A list of specs supposedly belonging to a test camera has found its way to the web, and despite certain similarities to the 1D X, reports deny it is the 1D X Mark II.
The 5D Mark IV is expected towards the end of the year and hopes are high that the test camera is a draft of sorts.
But while 4K video, super high ISO and a substantially boosted burst mode will be greatly appreciated by some, a possible decrease in the sensor’s megapixels could rain on their parade.
According to Canon Rumors, the following specs belong to a test camera that may or may not reach production in its current form:
- 18mp Full Frame CMOS
- ISO 100-204,800
- 61 AF Points (all cross-type)
- Dual CFast
- 4K Video Capture
The first feature in the list is the core of the potential controversy. We have seen a fierce megapixel war in recent years, with Canon having the last word for the moment with the 5Ds and 5Ds R. Obviously this led us to expect a MP increase, slight as it may be, in the upcoming replacement.
Not only does this camera not increase the camera’s MP, it actually takes a few away. Most people will agree that the difference between 18MP and 22MP is negligible, but it is still a move in the “wrong” direction.
The high ISO is obviously a welcome upgrade from the current 102,800 found in the 5D Mark III, though some people will be upset about the base ISO changing from 50 to 100.
The one feature that does not draw too much attention is the 61 AF points, though it’s great that they are all cross-type. The 5D Mark III, 5Ds/R and 1D X all have 61 AF points, so this was very much to be expected.
Doubling the firepower of the Mark III and almost matching that of the flagship 1D X, the test camera is said to be capable of shooting 12 frames per second. This might not faze some users, but it would be a Godsend to sports and wildlife photographers.
Dual CFast is the other unforeseen feature, and an unwanted one for some. CFast cards promise a significant bump in read and write speeds, but come at a substantial cost. CFast cards are considerably more expensive than CF memory cards, and if both the camera’s slots will be dedicated to CFast cards, the cost has just doubled.
True, this move will mean you will not be able to use any your current memory cards, which is why I doubt Canon will opt for dual CFast, but it will introduce a new technology that is expected to last for a while. I hated the extra cost of CF cards when I got my D300s, but I’ve never looked back. Personally, I’m very much looking forward to the introduction of CFast memory cards.
You must also keep in mind that their price will drop once they become more popular, just as the price of SD and CF cards has plummeted over the years (though this wasn’t solely due to their popularity).
Many video features can be found on users’ wish lists (did anybody say focus peaking?), but 4K video is without a doubt the most debated request. I recently mentioned that Canon might be motivated to announce a 4K DSLR if it senses Nikon’s video capabilities are closing in, and I’m confident this is something we will see in the relatively near future. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 5D Mark III replacement will be the first affordable DSLR to have it (opposed to the only 4K DSLR on the market today – the $8,000 Canon 1D C).
What If and If At All
The most important thing to keep in mind is that these specs refer to a test camera. It is unknown for how long the camera has been around (which might explain the 18MP sensor), or if it will ever make it to the market.
It also seems entirely possible that the camera could be testing various features that would not necessarily be bunched in the same camera later on.
Theoretically this could mean that the dual CFast slots could be tested for the 1D X Mark II, the 12fps with the 61 cross-type AF point for the 5D Mark IV and the 4K video for an entirely separate camera to be released in the 5D lineup.
Now, what if the 5D Mark IV will have an 18MP sensor?
Honestly, while I have a hard time believing Canon will lower the MP count; it could be a good move. Sure, the marketing team will have a hard time selling ‘less is sometimes more’, but the benefits of the move could greatly outweigh the downside of losing a few megapixels.
I’ve mentioned in the past that the 5D Mark IV is supposed to be a low-light beast, and if it means Canon will have to lower the MP count in order to offer superb high ISO, super fast AF and a very impressive 12fps, how many people will really miss the extra megapixels? If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that the camera will have a relatively low MP count, considering Canon’s low-light flagship weighs in at 18MP and Nikon’s D4S at just 16MP.
We’ve also seen Canon lowering the megapixel count when the 1D X replaced the 21MP 1Ds Mark III, so such a move would not be unheard of.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the high-megapixel sensors. I swear by my Nikon D800, and I’m dying to get my hands on a Canon 5Ds. That being said, in most cases I’d be willing to settle for fewer megapixels in exchange for better high ISO, more fps and faster AF. They are far more important, in my opinion, for most uses, once you reach a certain amount of megapixels. While 18 megapixels might be a tad low, it is pretty close to the point at which I’d start caring more about the other factors than how many extra pixels I get.
If you absolutely need every pixel you can get, the 5Ds and 5Ds R will be you new best friends. Practically though, most people (present company included) will do just fine with something in the 20MP neighborhood.
Canon has already proved (on paper, for now) that it is capable of creating a megapixel behemoth. That weight has been removed from its shoulders, and now that the pressure is off I think Canon can allow itself to take a break from the megapixel war and focus on improving other features.
Canon does not have to reassert its megapixel dominance with every model it releases, so fanboys should not lose too much sleep over the fact that Nikon’s D810 possesses double the amount of pixels.
If the 5D Mark IV will be similar to the mentioned specs, Canonists need not worry that it is not the perfect answer to the D810. Why does it need to be? As great as I think it is, the D810 is by no means the perfect camera, and Canon can produce a better camera overall even if it has fewer megapixels. At the very least, owners will be able to rest assured knowing that their lenses are fully capable of resolving the sensor.
It is not a completely fair comparison, but have a look at Sony’s decision to produce the 12.2MP a7S. Sony dropped the megapixels drastically and created a low-light wonder. You will be correct in saying that they also offer the 24.3MP a7 Mark II and the 36MP a7R, but Canon offer a higher MP solution and the potentially ‘low megapixel’ camera is conveniently positioned between Sony’s low and medium megapixel cameras, with what I regard as a totally acceptable amount.
If This Is Not The 1D X Replacement…
The specs of this camera could lead one to believe that it might be an upgrade of sorts of the current flagship, though it was specifically stated that is not the case.
In fact, Canon Rumors were told that the 1D X replacement will provide a “quantum leap in fps, dynamic range and a bump in resolution”. If true, it would make it more possible for some of the current high-end features of the 1D X to trickle down to the 5D line.
More importantly though, I’m now curious to see what the 1D X Mark II will offer!
[Lead Image: Ms. Glaze]
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