Canon 5D Mark IV 2 years in

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George Zip Senior Member • Posts: 1,126
Canon 5D Mark IV 2 years in

I wrote a review about 2 years ago from the point of view of an amateur photographer.

A bit has changed for me since then. I got really serious, immersed myself in studying light, lighting, posing and so on. I have carved out a part time business shooting weddings and people. It’s going well, I have about one wedding a month booked so far  for 2019 and considering pursuing it further.

Anyway… I thought I would write a follow up review on my thoughts with the 5D4 after 1000’s of frames. So rather than rehash the usual stuff the following are some things that I have found important that is not mentioned a lot. It might be useful for someone.

Included are some pictures from the 5D Mark IV of paid work and so I do not bore you all to death with wedding stuff some random photos that I have taken for fun.

So in no particular order....

Images straight off the camera: This is the strongest feature IMO. I do not have to do much at all to get the photos to delivery level. The skin tones always look good. I just import with a preset I made and make small tweaks. I do not have to spend much time at all colour correcting. The 5D4 does a great job. I did one wedding with a Nikon D800E as a second camera and it was a nightmare in PP. I must be doing something wrong because I had to spend a LOT of time colour correcting for skin. Don’t get me wrong… the Nikon is an awesome camera but I found it time consuming and made me appreciate the Canon.

Reliability: Another underrated feature when online forum dwellers are arguing about 4K and DR. I have used my two 5D4’s for 10 hours straight and they have never failed in any capacity. It is so good not to have to worry about your gear performing.

Star Rating Button. I am all over this like a cheap white suit. I use this to rate images when doing a job. I did a wedding on the weekend and essentially culled in real time for the same day slide show. This week I photographed some musicians for their website and got them to pick which ones they liked saving me the hassle of getting images approved. **TIP**. The ratings will only go to the primary card for some reason and therefore that card must be used when importing into Lightroom or Photo mechanic.

Touch Screen. This is still first class two years later. Works perfectly and is awesome for reviewing your images as described above and getting around menus and so on.

Ergonomics: Very comfortable to use all day. This is no real surprise. Both Nikon and Canon are good in that regard.

Focus: I read here and there that some cameras have better focus systems. I do not know how much better it could get. I never miss focus in any light unless I made an error. I have recently started using live view on occasion. It is good if you need to engage with your subject and not stare through the viewfinder. DPAF is extraordinary. I am aware that Sony hit a home run with their eye focus. The new Canon mirrorless has a version of eye focus so it will be interesting to see if it is as good as Sony’s. However DPAF is really good and I don’t think it has ever missed.

Also this camera can almost focus in the dark and not miss. Critical for low light work. Also it is pretty good for backlit situations.

Focus Options: This is gold. There is pretty much unlimited ways to configure this. I generally live in single shot and occasionally change the amount of focus points. One thing I have programmed is: The back focus button I have set to go to Servo when pressed and off when released reverting back to single shot. So you can change in and out very intuitively which I think is excellent for not missing photos.

Dynamic Range. The most over rated spec in cameras in my opinion. Unless you want to shoot Lanscapes in one shot or you are a real estate photographer I do not understand why you would need more. This camera has enough for normal photography. I still think if you need to adjust images by more than a stop on a regular basis you need some education not a better camera.

Flash Metering . Really reliable and accurate. I suspect that the accessory family of Canon and Nikon is why working photographers are reluctant to change to newer systems. I use the 600 for ETTL flash work and 3 of those cheap Godox flashes for static work. Have had no issues to date. The canon flash's are reliable and meter very predictably.

Weather Sealing. I do a LOT of beach photography. By that I mean I live near surf beaches so as a result every man and their dog want beach photos. I was shooting one day and what was pretty much a sand storm started. We called it it off but the camera was fine. I also fell into some water briefly dunked the camera and it was fine. So I have no complaints there.

Street Photo.  I won an award for this one !

Anti Flicker: More gold. I do not know if other brands have this. When I first got it on the 7d2 it made me realise how many photos were being effected.

Auto WB: Yeah, I know if you shoot RAW white balance is not as critical as if you are shooting Jpeg. However I am amazed how accurate this camera is in Auto WB. I RARELY have to tweak it in post. This is absolutely awesome if you have to process a LOT of photos.

Video. I do a little here and there but do not venture out of simple fusion photography. I have no need for 4K. I can see how frustrating it must be for video guys. They tell me that they are forced to use other cameras for better 4K implementation and it sucks because nothing looks quite like Canon video files.

WIFI: Works well. I find it useful in the race to get stuff online when on a job. I just wish they could make it more seamless with Bluetooth or something. It's a pain the way it is on the 5D4. You have to disconnect the wifi, reconnect the camera. Not a big deal but if you want to it quickly it is not ideal. First world problem I know.

Overall. I think the Canon 5D mark IV is an outstanding workhorse that can do a bit of everything. Is it still valid with all the advances by Sony and the truly outstanding Nikon 850??? I think it is. I flited with the idea of Sony and a convertor but they did not feel good to me. If you like still photography I can’t see how you can wrong with the 5D4. I do understand Canon is getting out-specced by the competition and is food  for Trolls online . The question is will another system help you take better pictures. For me that would be no 99% of the time. A better question is probably does new tech get you where you need to be faster and easier. EVF will get you to correct exposure faster so that would be a yes. Worth changing? No I don’t think so. To quote an overused catchphrase… you do buy into an entire camera system and I don’t think anyone can dispute Canon glass is amongst the best. Also Canon glass is cheaper than the 1st party glass. Also there are a billion second hand lenses out there if that is your thing.

We really have got to the point of diminishing returns IMO. All the cameras are so good. Anything you get will do a good job. Glass seems to be getting the same . Canon released the 70-200 2.8 III and is only a marginal improvement on the II.

Having said all that, I do look over the fence and see what Sony and Nikon have done and have Camera envy from time to  time. I am a bit of a gear geek deep down. Then sanity returns and I realise that more megapixels and cool features will not help me take better photos. The lure of something new and shiny does not compel me to lose a heap of money changing for essentially no real benefit.

I am not a Canon cheerleader. I shoot Canon because that's what I started on. I firmly believe you can get good images on anything. Photography is about light, problem solving and imagination. It is not about gear.

I still give it 5 stars. It's hard not to give 5 stars to a product that does everything you want it to do and does not fail. I still think it is a bit overpriced. I do notice there are good deals out there now.

Future: So in two years or so they will release the 5DV or whatever it will be called. By then I will be ready to replace my cameras if I don't kill them. I hope it is mirrorless so I can have a EVF for realtime exposure and silent shutter plus the other advantages mirrorless can offer .  I hope it is the same body and buttons as the 5D series and has a native adaptor that works seamlessly with the EF lenses .

Lastly I apologise for any typos and bad grammar.

 George Zip's gear list:George Zip's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM +4 more
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30 megapixels • 3.2 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Aug 25, 2016
George Zip's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Nikon D800E
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