Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review


The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV comes with a huge arsenal of high end features, including a 30 megapixel full frame CMOS imaging sensor and Canon’s latest AF system. Great things are expected of this device. Can it live up to the hype?


Let’s take a look at what we get with the “IV” in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Summary of Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Features

  • 30.4 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS Sensor
  • 7 fps continuous shooting and silent shutter mode
  • 4k 30fps video with 8.8 mp still frame grab, Full 1080p HD 60 fps, HD 720p mode at 120 fps
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for responsive and smooth AF during video or Live View shooting
  • Dual Pixel RAW
  • Built-in GPS
  • Built-in WiFi, NFC (Near-Field Communication)
  • 3.2″ (81.1mm), approximately 1,620,000 dot Clear View II LCD monitor with full touch-screen interface, including selection of AF area
  • DIGIC 6+ image processor
  • 61-point High-Density Reticular AF II system (like 1D X Mark II) including up to 41 cross-type AF sensors, with EOS iTR, f/8 AF
  • EV -3 AF sensitivity, EV -4 when in Live View mode
  • 150,000-pixel RGB+IR, 252 zone metering sensor for improved AE and AF precision
  • Zone, Spot and AF Point Expansion focusing modes
  • ISO 100-32000 with expansion up to 102400, down to 50
  • Short 58ms shutter lag
  • Flicker Mode adjusts shutter release timing to avoid flickering light issues
  • Dual Memory Card Slots supporting one CF (UDMA Mode 7) and one SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) memory card
  • Upgraded Transparent LCD viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Dual-Axis Electronic Level with dedicated viewfinder display
  • Time-lapse Movie function
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)
  • Peripheral Illumination, Chromatic Aberration, Distortion and Diffraction Corrections in-camera along with DLO (Digital Lens Optimizer)
  • Magnesium alloy body, shutter durability rated up to 150,000 cycles, improved dust and weather resistance
  • Mirror Vibration Control System to reduce mirror vibration-caused blur
  • Customizable Quick Control screen
  • +/- 5 stops of exposure compensation
  • Super Speed USB 3.0 for high-speed tethering and image/movie transfer
  • In-camera Multiple Exposure and HDR modes, HDR 30 fps video
  • Improved custom controls with built-in intervalometer and bulb timer

Sensor and Image Quality -Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

This is one of the biggest jumps that Canon has taken with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Jumping from 30MP to 22.3MP. While Nikon has been going onto the greater MP game, Canon has stayed put also because greater MP mean the camera would need greater processing power to push the details onto the card hence reducing the “max number of shots/second” of that particular camera. Here is a comparison of the latest and a few of the older Canon DSLRs in the same respect:

Model FOVCF Sensor Pixel Size Pixels/Megapixels Viewfinder DLA*
Canon EOS 80D 1.6x 22.5 x 15.0mm 3.7µm 6000 x 4000 24.2  .95x 100% f/5.9
Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1.6x 22.4 x 15.0mm 4.1µm 5472 x 3648 20.2  1.0x 100% f/6.6
Canon EOS 6D 1.0x 35.8 x 23.9mm 6.54µm 5472 x 3648 20.2  .71x 97% f/10.5
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R 1.0x 36.0 x 24.0mm 4.14µm 8688 x 5792 50.6  .71x 100% f/6.7
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 1.0x 36.0 x 24.0mm 5.36µm 6720 x 4480 30.4  .71x 100% f/8.6
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 1.0x 36.0 x 24.0mm 6.25µm 5760 x 3840 22.3  .71x 100% f/10.1
Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1.0x 35.8 x 23.9mm 6.4µm 5616 x 3744 21.1  .71x 98% f/10.2
Canon EOS 5D 1.0x 35.8 x 23.9mm 8.2µm 4368 x 2912 12.8  .71x 96% f/13.2
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II 1.0x 36.0 x 24.0mm 6.6µm 5472 x 3648 20.2  .76x 100% f/10.6

Since Canon has never before offered this resolution, we can safely assume the sensor on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a new one.


There are many benefits to a higher resolution sensor. A primary benefit is that the image can be output larger or output to the same size at a higher DPI for better quality.

I’ll give an example. I was out clicking some birds at a nearby lake and I clicked a bird while it was just about to land onto the water surface. Only when I came back home and opened the image onto my laptop did I see that the bird had a fish it its mouth. So I quickly cropped over that area making it my prime shot. Now this would not have been possible with a lower MP camera.

If you do not own a lot of telephoto lenses and find yourself cropping out frames regularly, the larger sensor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a good deal for you.

With more resolution available, it is possible to make a variety of final compositions from a single image. For example, individual portraits could be cropped from a group photo.

As usual, a lot many resolution and/or quality options are available on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, including M-RAW (5040 x 3360, about 17 mp) and S-RAW (3360 x 2240, about 7.5 mp). As always, JPG images can be generated at any size desired when converting from a RAW image. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV supports 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 (square) aspect ratios as well.

Increase the resolution and autofocus accuracy becomes more critical with Auto Focus MicroAdjustment (AFMA) taking on an higher importance. Like the 5D III and 5Ds, the 5D IV has this feature available. AFMA works (for lenses that focus consistently) and is extremely  useful.

Another issue that becomes more visible at high resolution is diffraction. As the aperture opening decreases, images become less sharp beyond the approximate aperture we refer to as the Diffraction Limited Aperture. As resolution increases, that point of visible degradation occurs at a wider aperture. All that said, it must be remembered that any resolution-caused increase in image quality issues will be apparent only when viewing images large, such as at 100% on a monitor.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the latest camera to receive Canon’s “Fine Detail” Picture Style. The Fine Detail PS provides increased sharpness, offering individual control over Strength, Fineness, and Threshold parameters.

A first-seen and very unique 5D IV image quality improvement is the utilization of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system to capture Dual Pixel Raw (DPRAW) files. When this feature is enabled, data from each side of each dual pixel pair is retained.


Dual Pixel Raw changes were said to be subtle but perceptible, with more perceptible changes able to be made with wider apertures in use.

Note that, with 2x information being captured with DPRAW enabled, file sizes increase by a factor of 2, the high speed burst buffer capacity is significantly reduced and the high speed burst rate is impacted.

Lens corrections available in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV during image capture are peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration, distortion and diffraction along with DLO (Digital Lens Optimizer).

The base ISO setting (ISO 100) is always my preferred setting for low noise. Not all situations accommodate ISO 100 and the 5D IV provides 10 stops of higher light sensitivity settings for those situations in addition to 1 stop lower, extended ISO 50. The two highest ISO settings are also referred to as extended, with H1 and H2 referencing ISO 51200 and 102400.

Noise increases as ISO settings go up, but Canon’s current full frame sensors deliver extremely clean images and the 5D IV is especially impressive in this regard.

All of Canon’s EOS cameras provide a wide range of noise reduction, sharpness and other image quality setting adjustments, enabling you to dial the results into perfection.

Multi-shot Noise Reduction (MSNR) is one of the additional in-camera options available in Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. MSNR merges information from multiple exposures taken in a full-frame-rate burst into a reduced noise image.

File Size and Media – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Expected was that 30 MP files were going to be large and we were not let down. The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo taken with the referenced Canon EOS DSLR body.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO: (MP) 100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400 12800 25600 51200 102400 204800 409600
Canon EOS 80D (24.2) 31.2 31.9 32.7 34.0 35.9 37.9 40.6 43.7 47.5
Canon EOS 7D Mark II (20.2) 25.5 25.9 26.7 27.7 28.9 30.6 32.7 35.1 37.9 41.0
Canon EOS 6D (20.2) 25.3 25.6 26.0 26.7 27.9 29.2 30.9 33.1 35.3 38.6 42.5
Canon EOS 5Ds (50.6) 64.7 65.7 66.9 69.2 72.5 76.6 81.6 88.1
Canon EOS 5Ds R (50.6) 65.2 66.4 67.6 69.8 73.0 77.2 81.9 88.4
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (30.4) 38.8 39.1 39.6 40.4 41.6 43.5 45.5 48.0 51.4 55.1 59.8
Canon EOS 5D Mark III (22.3) 28.6 29.0 29.5 30.3 31.6 33.1 35.3 37.8 40.6 44.7 49.2
Canon EOS 5D Mark II (21.1) 26.9 27.1 27.7 28.6 29.7 31.3 33.6 36.7 41.2
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II (20.2) 24.6 24.9 25.3 26.0 26.8 27.9 29.1 31.0 33.4 36.3 38.4 40.8 44.7
Canon RAW file sizes increase with:
1. Resolution
2. Bit Depth
3. Detail

For an ISO 100 image, you can typically figure about 1.3MB in RAW file size per megapixel of resolution (or 2.6MB for Dual Pixel RAW files).

Note that, for high demand applications including 4k video recording, Canon is recommending UDMA 7 CF cards with minimum sustained write speeds of 100Mbs or faster.

Buy plenty of capacity and multiple cards. Rotate cards to maintain a backup set until, minimally, you are able to get the images safely into your formal backup strategy.

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter Sound – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

With a 1 fps increase from its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a 7 fps high speed burst rate. While that is only half of 1D X Mark II’s rated speed, it is still reasonably fast.

Model FPS Max JPG Max RAW Shutter Lag VF Blackout
Canon EOS 80D 7.0 77/110 20/25 60ms n/a
Canon EOS 7D Mark II 10.0 130 31 55ms 100ms
Canon EOS 6D 4.5 73/1250 14/17 <60ms
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R 5.0 31/Full 12/14 59ms 125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 7.0 Full 17/21 58ms 86ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 6.0 65/16k 13/18 59ms 125ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark II 3.9 78/310 13/14 73ms 145ms
Canon EOS 5D 3.0 60 17 75ms 145ms
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II 14/16 140/Full/Full 59/73/170 36-55ms n/a

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV frame rate was increased from the III, but the RAW buffer capacity did not receive as significant of an upgrade.

Autofocus – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Unless one is resorting to use manual focus, the performance of the camera’s AF system is critical to realization of the ultimate image quality the camera is capable of. A camera’s image quality simply doesn’t matter if the subject is out of focus. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV receives a new AF system featuring the same AF sensor found in the 1DX Mark II.

One of the great features of this new AF system is the AF point spread.


Another Canon EOS 5D IV improvement is the 1 stop better low light AF capability, now rated to EV -3 in One Shot mode. Note that individual 5D IV AF points do not light up red as in the 1D X Mark II. Especially important to wildlife photographers is that the Canon EOS 5D IV supports AF with f/8 max aperture lens combinations (a lens plus an extender) at all 61 individually selectable points with all 27 central AF points providing cross-type AF support.


The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV AF Area options are Spot AF, Single-point AF, AF Point Expansion w/ 4 points, Zone AF, new for the 5-Series Zone Large AF and Auto AF point selection.

The improved part of the Canon EOS 5D IV AF system comes from the 150,000-pixel, 252-zone RGB+IR Metering Sensor. The Canon EOS 5D IV’s 150k-pixel full RGB plus IR-sensitive metering sensor features EOS iTR AF, working in conjunction with the AF system to recognize faces and also detect colors and shapes for improved AF point auto selection and greater AF precision.

Originally introduced with the EOS 70D, later implemented in the EOS 7D Mark II, 1D X Mark II and now in the 5-Series is Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Dual Pixel CMOS AF utilizes the imaging sensor for fast and precise phase detection AF when the mirror is raised, such as in Live View or during video recording (Movie Servo AF). Each pixel on the sensor does double duty, providing information needed for phase detection AF while performing its primary color and brightness detection function.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Dual Pixel CMOS AF covers approx. 80% of the sensor area and is compatible with most EF lenses and lens combinations with a max aperture of f/11 or wider.

Video – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II made a huge splash in Full HD (1080p) video recording. The 5D Mark III refined the video recording experience. Naturally, improving upon the 5D III’s video recording capabilities was a high priority for Canon.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV became Canon’s third DSLR to feature 4K video recording and their second full frame camera with a Dual Pixel CMOS sensor.

Movie Servo AF options are the same as for Live View – Face Detection with Tracking, FlexiZone Multi, and FlexiZone Single.

Here is a look at the available NTSC and PAL recording resolutions and frame rates:

4096 x 2160 (4K – 17:9, cinema standard)
29.97p/24.00p/23.98p (with NTSC)
25.00p/24.00p (with PAL)

1920 x 1080 (Full HD – 16:9)
59.94p/29.97p/24.00p/23.98p (with NTSC)
50.00p/25.00p/24.00p (with PAL)

1280 x 720 HD (16:9)

New to the 5D-series is an HDR Movie feature available in when shooting at FHD 29.97/25.00p (.MOV or .MP4). With HDR Movie mode enabled, the camera reduces clipped highlights allowing for a higher dynamic range to be captured in scenes with high contrast.

Of course, the biggest video feature upgrade in the 5D IV is the ability to record DCI 4K (17:9) video. The value of being able to record 4K video cannot be understated, even if your typical output is only Full HD 1080p.

Be aware that the 5D Mark IV does not use the entire frame when recording 4K video. Instead of converting the full resolution sensor data to 4K output via downsampling, the camera utilizes the central portion of the frameto capture the one-to-one pixel ratio needed for 4K video.

Exposure/Metering System – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV shows improved calculations over its predecessor. As mentioned, color and luminance information gathered from this sensor is algorithmic-ally combined with information from all AF points to determine proper exposure.

This new system supports an EV 0-20 metering range, improved from the III’s 1-20 range.

Metering options are:

1. Evaluative metering
2. Partial metering
3. Spot metering: Center spot metering
4. Center weighted average metering

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV inherits Canon’s excellent Anti-flicker mode. If you have ever photographed under flickering lights, such as the sodium vapor lamps especially common at sporting venues, you know what a problem that type of lighting can cause.

Since the viewfinder’s metering system is required for flicker detection, this feature is not available in Live View mode. The mirror lockup feature is also disabled when Anti-flicker mode is enabled.

Canon’s Anti-flicker mode really is a game changer – it is going to save the day for some events. As I’ve been saying, this feature alone is worth the price of the camera upgrade for some photographers.

Viewfinder – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

I love all-glass pentaprism 5D-Series viewfinders, showing a 100% view of your composition and the 5D IV gets the same. The 5D IV’s intelligent viewfinder optionally superimposes a range of shooting information and shooting aids including a dual-mode electronic level display and grid.

My favorite addition to the viewfinder LCD is the dedicated electronic level indicator, showing up to 360° roll and ±10° pitch in 1° increments.

Durability – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a very high quality DSLR built for the rigors of professional use. It is going to feel great in the hand with refined and time-tested ergonomics.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has received improved weather sealing, like the 7D Mark II in this regard.

Another durability factor is the camera’s shutter assembly, a mechanical part that moves significantly and moves extremely fast every time a photo is taken. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV gets the same 150k actuation durability-rated shutter as found in the 5D III and retains the fast 1/8000 sec capability.

Model Shutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS 80D 100,000
Canon EOS 7D Mark II 200,000
Canon EOS 6D 100,000
Canon EOS 5Ds / 5Ds R 150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 150,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark II 150,000
Canon EOS 5D 100,000
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II 400,000
View the full Canon EOS 5D Mark IV specifications to compare additional cameras.

Most will find the 150,000 rating very sufficient.

Additional Features – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capability, providing easy transfer of images and movies to compatible mobile devices using Canon’s free Camera Connect app. This app provides some remote control of the camera’s settings and shutter when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via Wi-Fi.


The camera’s built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) allows quick and simple pairing to a compatible Android device, or devices that support NFC like the Canon Connect Station CS100 photo and video storage and sharing device. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV also comes with built-in GPS.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV also has a built-in Intervalometer and bulb timer functionality. Interval timer shooting can be combined with AEB, WB bracketing, multiple exposures and HDR mode.

As found across most of the Canon DSLR product line, a self-cleaning sensor promises to keep image as dust-free as possible.

Battery – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The 5D Mark IV uses the LP-E6N lithium ion battery pack. The LP-E6N’s benefit over the LP-E6 is a slight increase in storage capacity – from 1800 mAh to 1865 mAh.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a battery rating of 900 frames. Battery life is always highly variable based on factors such as drive mode, live view/video/GPS/WiFi use and temperature.

Price – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

Price is one camera aspect that we always want to be lower. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV gets the same initial pricing as 5D III, which by no means is a pocket friendly price tag. However, that this camera delivers so much value for the price means that only professionals and experienced enthusiasts will look to buy it considering they will try and use most of the features exhaustively.

Conclusion – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Review

It is always a difficult task to summarise the features of a feature rich DSLR like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in a short review. If you like reading books like GoT and LOTR you might as well love reading the instruction manual for the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV which is no less than 600 pages. Jokes apart, it can help you with anything you wish to play around with in your Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The manual will tell you all about a huge array of features including Auto Lighting Optimizer, Distortion Correction, Chromatic Aberration Correction, Peripheral Illumination Correction, Diffraction Correction, Dual Pixel RAW, remote control via a USB-connected computer, flash setup and control, High ISO Noise Reduction, Long Exposure Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone Priority, HDR, Multiple Exposure … and many, many other topics.

If you are interested in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV you already have a lot of photography SLR/DSLR experience and I do not need to tell you that this is one of the best full frame DSLRs in the market right now.

If you are coming from the Canon EOS 5D mark III, you might give it a skip unless you badly want the new connectivity options like Wi-fi, GPS and NFC. And/or the 4K video recording. There will be price drops for the 5D III  now and its a good time to pick one up if you are not interested in the little upgrades 5D IV has had.

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