The Canon 5D Mark IV: 45 improvements over the Mark III

Canon 5D Mark IV

This week Canon announced the new Canon 5D mark IV. The headline improvements over the Canon 5D mark III are a new 30.4 Megapixel sensor, 4K Video, Dual Pixel Autofocus, improved burst speeds, a new metering sensor and built-in GPS and Wi-Fi. However, there is a lot more to the new 5D mark IV than these changes. We did some digging, in fact, we did a lot of digging and uncovered no less than 45 changes. If you are interested in this camera, please read on and find out all there is to know about the new 5D mark IV.

We divided the improvements in a couple of categories. So, let’s just dive into the differences.

Image quality

The new sensor of the 5D mark IV

  • The Canon 5D mark IV has an all new sensor with 30.4 Megapixel, compared to the 22.3 MP of its predecessor.
  • The Analog digital converter (ADC) circuity is now placed directly on the sensor. This will likely result in a much higher dynamic range, an area where Canon has been lacking a bit behind Nikon the last years. The Canon 80D was the first camera that improved significantly in this area.
  • The Canon 5D mark IV has has a higher maximum ISO of 32,000 compared to 25,600 in the Canon 5D mark III. The ISO is still expandable to 102,400.
  • The Mark IV has an all new metering sensor 150.000 RGB+IR to have all round better metering capabilities.
  • The 5D mark IV now has digital lens optimizer functionality in-camera. These correction functions, previously available only using Digital Photo Professional not only fix peripheral brightness and chromatic aberration, but also feature distortion correction and diffraction correction.
  • The Canon 5D IV can capture Dual Pixel Raw (DPRAW) files. Basically there is a set of pixels in the sensor that captures light coming from the left side of the lens, and another set that captures the light from the right side. Images captured with this highly innovative feature have additional processing options in Canon’s RAW conversion software. These include:
    • Microadjustments to the focus afterwards to correct shots you just missed.
    • Shifting the bokeh between the two sets of pixels, which can give you subtle differences that might improve your image
    • Removing reflections and flares from your image in a very elegant way, because you can choose for light that entered your lens at a different angle.


5D IV Focus area improvement

  • The Canon 5D mark IV focus points span a wider area
  • The new focus chip has more cross type focal points that work at f/8, and can now focus in low light starting at -3EV which is a one stop improvement.
  • The Camera has an all new Digic 6+ processor with enables various speed, data processing and bandwith related improvements
  • Also thanks to this new chip the continuous RAW burst speed has improved from 6FPS to 7FPS continuous.
  • Due to the new metering sensor mentioned before the 5d mk4 has much better subject tracking compared to the 5D mk3.
  • The focus in live view is now much better thanks to Dual Pixel AF. The focus is faster, spans 80% of the image frame, and can focus in very low light at -4EV, which is a 5 stop improvement over the mark III.
  • To underline how crazy high tech this camera is: the camera has an anti-flicker mode. In this mode the camera will account for flickering light sources such as fluorescent or LED lights. If you shoot under this light with fast shutter speeds, the exposure will be different each time. The Camera will shift burst shots and timelapse shots in such a way that they are only taken when the lighting is in the peak of the pulse. Check out the explanation below:

Anti flicker in the 5D mark IV


  • The Canon 5D mark IV can now shoot 4K Video for the first time.
  • Another improvement over the Canon 5D mark III is that 720p 120fps is now supported.
  • The camera can now shoot movies in ISO 25,600
  • The camera has a new HDR movie mode.
  • Furthermore there is now also the possibility for timelapse movies.
  • Thanks to the dual pixel Autofocus mentioned earlier, the AF performance in movies has been improved very substantially. The camera allows for continuous subject tracking during movie shooting

Dual Pixel AF


  • The Canon 5D mark IV now has a touch screen for more control, which can also be used for convenient things such as setting the focus point in live view
  • The display is updated and has a higher resolution
  • The Camera has the “Canon intelligent viewfinder II” which can overlay more information
  • The connection for the remote shutter has moved to the front of the camera
  • All the connectors and flaps have slightly been rearranged with the goal to have even better weather resistance.
  • Not sure why, but the functions of the top buttons has been swapped around for all three buttons.

5D buttons swapped

  • On the back there is a new AF area selection button which can be set to custom functions as well.
  • Transfered from the 5Ds is a new mirror vibration control system. This minimizes vibrations from the mirror that might introduce unsharpness in your images.
  • The Canon 5D mark IV has now integrated GPS functionality
  • Next to that Wi-Fi is now also standard on the mark IV
  • If that is not yet enough the camera also features NFC
  • And to top it all off USB 3.0 is now also available. So, much highly needed connectivity has been added.
  • The camera is a little bit lighter, weighing 75g less than the Canon 5D mark III.


  • The Canon 5D mark IV uses the same battery as the previous model, and performance is similar. The main change is that the battery life in live view has improved by 50%.
  • The auto ISO functionality is improved. According to Dpreview “the minimum shutter speed threshold includes faster shutter speeds and the focal-length aware ‘Auto’ option can now be biased faster or slower in 1EV increments.”.
  • There are more customizable functions available with a total of 17 compared to 13 in the mark III.
  • The image grid can now be zoomed out further in playback mode

5D mark IV playback grid

  • According to Canon a new feature is that the camera now automatically corrects for variable aperture in manual exposure using either ISO or shutter speed when zooming in with a lens that has a variable aperture.
  • To maximise the benefit of the 30 Megapixels there is a new picture style called ‘detail oriented’.
  • Transfered from the 5Ds there is a second auto WB setting which prioritizes white tones.
  • Also new in the Canon 5D mark IV is Auto lighting optimizer, which compresses the dynamic range to have more attractive JPEG images. We use this on the G7X mark II as well, and it works very nicely.
  • There is now a built-in interval timer that allows you to set the number of shots and the interval between them to create your own timelapses

5D mark IV intervalometer

  • Next to that there is also a built-in bulb timer in which you can preset a shutter speed up to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. That saves you a long time of keeping the button pressed down.
  • Next to copyright information the camera can now automatically add IPTC metadata to your images which can be useful for professional photographers.
  • JPEG images can now be trimmed in the camera for different aspect ratio’s.

User Manual

You might wonder where all this stuff comes from. A lot of the lesser known specs and updates were found on the Japanese Canon website. Turns out that the specs there are a lot more detailed. Take a look for yourself, some Google Translate magic will do the trick. But next to that we collected from various other sources as well.

Do you like to find out even more about this new camera? The user manual is already available from Canon. Check it out, maybe we missed something.

Canon 5D mark IV front view

The Canon 5D mark IV: Final words

I hope you enjoyed the article above. If so, feel free to subscribe to our website for more detailed articles like this. The new Canon 5D mark IV will become available starting September 8. You can buy the camera on Amazon for $3,499. Given that the price difference with its predecessor is not too high, I would highly recommend getting the mark IV if you are in the market for one of the two.

Given the extensive list of changes, we think the 5D mark IV is going to be a new landmark in the high end camera market. What do you think? Do you think I still missed some upgrades? Share them in the comments below!

The 5D mark IV with big glass

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  • David Williams

    I like the way you did this article and found it helpful. I have used the Mark III since 2012 and it has served me well. I don’t care about the negative comments around the web related to what Canon should have done on the Mark IV. Any camera is just a tool and no camera can do everything that everyone on the planet wants it to. I do plan to upgrade to the Mark IV, but it’s not a September 8th priority.

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