Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Update:
- All video output will still be 8-bit.
- Sampling for DCI 4K will be increased to a 5632 x 2970 pixel sensor area resulting in a 1.27x Crop factor.
- Sampling for UHD will be from a 5472 x 3078 pixel sensor area resulting in a 1.29x Crop factor.
- Both modes are accurately down-sampled to their final resolutions.
- Existing frame rates will remain the same.
- The current 1:1 4K sampling mode will remain an option for situations benefiting from the 1.78x Crop factor.
- There will also be new full-sensor 3K modes added including 60fps and HDR 24fps.Both will use a line-alternating sampling method, so quality will be inferior to the improved 4K format (but better than the existing FullHD 1080p format.) It is unclear whether the file resolution in the final firmware will be the full 3360 x 1890 format or down-sampled to 3072 x 1728.
- FullHD 1080p will also use this 3K full-sensor mode with down-sampling for a noticeable improvement in perceived resolution.
- FullHD 1080p will also receive a modest frame rate boost to 72/75fps.
- The EOS 5D Mark IV will gain the XF-AVC file format at 120Mbps (4:2:0) and 200Mbps (4:2:2). Both formats should require low enough data rates to accommodate UHS-I U3 type SD Cards.
- Reports relating to a possible service job for the 5D Mark IV are the result of the heat sinks on current units not performing well in some environments when used with the newer firmware. This is because of the increased processing load from the enlarged video sampling area. Newer units will ship with an improved heat sink while existing 5D Mark IV units can be retrofitted. Pricing is unconfirmed for that servicing.
- The newer firmware will still work in non-serviced cameras, but this may result in premature temperature warnings.
To me, this is a huge upgrade for Canon. I don’t actually remember similar upgrade from the No. 1 camera manufacturer ever. But this is good. May be they decided to follow Fujifilm and make their loyal customers happy. Or do they…?
My take on Canon
Although I may consider myself primarily a Nikon shooter, I have a good Canon setup, and I use it for both professional and leisure work. I’m not going to describe here which features of which system I like most, nor this is a Nikon vs. Canon article. Also, in the past 3-4 years, I have been in search of a good travel system – smaller, but without losing the image quality and flexibility of the DSLR. I started with Sony, then sold all my Sony gear and moved to Fujifilm. The problem is that once we start to add professional zooms to these “small” cameras, the system becomes no longer small. So I just abandoned the idea (for now) to have a third system for travel. In that regards, the new Fujifilm X100F (and I had the X100S) is quite good by itself to be a good travel camera – with enough MPx, fast auto focus and excellent image quality. But let’s go back to Canon…
I had a good price offer for my 5D Mark III, and I sold it just before the Mark IV announcement. I wasn’t afraid to stay without the camera for a while, because I had my Nikon gear to cover for my work. With big excitement I was waiting for the upcoming Mark IV. And it came but the big excitement disappeared, and I felt a bit disappointed from Canon’s decisions for this camera. I’ll share with you my thoughts from 3 different perspectives – as a wedding photographer, as a landscape photographer, and as a videographer – what are my main reasons to not be excited about 5D Mark IV. And I said MY REASONS. So, please, DON’T JUDGE ME too much. You can share your thoughts and your experience with 5D Mark IV in the comments section below.
The Wedding Photographer perspective
5D Mark III was and still is an amazing camera for shooting weddings, events, and many more. It was excellent all-around performer, and arguably one of the best cameras on the market. In that sense, 5D Mark IV is even better – it has everything Mark III had, and adds more. So as a wedding and event photographer I don’t have any major disappointments, besides few things I would like to see changed. I wish the silent mode to be really silent. And that “dual-pixel” mode to simply “work”.
I realize the silent mode can’t be 100% silent, as it is on the mirrorless cameras, but cameras like Nikon D810 really shine, speaking about quiet/silent mode. I remember D800 was way too loud comparing with 5D Mark III, but Nikon have changed that on D810. I wish Canon would also do something to make it quieter.
- Silent mode not really silent
- “Dual-pixel row” is a gimmick
The landscape photographer perspective
From the perspective of a landscape photographer, the biggest question I asked and continue to ask myself is WHY, Canon, WHY YOU DECIDED TO KEEP THE AA FILTER? When Nikon D800 and D800E came out, I purchased the D800, convincing myself that there is no big difference, and that I can sharpen the images in post-process if/when I needed… True and false. Later on I purchased the D800E and I noticed that there was about 25-30% difference in sharpness between the two. Plus, you can still add as much sharpness you like in post processing. I never ever had any problem with moire. Since then I am a big fan of a non AA (Anti-Aliasing) filter cameras, and I think that every camera from 24 Mpx and up should not have an AA filter.
In my personal opinion, Canon should learn from Nikon’s mistakes and never release two cameras with and without AA filter, as they did with 5DS and 5DSr. But let’s hypothetically say this was their first attempt, and they wanted to play secure. I don’t know how many complains they had about moire issues so they decided to keep the filter on 5D Mark IV. And 5D Mark IV has 30 MPx – enough to diminish the moire effect. Plus, Lightroom removes it so easily. I really wanted to give Canon more chance to use the system for landscape photography. The improved Dynamic range, and shadow recovery, as also the improved ISO sensitivity would make it close to what I could achieve with D800 series.
Back then, 5D Mark III was noticeable worse in terms of dynamic range and resolution, compared to D800 and D810. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Mark III, but for landscape I would pick Nikon any time. With 5D Mark IV things are getting closer – almost the same DR, almost the same noise and ISO performance. The only difference is the AA filter. My “appetite” to use Mark IV for landscape got even bigger after Canon announced the 16-35mm f/2.8 III. This is the lens I have been waiting for, as Nikon 16-35mm is looking soft (in my opinion) on cameras with big resolution, and it is a f/4 lens. But keeping the AA filter on Mark IV neutralizes the advantage in sharpness of the 16-35mm III. I guess there is no ideal camera, lens neither…
Not a complain, but something I want to see in the future models is swivel/articulating screen. I would love to see it on 5D, 6D, and 7D series, not only on the cheaper models.
The last thing I would like to see improved on Canon’s cameras are the buttons – they need to be a bit more prominent. It’s really tough to shoot in the winter if you have gloves on. I wouldn’t even come up with this one, but last year I went to shoot Black Waterfalls in the winter (picture below) and I had with me D810 and 5D Mark III. The buttons on the Nikon are designed to have a better feel through the gloves (although I was using one of these photography gloves). Again, no big deal, but I felt more comfortable to use the Nikon on that trip, just because of that small difference.
- AA filter
- Articulated/swivel screen
- Buttons too recessed and hard to operate with gloves in the winter.
The Videographer perspective
One of my biggest problems with 5D Mark IV was the crop factor when shooting 4k video (around 1.78), but this issue is about to be fixed with the upcoming firmware update. It is supposed to solve some other issues with the video capabilities of the camera as well. However, there are few things that cannot be changed – like changing the card slots to use faster cards for example.
The use of the motion jpeg was the second thing that pushed me away from purchasing the camera. The lack of a good compression codec (I loved the H.265 on Samsung NX-1) is resulting in huge output files. Yes, that has its advantages (like extracting an 8MPx still images from the 30fps footage) but how often I would do that?
The third thing is the rolling shutter – it is very strong on this camera. You have to be very careful when you move the camera fast to avoid the “train effect”.
Another thing is the lack of C-Log, focus peaking or zebra, and also that there is no clean HDMI output when shooting in 4k. For my needs I rarely use external recorder, but if the camera cannot record uncompressed 4k video internally, it’s good to have an option.
- Crop mode 1.78 (now fixed to 1.27/1.29)
- Motion JPEG only (in 4k)
- No clean HDMI export (in 4k)
- Rolling shutter
- No Log gamma, focus peaking, and zebras for video
- Old memory card technology – slow cards
Despite all problems I mentioned in my article, Canon’s 5D Mark IV is an amazing camera. It is one of the best all-around performers, improving many things over the previous generation – dynamic range, resolution, ISO performance, video, and so on. If I have to name 3 things that bother me the most, they would be (in the order of listing):
- AA filter
- Using Motion Jpeg and not H.265 compression
- Severe cropping in 4k video mode
Seems Canon will fix the last one with this firmware update. Two more to go…