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Hands-on with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

25 August 2016

Hands-on with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon chose to reveal the 5D Mark IV to a select group of people at a secret location in London a few days before the official announcement and we were there to get a taste of the action. Unusually for Canon, we were even allowed to shoot a few photos with the camera and share them  here - albeit at reduced size.

Like the 5D Mark III, the Canon 5D Mark IV has a full-frame sensor, but the pixel count has been pushed up from 22 million to 30 million. The autofocus system that operates when using the viewfinder has also been improved as the 61 points now spreading higher up and down the frame. Also, 21 of the 41 cross-type points are sensitive down to f/8, which is great news if you want to use a teleconverter with a long lens. There are even 5 points that are dual cross type at f/8.

We were able to shoot a skateboarder in very gloomy conditions and the beta sample camera didn’t falter, getting him sharp and tracking him as he grinded his way towards us.

Bringing the sensor into line with those in the Canon 1DX Mark II and 80D, Canon has used its Dual Pixel CMOS technology in the new camera. This means that there’s phase detection focusing available in live view and video mode. Phase detection focusing tends to be faster and more decisive than contrast detection focusing and it didn’t disappoint when we directed the camera towards pirouetting cyclist. We’re going to need to experiment with a full-production sample when one becomes available to be sure, but the early signs indicate that the video autofocusing system is pretty reliable.

Speaking of video, the 5D Mark IV can record proper 4K (4096 x 2160) video at 29.97, 25, 24 and 23.98 fps and in 4:2:2 (8 bit) to an inserted CF (UDMA 7) or SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I card. It's worth noting here that if you do shoot in 4K, it's not full frame - there is a crop factor of 1.74x - Canon have obviously done this to maintain image quality without pixel binning.  Full frame HD recording is also possible at up to 60fps and 720p footage can be recorded at 120fps - which is nice for slow motion lovers. The maximum recording duration is 29mins 59 seconds whatever the resolution and Full HD footage can be saved internally or externally via the mini HDMI port.

Further good news is that Canon has given the new camera a 3.2-inch 1,620,000-dot LCD screen that’s touch-sensitive. It makes operating the 5D Mark IV much quicker than the 5D Mark III, but if you don’t like it there are all the usual button and dial controls. Actually, there’s even one more, a new customisable switch that allows you to briefly change the function of the front dial to speed up some setting changes.


We’re not allowed to show full-resolution images here, and we can’t process the raw files yet, but we’re impressed with how well detail is preserved in images up to ISO 12,800 (the highest setting we used). Incidentally, the standard sensitivity range is ISO 100-32,000 (the Mark III’s is 100-25,600), with expansion settings taking it to ISO 50-102,400 (the same as the 5D Mark III).

Other features we're delighted to see - the 5D Mark IV is designed for mobile connectivity with Wifi, NFC and a built-in GPS3 receiver with compass for precise geo-tagged information of latitude, longitude, and elevation.

Needless to say, we’re really looking forward to getting some stock in!  We should see the cameras around September.  More details to follow!