There may be no camera more eagerly anticipated than the Canon 5D Mark IV. The 5D Mark III is one of the workhorses of the industry, but it's definitely showing its age as of late, and many are clamoring for Canon to catch up. The 1D-X Mark II is certainly promising, but for many wedding and portrait photographers, the 5D series is their bread and butter. Here's everything we think we know about the forthcoming camera.
1. New Kit Lens
According to Canon Rumors, in all likelihood, the 5D Mark IV will have a new kit lens with it, likely a replacement for the well-liked 24-105mm f/4L IS. It's a great all-around lens, but in my opinion, a bump in sharpness and perhaps the addition of Canon's Blue Spectrum Refractive optical element are in order. Furthermore, Canon's image stabilization capabilities have come quite a long way since this lens' introduction in 2005, so expect a decent improvement in IS performance. Updating this lens in tandem with the 5D series makes perfect sense. It may also support the PZ-E1.
2. 4K Video
The 5D series became a big tool for filmmakers, and it's highly improbable that Canon won't respond by including internal 4K capabilities. Canon Rumors has confirmed this several times, along with 120 fps at 1080p capabilities. Expect DPAF (dual pixel autofocus) as well.
3. In Testing and Announcement
According to the same Canon Rumors post, the 5D Mark IV is currently in the wild and being tested by photographers. This means an announcement is likely in the coming months, with signs pointing to August. This makes sense, as Canon will not want to cannibalize sales of the 1D-X Mark II while it's still fresh on the market, but at the same time, photographers are starting to grow impatient.
4. My Take
Here's my take on what I expect the other specs of the 5D Mark IV to be.
- Resolution: At 22.3 MP, the 5D Mark III was a balance between ISO performance and resolution, as compared to the 18 MP of the original 1D-X. I expect the 5D Mark IV to be between 24 and 28 MP. While some have been speculating values above 30 MP, I just don't see this happening. The 5D series is supposed to be the versatile do-all camera in Canon's lineup, and people like wedding photographers need ISO performance. Those who want resolution can always jump to the 5DS series. My guess is 24 MP, with the 6D Mark II coming in at 28 MP.
Autofocus: Much like the 5D Mark III and 1D-X, I expect the 5D Mark IV to inherit most of the 1D-X Mark II's system, meaning 61 AF points (41 cross-type). While it sounds similar to the 5D Mark III, expect an improvement in tracking abilities, as well as improved sensitivity, with at least the center point going down to -3 EV (the same as the 1D-X Mark II and 6D). There's a good chance most, if not all of the points will focus at f/8. I also would be extremely surprised if Canon didn't bring back red AF points in the viewfinder, much as the 1D-X Mark II did. Anyone who has shot a 5D Mark III in dark conditions knows how infuriating it is when you can't see the focus points in AF Servo because they're black.
- Dynamic Range and ISO Performance: Here's where things get interesting. I think the 5D Mark IV is going to break with tradition a bit here. The 5D Mark III has 11.7 stops of dynamic range at base ISO, and most people (myself included) find this rather limiting. This mediocre dynamic range also means poor file latitude; in particular, the 5D Mark III is known for a nasty banding issue when one raises the shadows by any significant amount. On the other hand, its ISO performance was excellent upon its release and is still very good. With the 1D-X Mark II, Canon flipped the tables a bit: they traded gains in high ISO performance for gains in low ISO dynamic range, bringing the new sensor more in line with the likes of Nikon and Sony (Ironically, it seems Nikon did the exact opposite with the D5, trading DR for ISO performance). The result was a camera with very similar high ISO performance to the 1D-X (already excellent), but with much improved dynamic range and file versatility, which has been lauded thus far. With the 5D series being a more all-around camera (and more likely to be in the hands of landscape photographers), dynamic range is all the more important. Nonetheless, expect a one-stop bump in native ISO range to 51,200.
- Anti-Flicker: This technology first appeared in the 7D Mark II, followed by the 1D-X Mark II. It very slightly adjusts the timing of the shutter to avoid poor exposures caused by the flickering of certain types of overhead lights. I fully expect to see it in the 5D Mark IV.
- Single DIGIC 7: Currently, only the PowerShot G7 X II sports this processor, but Canon has historically put the latest sensor and processor in their cameras, regardless of the level, so expect to see this or a DIGIC 7+ in the 5D Mark IV. The 1D-X Mark II is distinguished by having dual DIGIC 6+ processors.
- Touchscreen: The 1D-X Mark II has a limited touchscreen, and with the 5D series filling a filmmaking role, at the very least, it should have touch-to-focus capabilities.
- GPS and Wi-Fi: The 6D's GPS and Wi-Fi capabilities were very well-received. I still use the Wi-Fi to remotely control mine, as its nearly silent shutter means I can put it on a tripod very near the action and control it using my phone. I expect to see at least GPS capabilities in the 5D Mark IV.
- Continuous Rate: Things get tricky here. The 1D-X Mark II tops out at 14 fps. The 7D Mark II can attain 10 fps, but I don't think Canon is worried about cannibalizing the 7D series with the 5D series, as they're made for vastly different audiences. A bump of 2 fps would be relatively big considering Canon's historically slowly evolving approach, so I expect to see 7 fps.
- CFast: I think we'll see the introduction of CFast, as in the 1D-X Mark II, with the second slot likely being a traditional CF slot.
As I've said before, the 5D Mark IV will be a pivotal camera for Canon. Those expecting a Sony-esque line of revolutionary features will likely be disappointed, but on the other hand, if Canon can provide a solid evolutionary upgrade, the many pros who rely on the 5D series to be the camera they can carry into almost any situation and trust to get the shot will likely be lining up to pick up its successor.