Does the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV offer enough to entice existing 5D-series users as well as newcomers to full-frame? Michael Topham finds out as he puts it to the test
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review: Verdict
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV does bring some enticing new features to the fore, but arguably it’s the new 30.4-million-pixel sensor that steals the limelight. The sensor’s performance at high ISO, combined with its radically improved dynamic range, makes it markedly better than the EOS 5D Mark III when it comes to returning high levels of detail to shadowed areas in post-production and shooting images with less noise in low-light. The addition of DCI 4K video is likely to allure filmmakers as well as those purely focused on stills photography, but its 1.74x crop factor and lack of a clean 4K HDMI output and log shooting options are factors that could put videographers off.
For the enthusiast and pro photographer looking for a great performing all-rounder, the EOS 5D Mark IV ticks a lot of the right boxes. It handles well, it’s built to a robust standard, and it adds long overdue features such as Wi-Fi, GPS and touchscreen control. Canon will argue that a fixed screen helps to improve its weather sealing, but having recently used cameras with excellent tilting displays, it did feel something of an inconvenience having to lie on the floor to compose low-level shots. The debate of whether future models in the 5D series should have a tilting screen or not continues.
Improvements to the 61-point AF system will benefit those who regularly shoot with teleconverters and the spritely autofocus performance in live view brings it bang up to date with the speed of other DSLRs in Canon’s EOS line-up. As for Dual Pixel Raw, it’s an innovation that has its uses, particularly when you’re shooting images with an extremely shallow depth of field, but from my personal experience it slowed down my workflow a little too much and as a result would only be used sparingly.
The EOS 5D Mark IV is the most advanced 5D-series model we’ve seen to date, but priced at £3,599 (body only) it will leave a big dent in your wallet whether you upgrade or buy it from new. Those who own an EOS 5D Mark III and are content with the image quality produced by their 22.3-million-pixel CMOS sensor will find it hard justifying an upgrade, especially when you consider you will still need to spend around £2,425 after selling your existing model – provided it’s in excellent condition. Original EOS 5D and EOS 5D Mark II users who skipped the Mark III are more likely to justify an upgrade. As all-round full-frame DSLRs go, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV remains an excellent DSLR that will continue to appeal to the masses, but possibly more so when the price drops a little.