Testing the Canon Eos 5d Mark Iv: Versatility and Lower Price

This is nothing new, as it has already been almost two years since the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV was introduced on the market. Replacing the 5D Mark III , which will have lived four great years, the camera offers a superior definition of 30.4 Mpx against 22.3 Mpx for its predecessor without reaching the bulky 50 Mpx of the 5Ds and 5DsR range. In video, it was the first to open up to 4K with 30/25/24p 4:2:2 8-bit rates and also offers Full HD at 120 fps. Its reinforced watertightness also makes it a robust and resistant device. We didn’t have the opportunity to offer you a test at the time of its release, but its characteristics are still up to date and we think that it is not yet outdated.


Classic ergonomics

As a Canon camera user, you won’t get lost when you take control of the 5D Mark IV. Although it is not exactly the same size as its predecessor, it still takes up the same amount of space and even weighs slightly less.


The grip is comfortable thanks to a marked handle and a well distributed load. The commands accessible via the thumbwheel or the various shortcut keys on the top are always the same. Among the differences, however, was the presence of a remote control connection on the front panel, which was located on the side of the 5D Mark III, and a shortcut button on the rear, under the joystick, to switch between the different autofocus zone modes. We found it quite convenient to use.


Unlike the 5D Mark III, the 5D Mark IV is equipped with a touch screen whose dimensions remain the same, but whose definition climbs to 1.62 Mpts. Unfortunately, this is not steerable. Taking pictures in live view is not very comfortable anyway, considering the weight of the camera. It is therefore always preferable to aim with the bright, wide optical viewfinder, which displays 100% of the field at a magnification of 0.71x. On the other hand, the swivel screen would have been nice for video. The touch panel is useful for selecting the autofocus area or navigating through the menus faster than using the wheel and Q button.


The menus are classified in tabs with an organization common to all the brand’s appliances and whose logic and clarity we appreciate. They are very complete, especially when it comes to setting the autofocus behavior or accessing the different settings in video. Note also that the settings that can be made in playback mode on Raw files are numerous and allow you to easily edit a photo before saving it as a Jpeg for quick WiFi sharing on your smartphone for example. The device also has a GPS chip. On the connection side, there is a flash sync jack, a USB 3.0 type-B, an HDMI connection, a headphone output and a microphone input. The recording volume can of course be adjusted.


Recording is done on CF or SD card through a UHS-I compatible dual slot. The power supply is provided by an LP-E6N battery identical to the previous model, which has an autonomy of 900 shots. To exceed this value, the BG-E20 grip must be added.


Speed and efficiency

In the field, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV proved to be very pleasant to use thanks to its high-performance autofocus. The latter is based on a dedicated sensor with 61 collimators, 41 of which are crossed and 5 double crossed with a central collimator sensitive to -3 EV. The autofocus remains functional up to f/8, which allows the use of teleconverters even on medium brightness lenses.


70mm – 100 Iso – f/3.5 – 1/1000s.

The joystick at the rear allows you to quickly change the collimator. Our only regret is about the autofocus coverage area. It has to be said that by using hybrids, you get used to being able to select an area over a very wide field. Noise at the shutter release is important, but fortunately the camera has a silent mode that makes it more discreet. However, a completely silent mode with electronic shutter is missing.


 60mm – 3200 Iso – f/5.6 – 1/60s.

The burst rate rises to 7 fps with excellent tracking, which we hardly missed at all. It still takes some time to understand the menus to set up the autofocus behavior correctly. In Live View mode, the camera can rely on Dual Pixel AF technology to provide fast autofocus, although much less responsive than optical aiming.

55mm – 250 Iso – f/2.8 – 1/60s.

The light measurement appeared more accurate than on the 5D Mark III. Using the two cameras together in matrix mode, we noticed a tendency to underexpose the old model while the images produced with the 5D mark IV were more accurate. The 5D mark IV has a sensitivity range from 100 to 32,000 Iso which can be extended to 102,400 Iso. The 24×36 sensor is then a real guarantee of quality and we can see that it is possible to raise the sensitivity high while maintaining a perfectly acceptable image quality (up to 6400 Iso).


However, we have not seen any gain over its predecessor and while the quality remains excellent, it is behind the results of a Nikon D850 or a Sony A7R III.

50mm – 3200 Iso – f/2.5 – 1/40s.

At the time of its release, Canon communicated a lot about the Dual Pixel Raw technology with which it equipped the sensor of the 5D Mark IV. The latter consists of using the information recorded by each of the two photodiodes that form a pixel to make various corrections such as micro-focus adjustment, bokeh shift or sharpening. These operations must be performed in the DPP in-house software because if Lightroom allows the opening of DPR (Dual Pixel Raw) files, the software does not allow the use of additional options. In fact, the changes that can be made to the images are very small, and we were frankly not convinced by the technology, and it hasn’t been replicated on other cameras since.


Quality video but disappointing

The 5D Mark II had caused a sensation in its time thanks to its performance as a video maker. A sector in which the 5D Mark IV is obviously present but with less marked advantages over the competition. Of course the device offers a 4K cinema mode 4096 x 2160 px and offers all the expected connectivity. Nevertheless, the cropping performed is significant, of the order of 1.64x. Above all, the camera does not offer assistance functions such as zebra exposures or focus peaking.


While Canon made its mark with the 5D Mark II, the brand is now surpassed by Sony in the field of 24×36 sensor video and by Panasonic, which offers lightweight, stabilised cameras that are perfectly suited to hand-held capture. Nevertheless, the 5D Mark IV offers good image quality.

Growing interest?

70mm – 100 Iso – f/7.1 – 1/500s.

Of course, in two years, the market has seen the birth of many devices with characteristics that exceed those of the 5D mark IV. The Nikon D850 and the Sony A7R III offer improved image quality and meet the ultra-high definition needs of some users, while the A7 III offers Excellent image quality a more convenient 24 MP resolution for file management and a more comprehensive video mode that is truly compatible with professional use.

If the price of the 5D Mark IV hadn’t changed since its release, the aircraft would look pale in the face of this competition today, but it is now available at the price of an A7R III. For a photographer already equipped with Canon and who would like to renew his equipment, the 5D Mark IV remains a good choice. Compared to the 6D Mark II, it also retains the advantages of a dual memory card reader, superior sealing against the ingress of dust and moisture, 30 MP higher resolution and improved autofocus performance.

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