Canon 5D Mark IV Review

Canon 5D Mark IV Review

Canon fans had to wait more than four years for the successor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, now the long awaited EOS 5D Mark IV is finally here! In addition to a significant technological boost, which was to be expected due to the large time difference, the price is now also breaking through the 4,000 euro barrier. As a reminder, the EOS 5D Mark II, the cheapest model in the series, cost just over 2,000 euros. The dual-pixel CMOS sensor now resolves 30 megapixels and allows 4K video recording. The autofocus has also become more powerful. In addition, there is a touch screen for the first time in the Canon graphics class.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a 30.4 megapixel dual-pixel CMOS full-frame sensor that also allows 4K video recording. [Photo: Canon]

High resolution
Very good image quality
Splash water protection
Large viewfinder
Good battery life
Ultra-HD incl. Frame-Grabbing
Relatively little news for photographers
Noise according to ISO 3.200


Canon had over four years to further develop the EOS 5D Mark III. What came out of the Mark IV is something to be proud of. The new full-frame dual-pixel CMOS sensor resolves 30.4 megapixels. The continuous shooting speed reaches seven frames per second with a maximum of 21 consecutive raw shots. In JPEG, on the other hand, the number of images is not limited at high continuous shooting rates. Also new is the fact that the Digital Lens Optimizer can now also be used for JPEG images, thanks to the powerful image processor Digic 6+. This allows image errors of the lenses to be minimized.

The sensitivity range extends from ISO 100 to 32,000, extended even from ISO 50 to 102,400. New is the possibility to store the dual pixels in the raw data format. The two partial pixels offer a slightly different viewing angle and thus allow a minimal shift in focus. Alternatively, the bokeh can be relocated. The horizontal shift of the unsharpness area allows optimum adaptation to the focused areas. It is also possible to reduce ghost images, for example to minimize lens reflections.

The autofocus module also offers a high technical level. It has 61 measuring points which are distributed over the image surface in a net-like manner to enable better tracking of the subject. 41 of the sensors are cross sensors that react to both horizontal and vertical contrast edges. Even at moonlight of -3 LW the autofocus still works. Similarly, the autofocus still works with F8 low-light converter lens combinations, and now with all 61 measuring points. However, if you use the dual-pixel autofocus in Live View, the autofocus even focuses at -4 LW. The touch screen is also new, but it’s still fixed, so the screen can’t be moved. With a diagonal of 8.1 centimeters and a resolution of 1.6 million pixels, the monitor offers a very high resolution.

For the first time in Canon’s professional class, the EOS 5D Mark IV offers a touch screen. It measures 8.1 centimeters diagonally and resolves fine 1.6 million pixels. [Photo: Canon]

Of course, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV offers a clear LC display. The housing is made of a robust magnesium alloy and is protected against dust and splash water. [Photo: Canon]

The memory card slot of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV accepts both a CompactFlash and an SD card. Of course, fast models are to be preferred in order to be able to take advantage of the high serial frame rate of 7 frames per second, especially in JPEG. [Photo: Canon]

The classic reflex viewfinder works with a pentaprism and offers a 100% field of view at 0.71x magnification. New in the 5D Mark IV is the 4K video function with a maximum of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels resolution (17:9) at either 30, 25 or 24 frames per second. Even single images with a resolution of 8.8 megapixels can be extracted from it. The high bit rate of 500 Mbps as well as the storage with H.264 compression should provide a high image quality. In Full HD (1,920×1,080) up to 60 frames per second are possible, in HD (1,280×720) even 120 frames per second. However, the built-in microphone only works in mono, and the external microphone connector must be used for stereo sound. The HDMI output, on the other hand, operates at maximum Full HD resolution, while external video recording is possible thanks to status indicators that can be blanked out.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is also a good choice when it comes to connectivity: both GPS and WLAN are built in. The DSLR can be remote controlled via smartphone or transmits images in this way. Nevertheless, there is still the professional WLAN adapter WFT-E7B, which offers a much larger range of functions, such as networking several cameras. The body of the EOS 5D Mark IV is still made of a robust magnesium alloy and is protected against dust and water splashes.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a full-frame sensor with 28 megapixels and a maximum light sensitivity of ISO 204,800. The video mode, meanwhile, includes 4K resolution as well as microphone and headphone connections. The frame rate is estimated to be a maximum of 30 frames per second. 60 frames per second as with the top model EOS 1D X Mark II might be unlikely, especially since it necessarily requires extremely expensive CFast-2.0 cards. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will accommodate both CF and SD cards.
Nevertheless, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV should work anything but sluggish. The still secret DSLR can take up to nine frames per second. Shoulder display, splash water protection as well as WLAN and NFC are very likely to slumber on board. A touch screen, too, but a folding function for the display is unlikely.
The expectations were high when we first tested the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in practice. While in the past the manufacturer often acted cautiously when it came to implementing new technologies, with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV the manufacturer proves that it can do something different. With WLAN, NFC, GPS, a dual-pixel full-format sensor, 30 megapixels, touchscreen display, 4K video, HDR movie and seven-frame-per-second recording series, Canon leaves nothing to be desired. In addition, the manufacturer surprises with an innovation that was created during the further development of the dual-pixel sensor. With images in the new “Dual Pixel RAW” format, the photographer can easily shift the focal plane, reduce ghost images or even move objects in the foreground and background plane a bit to the left or right during post-processing.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Functionalities

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Numerous direct keys operate the most important functions such as ISO and AF field.
The new CMOS full-format sensor forms the basis for some important functions. For the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV the Japanese have decided on a discreet resolution increase – from 22 before to now full 30,4 Megapixel. Thus, the resolution does not quite reach the level of the full-format counterparts Nikon D810 and Sony Alpha 7R Mark II with 36 and 42 million pixels respectively. A disadvantage? Hardly: The resolution is sufficient to offer not only large-format exposures but also sufficient scope for subsequent cropping.
The actual highlight of the image chip lies in its “dual pixel” structure. For those who are not yet familiar with the technology, each pixel is equipped with two photodiodes instead of the usual one. The two diodes can be used together or separately. Since the EOS 70D, this technology has primarily been used for fast phase focusing in Live View mode. This not only works smoothly and smoothly with photos – the “Dual Pixel CMOS AF” also brings advantages for film makers. Using the 3.2-inch touchscreen built into the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, videographers can now shift the focus directly on the display and even influence the response speed. In the now four-year-old predecessor, however, focusing via Live View was always associated with an annoying “pumping” of the contrast autofocus.
With the new “Dual Pixel RAW” function, developers are proving that the potential of the dual-pixel sensor with the phase AF function is far from exhausted. When activated in the menu, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV records a RAW file that basically consists of two shots with slightly different viewing angles.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Dual Pixel RAW Explained

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: The ISO ranges from 100 to 32,000 and can be expanded to 102,400.
How’s that work? As mentioned, each pixel element on the sensor surface is equipped with two photodiodes arranged next to each other. Different viewing angles result, for example, when the camera only uses the left or right photo diodes. For the best possible effect, Canon recommends using the Dual Pixel RAW function at focal lengths between 50 and 200 millimetres.
The potential of this function can easily be illustrated by means of a portrait. With spectacle wearers, it can quickly happen that the frame of the spectacles is in focus instead of the eyes. With the help of the two slightly offset viewing angles, it is now possible to move the focus plane very slightly forward or backward to the eyes. The effect is not to be equated with the principle of the light field camera. It is less a matter of refocusing than of shifting the focal plane. If you want to use this function, you have to use the software Digital Photo Professional that is included in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Whether and when an option will come for Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom is currently still unclear.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Headphone and microphone connection makes it also suitable for filming.
At least since the Mark III, the 5D series has made a name for itself among filmmakers. With the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the camera series finally arrives in the 4K age and enables shots in full Cinema 4K resolution, thus with 4,096 x 2,160 pixels at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second. It is stored on CompactFlash cards. There is one thing to consider when choosing the lens: If 4K is set, the focal length will be increased by a factor of 1.74. If you want to save a still image from the video afterwards, you can fast-forward the camera to the desired image and save the recordings with 8.8 megapixels in JPEG format. If Full-HD is sufficient for you, you can record at 50 and 60 fps. Even slow motion at 120 fps is possible in simple HD resolution. An HDR movie mode as well as GPS and WLAN round off the luxurious equipment.

Rarely has a DSLR like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV been so longed for and had to live up to such high expectations. After all, the predecessor model marks probably the most important full-format DSLR for EOS photographers – and the manufacturer. Four long years of ambitious Canon photographers have waited for this moment. Now the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is there and has to assert itself in test and practice. And face the critical questions and requirements: Does the successor bring enough new things to justify a rise? Has the image quality improved significantly? And will the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV trigger a similar hype as the Mark III in its time? The answer is yes.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Refreshingly well known

Is it really the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV? The sturdy and edgeless magnesium housing, the large 3.2-inch high-resolution touchscreen on the back, the bright optical viewfinder and the numerous direct keys – all of which are strikingly reminiscent of the predecessor model. At first glance, the two models actually look like twins. If it weren’t for the small name tag on the front, most would hardly notice the difference. The connections for cable remote releases and flash sync cables have changed places, a USB 3.0 port now slumbers under the rubber cover and a small button on the back determines the AF field size. That’s basically it with the changes. Bad? Not at all: experts of the EOS series get along immediately. Having to bother with a new key layout or having to familiarize yourself with a changed menu layout is not possible here. In this case it means: touch, switch on, get started. Fine.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Moderate Pixel Increase

But if you take the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in your hand for the first time, you will notice one of the numerous micro-adjustments – starting with the weight. With 885 grams in the ready state, the DSLR weighs surprisingly little. Nevertheless, the manufacturer has not saved any money: the 35 mm sensor has a resolution of around 30 megapixels, about eight megapixels higher than that of the predecessor model. Looking at the 42 megapixels in the Sony Alpha 7R II, this sounds like a rather moderate increase. But the image size has enough potential to crop the subject tighter, but still produce large format prints.

In addition, image noise is kept within limits: Despite the increased resolution, interference pixels do not show up until ISO 3,200 at the earliest. Up to this light sensitivity, the high edge sharpness of 2,061 line pairs per image height at ISO min as well as the high level of detail are astonishing. However, from ISO 6.400 the image quality decreases exponentially. We’ve seen better days of this. However, for such a resolution bolide the performance is altogether ok.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Everything Better with Dual Pixel RAW?

Another important innovation is also slumbering on the image sensor: dual-pixel technology. The EOS 5D Mark IV uses these for contrast autofocus measurement, which in practice results in pleasantly fast focusing in Live View mode. On the other hand for the first time also for photos. “Dual Pixel RAW” is Canon’s name for this function, which allows you to rearrange the focus. If you have ever focused on the eyelash instead of the iris in your model, you can now correct this in the post-processing. Canon provides the necessary software. A suitable plug-in for Lightroom is also in the works at Adobe. But admittedly, in practice we have rarely used this feature. An eye recognition, on the other hand, would have been more welcome. In addition, the sharpness shift is limited to a few millimeters, but the RAW file size increases noticeably. The 5D Mark IV is therefore not a light field camera à la Lytro. But let’s leave the church in the village. After all, Dual Pixel RAW is making its debut here, and we are confident that this feature will improve significantly in the coming years.

Speaking of improved: Canon has given the EOS 5D Mark IV a much improved video mode. True 4K resolution at 30 frames per second delivers razor-sharp images. Ambitious photographers will also find suitable connections for microphone and headphones as well as an external 4K output via HDMI. A further highlight: HDR video, which gets burnt out lights better under control. HDR and 4K motion pictures, however, require a fast and large SD or CF card – with an emphasis on “large”. Because the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV records 4K video exclusively in the outdated Motion JPEG format. The reason for this could lie in the photo extraction: Similar to the expensive professional model EOS 1D X Mark II, individual 4K frames can be saved as JPEGs of around eight megapixels. However, the EOS 5D Mark IV does without a pre-burst mode or a series shot with de facto 30 frames per second as with current Panasonic DSLMs.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: WLAN, GPS, NFC and an illuminated display are among the most important extras.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Fast despite 30 megapixels

Instead, it offers a regular series shot at seven frames per second. That doesn’t sound like much at first. But in relation to the resolution it is still a lot. Especially in JPEG format when the camera has an unlimited series length. With lossless compressed RAWs, on the other hand, it starts stuttering after only 22 shots. JPEGs are therefore recommended for sports and concert photos, for example. And don’t worry: both white balance and exposure metering work noticeably more precisely and convince with solid results. This saves time-consuming post-processing.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: Connections for flash systems and USB 3.0 decorate the left side.

Bottom line

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV convinces in the test as one of the best DSLRs with full frame sensor. The image quality of the 30 megapixels pleases up to the high ISO levels, extras such as WLAN, touch screen and GPS are missing only little. The video function also scores with 4K resolution and HDR function, although the focus is clearly on this. If you therefore film little, you can still go for the cheaper predecessor model
High resolution
Very good image quality
Splash water protection
Large viewfinder
Good battery life
Ultra-HD incl. Frame-Grabbing
Relatively little news for photographers
Noise according to ISO 3.200

Fact sheet

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)31.7 megapixels (physical) and 30.4 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 5.3 µm
Photo resolution
6.720 x 4.480 pixels (3:2)
6.720 x 3.776 pixels (16:9)
5.952 x 4.480 pixels (4:3)
5.040 x 3.360 pixels (3:2)
4.480 x 4.480 pixels (1:1)
4.464 x 2.976 pixels (3:2)
4.464 x 2.512 pixels (16:9)
3.968 x 2.976 pixels (4:3)
3.360 x 2.240 pixels (3:2)
3.360 x 1.888 pixels (16:9)
2.976 x 2.976 pixels (1:1)
2.976 x 2.240 pixels (4:3)
2.240 x 2.240 pixels (1:1)
1.920 x 1.280 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.080 Pixel (16:9)
1.696 x 1.280 pixels (4:3)
1.280 x 1.280 pixels (1:1)
720 x 480 pixels (3:2)
720 x 408 Pixel (16:9)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
480 x 480 pixels (1:1)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard, IPTC
Video resolution
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 30 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 25 p
4.096 x 2.160 (17:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 120 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 100 p
Maximum recording time 29 min 59 sec
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) PCM


Lens mount
Canon EF


Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 61 sensors, 41 cross sensors and 20 line sensors, autofocus working range -3 EV to 18 EV
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Tracking autofocus, Manual, AFL function, Focus magnifier (10x)
Focus control Depth of field control, dimming button

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder Single lens reflex viewfinder (prism viewfinder) (100 % image coverage), 21 mm eye relief with 0.71 x magnification, diopter compensation (-3.0 to +1.0 dpt), replaceable focusing screens, grille can be inserted
Monitor 3.2″ (8.1 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,620,000 pixels, viewing angle 170°, anti-reflective, brightness adjustable, colour adjustable, with touchscreen
Info display additional info display (top) with illumination


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 252 fields, spot measurement (measurement over 1 % or 6 % of the image field, AF-AE coupling)
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 30 s (Auto
)1/8,000 to 30 s (Manual)
Bulb Function
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with maximum 7 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 32.000 (automatic
)ISO 50 to ISO 102.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, Cable release, Infrared release
Motives 0 further motif programmes
Picture effects Landscape, Monochrome, Neutral, Portrait, 4 more image effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent lamp, Kelvin input, Manual 1 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 7.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 21 stored photos, 7 fps to memory card full at JPEG
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Timer Timer/Interval Recording
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram


Flash no built-in flash availableFlash shoe
: Canon, standard centre contactFlash connection socket
: Canon system cable, F plug
Flash range Flash sync time 1/200 s
Flash functions Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Flash Exposure Compensation from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV


Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
CF (Type I)
second memory card slot
GPS function Internal GPS
Microphone Mono
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Canon LP-E6N (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 1,865 mAh
)900 images
Playback Functions Crop images, rotate images, protect images, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier with 10.0x magnification, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (PCM format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Picture parameters Noise suppression
Special functions Electronic water level, Grid can be faded in, Orientation sensor, Live View
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 3.0 SuperSpeedWLAN
: available (type: B, G, N)
NFC: available
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Mini (Type C
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pole))
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pole)


Supported direct printing methods Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Case Splash guard
Features and Miscellaneous built-in low-pass filterDIGIC-6+
signal processing processor Simultaneous
JPEG and RAW recording possibleExposure meter
Working range 0-20 EV (ISO 100)
5 Cross-shaped AF metering pointsIndividual
autofocus tuning in the +/-20 range for up to 40 lensesPTP support Adjustable

image parameters17
Individual function with 46 settings Uncompressed
video output 8-bit 4.2.


via HDMI flash bracketing
with compatible flashAuto
Lighting OptimizerHighlight
Tone PriorityDigital
Lens OptimizerDiffraction
and distortion correctionVignetting
and chromatic aberration correctionAdditional
M-Raw format and S-Raw format4K-Video
Color Sampling 4:2


(8 bit)
FullHD and HD Color Sampling 4:2:0 (8 bit)
4K screen grab with 8.8 megapixelsExternal
monitor connectionHDMI output
can be used as recorder connection (Full HD uncompressed YCbCr 4:2:2)
GPS intervals 1, 5, 10, 15 or 30 s and 1, 2 or 5 minutesQuasi-Zenith
Satellite MichibikiNMEA formatPictBridge function

only via WLAN

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 151 x 116 x 76 mm
Weight 950 g (ready for operation)


included accessories Canon Eg Eyecup Miscellaneous AccessoriesCanon
IFC-150U II USB CableCanon
LC-E6 Charger for Special BatteriesCanon
LP-E6N Special Battery USB Connection Cable
, Strap, Digital Solutions Disk
optional accessory Canon AC-E6N AC adapterCanon
ACK-E6 AC adapterCanon
BG-E20 Battery handleCanon
CBC-E6 Charger for special batteriesCanon
DM-E1 (Microphone)
Canon DR-E6 Battery compartment Adapter cableCanon
WFT-E7B (WiFi adapter)
Canon Angle viewfinder C (Angle viewfinder)
Eyecup EgEye correction lenses


the Eg seriesInfrared remote control

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