be seen in DSLR camera".


A couple of extra stops of dynamic range (over the Mark III's 11.7 stops) would be nice. As would video output being increased from 8-bit to 10-bit, even through an external recorder, would be great. Like the Panasonic GH4.

A Bit About Bits…

8 bit recording = 8 bits per channel = 24bit images which essentially means you can capture 256 shades of color/luminosity values (0-255) on each of the RGB channels giving you 256 x 256 x 256 = 16million+ colors.

You would think this is more than enough. However, have you ever processed an image only to find that banding appears in the sky or other areas of uniform colours? This is due to the limitations of 8 bit.

10 bit images give you 1024 x 1024 x 1024 colours totalling over 1 billion colours. This allows a lot more processing before any banding or degradation occurs. Especially when working with the new HDR feature in many cameras.

So I am not asking for much…really.

All I need is that Canon catch up with other manufacturers out there. They need to stop trying to push their high-end (and more expensive) cameras on us. Maybe produce something that both amateurs and professional will absolutely fall over themselves to buy. Like they have with the Panasonic GH4 and Sony mirrorless range.

I have been using the wonderful Panasonic GH4 for a couple of years now, mostly for video, and cannot fault it. The stills from this camera are a bit "meh" but the 4K video is particularly sweet. Especially when combined with the new Atomos Ninja Flame which allows me to output 4K video at 10 bit, HQ or Pro Res standard. Easily good enough for broadcast TV and maybe even the big screen.

Atomos Ninja Flame HDR External Recorder (and Super Bright Monitor)

Atomos Ninja Flame

...and you can pick up the Panasonic GH4 for less than £1000!!!


Should Canon fail to deliver with the EOS 5D Mark IV, I think they will lose a LOT of customers. Lose them to the likes of the mirrorless Sony A7S II (amazing for 4k/1080p video, particularly in low light). Or the Sony A7R II (incredible 42mp stills and superb 4k video). Or the Panasonic GH4 (beautiful 4K video) or the soon to be released Panasonic GH5.

Personally, if the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV doesn’t live up to my expectations, I will either go for the EOS 5DS R. Or maybe switch altogether to the Sony/Panasonic mirrorless range. By using my Metabones Speedbooster adapter, I can still use my Canon L glass on any of these cameras so I get the best of everything.

For once in the last 10+ years, I am not so bothered about the 5D range. That is unless the Mark IV has everything I hope for because there is simply so much quality choice out there!

Whatever happens, it is exciting times for photography and video as things hot up between all the rival manufacturers.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
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