Hands-On With the New Canon 5D Mark IV

First, I have to give a huge thank you to Adorama and Canon for inviting me to come play with the highly rumored 5D Mark IV. I'm completely blown away that they asked, and truthfully, I'd be lying if I didn't do a few skips at the thought of getting in on the new toy ahead of time.

Before we get into the camera, I did want to point out that the two lenses that are coming out along with the camera shouldn't be overlooked. Canon has introduced the third version of the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L and the second version of the EF 24-105mm f/4L as well. As a prime shooter, when they told me about these two new lenses, I sort of shrugged and thought I wouldn't add them to my collection of primes. However, after using with them on the 5D Mark IV and seeing the improvements in image quality and sharpness, I know these two will end up in my gear bag for sure. OK, on to the camera.

You can read about the full list of specs on Canon's website, like the 100-32,000 native ISO, dual card slots (CF and SD), and the 30.4 megapixel sensor (or better yet, watch me go through most of them in the video in this article), but below were the highlights for me and what I know I'll be using it for in my wedding photography career.

4K Video

First off, let's just get it out of the way that this camera is not a C-series camera. I was recently having a discussion with my husband, Filmmaker Rob Adams, about this. He was going on about how the cinema world is disappointed in this and that, but this camera was never meant to be a C-series camera for the 5-10+ years of cinema experience that audience has. Whenever you create a product or write a speech even, you have to think of your audience. That's exactly what Canon did here. This camera is meant for the established professional photographer and emerging cinematographer. 

Onto the video capabilities. I don't think you can make a camera with video in it anymore without having true 4K resolution in it. It's here, it's gorgeous, thank you, Canon. But, that being said, the cinema folks are a little disappointed that it's a 1.74x crop. For me as a photographer (primarily), I'm ok with that, but that may be a bit annoying for the advanced cinema crowd who want to get the most out of their lenses.

In-Camera Image Grab

In addition to being able to film in 4K, you can also play the video back in-camera, choose any frame of that clip, and pull an 8.8-megapixel JPEG from it, saving it to the memory card. Pretty nice if you ask me, particularly for a photographer like me that simply doesn't want to be bothered with the post-production involved for grabbing stills from video. It's done in camera and that's that. 


You've got two options here for working with slow-motion video: 60 fps (frames per second) at full HD (1080p) and 120 fps at HD (720p). Do we wish the 120 fps was at full HD? Of course, especially if I'm comparing it to a certain Sony camera. As a photographer, am I OK creating slow motion at 60 fps at 1080p for what I'll mostly use it for (weddings and events)? You bet.

Auto Focus

This baby has 61 points on the AF Grid, but that's not what I'm most excited about. If you're a Canon user, you know that you have to take three pictures with hopes of one hitting the focus point that you want. So, with that in mind, what I'm loving is the expanded vertical coverage that gives me a bigger span across my image where I can select focus. This helps tremendously by eliminating a lot of the need for focusing and recomposing my images, which typically result in out-of-focus images. 


Oh, I'm sorry. You're just not going to get it in this camera. Disappointing, sure, but realistic, because some things do need to be unique to the top-of-the-line cameras. If you're a fellow photographer, this isn't going to mean much to you. You'll just be happy with the amazing Canon colors that come out of this camera.


When I was first told about the embedded Wi-Fi capabilities, I thought, "Fun, but not practical." I was wrong. Think about being able to shoot tethered, wirelessly, and control all of your exposure settings, focus, and shutter release right from your smartphone. Awesome! And yes, also fun for a selfie.

Now, from what I saw of this setup, it's not going to quite replace tethering, which I know studio photographers are eagerly wanting to know about. But for wedding professionals like myself, especially ones that enjoy doing same day edits like I do, you're going to really love how quickly you can get your images on your smartphone via the Canon Camera Connect application. Personally, I'm excited to use it to have a quick photo to post on Instagram with the couple's wedding hashtag for quick social media buzz.

Dual Pixel Raw

Here's where the big hype is with this camera: the Dual Pixel Raw that gives you the ability to make minor focus adjustments in post and shift bokeh slightly. This is really cool, but I'm not going to use it. Don't get me wrong, this is awesome, but you have to use Canon's software to do it, which for me is a major hiccup in my workflow, both for same day edits as well as my workflow for proofing. Personally, I wouldn't add it in unless it was my only hope of saving the picture of the first kiss or something along those lines. Is it a super cool function that's great to have for just-in-case missed moments? Heck yeah! Will I be using it otherwise? Probably not.

Overall, I love the 5D Mark IV and think it's so great an upgrade from the 5D Mark III that Canon is going to have trouble fulfilling orders. Definitely pre-order ASAP if this camera is for you.

All images in article were taken with a beta version of the Canon 5D Mark IV and edited with Lightroom and Far Green Country Actions.

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Hope that sensor doesn't suck. Hope the 24-105 is actually a lens, and not a smear box like the present one.

The female model appears to be on Xanex...

I was super excited at first but as I dive deeper into the specs, the disappointment grows. This thing will need to be a low light monster for me to be interested. I find it pretty lame that the GH4 has the same frame rates (albeit a much smaller sensor) AND a log profile...not to mention that camera is 2.5 years old now.

I will hold my breath in the meantime and await the ISO tests to see if this is truly a competitive release against Sony's line up.

You wonder what low light is going to be like as well. Any camera can take nice pics in high key conditions like those shown here, even my crappy Nikon 1 J4 pocket camera can do that, and it will probably not have a cyan cast on the whites.

The 4K crop seems to be an odd choice. Is it a true limitation on the sensor/digic processor or is it simply an imposed firmware limitation so as not to compete with the Canon cinema line?

maybe less pixels = less processing power required. Or maybe magic lantern will fix that.

I guess it's mostly about heat / processing power / data transfer.

Not only does Canon need to protect their cinema cameras, they also need to protect the 1Dx

This is the worse article I've EVER read for a new piece of equipment. The author is not only snarky, but an obvious paid shill.

Canon has already lost huge amounts of people moving over to Sony's A7 series.

It's absolutely disgusting in every way that Canon purposely cripples the video on this new IV, including the fact that there is no 4K hdmi out., no full frame recording in 4k,

And yet tries to convince us that "dual pixel raw" and touch focus will "make it all better" (it won't , dual pixel raw is a gimmick, although touch focus is nice!)

I'm done with Canon, sad day because I love my Mark iii. But this is a joke, it's 2016 and to not support 4K hdmi out is nothing but greed on Canon's part.

Thanks to canon, I'll save the money I would have spent on the IV, on more native lenses for the Sony A7r ii.

lol - not only am I not paid, I didn't even get to keep the gear they let me play with. But I agree - my personality is totally snarky. :-P

Curious to hear your thoughts on the HDMI out. How do you use that in your workflow?

Ignore that fool. With a name like Rocco the world requires him to be a douche.

I'll quote you Vanessa:

"Oh, I'm sorry. You're just not going to get it in this camera. Disappointing, sure, but realistic, because some things do need to be unique to the top-of-the-line cameras. If you're a fellow photographer, this isn't going to mean much to you. You'll just be happy with the amazing Canon colors that come out of this camera."

You opened the paragraph with "Oh, I'm sorry, You're just not going to get it in this camera." ... That statement IS snarky. I didn't say your personality was snarky, but how you've written this article. If you can't see that, I don't know what to tell you. Further, the last sentence in the above paragraph that you wrote: "You'll just be happy with the amazing Canon colors ..." is another example of a snide comment.

I find it amazing that you are perfectly ok with telling your readers how THEY will feel about a particular position. I'm not going to waste any more time pointing out the examples in your writing which clearly show your tone/smugness/etc... if you are going to write and put yourself out there...It would behoove you to consider your entire audience and stop indirectly mocking people who have a different opinion than you. Also, Sean isn't helping your case by mocking me directly by calling me a douche or making fun of my name.

Lastly, your response "But I agree - my personality is totally snarky :-P" further proves my point. Perhaps my original comment WAS and IS a bit dramatic and I could have worded things a little differently. I got mad with your elitist attitude.

If your husband is a filmmaker, and you are a professional photographer, why are you asking me about HDMI out, surely you understand WHY that's important?

Still, I'll fancy you. I have a 3rd party external recorder that records the video on a 512 gig SSD (PIX-E5) ... doing this is beneficial for a whole host of reasons (you get Zebras, focus peaking, wave forms, etc... which BTW, you don't get even with the 5d mark IV.) In addition, the PIX-E5 allows you to record in PRORES, a codec that is far superior to MJPEG that the canon is using internally, and uses less HD space. I could go on and on about all of the advantages of using an external recorder, don't think I need to, ask your husband about this. The real "a**hole move" on Canon's part is to disable 4k HDMI out. That's equivalent to a car manufacturer putting special lug nuts on the rims of your car, preventing you from every replacing those tires with your OWN CHOICE of a particular set of tires.

Back to my original point. Canon HASN'T listened to its audience and has basically put up the big middle finger to a LOT of people. I have invested over $25,000 in canon gear and canon glass and other canon accessories. Companies need happy customers in order to stay relevant and in business. I am very happy with the Sony A7R II which IS a camera that takes incredible photographs AND incredible video, I've had it for a year.

I suggest you watch Tony & Chelsea Northrup's excellent preview on the multitude of shortcomings the 5d Mark IV has


Sad, that instead of you acknowledging your tone in your writings, you follow up with even more smugness.

Good luck on your writing in the future, perhaps my crankiness will remind you next time to be careful about HOW you say what you would like to say in the first place! You needed the criticism, but I'm sorry if it offended you, again good luck!

And goodbye to Canon (sad!!!! I WANTED to NOT say goodbye to Canon!!!)

(Take a look at the explosion of FE mount lenses from 3rd parties the last year, it isn't just me who has said goodbye.)


Seriously, she agreed to the snarky tone - give it up. And while I agree that the video isn't up to today's standards, has any of the Mark 5 series ever been? It's like your'e complaining when a fish can't climb a tree. The ii, iii, and 5ds all got similar criticisms. They've told you over and over that's not their strategy. I don't care about a freaking hdmi out, you do, so don't buy Canon. You obviously aren't their target. That's ok. I am their target and they are listening - I wanted GPS, Wifi, larger raw images, easier to use (the added button on the back makes manual adjustments SO much easier) , and touch screen - throw in a little more compact and the dual pixel that I didn't ask for and I'm liking what I have tried already. If you are seriously that mad about not getting what you want for video - then you should try another brand.

Left Canon 2 years ago... still not coming back

The hottest feature presented in this video is the presenter. Delightful and convincing. I nearly went out and bought it all ...

Fun, simple and informative. And the host might be the most beautiful woman in the world.

I am truly disappointed in Canon. Everything except the duel pixel has been in numerous other cameras for years. I unfortunately see your preview with some major bias which is to be expected as I am sure badmouthing a product yet to be released was part of the terms. There is absolutely no reason to warrant an upgrade for features that are extremely minor and have been in other cameras for a long time now. All Canon has been doing for the last 8 years is trying to put the genie back in the bottle and I think they successfully have. It's a stills only camera now. I am afraid it's value to people has diminished greatly because of it.

Not sure why all the hate from the former Canon users. If you already left Canon, why continue trolling. I left Nikon because I ran into a long streak of bad products and CS. I don't visit Nikon websites to remind current Nikon users about my reasons for leaving.

If I see a Sony/Nikon article on a general site such as this I will take a peek to see what's new and leave without comment. Sometimes I wish Canon did somethings like Fuji, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, or Sony. Each manufacturer does certain things better than others. In the end, it was very expensive switching from Nikon to Canon, the 5dmk3 while lacking in some ways to the D800s' I owned prior. It has never once failed me, most of my lenses need zero AFMA and the two that need adjustment are +/-2, flashes do not overheat, and I don't shoot video. Overall, I've been happy and they helped me earned a living. Switching again would be expensive and I don't want to give up old reliable that gets the job done to get something that is always in need of a firmware to fix beta type issues or risk going through service center hell again.

The mk4 should address all the issues where the mk3 fell a little short (stills) which is really a very small percentage of my photos. I preordered the mk4, the only thing that would have made me happier would have been a lower price.

I reeeaaalllly want to like this camera. I've been shooting with a 5Dmk3 the last few years and I love it because I make money equally split as a photographer AND a small budget video producer. The camera has a few really great party tricks that I've been waiting for: dual pixel focus, wifi, and touch focus - which works incredibly on my 70D. BUT....

The thing that Canon has officially done to videographers is end the true "dual career with one camera" idea. They could not (and most likely would not) create a 5D priced camera that can do both equally well. It's either because they don't have the technology to give us full frame 4K or give us a better codec than MJPEG (I mean, really?), or they don't want to cannibalize their C line...which is probably more realistic. I think it's a really dumb move to intentionally cripple your cameras out of fear, but whatever.

Therefore, they chose to give photographers a great camera, and videographers an "eh" camera, even though they're the ones who started the DSLR video revolution. The video looks ok I guess...not really a visual difference from the mk3, but I don't know if it's a problem with YouTube compression or what, but that 120p looks atrocious.

I might buy this camera in the future for photography work and a B-camera for video, but I'll just stick with my 5Dmk3 for now. It sucks, but hey, that's how they've chosen to do business. Onwards to the Sony camp for video!

With some more thought, I'll probably sell my 5Dmk3 to get this because the upgrades on the photo side are valuable, and the 1080p video is at least AS good at the mk3, so it's worth it. I'll just have to invest more in a decent video camera.

Sorry Trenton, I don't mean to single you out with this reply, but your comment sums up much of the disappointment being expressed by people who have (IMO) unrealistic expectations. So please don't take it personally...

It's basic marketing... People are very quick to criticize Canon for "crippling" products to avoid "cannibalizing" higher end products. What business, in their right mind, would sell top end features in a mid-range package? Do any of you do that in your business? Do your clients bemoan you for doing the same with some of your packages? Maybe.

So what's the outcome? Clients do one (or more) of the following:
1. Enjoy the mid-range offering thoroughly
2. Go with the mid-range offering begrudgingly
3. Spring for the high-end offering (Justified of begrudgingly)
4. Look for alternative offerings from another vendor

For a mid-range price you get a bloody decent all-round camera. There are other all-rounder options that might give or take a few features, sure. Go with what suits your needs. And if your needs include specialist (high-end) features, well then Canon (rightly) expects you to pay for a specialist product.

Sure, we'd all love a camera that does everything fantastically, and at a mid-range price (heck, at a budget price). But actually, then we'd hear complaints from people who hate a still camera that does video, or is missing a pop-up flash etc etc. Nothing is ever good enough these days.

It is an interesting business case though...working on the assumption that Canon has the tech know-how to put all these features into a 5D-style camera, and could sell it at a mid-range price (maybe a touch higher), and still make a decent profit, would that be such a bad idea? Yes, you cannibalize the high-end camera sales, but you'd probably sell a truckload of the mid-range product. And you'd still sell tons of lenses at full price. Would that be a more profitable and market-share approach? Who knows, but it's not the model that Canon currently take to market.


Not sure you really read what I wrote...but whatever, that happens online all the time.

I think people have to understand Canon is not going to sabotage their C-Series line and are looking for that functionality in their DSLRs that's simply just not going to happen. I'm not picking this up because I've got a 5DsR but I'll wait for MKIII's to drop and add one as my everyday workhorse.

Everyone keeps talking about how Canon purposely crippled the Mk4 because they don't want to cannibalize their C series line. I hope Canon sees this because most of the features they keep leaving off their EOS series will just get added back thanks to Magic Lantern! Zebra stripes, focus peaking, histogram and overlays for different aspect ratios are all on my Mk3 with ML and yet are all the things Canon keeps leaving off because of they're afraid to cannibalize their C series. If those features will indeed hurt their C line, then why hasn't it already with all the people forced you use ML? Adding these basic features for video will in no way hurt their precious C series cameras.

The biggest thing that hurts this camera I think is the lack of a faster media. Even from a stills point of view, continuous shooting at 7 fps with their DualPixelRAW format will only yield 7 shots before the buffer runs out. The 1Dx2 can shoot continuously until the card fills up at 14 fps!

I will still more than likely upgrade from my Mk3 to the Mk4... but I think I'm going to wait to see what the GH5 is like, what Sony unveils next, and what all Magic Lantern can do with the Mk4 first.

Love reading about new gear - was originally a canon shooter but now use Nikon for sports and Fuji system for everything else. I'm surprised you didn't post any low-light high ISO samples. Also - the two pics of the couple look very soft and washed out - not a good representation of this camera's capabilities unless its just unable to produce sharp images in those lighting conditions. Do you have any other samples? Have you tested the dual pixel raw capabilities? Just asking...

I really want to like this camera. The camera has a few really great party tricks that I've been waiting for .

the 5D Mark IV includes a feature that is considered to be a novelty in the world of photography: Dual Pixel Raw .
What is Dual Pixel RAW? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article:

Vanessa, were you able to edit RAW files in Lightroom? Thx.

I haven't because I used the beta version of the camera and could only work with the jpgs at the time. :-( I'm sure the RAW files are AMAZING!

Good review, thanks for sharing.

I wrote my own review of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Check it out and write a comment so I know what you think. Here's the link: https://www.digitalcamcentral.com/canon-eos-5d-mark-iv-4-review/