After shooting with the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for the last 6 weeks, there are lots of great things to talk about with this revolutionary new camera. I could probably go on forever about it, but you wouldn’t want me to. So I am going to just point out 5 of the very useful enhancements to Canon’s latest 5D I quickly observed when I went from a 5D Mark II to a 5D Mark IV.

Sharper Images

First, no need for sharpening of images anymore when downsizing from full-res images to low-res files for online or web usage. I have never experienced this before with any digital camera in the past. See the photo below I shot with the 5D Mark IV and then downsized to 800 x 1200 pixels. Look on the right side of the frame, where the light is the brightest and how crisp her shirt and the edge of her arm both look without any sharpening added (click on the image to enlarge to full size for better pixel peeping if you like).

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Copyright © Marc Schultz 2016

This suggests that the images coming out of the 5D Mark IV are already sharper to begin with than from other Canon bodies. In fact, if I were to sharpen the above photo, the same way I normally did with images from the 5D Mark II in the past, the image would look over sharpened. To see what I mean, I posted the same image again below after I sharpened it a bit with a sharpening filter in Photoshop.

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Copyright © Marc Schultz 2016

Again, look at the edges of her arms and also the bridge of her nose in the above image (click photo to enlarge as it is easier to observe the issues on the full size image). See how those areas have become a bit jagged and seemingly over sharpened with just the small amount of sharpening I added? So perhaps better not to add any sharpening at all.

More Resolution Is More

The fact that the 5D Mark IV captures 30MP — 30% more resolution than the 5D Mark III — is a great advantage. But every time DSLR resolutions are increased by camera manufacturers these days, people always ask the same question; “But do we really need any more megapixels?”. The simple answer is “Yes!” and I am going to explain why.

First, more pixels means sharper images when you downsize by a large percentage (as I just demonstrated). But there also may be times when you capture an image that is slightly off in terms of the focus or the image has a bit of noise. In these cases you can simply downsize the image by about 30%, taking the image from 30MP down to 22MP. This will bring the pixels closer together and helps make the image appear sharper and cleaner than it was at the full resolution.

And when you start with more pixels than you really need, then you can still make a nice sized print from the file, even after reducing the resolution by 30% to improve sharpness.

In other situations you can crop off 30% of a loosely framed photo to make it a tighter shot and still be left with 22MP in those cases as well. So more is better. As I often say, you can always get rid of what you don’t want later, but you can’t bring back what wasn’t there to begin with.

Better Dynamic Range & Color Rendition

The 5D Mark IV captures more dynamic range than any 5D series camera body to date. This is also surprising because Canon has jammed even more pixel capturing receptor sites into the same sized full frame sensor, which in the past would have resulted in lesser quality detail being captured within each pixel.

More dynamic range not only translates to preserving more information and detail (in both the strong highlight and deep shadow areas), but it also means you will get a more accurate color rendition of the subject you are shooting. In fact, the improvement is so pronounced on the 5D Mark IV, I was even surprised myself.

Take a look at the comparison below showing the same shot of a valuable Canadian circa 1930 postage stamp I captured with both the 5D Mark II and then again with the 5D Mark IV (click on the image to enlarge it and see better detail in the two shots). Granted, the 5D Mark II is now 8 year old technology, but until now people never questioned the quality of the colors and overall images coming out of the 5D Mark II.

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Copyright © Marc Schultz 2016

All the camera settings were made the same on both of the two stamp photos above which were captured at ISO 100, F/11, 1/125th, and a white balance setting of 4,700 Kelvin. Both were also shot with the same studio lighting setup, so the lighting is consistent on both shots.

The colors in the stamp photo on the right taken with the 5D Mark IV are of a much more accurate blue/green tone, which perfectly reflects the true colors of the actual stamp. The image on the left shot with the 5D Mark II is way too blue. You can even see the blue tones coming out in the black felt-like background behind the stamp.

Also, if you look at the clouds to the right of the church tower within the stamp itself you can see how the 5D Mark IV captured more information and detail and there is less blown out white area than in the 5D Mark II shot.

Overall, the 5D Mark IV photo looks more real and has less unnatural whiteness. The 5D Mark II photo has too much contrast and a slight loss of detail in the whites, but, without the 5D Mark IV shot for comparison, one may have never noticed. 

I could of course adjust the 5D Mark II image to look more like the 5D Mark IV shot in Adobe Camera Raw by reducing the whites, adjusting the white balance, reducing the overall contrast and etc. But one shouldn’t have to do that, and, out of the box, the 5D Mark IV is providing much better and more accurate colors with no adjustments needed.

I could also increase the contrast on the 5D Mark IV shot to give it a bit more pop like the 5D Mark II shot has, but if I am looking for color accuracy then best to leave the 5D Mark IV shot just the way it is.

Touch Screen Capabilities

Not only can you now change all your camera settings very quickly using the new LCD touch screen on the back of the camera (instead of having to push buttons and spin a wheel to change things like ISO, drive mode, etc), but you can now also pinch to zoom when reviewing photos and scroll through them quickly by swiping, just like on a Smartphone.

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The number of dots on the LCD screen itself has also been increased by over 50% from 1.04 million dots on the 5D Mark III to 1.62 million dots on the 5D Mark IV. With much sharper screen detail, you can now really see how sharp the focus is when you are fully zoomed in on a photo.

This newly added screen sharpness is also very useful when reviewing test shot results from lens calibration tests and for making micro adjustment settings to the autofocus. One no longer needs to transfer images to a computer first to check the sharpness on autofocus test shots as in the past with 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III bodies.

Embedding Copyright Information

This is not a new Canon function, especially if you are upgrading from a 5D Mark III, but I still think it is worth discussing since most people may not know that much about it, even though the feature has been around from Canon for some years.

The main point is that you can add basic copyright information via the settings on the camera to embed your own copyright information into all of your RAW files as you shoot. Once added to a RAW file, your copyright metadata can never be wrongfully removed later from your files. This may also help to protect your RAW files from being misused, as well as help someone to know who the photographer is if they happen to come upon some of your RAW files through an indirect source.

Embedding copyright information into a JPG though can be removed (using software I discussed in this post) but RAW files are different and can’t be modified. So this is a great Camera feature to start using.

In addition, if you install the Canon EOS Utility program onto your computer then you can upload a whole lot more personal information into your 5D Mark IV settings to add things like your email address, website, and much more to your RAW files.

Below is a screen shot from Adobe Bridge which shows all the metadata that is now automatically embedded into all my RAW files by the camera after I added this data to my 5D Mark IV via the Canon EOS Utility program. There is also a detailed article on the Canon website here written a few years ago about all the different bits of  information that one is able to add to their Canon RAW file metadata.

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If you would like to read more about the Canon 5D Mark IV on this blog you might also be interested in the following posts:

1 – Canon 5D Mark IV – First Impressions
2 – Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Got Noise? No Noise!