It's finally here but who is it for?
So after 4 years and a number of incremental improvements, the 5D MK IV has finally been announced and will start shipping September 8th.
If you're already a wedding or portrait photographer that already owns Canon full frame cameras, you've probably been anticipating this camera. It's the newest camera but falls shorts in some areas and excels in others when compared to Canon's own line up. It doesn't have the sensor that the 5DS and 5DSR has and it doesn't have the shooting speed of the 1DX MK II.
The 30.4 MP sensor with an anti aliasing filter may also leave a lot to be desired in terms of sharpness, dynamic range, and overall performance. At $3,499.99 it falls short of many other cameras in the same price range. So while this may be an incremental step up from a 5D MK III, it's still far behind the Nikon D810 and the Sony A7R II which have both been out for over a year now. Prices on used 5D MK III's may soon be going down and may be worth purchasing over this years model.
The 5D MK IV is also boasting a brand new 30.4MP CMOS sensor powered by a Digic 6+ processor and has burst rates of up to 21 frames of RAW at 7FPS. Dual Pixel Raw feature is said to allow the user to change the focal point in post as well as reduce ghosting and Bokeh Shift. Each pixel is made up of two photodiodes that make up each Dual Pixel, but when used in Dual Pixel RAW, the camera is capturing info separately on both photodiodes and recording information for two slightly different angles which allows micro adjustments of out of focus areas and in focus areas in Canon's proprietary software. Which leads to the problem that the Canon photo software has to be used which is most likely not used by most photographers. So while this might seem great in practice, it's highly likely that the Dual Pixel RAW files won't even be read in CaptureOne or Lightroom.
Other new features include Wi-Fi, GPS, Touch Screen, and new auto focusing system that's drastically better than it's predecessor.
Things to look out for:
The 4K will surely be welcomed by Canon fans but there are some serious downfalls to the new camera. Canon has decided to continue to equipping their latest flagship with an SD Card and a CF slot. It's hard to believe they chose not to adopt XQD which is currently up to 3x faster than CF. This means you're get faster write speeds, a fast clearing buffer, large capacities, and faster transfer rates to your computer and back up devices. The 4K is only available in the 4096x2160 and not 3840x2160 which is standard for YouTube. It also does not implement a traditional video codec which means that an hour of video would take 226 GB of HD space compared to the Sony A7SII which would take up 40GB. This is worsened by the fact that despite the tremendous file size, there is no benefit. There's also a 1.75x Crop factor when recording in 4K. This crop factor is due to the fact that only about 1/4 of the full frame sensor is being read and effectively turns a 35mm lens into a 61.2mm lens. The HMDI only puts out 1080p which means you can't record 4K with an external recorder. There's also no focus peeking, no zebra, and no Cannon Log which is suspiciously missing which make one wonder if Canon is withholding this to differentiate it's cinema line.
If you're already heavily invested in Canon, go for it, but seriously consider the 1DX MK II for wedding photographer or the 5DSR for portraiture and landscapes. If you're using a Canon APSC camera right now, I'd recommend picking up the 5D MK III at it's new discounted price and putting what'll be on eBay soon, on you're watch list. If you aren't invested into any system yet, I'd strongly recommend the A7R II which retails for 200 dollars less and can be found used for about 2800 dollars. The A7RII also has a tilting screen that is missing on the brand new 5D MK IV.
If you're a cinematographer it'd be hard to recommend this camera because of the 1.75x crop in 4K and the enormous file sizes that may make file management and video processing unmanageable. The A7S, A7S II and A7R II are great full frame options for the serious cinematographer or photographer who wants a well performing video camera, These both offer S-Log, focus peaking, zebra, and 4k HDMI out for external recording. The BlackMagic URSA mini is also a much better dedicated video camera at the same price point as the 5D MK IV.
The 5D MK IV seems to be a formidable all around camera but if you don't need 4K then a Sony A7II may be a much better option and value retailing at $1,698 body only and has a number of benefits such as in body stabilization, eye auto focus, and an electronic view finder at less than half the cost brand new as the 5D MK IV.