Canon 5D Mark IV – How does it compare to 5D mark III and What is Dual Pixel RAW?

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How does Canon 5D Mark IV compare to 5D mark III? Should you upgrade? The Canon 5D mark IV is packed with new features, it is faster and has improved in every aspect with a price tag of $3499.

You can pre-order here Canon 5D mark IV (Body only) | Canon 5D mark IV with 24-105 f/4 L II

Canon 5D IV new features

  • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, with ISO range 100–32,000; expandable up to 50–102,400.
  • 4K Motion JPEG video (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p; in-camera still frame grab of 4K 8.8-Megapixel images; multiple video options include Full HD up to 60p, and HD up to 120p.
  • Superb Dual Pixel CMOS AF for responsive and smooth AF during video or Live View shooting; LCD monitor has full touch-screen interface, including selection of AF area.
  • Excellent performance — up to 7.0 fps continuous shooting speed with high performance DIGIC 6+ Image Processor for improved speed and excellent image quality.
  • 61 AF points with expanded vertical coverage with 41 cross-points, and AF possible at all 61 AF points with many lens + extender combinations effective at f/8.
  • 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor helps provide precise exposure metering, helps detect flickering lights and allows for enhanced scene recognition and face detection capabilities.
  • Dual Pixel RAW, in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer during JPEG shooting and Diffraction Correction technologies.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi®1and NFC connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device.
  • Built-in GPS provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code (UTC) via satellites.

The Canon 5D IV has a reasonable jump from 22.1MP to 30.4MP. It  features dual pixel CMOS and dual pixel RAW file which allows you to micro adjust the focus of a photo in post. This feature is very interesting  imagine you have a superb shot but it is slightly out of focus either  you didn’t nail the focus properly or the lens needs AF tuning, the fact that you can micro adjust the focus after the photo has been taken is a huge advancement. While we have heard about focus adjustment in post from Lytro cameras but having it on DSLRs means it will become more accessible to everyone that has a DSLR.  

What is Dual Pixel Raw

It works by recording two 30MP images, one from each of the ‘left-looking’ and ‘right-looking’ photodiodes at each pixel. Dual Pixel Raw gives you the option of keeping them separate rather than combining them. This results in a file that’s twice as large, but one that allows for ‘image micro-adjustment,’ ‘bokeh shift’ and ghosting reduction using in Canon’s supplied Digital Photo Professional software.

  • Image microadjustment – Because the left and right-facing pixels see a slightly different perspective of the scene, it’s possible to take advantage of this slight separation. Just as Lytro’s light field camera split light across multiple pixels to capture where the light had come from, the Canon gains a tiny bit of insight into the direction that the light has arrived from. And, like the Lytro, this then allows you to render the image as if focused on a slightly different point, but with a very different trade-off being struck between resolution and degree of refocusability.
  • Bokeh Shift –Another use of the two slightly different views is the ability to view the out-of-focus regions of the image from either perspective. You can shift the position of the bokeh slightly, from one position to the other.
  • Ghosting reduction – Because flare tends to come from light coming in from one side of the lens, it means that it will only be seen by either the left or right-looking pixels. This means that information from the other half of the sensor can be used selectively to cancel-out the effect of this flare
  • RAW file size – RAW 6270 x 4480 is about 36.8MB  compare to DPRAW 6270 x 4480 is about 66.9MB

So far what we know is that there are some down sides in using dual pixel Raw; the RAW file size is doubled, it only works with Canon’s proprietary  software and if we look deeper on what Canon claims  about dual pixel RAW*** (quoted below), it basically says depending on the shooting condition, the dual pixel RAW may or may not have impact. It is understood that dual pixel RAW can only very slightly shift the focus, for the typical out of focus photos, it is not going to fix that. Will it be a feature that saves your photo or just a gimmick? We will have to wait and see.

***When lens diaphragm setting is fully open, adjustment volume and compensation effect are emphasized. Sufficient adjustment volume and compensation effect may not be achieved, depending on lens in use and shooting conditions. Adjustment volume and compensation effect vary depending on camera position (landscape or portrait). Sufficient adjustment volume and compensation effect may not be achieved depending on the shooting conditions.

Other new features including  the new DIGIC 6+ image processor and 150,000-pixel RGB + IR photometry sensor metering system, the 5D mark IV feels faster and more accurate with exposure. Video technology has been improving fast in recent times, so it is not too surprising to see  4K video (30fps) is added to the 5D mark IV, but slow motion capability is only available at 1080p (120fps). To the least changes, AF system still remained at  a respectable 61 AF point (41 cross type), but it covers a wider area. The ISO has improved slightly up to 32000,  it looks like the ISO performance is not dramatically improved on the 5D IV. Frame rate has jumped to 7fps from 6fps and as expected from the 5D line up the internal buffer is awesome.

Surprising addition to the 5D mark IV is the inclusive of both GPS and Wifi as well as NFC, they are built in so you don’t need to purchase any adapters anymore. The size of the 5D mark IV is also slightly smaller and weighs 30g heavier.

Overall, the Canon 5D IV has improved in all aspects in particular with features like dual pixel CMOS and RAW file, 150,000-pixel RGB metering, 4K video and the built in GPS and Wifi. If you are wondering whether you should upgrade from the Canon 5D mark III, my answer is “Yes”” if you think your Canon 5D mark III is getting old. But if you are still happy with the Canon 5D III, there is nothing wrong with it.

Canon 5D IV

Canon 5D III

Canon 5D mark IV full spec compare to Compare to 5D mark III

  Canon 5D mark IV Canon 5D mark III
Resolution 30.4MP 22.1MP
Sensor Type 36x24mm Dual Pixel CMOS 36x24mm Full Frame CMOS
Image Processor DIGIC 6+ DIGIC 5+
Auto Focus AF 61 points (41 cross type) 61 points
Live View Auto Focus Dual Pixel CMOS AF Contrast AF
ISO range 100-32000 (High Sensitivity Mode: 50-102400) 100-25600 (High Sensitivity Mode: 50-102400)
Metering Range EV -3 – 18 EV-2 – 18
FPS 7 6
Metering System 150,000-pixel RGB + IR photometry sensor 63 zone dual-layer metering sensor
Video 4K @ 30fps; 1080 @ 60fps 1080p @ 30fps; 720p @ 60fps
Cards SDXC / SDHC / SD, CompactFlash Type II SDXC / SDHC / SD, CompactFlash Type I
Network Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi · NFC connection WFT-E7A Wireless Transmitter & GP-E2 GPS Receiver
Inputs USB 3.0, HDMI USB 2.0, HDMI
LCD 3.2″ Rear Screen   LCD (1,620,000) 3.2″ Rear Screen   LCD (1,040,000)
Size 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm 152 x 117 x 76 mm
Weight 890g 860 g
Price RRP $3499 RRP $2599 as at 2016; RRP $3499 release price
Release Date August 2016 March 2012

About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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