Photography 101: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV First Impressions

Stephen F. Dennstedt

I received my new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV full-frame DSLR and EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens late yesterday afternoon and played with it most of the evening. It’s a huge step up from my 5D Mark II which was cutting edge technology back in 2009 when I bought it. The Mark IV shares many features with Canon’s flagship EOS 1Dx Mark II which retails for a whopping $6,000 USD.

The Mark IV has been panned by videographers but I don’t shoot video—for still photography I think this will be an amazing feature-rich camera. What really sold me on this upgrade is its:

M-mode (Manual) Auto-ISO capability. I can now set the Aperture and Shutter Speed and let the camera automatically adjust the ISO based on user-defined parameters. I’ve set my camera to an ISO range of 100-12,800. I could set the maximum limit much higher but for my purposes the images start to fall apart beyond ISO 12,800. This feature alone is worth the upgrade from the Mark II.

AF-Auto Focus. The Mark IV has basically the same AF system as the 1Dx Mark II and the 7D Mark II. It is totally user customizable: accurate and blisteringly fast. Its tracking ability (great for moving subjects) leaves my old Mark II in the dust with its antiquated 9-point focus system. Shooting wildlife (birds in flight) my Mark II had a very low keeper rate—maybe 1-in-10 shots would be in focus if I was lucky. On the Mark IV users are reporting keeper rates as high as 8 or 9-in-10 in focus shots (at a relatively fast 7 fps versus only 3 fps with my Mark II).

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR

Dual Card Slots. Dual card slots provide security against memory card failure (a must for wedding photography) or can handle rollover images when engaged in high-volume shooting. The user can customize how these cards are to be utilized. The user can record RAW files to one card and JPEG files to the other card or RAW/JPEG files to both cards at the same time. The cards can be written to simultaneously or in tandem (filling up one card first and rolling over to the second card with the overflow).

These are just three of the reasons I chose this camera. There are literally dozens of reviews on YouTube and Google if you’re interested. If you’re a serious videographer this camera might not be for you but if you’re a still photographer like me it should be an all-purpose workhouse. It’s built like a brick of magnesium-alloy and is heavily weather-sealed (a must for my kind of shooting). It’s big, heavy and durable—it’s designed with the professional in mind. The only Canon camera that surpasses it (possibly) in my opinion is the 1Dx Mark II for $6,000 USD.


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