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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.12.1
Reviewed Mar 15, 2021 at 09:00 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 29, 2024 at 09:10 am
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Picture
7.0
Travel Photography
7.7
Landscape Photography
7.3
Sport & Wildlife Photography
8.1
Raw Photo Performance
3.7
Vlogging
7.5
Studio Video
3.4
Action Video

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a high-end full-frame DSLR camera. It offers impressive image quality, a sturdy and comfortable-to-use construction, and good video recording quality in 4k, though video shot in that format does incur a rather severe crop. Its autofocus system is decently effective and reliable in photography but performs exceptionally well in tracking moving subjects while recording video. Unfortunately, this is a very bulky, heavy camera, and its fixed screen is an inconvenience when trying to record video of yourself or when you're shooting from unconventional angles.

Our Verdict

7.0 Travel Photography

The Canon 5D Mark IV is decent for travel photography if you don't mind a bulkier kit. Image quality is great, with a wide dynamic range, good color accuracy, and good noise handling in low light. Its autofocus system does a decent job of tracking moving subjects, though it performs more consistently when shooting in Live View mode instead of the optical viewfinder. It feels comfortable to hold and is also quite well-built, though its bulky construction can make it a hassle to carry handheld for long periods.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Sturdy-feeling, comfortable-to-use design.
Cons
  • Bulky, heavy construction.
  • Fixed screen can't be pivoted to let you see it at an angle.
7.7 Landscape Photography

The Canon 5D Mark IV is good for landscape photography. It takes images with wide dynamic range, good color accuracy, and little loss of detail, even at high ISO levels, which is great for nighttime shoots. It has a sturdy-feeling construction that's rated as being weather-sealed.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Sturdy-feeling, comfortable-to-use design.
  • Great dynamic range.
Cons
  • Bulky, heavy construction.
7.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Canon 5D Mark IV is decent for sports and wildlife photography. Its maximum continuous shooting speed can't really compare to the fastest-firing mirrorless alternatives, but it can clear its buffer very quickly, so interruptions following continuous bursts aren't too disruptive. Its fast maximum shutter speed and decently-effective autofocus system are helpful features that help you capture clear stills of fast-moving subjects. Overall image quality is also great.

Pros
  • Great image quality.
  • Sturdy-feeling, comfortable-to-use design.
  • Fairly quick burst shooting.
Cons
  • Bulky, heavy construction.
  • Fixed screen can't be pivoted to let you see it at an angle.
  • Silent shooting mode is still rather loud.
8.1 Raw Photo Performance

The Canon 5D Mark IV has great RAW image quality. Photos have plenty of fine detail, giving you some leeway to crop in, thanks to its high-resolution sensor. Its dynamic range is also great, so it captures a wide array of highlight and shadow detail. It also has good noise handling overall, though it doesn't perform as well when it comes to managing noise in low light as newer full-frame sensors.

Pros
  • Great dynamic range.
  • High-res sensor gives you some leeway to crop.
  • Good noise handling.
Cons
3.7 Vlogging

The Canon 5D Mark IV isn't designed for vlogging. Since its screen is fixed, you can't see what's being displayed when the camera is pointed at you. It's also quite bulky, which can make it a challenge to carry around for long periods. Also, while it does a decent job of smoothing out camera shake in FHD, handheld footage can be quite shaky in 4k. Shooting in 4k also incurs a severe crop, though thankfully video quality is sharp and clear in this resolution. Unfortunately, the rolling shutter effect is quite apparent when shooting in FHD, which can distort subjects when panning side-to-side rapidly.

Pros
  • Great video autofocus performance.
  • Very good video quality in 4k.
  • Good video stabilization performance in FHD.
Cons
  • Shoots 4k video with a severe crop.
  • Bulky, heavy construction.
  • Struggles to smooth out camera shake in 4k video.
  • Fixed screen can't be pivoted to let you see it at an angle.
  • Noticeable rolling shutter effect in FHD.
7.5 Studio Video

The Canon 5D Mark IV is relatively good for studio video, though this isn't its main intended use. Despite the severe crop that comes with recording 4k video, footage is sharply-rendered and low in noise, even when shooting in dimly lit environments. The autofocus system also does a great job of maintaining focus on moving subjects. There's also a wide selection of ports and inputs for various videography accessories, including headphone and microphone jacks. It has a clean HDMI output that lets you record footage using an external recorder without any overlays. Its menu system is also very easy to navigate and features a guide mode to help explain some core functions.

Pros
  • Great video autofocus performance.
  • Easy-to-use menu system.
  • Wide selection of inputs and outputs.
  • Very good video quality in 4k.
Cons
  • Shoots 4k video with a severe crop.
  • Heavy crop in 4k.
3.4 Action Video

The Canon 5D Mark IV isn't designed for action video. It's too big and bulky to be mounted on a camera or chest rig and can only record 4k video with a severe crop. It's also incapable of recording at high frame rates for generating smooth slow-motion footage. The rolling shutter effect is quite noticeable when shooting in FHD, which can distort subjects when panning side to side. On the plus side, it feels well-built and has a weather-sealed construction, though we don't currently test for that.

Pros
  • Very good video quality in 4k.
  • Good video stabilization performance in FHD.
Cons
  • Shoots 4k video with a severe crop.
  • Bulky, heavy construction.
  • Struggles to smooth out camera shake in 4k video.
  • Noticeable rolling shutter effect in FHD.
  • 7.0 Travel Photography
  • 7.7 Landscape Photography
  • 7.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 8.1 Raw Photo Performance
  • 3.7 Vlogging
  • 7.5 Studio Video
  • 3.4 Action Video
  1. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Added text to the 'Raw Photo Performance' verdict box and updated existing verdict boxes for clarity and accuracy.
  2. Updated Jan 29, 2024: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.1.
  3. Updated Apr 24, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.
  4. Updated Apr 17, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
  5. Updated Sep 23, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  6. Updated Aug 25, 2022: Updated 'Advertised Battery Life' to show the advertised battery life when using the viewfinder rather than what's advertised when using Live View, since this more closely aligns with real-world usage and better reflects the camera's capabilities.
  7. Updated Aug 05, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  8. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  9. Updated Jan 11, 2022: Updated 'Manual Focus Assistance' from 'No' to 'Yes'.
  10. Updated Mar 15, 2021: Review published.
  11. Updated Mar 11, 2021: Early access published.
  12. Updated Feb 28, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  13. Updated Feb 25, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Canon 5D Mark IV is only available in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see its label here. We tested it in conjunction with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, though other EF-mount lenses can be bundled with the camera body. You can also purchase it without a lens at all. For an additional fee, you can also purchase it pre-installed with the C Log gamma setting, which lets you capture images with a wider dynamic range and allows for in-depth color grading when editing video. We haven't tested this variant or any other configuration of this camera.

If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is better overall than the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. Both are excellent DSLRs with full-frame sensors, though the 5D Mark IV's sensor has a slightly higher resolution. The 5D is aimed more at professionals, with a bulkier, slightly sturdier build and dual memory card slots, a faster max burst rate, and 4k video capability. The 6D Mark II still offers great image quality and may offer more bang for your buck if you don't need features like 4k video or prefer a fully articulated screen.

Canon EOS R6

If you want to shoot like a pro, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR has long been a favorite among professional photographers. However, its formidable size, weight, and tank-like build—while great for putting up with pro-level use—won't be ideal for most people. For that reason, and because it's a newer mirrorless model with advantages in areas like autofocus and video recording, the Canon EOS R6 is the better option for most photographers and hybrid shooters.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is better overall than the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, but they're both fantastic cameras suitable for professional use. The R6 Mark II is a newer mirrorless camera with a more sophisticated autofocus system and faster burst rate that make it a better choice for sports and action photography. It also has better noise handling for low light situations. That being said, the 5D Mark IV has a more established lineup of native lens options that you can use without an adapter, including more affordable options. It's also a bit more tank-like in build, so it can withstand more extensive use. Plus, it's a DSLR, so it has a longer battery life, and you don't have to worry about lag or eye strain with its optical viewfinder.  

Canon EOS 90D

While these are both premium Canon DSLRs, they're differently classed. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a professional-grade camera with a larger, sturdier build and a full-frame sensor, whereas the Canon EOS 90D is a mid-range camera with an APS-C sensor. The 5D Mark IV is overkill for most people, especially considering its size and weight. Because the 90D is a newer model, it offers a few advantages in areas like battery life, autofocus performance, and burst speed.

Canon EOS R8

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS R8 are different camera types. The mirrorless R8 is the better option for most people, with a newer sensor and processor that gives it an edge in areas like autofocus and video. It's also significantly more portable than the bulky 5D Mark IV DSLR. That said, the R8 also has a worse battery life and cheaper build quality.

Sony α7 III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Sony α7 III are different camera types. The Canon is a DSLR, so while it's built like a tank and has a longer battery life, it also lags behind the Sony in areas like autofocus, burst speed, and video. The Sony is also significantly more portable.

PENTAX K-3 Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the PENTAX K-3 Mark III are both DSLR workhorses with sturdy builds and great ergonomics. Having said that, each has its own advantage over the other. The Canon uses a higher-resolution full-frame sensor, giving you more leeway to crop in images and when shooting in low light. The PENTAX, despite its smaller APS-C sensor, is a newer camera with newer tech, giving it a leg up when it comes to max burst rate and max ISO, though the Canon still has a larger photo buffer and more reliable autofocus system.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
2.0
Design
Portability
Height
4.7" (11.9 cm)
Width
6.0" (15.3 cm)
Depth
3.4" (8.6 cm)
Volume
95.6 in³ (1,566.0 cm³)
Weight
1.98 lbs (0.90 kg)
7.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Weather-sealed body is made of magnesium alloy
  • Buttons offer good physical feedback
  • SD card compartment features a solid hinged door

Design
Body
Body Type
DSLR
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Mirrorless
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
EF/EF-S Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Design
In The Box

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens
  • Lens cover
  • Lens cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB 3.0 Micro B cable
  • Cable clip
  • 1x LP-E6N battery
  • Sensor cap
  • Battery charger
  • Basic instruction manual
  • EOS Solution disk
  • Software instruction manual

7.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
No
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • Well-textured hand grip is large and thick
  • Plenty of room for a wide variety of hand sizes, so fingers shouldn't get pinched between the body and lens
  • Large backrest to rest your thumb
  • Dedicated controls for shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Camera is quite heavy, with weight pulling towards the front left of the camera when it's held solely in your right hand
  • Fixed screen can't be moved into a more convenient position when shooting from unusual angles

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Optical
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Advertised Magnification
0.71
4.9
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
No Articulation (Fixed Screen)
Screen Max Brightness
700 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
1.62 million dots
Size
3.1" (8.0 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes
9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Canon Camera Connect

  • Menu is easy to navigate with physical buttons or with inputs on the touchscreen
  • Guide mode helps provide a brief explanation of some functions
  • Q menu lets you quickly access frequently used features and settings
  • Dedicated autofocus menu is also rather easy to navigate

not tested
Design
Built-In Lens
Maximum Aperture
No built-in lens
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Minimum Focal Length
N/A
Maximum Focal Length
N/A
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
N/A
Light Falloff
N/A
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
30.4 MP
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Processor
Digic 6+
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
32,000
Tested Firmware
Ver. 1.3.3
7.4
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Canon LP-E6N
USB Charging
No
Power Delivery While Recording
No
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
900 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
101 min
Photo General
6.4
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
8 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
4 fps
Raw Buffer Size
26 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10,000 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
7 s
4.7
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
34%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
49%
9.7
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
97%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
97%
7.8
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/13 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No
Photo Image Quality
8.2
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
10.2 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
9.8 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
7.5 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
7.1 f-stops
8.5
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
2,012 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
2,027 LW/PH
7.6
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
SNR 18% At 1/8 Exposure Time (125 ms)
33.8dB
SNR 18% At 1/30 Exposure Time (33 ms)
31.8 dB
SNR 18% At 1/125 Exposure Time (8 ms)
27.8 dB
SNR 18% At 1/500 Exposure Time (2 ms)
23.1dB
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
4:2:2
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
No
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
Yes
4k Video
5.7
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.64 x
8.9
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
526 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
511 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:2
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
30 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
8.3
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
8.7
Face Tracking In 4k
9.1
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
No
6.5
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
6.0
3.5
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
10.3°
Full HD Video
8.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
No
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.6
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
60 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
30 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
30 min
8.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
8.3
Face Tracking In FHD
9.1
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
No
6.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
6.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
6.0
6.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
4.7°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
CF Card
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
7.3
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
Micro-B USB 3.0
HDMI
Mini (Type C)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
No