The Canon 5DMkiv

Two years ago Canon launched the new 5DMkiv and since then it’s been thoroughly field tested by professionals and amateurs either as a new addition to their gear range or as an upgrade in the EOS 5D series. Before I comment briefly from my own experience of this top-end piece of kit it’s worth quoting a little of what Canon said about their then new flagship model:

‘From the moment light passes through the lens, the EOS 5D Mark IV captures every nuance, every colour, every detail. Once again Canon has brought finer dimensions in detail thanks to a new sensor capable of extraordinary clarity. See your world like never before. The EOS 5D Mark IV features advanced focusing and metering which captures moments and tracks them the instant they happen, even in difficult lighting. A 30.4 Megapixel CMOS sensor delivers images that are packed with detail and low in noise, even in bright highlight and dark shadow areas. A finer resolution means nothing is lost, allowing you the freedom to crop in for the perfect shot and retain the quality. Low light performance is improved at every ISO setting, with much reduced digital noise and a maximum sensitivity of ISO 32,000 (expandable to ISO 102,400). Be confident of superb image quality even when shooting in poor light. At the heart of the EOS 5D Mark IV is a fast DIGIC 6+ processor that controls every aspect of the camera’s behaviour, including turning raw sensor data into high quality image files that are rich in detail and low in noise, with accurate colours and skin tones. A high-resolution 3.2-inch LCD screen with intuitive touch-screen controls makes shooting with the EOS 5D Mark IV a pleasure. Tap to choose menu commands and swipe back and forth when reviewing images. Four colour tone options enable you to clearly use the screen at any time, day or night…’

And so it goes on. But what about the real world? Sure, like everything else in photography, you’ll always find detractors and to be honest it’s very difficult to change your mind-set when handling something new after using your existing gear for years and knowing its limitations and pros and cons. But that’s what we all end up with: knowing what we can do with what we use…especially if we’re used to the kit. Very often we forget any downsides of equipment we use because we’ve just learned so much about it through regular use and, in many cases, learned to adapt because, quite simply, it does what we want, when we want. For me, my EOS 7DMkii will always be the go-to piece of kit for wildlife photography because it does exactly what I want it to do, when I want. And for me that counts for a lot because it means I’m confident in the gear. I know how it ‘works’, what it can do and more importantly what it can’t do. It’s like my old trusty and rusty 60D…it does what i want it to do when I want…and given its limitations it’s a brilliant bit of kit. But it’s not in the same ball park as the high-end pro gear. But nor should it be. Move up to the pro kit and your playing with serious stuff. And so it is with the EOS 5DMkiv: it’s high-end. It’s serious. And it’s beautiful. I’d heard much about its low light level responsiveness and after unboxing I pushed it to its limit in an almost pitch black environment. Even when I had difficulty in ‘seeing’ what I wanted to shoot the 5DMkiv auto focus locked-on and produced a good quality image. Used with the EF200mm f/2.8L II USM lens I was seriously impressed. Overall image quality in all conditions was what I expected from this wee beastie: excellent. Is there a down-side to the 5DMkiv: I’m sure there is… I just haven’t found it. If you don’t own a 5DMkiv (and they’re not cheap) then you might consider giving one a try…I would be surprised if you were disappointed. If you take the plunge and invest in the 5DMKiv then play with it for a few months ’til you get used to everything it can do…and then you won’t waste time in the field playing ‘photo roulette’ spinning the dials.

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