Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon 5D Mark IV: Initial Impressions

Ever since I saw it advertised, I have been lusting for the new Canon 5D Mark IV. I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of images with my 5D Mark II and have generally loved the camera. But, like everything, it has some quirks. Auto focus is a hemorrhaging ulcer, especially in low light. But, I digress…

So, on Friday, I stopped by Showcase to see if they had the new Canon 5D Mark IV in stock. I was actually hoping they didn’t! Damn. The salesman raved about it, and his frothing at the mouth was especially convincing. But still. It’s so expensive when I have a camera that works nicely.

I bought it with the understanding that I could bring it back within 7 days if it didn’t flood my bloodstream with endorphins. O my god! When I snap a picture, I think it coos at me. I’m so high on an endorphin rush this white boy even thinks he can dance! (Trust me: I can’t.)

I took the camera out of the box in my office at night (one floor lamp was on in the large room) in aperture priority mode (f/5.6) and everything else on auto and just shot these pictures hand held to see what it did. This would literally not be possible on my Mark II as that camera would not be able to focus, let alone get off in-focus shots. And the noise in any shots, even with Mark II on a tripod, would have rendered the shots completely unusable. The Mark II would simply require a flash in this very low light condition.

Hand held, low light, ISO 8,000!
The floor lamp was to the right of the keyboard. The ISO went up to 12,800! Hand held, low light
Business Cards Roadster
This area was particularly dark. The ISO went up to 12,800! Hand held, low light
Biker Dude
This area was particularly dark. The ISO went up to 12,800! Hand held, low light

The above biker dude shot would have been impossible with the Mark II. It would not have been able to auto focus on the dude’s head in the darkness of the room. It would never have seen it.

Today I shot the image below with an ISO of 100. I used my iPhone to control the camera: directing where to focus with a simple touch and firing the shot. At full size, the image is exquisitely clear, detailed and vibrant. (These photos on my blog, of course, are presented as compressed, mid-quality jpegs.)

ISO 100, 5s shot, f/16 on tripod and fired with iPhone, only natural window light

What I love about the Canon 5D Mark IV thus far compared to my Mark II:

  • Low light shooting is staggeringly good. Hallucinogenically so! I was really surprised.
  • I love the WiFi mode on the camera. The camera can be controlled from the iPhone app with no additional hardware. In fact, you can print via WiFi directly from the camera, upload images to your computer, phone, an FTP server, and on and on. Very nice feature set here! It’s essential when shooting 360º panos atop a tall pole.
  • I especially enjoy the back control touch screen on the camera. The camera functions (and menus, too, for that matter) are so much more logically organized and much easier to use with the touch screen UI. With my eyesight, I have never been able to see the shot settings inside the viewfinder.
  • GPS! Yay!! GPS!! This is huge to me. When I shoot photos, I want them to automatically store their geotags for later retrieval on a map.
  • I can now shoot almost twice the number of shots before filling up the camera’s storage. This matters to me because I prefer to shoot my timelapse shots as raw images and not jpegs. For longer timelapse shots of fast moving things (like clouds or fog), this matters.
  • It has its own intervalometer built into it! (I had to purchase one separately for the Mark II.)
  • Though I haven’t done it yet, the camera shoots 4k video. For an example of 4k video shot on a Canon 5D Mark IV, check out the embedded movie below. Be sure to adjust your video browser playback settings (click on the gear in the bottom right of the video player when it starts) to 4k/2160p.
  • Of course, the image size is larger, and the image quality is glorious.

Damn. I love this camera. I really, really love this camera. I was hoping I wouldn’t. Wish it shot video at high frame rates, but this isn’t really a video camera.

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