Early Impressions of the Canon 5D Mark IV Video Features

September 8, 2016

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Chris Lavigne


The Canon 5D Mark IV arrived at Wistia today and it felt like Christmas morning. Trevor and I were REALLY excited to get our hands on it and start testing out some of the new video features. But after spending a half day shooting with it, I’m pretty underwhelmed.

4K Footage

While the Mark IV does have a full frame sensor (like its predecessor) and can shoot full frame video at 1080p, shooting in 4K mode adds a 1.74x crop. This means all of your lenses will be zoomed in 1.74 times.

This is brutal for trying to get wide-angle shots and for creating shallow depth of field. It makes nearly all of our lenses essentially telephoto lenses. Not to mention, we lose a lot of the shallow depth of field that made me fall in love with the 5D Mark II and Mark III.

Here is some sample footage shot at 4K on the Mark IV:

The Mark IV 4K mode uses a different video codec, so the video files are pretty massive. But the footage does look beautiful with no noticeable aliasing effects. Super sharp, super crisp.

Dual Pixel Auto Focus

Dual Pixel Auto Focus is the killer feature of the Mark IV. Just touch the screen and just like magic, the camera smoothly focuses for you. This new auto focus is amazing for following someone walking towards the camera and is awesome when you’re shooting an interview with talent that may sway closer to and away from the lens.

We found that different lenses will produce different auto focus results. Our 50mm Sigma ART lens took it’s sweet time racking focus, whereas the brand new Canon 50mm STM lens was smoother and snappier.

Welcome Additions and Upgrades

The Mark IV had some nice little upgrades that didn’t blow us away, but are definite improvements over the Mark III.

  • 120 frames per second slow motion (up from 60fps on the Mark III)
  • Time-lapse mode with intervalometer built-in
  • On-screen headphone volume control
  • Improved resolution LCD screen
  • Older LP-E6 batteries from the 5D Mark II and Mark III still work with the Mark IV

To Shoot Or Not To Shoot

While we did bid farewell to our trusty 5D Mark III, I’m reluctant to replace it with the Mark IV just yet.

At Wistia, we’re looking forward to shooting more of our videos at 4K resolution. So for now, we’ll be trying out other camera bodies like the Sony a7s II and the Canon C300 Mark II to see how they fit into our video workflow.

Thanks a lot to Hunt’s Camera for getting us the Mark IV as quickly as humanly possible!

Chris Lavigne


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