The Crazy 5D Mark IV Specs Don’t Seem So Crazy Anymore

Apr 13, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Apr 13, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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A couple of months ago we posted a set of specs supposedly belonging to a Canon test camera. Despite looking like a possible 1D X Mark II, that option was ruled out and it was mentioned that the camera could be testing an assortment of features that wouldn’t necessarily all show up in the same one body (or at all).

Another possibility was that the specs belong to the much anticipated 5D Mark IV, and recent rumors and developments seem to make this option a whole lot more logical now than it was back then.

So what kind of camera will the 5D Mark IV be?

It was previously rumored that there will be two high-megapixel 5D-series cameras and that the 5D Mark III replacement will be a low-light beast. There were also rumors that either the 5D Mark IV will have 4K video or that there will be a dedicated 5D camera for that purpose.

The high MP cameras turned out to be true and we now know them as the 5DS and 5DS R. Now we just need to wait and see what about the 5D Mark IV and the potential additional camera, but it seems one camera could easily house all the remaining features.

Leaked Canon 5DS

These below specs were posted yesterday by Northlight-Images as specs they received for the 5D Mark IV:

  • 18mp Full Frame CMOS
  • ISO 100-204,800
  • 61 AF Points (all cross-type)
  • 12fps
  • Dual CFast
  • 4K Video Capture

The specs might seem familiar as they are the EXACT specs we recently posted, belonging to the test camera.

So could these specs really belong to the next 5D camera?

For the 5D Mark IV to be a “real” replacement for the Mark III it will have to have powerful low-light capabilities, a good AF system and be pretty fast.

The specs above meet the high ISO requirement by upping the current 102,800 ISO, and include the same amount of autofocus points as the 5D Mark III, 1D X and 5DS/R.

Speed wise the camera would see a significant bump going from 6 frames per second to an astonishing 12, which will no doubt satisfy anybody who previously had only 6 or was expecting a slight increase.

This would bring it awfully close to the 1D X’s 14 fps which would normally make it seem unlikely, except it was previously reported that the 1D X Mark II will include “quantum leap in fps”, so there will be no risk of cannibalism there.

The 5D Mark III. Still selling well.
The 5D Mark III. Still selling well.

So far so good. Everything makes sense until this point, but we still have the sensor’s megapixel decrease to explain as well as the expensive and uncommon CFast memory cards.

By this point I don’t think anybody will be surprised to see 4K video included in the 5D Mark IV. In fact, this has been discussed and rumored for so long that I’d go as far as to say that it is pretty much expected to be part of the next 5D camera.

Assuming this is true, the 18MP sensor does make sense. Here’s why:

The lower megapixel count will not only make it easier to achieve clean photos at high ISO settings as Mark III users expect, but it also seems right for a camera that is at least somewhat video oriented.

On the one hand, 18MP is plenty for most still photography needs and on the other hand it would be better for high quality video output. More megapixels are not better when it comes to this aspect.

Here the clean high-ISO advantage of the fewer MPs kicks in once again, as it is even more important for video than for stills.

What about the CFast cards?

As I stated in the past, progress comes at a price and such a popular camera could be Canon’s best opportunity to introduce the new memory cards. Unlike Nikon’s attempt to introduce the XQD cards in the D4, the 5D Mark IV will not be a $6,000 flagship model sold only to a select few.

The sheer number of cameras expected to be sold could be enough to successfully integrate the CFast cards and turn them mainstream.

While it seemed unlikely at the time that both memory cards would be CFast, or even just one of them, Canon’s recent releases change that. Both the $16,000 C300 Mark II Cinema camcorder and the $2,500 XC10 compact, fixed-lens, video and stills camera offer 4K video. Both cameras also include CFast slots along with an SD slot.

Since both these cameras will use a CFast slot for 4K video recording, I see no reason why the 5D Mark IV wouldn’t do the same.

Sure, you would have a point saying that a semi-pro DSLR shouldn’t be compared to a high-end dedicated 4K video camera that will probably cost five times more, and normally I would agree with you.

I’d agree had it not been for the release of the XC10. This camera costs one-sixth of the C300 and roughly $500-$1000 or so cheaper than I expect the next 5D will cost.

Canon seems to be going down the same 4K-video-gets-recorded-on-CFast for the opposite ends of its video line, so why not do the same for the DSLR line?

Further strengthening my belief this is how Canon will go about it are rumors that the 5D Mark IV sensor will employ the same dual-channel readout as the C300 Mark II.

Will the 5D Mark IV get its tech from the C300 Mark II?
Will the 5D Mark IV get its tech from the C300 Mark II?

The first step in bringing the DSLR and Cinema lines closer together was adding video to the DSLR. Now Canon added the ability to capture 12MP stills with the XC10 or extract 8MP images from its video. Add to that the (reasonable) rumor that C300 Mark II technology will be incorporated in the Mark IV DSLR, and suddenly a CFast slot in the DSLR camera sounds right.

Putting logic aside, the CFast cards are still significantly more expensive than CF cards. This might just be a bitter pill buyers will have to swallow if they want to have clean 4K video at high ISO. On the plus side, Canon’s decision to use these cards in the C300 Mark II and the XC10 will certainly help lower their price.

Canon's DSLR-like 4K video camera. The XC10.
Canon’s DSLR-like 4K video camera. The XC10.

So what is your take on this? Do you think these could be the 5D Mark IV specs? Would you be willing to invest in CFast memory cards for 4K video?

Regardless of specs, as previously mentioned, the release date of the 5D Mark IV depends on the success rate of the 5DS but either way it will not be before the fall of 2015.

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Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

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20 responses to “The Crazy 5D Mark IV Specs Don’t Seem So Crazy Anymore”

  1. Patrick MF Long Avatar
    Patrick MF Long

    And in still rockin my Rebel XT lol!

  2. Melvin Chicas Avatar
    Melvin Chicas

    Besides 4k, seems to me it’s 1Dx technology passed down to it.

  3. René Pirker Avatar
    René Pirker

    I don’t think they will go down from 22,3 Mpix to 18! Keeping the 22,3 or a slight increase would be great and I want a 5D MkIV rather sooner than later, before summer would be perfect to upgrade from my 60D!

    1. Jp Legaspina Avatar
      Jp Legaspina

      Why not, they already did with 1Ds (21mp) to 1Dx (18mp)…

    2. René Pirker Avatar
      René Pirker

      but this was from III to X, so you imply that the next 5D will be called 5DX ?! ;)

    3. Aaron M Grubb Avatar
      Aaron M Grubb

      you’re right, but I also see how it could be a benefit, but only so they could increase the quality at high ISO….which is why I would want it….but I WOULD miss those extra pixels

      1. Gary Schmitt Avatar
        Gary Schmitt

        If the extra pixels are noise then you won’t miss them , lower MP coupled with Digi 7 could be a winner !!

    4. Jp Legaspina Avatar
      Jp Legaspina

      Why not? Whether they call it 5D IV or x, y, or z… Its just a naming scheme… Bottom line is, its a replacement of 5Diii.

  4. Jon Avatar

    Why would they completely erode 1DX sale with this sort of release…?

  5. Marius Budu Avatar
    Marius Budu

    I was waiting for the MIV instead of upgrading to the III but if it will be 18 MP I might go for the 3 after all since I don’t shoot much video and while I don’t need 50mp since I have a Hassy, I also won’t downgrade my res on the Canon which I use as my primary.

    1. Aaron M Grubb Avatar
      Aaron M Grubb

      but wouldn’t it be worth the higher ISO quality? you might get cleaner shots at 12,800 on the mk IV than you do at 6400 on the mk III ….we’ll see about that, though…could even be better (or worse) than that

    2. Marius Budu Avatar
      Marius Budu

      I mostly shoot in studio and when I shoot anything else I really don’t need any crazy iso speeds anyway, my MII has been just fine. I want to upgrade for the better focus system, dual card slots and some better video features (but those are really secondary). I was hoping that Canon would do something a bit more revolutionary with the MIV but it seems like another disappointing “trying to play catch-up” launch if these specs hold true.

      Might just bite the bullet and switch to a Sony system – they seem to have a finger on the pulse of what photographers want.

  6. pincherio Avatar

    …and the Panny FZ1000 records 4k video to an SD card. So does the GH4. As a Canon shooter, I’m so disappointed at how they dropped the ball on 4k video. They’re playing catch up now and they expect their loyal customers to sell body parts to pay for it.

  7. Aaron M Grubb Avatar
    Aaron M Grubb

    Waaaaaant…but only after we see what glitches it may have first

  8. Spoonie Avatar

    I can hear Canon’s marketing department laughing about the 18mp spec from here.

  9. Mark Clarisse Avatar
    Mark Clarisse

    If this is accurate, seems as though my brand switch earlier in the year was the right move!!!
    Nothing to see here, move along…

  10. ivaniaaroundtheworld Avatar

    18MP…fascinating! If it was 2009.

  11. jason bourne Avatar
    jason bourne

    To drop the megapixel count from 22 to 18 would be a sales disaster for Canon, IMO.

  12. Me Avatar

    HEADS UP. This is the latest post showing on your site for my computer. This is regardless of browser or locale (this is true if I am using VPN as well). Something is up again (I am the one who let you know last time).

  13. yakuz Avatar

    Since the author is discussing something that yet to be officially announce kindly refer to this link for another point of view