The Canon EOS 5D Mark III was an unquestionable success as a pro-grade DSLR. It even won our Camera of the Year award back in 2012. Now, we get to meet its successor in the form of the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and there’s a lot of new stuff to talk about. We even had a chance to get some hands-on time with a preproduction version of the camera.
One of the biggest hardware upgrades comes in the form of the 30.4-megapixel, full-frame, CMOS sensor, which gains 8 megapixels over the EOS 5D Mark III that came before it. The sensor is coupled with the latest DIGIC 6+ Image Processor, which gives it a native ISO range of 100–32,000, expandable down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 102,400. So, there’s no sky-high jump in maximum ISO settings, but the native range has been bumped up from 25,600 in the EOS 5D Mark III. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect increased ISO performance over the previous model.
Another headline feature added to the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR is 4K video capture, something many people were certainly expecting. It can capture 4096 x 2160 footage (4K or Ultra HD) at 30 or 24 frames per second, in addition to 1080p (Full HD) at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps for slow-motion capture. As an added bonus to the 4K capture mode, the camera allows shooters to pull 8.8-megapixel still images out of the video files, which makes it a more viable hybrid shooting machine.
The screen on the back of the camera is now fully touch-enabled, which makes tasks like picking a screen from a 4K video much simpler with swiping. Of course, it can also be used to navigate menus, zoom in on images, and quickly flip through photos.
The dedicated autofocus system has 61 individual focus points, 41 of which are cross-type. All of the points are effective down to f/8 to increase compatibility with extenders. In addition to the typical DSLR focusing, the new sensor is equipped with Canon’s Dual Pixel tech for smoother, more accurate focusing when using Live View.
In addition to its focusing abilities, Canon is now leveraging Dual Pixel into something called Dual Pixel Raw, which essentially allows for lens micro-adjustments and corrections to be made after the fact. Canon was very careful to emphasize that it doesn’t allow for the refocusing of an image after the fact (in the style of the now-defunct Lytro camera), but simply to make adjustments. This is a feature that we’ll be diving into rather deeply once we have a review unit.
Another feature that has been a long time coming is the addition of Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to link up the camera with smartphones and tablets. The camera can beam images to devices where they can be edited, and the dedicated app can also control the camera from afar while showing a Live View preview on the screen. This will likely be a very welcome addition for many wedding and event photographers who now have to compete with smartphone shooters in regards to posting images to social media. There’s also built-in GPS.
The EOS 5D Mark IV has a pair or memory card slots, including a CompactFlash slot and a Secure Digital slot, much like the EOS 5D Mark III that came before it.
The last big addition is the new 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, which Canon claims is faster and more sensitive than the previous model. It has better facial recognition and tracking, and it focuses down to EV –3 or even EV –4 if you’re using Live View. This combines with the new EOS Scene Detection System, which detects flickering light sources like the ones typically found in gyms and offices, and tries to compensate for the variance by timing the shutter release.
From a design and usability standpoint, not much has changed going into the era of the EOS 5D Mark IV. The touchscreen will likely take some getting used to for those moving up from the EOS 5D Mark III or other non-touch-enabled DSLRs, but it seems very intuitive, especially for tasks such as focusing during video capture and swiping through images.
The Wi-Fi feels like a rather huge addition, especially since the remote-control smartphone and tablet app is well done and responsive, which isn’t always the case with proprietary camera apps.
We won’t have a real handle on how much image quality improvement there is until we have the chance to run a full lab test, but initial impressions are very positive.
The camera will start shipping in early September with a retail price of $3,499 for the body only. It will also come as a kit with the EF 24–70mm f/4L lens for $4,399 or with the EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II USM for $4,599, though the latter kit won’t be available until late October.
Ultimately, there aren’t many huge surprises here in terms of new features or functionality. Canon has added a lot of features that users have been asking for since 2012, but it will be very interesting to see what kind of real image quality improvements exist thanks to abundance of processing power and the additional megapixels. Check out a few sample images below and check back in the morning for our video hands-on.