The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV might not be what you expect [CW3+]

Eos 5d Mark Iv
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV mockup by zol.com.cn

I guess this should be categorised under “weird rumor”. I would normally not give it much credit, but since it comes from a source known to me, I post it.

What’s going on with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV? The 5D4 is likely the most secretive Canon DSLR I’ve seen so far. I am not even sure it will be named “EOS 5D Mark IV”. It’s the “Mark IV” that’s puzzling here.

The number four (4) is considered unlucky in Japanese culture because it is sometimes pronounced “shi“, which is also a word for death. Indeed, as far as I know, there is only one Canon DSLR having the “Mark IV” after the moniker, it’s the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV. If there are Japanese readers who want to add something, please do it in the comment section. I’ll be glad for any additional information. Should I have misunderstood something about Japanese culture (which I greatly esteem), then I apologise.

We might not see a EOS 5D Mark III replacement that’s a Mark IV version of this highly popular Canon full-frame camera. This may also give some sense to the many contradicting EOS 5D Mark IV rumors we saw during 2015, starting with a rumor I am beginning to take even more seriously, saying we will see two different models for the EOS 5D Mark III replacement. Canon already did a model split with the EOS 5Ds and EOS 5Ds R.

Will the EOS 5D Mark III replacement feature 4K video? That’s another controversial point. I got hints it will, but if the EOS-1D X Mark II gets 4K (and it is likely it will), then I doubt Canon will feature it also on the EOS 5D Mark III replacement.

One final thing. While the source I am citing here didn’t deliver any specs, it was suggested that the EOS 5D Mark III replacement will be “something very new” that breaks with the previous line-up. I don’t think this means the end of the EOS 5D series, but it might point to the beginning of a new line-up, even if it is still a “Canon 5D” DSLR line-up. Pretty confusing, isn’t it?

I was not sure about the rating of this rumor. I dare to give it a CW3+. And I am curious to know what you think about this.

  • Wade Marks

    The 5D model is critical to Canon’s success; the importance of this model to Canon cannot be overstated.

    I can believe that they are going to take some chances and swing for the fences with the next 5D. With the 5diii they pretty much gave customers everything they had been asking for: no more megapixels, even better high ISO, and far better AF and body construction with weather sealing. And yes customers were asking that Canon not increase the megapixels.

    So now what are people asking for: certainly a next gen image sensor that approximates the Sony/Nikon sensors in DR. AF is already great; certainly they will improve, as with the 1X mark ii, but their big leap forward already came in AF with the 5diii. I don’t think any iteration of AF can match the huge leap forward from the 5dii to the 5diii.

    I think anything they can do to reduce body size/weight will help, as long as they don’t compromise build quality. A touch screen would be really nice, as would be built in WiFi. And of course their aim should be to produce a really well rounded FF dslr, just as the 5d iii is, but with next gen tech in sensor, AF, UI, etc.

    • Indeed, the DR improvement is what they really need. A lot of Canon shooters are slapping their Canon glass on Sony bodies simply because they want those better sensors. They need to plug that sensor gap to stem that tide.

      • whensly

        Recently did a still life shoot (my profession) I brought a Sony A7ii and a Canon 6D, on one I had a 50mm macro on the other I had a 100mm macro. Lit the subjects with strobes etc and when I got to the studio I loaded the day’s work into lightroom. I expected to see a difference between the aesthetics of the two cams and have to adjust accordingly to match them. Guess what? The images from both cameras really looked identical. I blew up shots to pixel peep a bit and nope everything looked the same. There was no way you’d really know which was which unless you looked at metadata. I would have been the last to argue this was impossible but it was so. Oh and the macros I used were a Canon 100mm L and the Canon 50mm macro (very cheap razor sharp little sucker)

        • Yeah, that’s a good point – the differences are probably largely overblown.

          • MdB

            Same with ‘Canon colours’ then I suppose?

        • Europa and JDM

          I think with controlled lighting there is no difference. I rented a Sony A7ii and I regularly shoot with the 6D, which I own. I think the differences are really in edge cases–handheld night photography, extremely contrasty scenes (poorly lit). I would say that the Sony definitely had more latitude to manipulate the exposure. And I’m not talking 5EV this or that way. I usually tweak within 1EV or so, but I thought the Sony was more forgiving than the Canon. The difference was definitely evident. But, again, in corner cases. However, that happens to be the type of (amateur) photography I do.

          One thing that blew me away though is that the 55 Zeiss lens had tons of CA compared to the 50 1.8 STM. Hats off to Canon! The double Gauss design is really good at correcting CA in the lens.

  • Jun

    4 is 四。death is 死。Si. Not only in Japan. Korea and China are same way. In Chinese it is pronounced as Ss. In Korea, Sa. Often many buildings don’t have 4th floors from the reason. China is even more superstitious. 13, and every number that has 4 in it are not exist in those buildings.

    I love ergonomics in 5DMIII. Hope they keep it that way. If they polish it a bit, no problem. Sensor is the biggest concerns from Canon users. If they can beat the Sony, that will make Canon more shine. A lot of people wants 4K which I don’t need it. But having that 4K might be necessary. Hope they bring what people have been wanted for so long.

    • Fdsjkl

      I’m a Chinese grew up in Beijing(17 years). I have yet to see any high rise building in China without 4th floor, not to mention 13 which has no significant meaning in Chinese culture at all.
      BTW, 4 is pronounced as Si in Chinese.

      • Jun

        Ss, what I meant was in Pinying it is Si as write it down. But people who doesn’t know Chinese language will read as Si like Italian Yes Si. So I made it Ss, you know what I mean? 13 is more to do with Shanghai which I lived there many years.

  • Michael – Visual Pursuit

    Imagine mirrorless full frame with the ergonomics of the 5D series and a next gen sensor…. I’d jump in the first day. EF backwards compatible, tilt/shift adapter optional.

    • entoman

      Yep, that’s what most of us want – Sony technology combined with Canon ergonomics and full backwards compatibiity. IBIS would be nice. Better DR and high ISO noise performance are essential. This is the camera that will make or break Canon.

    • Wade Marks

      At this point for a 5d I’d rather it not be mirrorless. I prefer OVF to an EVF; and EVF still has a lag. Plus battery life would be considerably less.

      If Canon wants to release a FF mirrorless, then fine…I’d consider it. But not as a substitute for the venerable 5d.

      • Michael – Visual Pursuit

        Maybe get your hands on a test drive Leica SL. The time is there, mirrorless and EVF are more than capable for the job, and I have no doubt at all that the Canon version will be even better than Leica SL. System integration alone is a major advantage.

        • entoman

          Something that seems to have gone unmentioned is the possibility of Canon producing an SLT camera which would allow switching between optical and EVF viewing.

          Let’s not forget, that it was Canon who invented the fixed translucent mirror concept. The Canon Pellix SLR was way ahead of its time.

          It’s a shame that neither Canon or Sony (a77 etc) have had much market success with the SLT approach.

          It would be a good way of integrating EVF and optical in a body with the same flange to sesnor distance (and hence lens compatibility) as current EOS cameras.

      • Dave Haynie

        I’d really like to see a hybrid optical/mirrorless from Canon. There’s not much point in mirrorless just to reduce size on a full frame camera. Sure, the 5Diii is heavier than the latest A7s, but it also gets 3x-4x as many shots per battery. If any if the A7s were built to the 5D level of ruggedness, they’d be heavier, too.

        But an EVF has some advantages, even ignoring body size. The 2.4 million dots (subpixels) and large magnification on my OM-D E-M5ii convinced me its viable for real work. The Leica SL took it to 4 million subpixels. But I like the optical on my 6D for other reasons.

        So here’s what I want from Canon. Looks like a normal DSLR, but rather than the usual LED or whatever side displays in the viwefinder, there’s a transparent OLED display at the focusing screen. This gives you the same kind of informational displays you can get in-viewfinder on a mirrorless, overlaying the optical. Transparent OLED has been a thing for years, no new tech needed.

        So now you press the new display mode button, and cycle. At some point, you hit a mode that locks up the mirror. Now that OLED display is your EVF, pretty much the same experience as on any mirrorless.

        Canon and Nikon right now have the advantage of a huge catalog of lenses and pretty universal 3rd party support. Even if I didn’t have my Olympus mirrorless, I don’t see a new lens mount — whether that’s an all-of-a-sudden well supported EOS-M or something else, as being any more attractive than Sony, Olympus/m43, or Fujifilm… it still means either new glass or a permanent adapter on the camera. And both would be behind today’s mirrorless systems. Keeping the current mounts and offering some real innovation is what I’d like to see.

    • Europa and JDM

      I’d go for it! Really the only thing that bugs me about DSLRs is the inherently flawed autofocus vs auto-focusing on the sensor itself.

  • entoman

    I think there will be 2 versions, with Canon using a similar formula to that used with the T6.

    One model will be a “traditional” style 5DMkiv based on the 5DR shell, probably with a 7DMkii-style thumb switch on the back. This would be the “sports/wildlife” version, with at least 8fps, and probably 24MP

    The other model will feature a layout similar to the 70D, with a fully articulating touch screen, and quite possibly with a hybrid viewfinder that allows switching between optical and EVF viewing. It’s even possible that this could be the first full frame mirrorless from Canon. This version MIGHT have 4K, because it is a feature demanded by one of the primary target buyer groups i.e. wedding photographers. This will be the “wedding/portrait/landscape” version, probably 28MP.

    Both will have dynamic range to match current Nikon/Sony models, and ability to shoot ISO 12,800 that produces similar noise/IQ to what a 5DMkiii produces at 3200.

    • Thomas E.

      I hope you are correct. I have been on the fence upgrading my 7D with a 7D-II. I really want the ISO performance of a FF. But, I would also like 8FPS. 16-22MP, 8FPS, AF as good if not better than the 7D-II and 5D-III, GPS, would get me sucked in pretty quickly. Even though I would have to say farewell to my much loved EF-S 10-22.

      Anyway, at this point I will not be upgrading to the 7D-II until, for some reason, the 5D-IV or 6D-II get discarded as options. I figure the 6D-II will not have the 8+ FPS, so that should be easy to disregard.

      Either way, I think I am going to become suicidal if I don’t get a locking mode switch soon 😀

      • entoman

        If it’s any help. my advice would be NOT to upgrade to 7DMkii.

        Up untiI last year I owned the original 7D and a 6D.
        I now own a 7DMkii, 5DMkiii and 5DS.

        The autofocus on the 5DS in faster and much more accurate than the 7DMkii.
        You can bet that the 5DMkiv will be at least as good as the 5DS.

        The 5DS manages 5fps despite having to cope with 50MP RAW files.
        You can bet that a 5DMkiv with 24-28MP will easily be capable of 8fps.

        If you want high ISO performance, the 7DMkii is excellent up to ISO 800, acceptable at 1600, and awful at 3200.

        The 5DS, despite its tiny pixels is excellent to ISO1250, acceptable at ISO 2000 but tails off rapidly after that.

        You can bet that the 5DMkiv, with its larger pixels, will be excellent at ISO3200 and acceptable at ISO 6400.

        If high ISO perforance is paramount you might consider the Sony A7iiS. Only 12MP and lousy ergonomics but nothing can really challenge it for low light, apart possibly from 1Dx or F4, but they weigh more than my house and are 3 times the likely cost of a 5DMkiv.

  • Dave

    Admin,

    It’s a myth about Japanese camera manufacturers being reluctant to use the number 4. Nikon F4, Nikon D4, and many more camera models use the number 4, including the Canon EOS Kiss x4 – elsewhere known as the Canon 550D – maybe they called it the 550D because some countries inhabitants believe that bigger is better, or that it’s people in ‘other countries’ who might be superstitious about the number 4!

    Presumably there was no Digic 4 processor?

    The EOS Kiss X4 http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/tech/report/2010/03/

    Stop spreading this rubbish about the reluctance to use the number 4 and thus keeping the myth alive.

    • canonwatch

      I don’t think this is “rubbish”.

    • Photon

      Dave,
      What are your thoughts on Canon PowerShot S4? and on Canon Powershot G4?

      • Dave

        Photon,

        Maybe admin can answer this one? No thoughts here as I didn’t know they existed, having never used such cameras for my professional work.

        • Photon

          Well… They don’t exist. There is G1, G2, G3, G5, G6… but no G4 The same with S4, G4X, EOS 4, etc…
          I don’t think they will avoid naming 5D MK IV since the main name of the camera remains 5D and EOS 5D line of cameras s very well known and popular among the public (besides they have used IV as a consecutive number to mark a 1D body before). But to say that it is just a myth or rubbish that Canon is reluctant to use number 4 is a bit bold since they have been avoiding number 4 in the past.

          • entoman

            Maybe they’ll see “iv” as being acceptable, where “4” would not be?

  • The 5D Mk III is by far the most successful DSLR in the video space to date. For that reason alone, any successor absolutely has to have 4K video regardless of what the 1DX Mk II has or risk losing a whole segment of the upgrade market. It would be absolutely stupid for Canon not to have 4K video in a 5D3 successor.

  • EnPassant

    A couple of years ago there were some talk about Canon changing their naming of different cameras as it is a bit confusing. So far nothing happened. Maybe the 5DIII replacement will be the first camera in a new series of cameras with a name not starting with 5?

  • krisak

    Canon’s current 4K camera, the XC10, only has a 1″ sensor, yet requires a fan and an exhaust port to reliably dissipate the heat.

    How will Canon handle the heat from a FF sensor? In a body the size of a 5D? (Assuming they don’t pull a Sony, and allow the thing to perform thermal shutdowns whenever it feels the need.)

    • Michael – Visual Pursuit

      Darn right, and aside of cropping and de-shaking in post, most people today are unable to tell 720p from 1080p on a big flatscreen in typical viewing distance. For most people 4k will be nothing but data ballast, crippling their computers almost down to brick status. People using the Panasonic GH4 often state that 1080p delivers more detail than 4k, due to the aggressive compression at 4k. So…. no, 4k is not mission critical to me.

      • entoman

        Have you compared a hi-res image on a Windows PC with the same image on an iMac retina? The difference is vast – the hi-res retina screen makes images look far more realistic, almost 3-dimensional.

        Within a very short space of time everyone will be viewing images on retina-level hi-res monitors. Hence 50MP still cameras and 4K video will soon become the accepted norm, and will be vital to professionals.

        Yes, these big files will slow down your computer, but it’s a sad fact of life that if you want higher resolution, higher dynamic range, better high ISO perforance and decent speed, that when you upgrade cameras, you also have to upgrade to sharper lenses and faster computers.

        • Michael – Visual Pursuit

          I run a professional rental studio, and there’s little I haven’t seen.
          The difference is there when you are close to the screen, but that isn’t typical viewing distance. Olympic games 2020 will be all 8k, yes. But that is corporate communication with extreme financial effort – wading through 30 fps to choose a single frame is not viable to single working shooters.

          The main point remains: The human eye hasn’t got enough resolving power to make use of this extra data mass – there’s little use in all this in most every day applications. Immersive photography, living images…. yes, there are numerous future applications for new technologies. Still photography rather isn’t. At least not today.

          • entoman

            Well I’ve only got average eyesight but I can see a huge difference and I value it in my stills photography.

            It’s difficult to predict the future, but there seems to be a high probability that prosumer stills and video cameras will eventually merge, with stills images being grabbed from video footage a la Panasonic. I don’t understand the technology but currently stills from 4K will only yield 8MP still images. Increasing processor power etc will surely lead within 5 years to 8K entering the prosumer market, presumably yielding 16MP still images.

            The ability to extract a bunch of 16MP images, and merge them in-camera, opens huge benefits to everyone – noise elimination, greater depth of field, focus-stacking, HDR and many other things that haven’t even yet been thought of.

            In some situations, yes there is what you refer to as “data ballast”, but in other situations that data will be immensely useful. All cameras have features that are only used by a small proportion of users (e.g HDR, intervalometers etc) and 4K is no different. I have no use for it myself, but there are many who want it, or who want it to evolve into something that will be useful when more fully developed.

            I hope that 4K finds its way into more cameras, for those who want it. For the rest of us, it does no harm – there is nothing forcing us to use it if we don’t want it.

          • Wade Marks

            Actually, 8K video will yield still images of 33MP. 1080p yields still extracts of 2MP, 4k video yields still extracts of 8MP, and 8k gets you 33MP stills. You have to multiply by 4 to take into account the doubling of resolution along both the horizontal and vertical axis.

      • Wade Marks

        A 4k video down sampled to 1080p will look better and sharper than if originally filmed in 1080p.

        • Michael – Visual Pursuit

          Provided that the 4k compression doesn’t kill more detail during shooting already. Which is what happens in many smaller 4k “capable” cameras.

    • Thomas E.

      Thus the large magnesium die cast frame. Basically a large heat sink. Thermal management is not rocket science, you just have to put the time up front to design the product for it. I would suggest Canon and Nikon do. But that’s just me.

  • shi isn’t an issue when u have the kunyomi

  • Wade Marks

    No matter what the final specs of the 5d mark iv, it should be one heck of a year for the camera industry. You’ll have Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, and Panasonic all coming out with new cameras and lenses. This will be year that defines the dedicated camera for years to come.

    And it all starts very soon as we should have some big announcements in January.

  • Blocked

    If it doesn’t feature an EVF, it’s time to jump ship !

  • DouglasGottlieb

    5DML:
    Way more DR
    Slightly more megapixels
    Slightly more burst rate and buffer
    Way less mirror (none)
    Slightly less size/weight
    No less build quality
    Leica SL caliber EVF
    Fast AF with existing glass
    Articulating touch screen
    4K
    Done

  • Jan Karlsson

    Canon need a mirrorless EF full frame camera.
    And I hope that them understand that many thinking of the possibility to change to Sony’s A7r II ….I really do….But if Canon can get a good body in that size..or little bigger, and not have so many errors.
    If not I hope for the next Sony A7r III , with touch screen and meny system that is good and a nice design….okay thats maybe impossible….them have look like shit from the begining and still does 😯But anyway I think about a change….Canon! You never understand what people ask for, you try to give as little as possible, so you can rest and give something next time anyway.
    Canon feel like a dinosaur, I really laughed when Sony show A7r II a few days after 5Dr 5Ds.
    It was so good that Sony killed the proud that Canon seemed have get.

  • Null Static Void

    I’m probably the only person hoping they keep the megapixels conservative and really amp up the DR as well as go a few more steps in noise performance.
    I do a fair bit of video and would just love to see higher framerate HD.
    4K is great for certain production workflows. But most of what folks do is still 1080p.
    60, and 120fps 1080p are more important to me than 4k, mirrorless or IBIS.

    Though seeing how Canon has been making stabilized lenses for a while now, the IBIS thing is head scratcher. They could certainly do it quite well. But if they did add such a feature, it would cannibalize sales of several high priced lenses with stabilization.
    However, on a camera made specifically for videography, it makes perfect sense.
    I’d love to use the 85L with IBIS in an available light situation.