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.
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)
- 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.
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.
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.
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.