ON TRIAL CANON EOS 5D MARK IV

Star of stills and screen, Canon’s EOS 5D has un­doubt­edly been its most suc­cess­ful D-SLR, and the fourth gen­er­a­tion model is de­signed to keep it at the top of its game.

Camera - - CONTENTS -

It’s heeeeere! Canon’s fourth-gen­er­a­tion EOS 5D doesn’t dis­ap­point with its new features and many up­grades. It’s a mighty ma­chine whether you’re shoot­ing stills or video.

It’s a lit­tle over a decade since Canon in­tro­duced the EOS 5D and both the orig­i­nal and sub­se­quent ver­sions have con­sis­tently been hits with both pho­tog­ra­phers and video-mak­ers. Back in late 2005, Canon de­scribed the EOS 5D has herald­ing a “new cat­e­gory of D-SLR”, but it’s un­likely that even its mak­ers ap­pre­ci­ated just how im­por­tant this cat­e­gory would be­come. The orig­i­nal pack­aged a full-35mm sen­sor in a more com­pact and af­ford­able body than had been seen be­fore, while from the Mark II on­ward (launched in Septem­ber 2008), the EOS 5D be­came the go-to D-SLR for videog­ra­phers. De­spite the changes in the mar­ket­place since then – mostly no­tably the rise and rise of mir­ror­less cam­eras – the 5D has stead­fastly main­tained its pop­u­lar­ity, mak­ing it col­lec­tively Canon’s best-sell­ing D-SLR… and al­most cer­tainly the best-sell­ing D-SLR full stop.

Even with the con­tin­ued in­roads of mir­ror­less de­signs into the higher-end cat­e­gories of in­ter­change­able lens cam­eras – and the best ef­forts of ri­val Nikon to steal the crown – the EOS 5D re­mains a hard-to-beat com­bi­na­tion of size, features, func­tion­al­ity, per­for­mance and af­ford­abil­ity. And Canon builds on all of these with the Mark IV (known af­fec­tion­ately in­ter­nally as ‘ivy’) which prob­a­bly faces stiffer com­pe­ti­tion than any of its pre­de­ces­sors, both as a stills cam­era and a video cam­era. Yet once again, the 5D IV has that in­tan­gi­ble ‘some­thing’ that tran­scends mere spec­i­fi­ca­tions to cre­ate a cam­era which is per­fectly in har­mony and at one with its user. Right now, Nikon’s D500 has

the same magic, and it’s very hard to pin­point whether it hap­pens by ac­ci­dent or de­sign, but it’s al­ways im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent from the mo­ment you pick it up.

ALL CHANGE

On the out­side Canon has largely stuck with the same mid-sized bodyshell and con­trol lay­out as the pre­vi­ous model, but with an up­grade to weather seal­ing and the re­lo­ca­tion of sev­eral ports to make for bet­ter man­age­ment of the ca­bles when they’re be­ing used.

Most of the body pan­els are mag­ne­sium al­loy, but the top cover is made from GRP. The mon­i­tor screen is still a fixed 8.1 cm LCD panel, but now with 1.62 megadots res­o­lu­tion and, sig­nif­i­cantly, ex­ten­sive touch­screen con­trols. Use­fully too, the mon­i­tor screen is ad­justable for colour bal­ance via four pre­sets called Stan­dard, Warm, Cool 1 and Cool 2.

On the inside, how­ever, it’s all-change with a new sen­sor and pro­ces­sor, new me­ter­ing sys­tem, up­graded aut­o­fo­cus­ing sys­tem, faster con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing, a 4K video ca­pa­bil­ity, both built-in WiFi and GPS (hence the need for the GRP prism cover), and a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant new features such as ‘Dual Pixel RAW’ cap­ture (more about this shortly). The 5D IV’s sen­sor is an all-new de­vice with a to­tal pixel count of 31.7 mil­lion, giv­ing an ef­fec­tive count of 30.4 mil­lion and a max­i­mum im­age size of 6720x4480 pix­els at a 3:2 as­pect ra­tio. An op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter (OPLF) is re­tained. The pixel size is a healthy 5.36 mi­crons which gives a com­par­a­tively high sig­nal-to-noise ra­tio, trans­lat­ing into a na­tive sen­si­tiv­ity range equiv­a­lent to ISO 100 to 32,000 with ex­ten­sions to ISO 51,200 and 102,400 (plus a one-stop ‘pull’ to ISO 50). These higher sen­si­tiv­i­ties are ac­tu­ally re­al­is­tic at this pixel size.

For JPEG cap­ture there’s also the choice of 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 as­pect ratios with five im­age sizes each and three com­pres­sion lev­els. RAW images are recorded with 14-bit RGB colour in one of three sizes while any com­bi­na­tion is ac­tu­ally avail­able for con­fig­ur­ing RAW+JPEG cap­ture.

The new ‘Dual Pixel RAW’ cap­ture is made pos­si­ble via the sen­sor’s ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ ar­chi­tec­ture which has two side-by-side pho­to­di­odes at each pixel point – en­abling them to per­form phase-dif­fer­ence de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus­ing in ei­ther live view or when shoot­ing video.

‘Dual Pixel RAW’ (DPRAW) uses both pho­to­di­odes for im­age cap­ture so these files are twice the size of the stan­dard RAW files, but the very slight vari­a­tion in per­spec­tive be­tween the two sets of im­age data is used to en­able some slight ad­just­ments. The pro­cess­ing op­tions are called ‘Im­age Mi­cro-Ad­just­ment’, ‘Bokeh Shift’ and ‘Ghost­ing Re­duc­tion’, and they all use the off­set at any given point in the two images to en­able small corrections to be made by ap­ply­ing shifts of vary­ing mag­ni­tudes. These ad­just­ments are per­formed post-cam­era us­ing the lat­est ver­sion of Canon’s Dig­i­tal Photo Pro­fes­sional soft­ware. ‘Im­age Mi­cro-Ad­just­ment’ is used to shift the plane of fo­cus for­wards or back­wards, al­though in prac­tice this ad­just­ment is very small and mea­sured in mil­lime­tres. ‘Bokeh Shift’ does the same with the out-of-fo­cus ar­eas. ‘Ghost­ing Re­duc­tion’ is ob­vi­ously pretty self­ex­plana­tory and used to re­duce both ghost­ing and flare. Not sur­pris­ingly, the ef­fec­tive­ness of these mi­cro-ad­just­ments de­pends on a num­ber of ex­ter­nal fac­tors, in­clud­ing the lens fo­cal length and the aper­ture set­ting as both re­late to the depth-of-field. The shal­lower the depth-of-field, the more no­tice­able these corrections will be, par­tic­u­larly to the fo­cus­ing point. De­pend­ing on the con­tent, a pro­cessed DPRAW file is go­ing to be sized some­where be­tween 65 and 75 MB af­ter the two sets of im­age data are com­bined (they ex­ist as sep­a­rate – but linked – files up to this point) so they’ll chew up more stor­age space, but this is prob­a­bly a small price to pay if a ‘just missed it’ im­age can be res­cued. Don’t ex­pect mir­a­cles, but the DPRAW ad­just­ments do have the po­ten­tial to make small, but still po­ten­tially sig­nif­i­cant corrections.

REFOCUSED

The EOS 5D Mark IV em­ploys two pro­ces­sors – a ‘turbo-charged’ DiG!C 6+ chip which does most of the heavy lift­ing and a DiG!C 6 chip which is de­voted solely

DE­SPITE THE RISE AND RISE OF MIR­ROR­LESS CAM­ERAS, THE EOS 5D HAS STEAD­FASTLY MAIN­TAINED ITS POP­U­LAR­ITY, MAK­ING IT COL­LEC­TIVELY CANON’S BEST­SELLING D-SLR…”

to auto ex­po­sure con­trol du­ties. There are quite a few de­mands on pro­cess­ing power, in­clud­ing 4K video (see the Mak­ing Movies panel for the full run-down on the cam­era’s video ca­pa­bil­i­ties), con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing at up to seven frames per sec­ond, and the afore­men­tioned ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ fo­cus­ing op­er­a­tions.

The 7.0 fps shoot­ing speed is de­liv­ered with full AF/AE ad­just­ment be­tween frames and a burst length of 110 frames when shoot­ing max­i­mum qual­ity JPEGs. With RAW cap­ture the burst limit is 21 frames, and the Mark IV re­tains the same mem­ory card slot com­bi­na­tion as be­fore – namely one for CF type cards and one for the SD for­mat which sup­ports the higher-ca­pac­ity HC and XC ver­sions and now also the UHS-I data trans­fer speed. A ‘silent’ con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode is avail­able and op­er­ates at up to 3.0 fps, but in re­al­ity it’s quieter rather than be­ing com­pletely noise­less. Video-mak­ers will rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of the fourth­gen­er­a­tion EOS 5D’s buy­ers so it’s equipped ac­cord­ingly, start­ing with 4K record­ing in the more pro-ori­en­tated Cin­ema 4K res­o­lu­tion of 4096x2160 pix­els. It’s a di­rect 1:1 crop from the mid­dle of the sen­sor so there’s no scal­ing in­volved (so no arte­facts), but there is a fo­cal length mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor of just over 1.6x. For the record, Canon’s ‘APS-C’ for­mat EF-S lenses can’t be used on this body.

The 4K video is recorded at ei­ther 25 fps (PAL) or 24 fps with Mo­tion JPEG com­pres­sion – at a heady bit rate of 500 Mbps – which is eas­ier to han­dle in post­pro­duc­tion, but means very big files and the need for speed as far as the mem­ory card is con­cerned. UHS-I U3 (Speed Class 3) is the min­i­mum re­quire­ment for the SD for­mat as there’s no UHS-II sup­port, but one of the lat­est CF cards – such as Lexar’s 1066x de­vice which has a writ­ing speed of 155 MB/sec­ond and is avail­able in ca­pac­ity up to 256 GB – is a bet­ter op­tion. You’ll need all the stor­age you can get too be­cause here, as well, the Mark IV is throt­tled by not be­ing able to record 4K video to an ex­ter­nal recorder. The HDMI con­nec­tor delivers a 2K out­put (8-bit 4:2:2 colour) while the cam­era records 4K in­ter­nally, but you can’t have it the other way around. For­tu­nately, there’s no 4.0 GB file size limit with the larger-ca­pac­ity ex-FAT CF or SDXC mem­ory cards so the the­o­ret­i­cal max­i­mum clip length is 29 min­utes and 59 sec­onds, al­though this would rep­re­sent around 120 GB of data!

Canon of­fers a ‘4K Frame Grab’ func­tion which delivers an 8.8 megapix­els still from the 4K footage, but that’s as far as it goes and there’s nowhere near the ver­sa­til­ity of­fered by Pana­sonic’s suite of ‘4K Photo’ modes.

Full HD video is recorded us­ing the whole sen­sor width – sub­se­quently down­sized with­out any pixel bin­ning – which means the im­age qual­ity is very good, par­tic­u­larly in terms of de­tail­ing and def­i­ni­tion. In the PAL TV stan­dard, there’s the choice of shoot­ing at 50, 25 or 24 fps with ei­ther IPB or ALL-I com­pres­sion (i.e. in mul­ti­ple frames or frame-by-frame, the lat­ter be­ing eas­ier to edit). A slow-mo speed of 100 fps (i.e. quar­ter speed) is avail­able in the HD res­o­lu­tion of 1280x720 pix­els.

The built-in mi­cro­phone is mono with a 3.5 mm stereo in­put for con­nect­ing an ex­ter­nal mic plus an out­put for mon­i­tor­ing head­phones. Au­dio lev­els can be man­u­ally ad­justed and both a wind-cut fil­ter and an at­ten­u­a­tor are pro­vided.

Most of the Mark IV’s pro­cess­ing func­tions for still pho­tog­ra­phy are also avail­able for video record­ing, in­clud­ing the ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­sets, the ‘Auto Light­ing Op­ti­miser’ dy­namic range ex­pan­sion and ‘High­light Tone Pri­or­ity’. Ex­po­sures can be pre­set via any of the ‘PASM’ con­trol modes and the Auto ISO range is 100-12,800 for 4K shoot­ing, 10025,600 for 2K

Con­tin­u­ous aut­o­fo­cus­ing is via the ‘Movie Servo AF’ mode with the op­tions of face de­tec­tion and sub­ject track­ing. Fur­ther­more, the track­ing speed and sen­si­tiv­ity can be ad­justed as per still pho­tog­ra­phy. Convenient fo­cus pulling can be per­formed via the touch­screen which also al­lows for other ad­just­ments such as ex­po­sure and ISO to be per­formed also pretty much silently. Man­ual fo­cus as­sist is via a mag­ni­fied im­age (ei­ther 5x or 10x), but there still isn’t a fo­cus peak­ing dis­play or, for that mat­ter, ze­bra pat­terns. Nor is there a cin­e­matog­ra­phy-spe­cific flat pic­ture pro­file (as is pro­vided on the EOS-1D X Mark II), but then there is time-cod­ing and, as men­tioned in the main text, a time-lapse record­ing func­tion (for 1080p clips) plus an HDR movie mode.

A mixed bag then? Well, Canon does of­fer ded­i­cated pro-grade video cam­eras with its Cin­ema EOS se­ries and there’s lit­tle doubt that many cin­e­matog­ra­phers who want to use Canon lenses will take this route. How­ever, D-SLRs re­main pop­u­lar for many video­mak­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and the EOS 5D Mark IV of­fers an at­trac­tive com­bi­na­tion of ca­pa­bil­i­ties and com­pact­ness (es­pe­cially com­pared to the EOS-1D X II and even the cin­ema mod­els).

The 4K per­for­mance is ex­em­plary and the 2K ex­cel­lent so there seems no rea­son why the Mark IV won’t con­tinue the EOS 5D le­gend.

Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is pos­si­ble with live view – al­though the top speed slows to 4.3 fps – and con­tin­u­ous AF with sub­ject track­ing is also avail­able. ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ pro­vides 80 per­cent frame cov­er­age (al­though all the sen­sor’s pix­els are ac­tu­ally split types) and the touch con­trols al­low for the sub­ject to be quickly se­lected by sim­ply tap­ping the mon­i­tor screen.

‘Flex­iZone – Sin­gle’ and ‘Flex­iZone – Multi’ modes are avail­able for man­ual fo­cus­ing point or area se­lec­tion in live view along with face de­tec­tion.

The viewfinder-based aut­o­fo­cus­ing sys­tem shares the same ba­sic specs as the Mark III model – so there’s a to­tal of 61 fo­cus­ing points, 41 of them cross-type ar­rays – but there have been some sig­nif­i­cant up­grades. Firstly the cov­er­age has been ex­panded by nearly 25 per­cent ver­ti­cally at the sides of the AF area (a lit­tle un­der ten per­cent at the cen­tre), and all 61 points work at f8.0 while the cross-type ar­rays work down to f5.6. The over­all sen­si­tiv­ity is in­creased to EV -3.0 (at ISO 100, and to EV -4.0 in live view), but low-light as­sist re­lies on a Speedlite flash gun be­ing fit­ted. As be­fore, the five points in the cen­tre are dual cross-type ar­rays with ad­di­tional diagonal detectors which in­creases their scope for find­ing a con­trast edge on the sub­ject.

Switch­ing be­tween the sin­gleshot and con­tin­u­ous modes can be ei­ther done man­u­ally or left to the cam­era when it’s in the AI Servo AF mode. Man­ual AF point se­lec­tion can be individually, in groups or in zones. A group – ac­tu­ally called AF Point Ex­pan­sion – com­prises the se­lected point with ei­ther four or eight sur­round­ing points. With Zone AF, all the points are di­vided into nine zones (com­pris­ing ei­ther nine or 16 points de­pend­ing on their po­si­tion), or there’s the op­tion of Large Zone AF which di­vides them into just three zones. Of course, au­to­matic point se­lec­tion and switch­ing is avail­able, with sub­ject track­ing reg­u­lated by Canon’s ‘In­tel­li­gent Track­ing

is pro­vided for deal­ing with the switch­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of gasig­ni­tion light­ing (i.e. flu­o­res­cent types) which can af­fect both ex­po­sure and colour bal­ance when shoot­ing at faster shut­ter speeds. The anti-flicker ca­pa­bil­ity de­tects the fre­quency of a light source’s blink­ing and sub­se­quently times the shut­ter re­lease dur­ing con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing to min­imise any vari­a­tions.

The shut­ter assem­bly has some tweaks to help min­imise vi­bra­tions and also fur­ther re­duce lag, but the speed range re­mains at 301/8000 sec­onds and the re­li­a­bil­ity at 150,000 cy­cles. The re­flex mir­ror mech­a­nism has also been re­designed and is ac­tu­ated via a mi­cro­mo­tor (rather than springs) so its speed can be re­duced to­wards the end of its travel to re­duce bounce and the amount of vi­bra­tions it cre­ates, but ob­vi­ously this isn’t quite as crit­i­cal with 30 megapix­els res­o­lu­tion as it is with the 50 MP of the EOS 5Ds/R duo. How­ever, the Mark IV cam­era has the ad­di­tional Fine De­tail ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­set in­tro­duced on these mod­els and which pro­cesses JPEGs for in­creased sharp­ness. It also pro­vides the more ad­vanced man­ual con­trol over sharp­ness in all the other ‘Pic­ture Styles’ with three sep­a­rately ad­justable pa­ram­e­ters la­belled Strength, Fine­ness and Thresh­old. These work in a sim­i­lar fash­ion to Pho­to­shop’s Un­sharp Mask­ing, so Strength con­trols the amount of sharp­en­ing, Fine­ness de­ter­mines the size of the de­tails which will be sharp­ened, and Thresh­old sets the con­trast level at which an edge would be sub­jected to sharp­en­ing. It may look a lit­tle daunt­ing on pa­per, but the idea here is to en­able a bet­ter match­ing of the sharp­ness ad­just­ments with the type of sub­ject. Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is needed though.

The re­main­ing ‘Pic­ture Style’ pre­sets are Stan­dard, Por­trait, Land­scape, Neu­tral, Faith­ful and Mono­chrome. The colour pre­sets are ad­justable for con­trast, colour sat­u­ra­tion and hue in ad­di­tion to the sharp­ness con­trols while the B&W pre­set re­places the colour con­trols with a set of con­trast fil­ters (i.e. red, or­ange, yel­low and green) and ton­ing ef­fects. There’s also an Auto ‘Pic­ture Style’ which ad­justs the pro­cess­ing pa­ram­e­ters ac­cord­ing to anal­y­sis of the sub­ject us­ing AF, AE and white bal­ance & Recog­ni­tion’ (iTR) pro­cess­ing which in­cludes in­put from the me­ter­ing sys­tem. The 5D IV has the same up­graded ‘In­tel­li­gent Viewfinder II’ LCD in­for­ma­tion over­lays as the EOS-1D X Mark II to show the ac­tive fo­cus points (with red LEDs tak­ing over in low light sit­u­a­tions).

Con­tin­u­ous aut­o­fo­cus­ing op­er­a­tion – or, more specif­i­cally, the track­ing – can be fine-tuned to suit par­tic­u­lar types of sub­ject move­ment and also the shoot­ing sit­u­a­tion. The ‘AF Con­fig­u­ra­tion Tool’ – which has its own menu – pro­vides a se­lec­tion of six sce­nar­ios which vary the track­ing sen­si­tiv­ity, the ac­cel­er­a­tion/ de­cel­er­a­tion rates, and the speed of the point switch­ing. These three pa­ram­e­ters are also man­u­ally ad­justable so, for ex­am­ple, the track­ing sen­si­tiv­ity can be var­ied from ‘Locked On’ to ‘Re­spon­sive’ with three steps in be­tween.

AF mi­cro-ad­just­ment is pos­si­ble for up to 40 lenses – ap­plied ei­ther col­lec­tively or individually – and this al­lows for the cor­rec­tion of ei­ther front- or back-fo­cus­ing. This is when a par­tic­u­lar lens on a par­tic­u­lar cam­era body fo­cuses just a lit­tle in front of or a lit­tle be­hind the true plane of fo­cus and, in tech­ni­cal terms, what’s be­ing ad­justed here is the depth-of-fo­cus. On the Mark IV zooms can be sep­a­rately ad­justed at their wide-an­gle and tele­photo ends, and in­di­vid­ual lenses can be iden­ti­fied via model or se­rial num­ber (as even dif­fer­ent ex­am­ples of the same model can ex­hi­bi­tion vari­a­tions).

IN TO THE LIGHT

Ex­po­sure con­trol is via a coloursen­si­tive ‘RGB+IR’ sen­sor which em­ploys 150,000 pix­els to give 252-zone eval­u­a­tive me­ter­ing which is also linked to the ac­tive AF point(s) and fine-tuned by Canon’s ‘In­tel­li­gent Scene Anal­y­sis’ pro­cess­ing. Alternatively, se­lec­tive area, cen­tre-weighted av­er­age and spot mea­sure­ments are pro­vided. These drive the usual se­lec­tion of ‘PASM’ ex­po­sure con­trol modes – more pre­cisely ‘PAvTvM’ on a Canon D-SLR – and the over­rides for the auto modes com­prise an AE lock, up to +/-5.0 EV of com­pen­sa­tion and auto brack­et­ing with ad­just­ments of up to +/-3.0 EV per frame over se­quences of two, three, five or seven. Au­to­matic flicker de­tec­tion data. Up to three cus­tomised ‘Pic­ture Styles’ can be cre­ated and stored in-cam­era

COR­REC­TIVE SER­VICES

As on the 5Ds mod­els, the white bal­ance con­trols in­clude the choice of ‘Am­bi­ence Pri­or­ity’ or ‘White Pri­or­ity’ modes for the au­to­matic cor­rec­tion. The lat­ter is the stan­dard way of do­ing things while the for­mer is a de­vel­op­ment of ‘keep warm colours’, but works with what­ever colour cast is pre­dom­i­nant in a scene.

Six dif­fer­ent types of light­ing are cov­ered by pre­sets, plus there’s auto brack­et­ing (again over se­quences of two, three, five or seven frames), fine-tun­ing and man­ual colour tem­per­a­ture set­ting. How­ever, again only one cus­tom WB set­ting can be stored which is a bit stingy by high-end cam­era stan­dards.

Thank­fully, Canon has been much more gen­er­ous with the rest of the Mark IV’s cre­ative and cor­rec­tive func­tions and so, com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, it gains an in­ter­val­ome­ter (and time­lapse for mak­ing video clips), ex­tra in-cam­era lens corrections for dis­tor­tion and dif­frac­tion, a ‘Dig­i­tal Lens Op­ti­miser’, a pro­gram­mable Bulb timer for long ex­po­sures (which does away with the need for a re­mote trig­ger), and in-cam­era RAW-to-JPEG pro­cess­ing. These join multi-shot HDR, a mul­ti­ple ex­po­sure fa­cil­ity (for com­bin­ing up

THE ‘RE­LI­ABLE WORK­HORSE’ AS­PECT OF A D-SLR AT THIS LEVEL CAN­NOT BE UN­DER­ES­TI­MATED, AND IT PRO­VIDES A SOLID FOUN­DA­TION FOR PHO­TO­GRAPHIC CRE­ATIV­ITY.”

to nine frames), noise re­duc­tion for both long ex­po­sures and high ISO set­tings, and the ‘Auto Light­ing Op­ti­miser’ and ‘High­light Tone Pri­or­ity’ pro­cess­ing func­tions for con­trast con­trol and dy­namic range ex­pan­sion re­spec­tively.

The ‘Dig­i­tal Lens Op­ti­miser’ was pre­vi­ously a post-cam­era process, but now can be used with both RAW and JPEG cap­ture, and ap­plies a bunch of lens corrections col­lec­tively as well as com­pen­sat­ing for “… the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of res­o­lu­tion caused by the low-pass fil­ter” (to quote the user man­ual) via edge en­hance­ment. The HDR cap­ture func­tion op­er­ates over three frames and the ex­po­sure ad­just­ment can be man­u­ally set to +/-1.0, +/-2.0 or +/-3.0 or au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justed ac­cord­ing to the bright­ness range de­tected in the scene. An auto im­age align func­tion is avail­able along with the op­tion of sav­ing all the files or just the fi­nal merged HDR im­age. There’s also a set of four cre­ative ef­fects – called Art Stan­dard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Em­bossed – which vary the colour sat­u­ra­tion, bright­ness, tonal­ity and bold­ness of the outlines. That’s it for any frilly stuff though, so the EOS 5D IV doesn’t have any special ef­fects or in-cam­era panorama stitch­ing.

IN TOUCH

Oper­a­tionally, the 5D IV breaks new ground in the se­ries by of­fer­ing full touch­screen con­trol which gives a new level of con­ve­nience. Pre­sum­ably cam­era de­sign­ers think D-SLR users are a con­ser­va­tive lot, but a touch­screen can be really handy and not just when shoot­ing video ei­ther.

Canon pro­vides the op­tion of switch­ing off the touch­screen, but it really can make many op­er­a­tions a lot quicker, par­tic­u­larly when it’s com­bined with, for ex­am­ple, the ‘Quick Con­trol’ screen. This presents a se­lec­tion of cap­tur­ere­lated func­tions – and can be cus­tomised for fur­ther ef­fi­cien­cies – and it’s sim­ply a case of tap­ping on the ap­pro­pri­ate tile to bring up the menu or set­tings. The main menu can also be nav­i­gated by touch (us­ing swipe and drag ac­tions), and both touch AF and touch shut­ter re­lease func­tions are avail­able in live view (plus im­age mag­ni­fi­ca­tion for ver­i­fi­ca­tion), along with ‘Quick Con­trol’ tiles (cus­tomis­able again). In re­play mode, touch func­tions are avail­able for brows­ing, zoom­ing and the thumb­nail pages. The screen’s re­spon­sive­ness can be set to ei­ther Stan­dard or Sen­si­tive.

As noted at the be­gin­ning of this re­port, the ex­ter­nal con­trol lay­out is largely un­changed from the pre­vi­ous model and the rest of the EOS 5D clan. The ba­sic ar­range­ment com­prises a main mode dial, a front in­put wheel (which Canon ac­tu­ally calls the ‘Main Dial’) and a large mono­chrome LCD read-out on the top deck. On the rear panel is Canon’s stan­dard com­bi­na­tion of a ‘Multi-Con­troller’ joy­stick and ‘Quick Con­trol Dial’ (i.e. the rear in­put wheel). Along with the front wheel, this pair are the con­ven­tional method of per­form­ing menu nav­i­ga­tion and func­tion/ set­ting se­lec­tion op­er­a­tions.

The menu sys­tem is the same ti­died-up ver­sion that was in­tro­duced on the Mark II EOS 7D with a much less un­wieldy cus­tom menu, but the self-con­tained pages (i.e. non-scrol­lable) pages re­main as does the ne­ces­sity to first press the ‘Set’ but­ton in or­der to bring up sub-menus and set­tings rather than the more con­ven­tional right-click.

In ad­di­tion to the ‘Quick Con­trol’ screens, the main mon­i­tor can be set to show the main cam­era set­tings or a level in­di­ca­tor, now dual-axis as on the 5Ds mod­els. Level in­di­ca­tors can also be dis­played in the viewfinder via the ‘In­tel­li­gent Viewfinder II’ LCD over­lays which in­clude guide grids and a va­ri­ety of func­tion in­di­ca­tors which are se­lected in the ‘Viewfinder In­for­ma­tion Dis­play’ menu.

The live view screen can be con­fig­ured to in­clude a real-time his­togram (for ei­ther bright­ness or RGB chan­nels), the grid pat­terns, level in­di­ca­tors, a set of sta­tus in­di­ca­tors, or just the im­age alone. The re­view/re­play screens in­clude a high­light alert, ba­sic cap­ture info or a thumb­nail im­age with ei­ther a lu­mi­nance his­togram or the RGB his­tograms. The play­back modes in­clude pages of four, nine, 36 or 100 thumb­nails, zoom­ing up to 10x and a slide show func­tion with ad­justable im­age dis­play times plus a re­peat func­tion.

Tra­di­tion­ally, Nikon has had the edge in D-SLR er­gonomics, but the EOS 5D Mark IV has evolved Canon’s con­trol­la­bil­ity to a level of ef­fi­ciency and com­fort that’s sig­nif­i­cantly closed the gap.

The well-im­ple­mented touch­screen helps greatly here, but over­all this cam­era just feels a lot more co­he­sive and smoother oper­a­tionally.

SPEED AND PER­FOR­MANCE

With our ref­er­ence mem­ory card – Lexar’s 128 GB SDXC UHS-II/ U3 (Speed Class 3) Pro­fes­sional – loaded into the ap­pro­pri­ate slot, the EOS 5D IV cap­tured a burst of 51 JPEG/large/fine files in 7.163 sec­onds, rep­re­sent­ing a shoot­ing speed of 7.12 fps. The av­er­age test file size was 19 MB. While 7.0 fps may not look much com­pared to all the 10+ fps cam­eras now avail­able, it’s worth not­ing that this will be more than ad­e­quate for a great many ap­pli­ca­tions… and it’s de­liv­ered with con­tin­u­ous AF/ AE ad­just­ments. Ob­vi­ously, this cam­era can’t make use of the UHSII card speed, but the buf­fer still

emp­tied very quickly. Im­age qual­ity steps up a good few notches from the Mark III and while there isn’t the knock-out def­i­ni­tion of the 50 MP mod­els, the Mark IV isn’t quite so hobbled by the need to com­pletely elim­i­nate all and any sources of cam­era move­ment, no mat­ter how small. The Mark IV’s 30 MP sen­sor more real­is­ti­cally bal­ances res­o­lu­tion and op­er­a­tion plus, as noted ear­lier, also bal­ances res­o­lu­tion and pixel size to the ben­e­fits of dy­namic range and noise lev­els. Fur­ther­more, it bal­ances res­o­lu­tion and file sizes.

Best-qual­ity JPEGs still de­liver plenty of crisply re­solved fine de­tail­ing along with beau­ti­fully smooth tonal gra­da­tions, ex­cel­lent colour fidelity across the spec­trum, and a wide dy­namic range. RAW files are even bet­ter in terms of both de­tail­ing and dy­namic range. Noise re­duc­tion is well man­aged all the way up to ISO 6400 with only a min­i­mal loss of def­i­ni­tion and con­trast at this sen­si­tiv­ity which is pretty im­pres­sive. At ISO 12,800 when chroma (colour) noise starts to be­come ev­i­dent and the lu­mi­nance noise is in­creased (al­though it’s quite finely grained), the over­all im­age qual­ity is still very good and the files are def­i­nitely use­able, al­beit with a limit on the en­large­ment size. Even at ISO 25,600 things are still all hold­ing to­gether rea­son­ably well. The good news here then is that the dy­namic and low-noise char­ac­ter­is­tics trans­lates into in­creased ex­po­sure lat­i­tude so de­lib­er­ate un­der­ex­po­sure can be used to bet­ter pre­serve de­tails in the brighter high­lights (with the shad­ows light­ened up later)… and accidental un­der­ex­po­sures can be more suc­cess­fully res­cued.

Aut­o­fo­cus­ing per­for­mance is sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved over the pre­vi­ous model thanks to the in­creased cov­er­age and re­spon­sive­ness even in low-light sit­u­a­tions. It’s fast and ac­cu­rate over­all, but with lots of scope for fine-tun­ing to suit par­tic­u­lar sub­jects and shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions. Live view op­er­a­tion is also markedly faster with smoother, more lin­ear ad­just­ments when shoot­ing video in ‘Movie Servo AF’ and more re­li­able track­ing.

THE VERDICT

The chal­lenge fac­ing the EOS 5D Mark IV is not so much at­tract­ing Mark III users or even tak­ing on its D-SLR ri­vals, but the in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion from the next gen­er­a­tion of higher-end mir­ror­less cam­eras. Mir­ror­less makes more sense oper­a­tionally for shoot­ing video and there are the size and weight ad­van­tages for all users so the ILC mar­ket is just go­ing to get harder for D-SLRs, but like Nikon’s D500, the 5D IV needs to be looked at as a to­tal pack­age and then it rep­re­sents very much more than the sum of its parts. Also like the D500, it’s the more ac­ces­si­ble – and even more work­able – alternative to the flag­ship model and, as such, is a highly de­sir­able com­bi­na­tion of features, func­tion­al­ity, per­for­mance and price. It in­spires con­fi­dence in its abil­ity to phys­i­cally get the job done no mat­ter what, and in the re­as­sur­ance that vi­sions will be re­alised.

The ‘re­li­able work­horse’ as­pect of a D-SLR at this level can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated and it pro­vides a solid foun­da­tion for pho­to­graphic cre­ativ­ity. Canon has fur­ther built on this with many of Mark IV’s key el­e­ments, in­clud­ing the sen­sor, touch­screen and aut­o­fo­cus­ing.

It is, quite sim­ply, a tri­umph and just pos­si­bly – like the D500 for Nikon – Canon’s crown­ing mo­ment in D-SLR de­sign.

Body size and gen­eral de­sign is largely un­changed from the Mark III model, al­though the Mark IV’s shell is ac­tu­ally new and has beefed-up weather-proof­ing.

But­tons for the main im­age re­view func­tions are all lo­cated to­gether along the edge of the mon­i­tor screen. ‘Quick Con­trol’ screen in the mon­i­tor can be fully op­er­ated via touch con­trols al­low­ing for very quick and easy changes to set­tings. Rear con­trols now in­clude a new but­ton for AF area mode se­lec­tion (just to the right of the ‘Q’ but­ton), but which is also cus­tomis­able. Rear panel lay­out is dom­i­nated by the LCD mon­i­tor screen which has an in­creased res­o­lu­tion and of­fers the con­ve­nience of full touch con­trols.

The main mode dial can be locked at its var­i­ous set­tings. Top cover is now made from GRP to al­low the built-in WiFi and GPS re­ceiver to func­tion. The top panel info dis­play is a stan­dard fea­ture on the higher-end Canon D-SLRs.

Im­age re­view/re­play screens in­clude the choice of a lu­mi­nance his­togram with ba­sic cap­ture data, or a set of RGB his­tograms.

The live view screen can get very busy when all the avail­able el­e­ments are se­lected – real-time his­togram, guide grid, dual-axis level dis­play and var­i­ous func­tion in­di­ca­tors.

The menu sys­tem has self-con­tained menu pages even within each chap­ter so there’s no con­tin­u­ous scrolling.

The mon­i­tor screen can be ad­justed for colour bal­ance via a choice of four set­tings.

The var­i­ous aut­o­fo­cus­ing op­tions get their own menu, in­clud­ing the ‘AF Con­fig­u­ra­tion Tool’ for fine-tun­ing the sub­ject track­ing.

A stereo au­dio in­put and an out­put are pro­vided. Both are stan­dard 3.5 mm mini­jack ter­mi­nals. Dual mem­ory card slots ac­cept SD and CF for­mat types, but the for­mer is only UHS-I speed com­pli­ant, not UHS-II.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.