2017 Roundup: Semi-Pro Interchangeable Lens Cameras $2000+
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor | Dual Pixel AF | 4K/30p video
What we like:
- 7 fps shooting
- More AF frame coverage than predecessor, Dual Pixel AF is excellent in both stills and video
- Excellent build quality, ergonomics and touchscreen
What we don't:
- 4K video has hefty 1.64x crop factor and severe rolling shutter
- Ability to focus on subjects that move around the frame lacking
- Controls would benefit from more flexibility and consistency
A full four years after its predecessor, Canon released the EOS 5D Mark IV. Although we find this latest update to be more evolutionary than revolutionary, the Mark IV is the most refined 5D yet, and an incredibly versatile and capable tool for those that need it.
The handling and ergonomics of the 5D Mark IV are all but identical to its predecessor, but improvements have been made. The excellent touchscreen, with Canon's well-thought out interface, provides users an additional (and very useful) means of interacting with the camera. Custom Controls however continue to be arbitrarily limited, meaning it can be difficult to set up button customization to your exact taste.
Image quality is difficult to find fault with. Although its dynamic range still isn't best-in-class, Canon has made impressive strides, all the while providing a meaningful increase in resolution and maintaining excellent high ISO performance. Shooting Raw will allow you to reap all the benefits of this new sensor technology (and allow you to see just how improved this model is in terms of shadow noise at low ISO values), and while JPEGs continue to show the pleasing colors we've come to love of Canon, noise and detail aren't balanced as well as the competition in low light.
The 5D IV's updated AF system now offers up to 24% more vertical coverage. The central point is now sensitive down to -3EV. As before, Canon's 'Intelligent Tracking and Recognition' system still lags behind Nikon's 3D Tracking when it comes to automatically tracking moving subjects or faces, often erratically mis-focusing (as we found with the 1D X II). However, the system will keep up just fine if you can keep an AF point over your subject yourself. The real headliner here is Dual Pixel AF in Live View, which offers fast and accurate autofocus for shooting stills (even in bursts), as well as precise racking of focus during video shooting, making one-man run-and-gun video capture incredibly accessible. Dual Pixel AF can even track subjects and faces around the frame continuously, often better than the camera's own viewfinder AF system.
Speaking of video, the 5D IV also gains 4K/30p video capture, but with an extreme 1.64x crop that only allows for more telephoto fields of view. Significant rolling shutter also means skewed vertical lines and lots of 'jello-effect', which can limit the utility of stills frame-grabs from 4K footage. Meanwhile, the inefficient space-hogging Motion JPEG format requires the fastest (and largest) memory cards you can find. As with the Mark III, the new model offers headphone and mic jacks, but lacks useful video tools like focus peaking, zebra stripes or a flat log profile (though it does offer 'HDR' video capture in 1080/30p).
While the 5D Mark IV hasn't shaken up the industry like some of its predecessors, it remains a reliable workhorse with thoughtful improvements that will offer many professionals enough in terms of features and performance to be their only camera for just about anything.
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