Canon 5D Mark IV Review — Canon’s Full Frame Mirrorless is a Reality

Originally, I planned on not buying the 5D Mark IV. I have been very pleased and amazed by the focusing ability and quality of the 5DS and its images, that I didn’t think the 5D Mark IV would be much of an improvement if any at all. While the 5DS offers more resolution, it’s dynamic range, focusing ability, low light performance, FPS, video recording, lack of wifi, and lack of dual pixel AF opened the way for the 5D Mark IV to be released. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t use the 5DS for all sorts of things, on the contrary — it’s a great camera! As proof, here are some recent images taken with the 5DS.

The 5DS requires thinking, more manual operation and tweaking of settings, working with it’s shortcomings like dynamic range, but ultimately has amazing resolution. It’s so good in fact, that I am not (too) interested in Fuji’s newest medium format camera.

Now, let’s talk about the 5D Mark IV. It’s focusing is the fastest of any DSLR I have ever used. The dual pixel AF and live view autofocus with face detection is amazing! Plus it’s got a touch screen! It works and shoots like a full frame mirrorless camera — except better! I had been using a Sony A7R II to compliment my 5DS. I actually prefer mirrorless cameras. However, once I got the 5D Mark IV, I found that I prefer it and actually like using it much more than Sony’s A7R II. The focus in live view is faster than Sony’s. There are way more lenses too! Furthermore, there’s a touch screen with tap to focus and shoot (Sony doesn’t have that yet on their full frame mirrorless). The battery life on the 5D Mark IV also is much better than Sony’s A7R II. The one edge to Sony is full frame 4K without cropping and built in image stabilization. However, as you might have found from my recent postings, I have actually sold my Sony A7R II and replaced it with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for video (I also use it for stills). More about the Olympus E-M1 Mark II here. The FPS and buffer has been sufficient enough to replace my 7D Mark II for sports/karate photography. Also, of course the IQ beats the 7D II to a pulp. I don’t miss the 7D Mark II at all, and am glad I sold it.

Well I’ve gushed long enough about the Canon 5D Mark IV, let’s talk about it’s disadvantages:

  1. Stupid crop for 4K requiring very wide lenses.
  2. EF-S lenses would be ideal for 4K, but alas Canon won’t let them fit on the camera — stupid!
  3. No flat video profile. None! Seriously, you need to use the old tried and true method of selecting Neutral, sharpness 0, contrast -4, saturation -2, or you need to install a third party one. Personally, I think the neutral option is better than VisionColor, EOS HD C-Log, and Technicolor’s Cinestyle.
  4. No IS and Canon doesn’t have any good STM IS lenses for video. Again, it’s really not a video camera even though the potential is there.
  5. Bad 4K video codec.
  6. No tilting or swiveling screen. The camera could so benefit by it. Why Canon? Why?
  7. SD card slot doesn’t support UHS-II cards.

So, is it the perfect camera? No, but it’s a great all rounder for stills. Especially for tough lighting and dynamic range. The resolution is high, but you can indeed tell a difference in comparing similar images with the 5DS. Still, for convenience and all around shooting, I’m more likely to grab the 5D Mark IV over the 5DS.

Below, I’ve selected some images from the 5D Mark IV with various lenses, ISOs, and settings, that way you can see how the camera performs in various conditions. All of these were shot with available light — which is pretty darn impressive. I’ve superimposed the metadata so you can see the settings used.

Any questions or comments? Please share your thoughts below.

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