Canon 5D Mark IV Review (4K video)
The 5D series have become popular over the last few years because of its exceptional capabilities starting with the 5D Mark II to shoot videos in 1080p. It was also a perfect camera for stills. It was the perfect buy for two ranges of customers; videographers and photographers. Then, the 5D Mark III released with ever more megapixels, better focus points, better dynamic range and SD card slot and bigger enthusiasm. Canon brought photographers to shoot videos and videographers to shoot still. We also saw Magic Lantern that added new features by tweaking the firmware. Canon was on fire to a point where tons of people started to shoot movies for professional content on TV and the big screen. Third-party companies started adding and selling gears as gimbals for stability, external LCD, microphones and more. Hollywood also started to be interested in them for action movies where risks of breaking a camera was reduced in cost. Magic Lantern even brought raw shooting DNG format video. It was epic. Tutorials on YouTube around the 5D series was big. A community was born and well established. Is this enthusiasm with the 5D Mark IV over? The answer is YES.
Canon sent a clear message that they want to be seen with the 5D as one the best camera for still photography. For filming; you will be disappointed because it’s not the camera of choice post production. Let’s see what went wrong with the video side.
First the codec they used is obsolete and takes ridiculous amount of space (using mjpeg). You can’t just go on a production set without tons of memory cards and you’ll need them to have high-writing speed also limiting the camera to produce raw video shooting, which tons of people were expecting (.dng format).
Second, the cropping factor of 1.74x in 4K shooting mode. What this means is that if you want to use your full frame with a wide-angle lens, you won’t be able. Example, a 16mm lens, it gives you a focal length of 27mm and with a 50mm lens will get you 80mm. Yeah, you read right. You are paying the big bucks to have the same format as a 7D or 80D basically. Canon thinks that you will buy the 5D and go buy one on their super expensive “video-only” professional camcorder. Needless to say, that the 5D Mark IV is limited to 30FPS in 4K. These were the biggest bummers and mistake of the 5D Mark IV. The nice video feature is the dual pixel focus, which will track an object or shape(face) that you locked in and will keep the zoom on it following the movement… but any smartphones now can do that. It was just about time and should have been in the 5D Mark III with a firmware update.
Now on the photography side, this is where things shine. Canon finally joined competitors increasing pixels to 30MP. We are now at a point where we doubled the details of negative films (which is compared to about 15MP). Focusing is better in low light and ISO has been increased a bit, but not even a full stop, which is sad, in my opinion. Dynamic range is improved and you will be amazed how you can recover shadows and add stops to your pictures that were shot to low. The noise in higher ISO is definitely improved. There is a 7 fps shutter, one more than the Mark III. The live view focusing is also amazing. GPS and Wi-Fi are now included, which is nice if you travel a lot and on the road you want to share pictures on the fly. To be honest, this is probably one of the best cameras on the market for photographers.
Let’s talk about updates. We are in a world where we do software update on our phones on a regular basis, with new features or bug correction. Canon has been doing poorly on it. They do the old fashion where it’s like buying a toaster. It does one thing and you are stuck with its functionalities for the rest of its lifetime. But in 2016, things have changed and almost everything is updatable like our smartphones, cars, TV box, smart TVs … It’s sad to see that Canon has a nice product, but they don’t/won’t take the time to release new firmware every month or so with bug fixes, improvements or new features. This is actually a good review from Tony Northrup about the death of consumer cameras and he explains very well when I am trying to explain right here.
If you want to do video shooting, unless Magic Lantern release something interesting for Raw video functionality on the 5D Mark IV, you should really consider BlackMagic instead of a Canon camcorder. BlackMagic camera is a full frame 35mm sensor with 4K, with 12 stops of dynamic range and you can just insert standard 2.5″ SSD, the size you want, and process in DNG format in your favorite video editor (probably DaVinci Resolve).
Canon 5D Mark IV verdict : If you have a 5D Mark II or first time full frame, it’s the best camera. It’s not a revolution, but an evolution if you already own a 5D Mark III.
- Released by Canon
- Release date: September 13th 2016
- Price : $3499 USD