We examine the video making features of Canon's new EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR. How does it continue the legacy of Canon's groundbreaking 5D-series and what's new in the 30.4 megapixel camera?


The long-awaited EOS 5D Mark IV is the latest Canon DSLR to offer video shooting in the series that introduced Full HD video to full-frame DSLRs way back in 2008. Since the trailblazing 5D Mark II video capabilities in DSLRs have moved on substantially, so what are the key new features of the EOS 5D Mark IV for shooting video?

DCI 4K shooting
The 5D Mark IV is the first camera in the 5D-series to offer DCI 4K (4096 x 2160 resolution) shooting – the digital cinema standard – in a 17:9 ratio and it does so at a choice of 30, 25 or 24 frames per second. There is also the option to extract 8.8 million pixel JPEG stills directly from movie footage. The other video shooting options include 1080p Full HD at up to 60fps, plus 720p HD recording at either 100fps or 120fps.

EOS 5D Mark IV rear

Codecs: 4K, Full HD & HD
Like its EOS-1D X Mark II sister model, the 5D Mark IV uses the Motion JPEG codec for 4K internal recording but this time it’s at approximately 500Mb/sec versus the 800Mb/sec rate of the 1D X Mark II. The Full HD, HD and MP4 formats utilise the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 codec. Colour sampling for internal recording is YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit for 4K and YCbCr 4:2:0 8-bit for Full HD and HD.

ISO capabilities
The Auto ISO range for 4K runs from ISO 100 to 12,800 whilst for shooting Full HD or HD footage it automatically runs from 100 to 25,600. All of the video formats offer expandable ISO values up to 102,400 for low light shooting.

30.4 Megapixel sensor
Compared to the 22.3 Megapixel 5D Mark III the 5D Mark IV features a new 30.4 Megapixel CMOS sensor and Canon has confirmed that for 4K it has a 1.74x crop which is said to be “a native dot by dot readout for 4K recording”. This is not too surprising as a native crop from the centre of the sensor does also feature on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II when capturing 4K footage.

EOS 5D Mark IV rig

Movie lengths
Maximum movie lengths are 29 minutes and 59 seconds for 4K and Full HD whilst a new High Frame Rate Movie mode records slow-mo movie footage at 1/4-speed for up to 7 minutes and 29 seconds. There is no 4GB file limit with exFAT CF cards. The 5D Mark IV also includes the Time-lapse movie mode that was first seen in the EOS 5DS and 5DS R cameras. This captures sequences of between 2 and 3600 images in 1080p resolution and processes them in-camera.

Autofocusing abilities
The inclusion of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology in the Mark IV brings autofocus for video into the 5D-series. The technology operates with Face Detection, Tracking AF and Movie Servo AF. This on-sensor phase-detection focusing benefits videographers who require fast and smooth AF performance in Live View mode. The camera’s rear 8.10cm (3.2″) Clear View II LCD screen offers touch screen control and allows for AF point selection when shooting in Live View. Naturally enough, manual focusing is also available.

HDMI output
Like the EOS-1D X Mark II HDMI output is not available for 4K but it is available for Full HD uncompressed 4:2:2 8-bit footage, whilst sound output via HDMI is also possible. The camera also features a USB 3.0 socket for rapid file transfers and two audio ports – one for use of an external microphone and one for headphones to allow audio monitoring. In-camera audio capture is also possible via a built-in monaural mic that records 48Khz, 16-bit, two-channel audio.

EOS 5D Mark IV inputs

Design, handling and spec
Whilst in design and handling the Mark IV appears to remain very close to its Mark III predecessor, in terms of video spec and shooting capabilities the camera is much closer to the EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR. Perhaps it’s fair to say that, on first inspection, the EOS 5D Mark IV is more of an evolution than a revolution for the 5D-series in terms of what it offers filmmakers.

New lens duo
Alongside the EOS 5D Mark IV Canon has also unveiled new versions of two of its much loved zoom lenses – the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM and the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM. Of the two arguably the more interesting one for videographers will be the 24-105mm zoom as it includes a new video design EDM that provides quiet aperture adjustment during movie capture, however the fast aperture 16-35mm will potentially offer added creativity for shooting wideangle footage.

Find out more…
This has been a brief first look at some of the key video specs of the EOS 5D Mark IV, so keep visiting The Video Mode website for more in-depth information, test footage and analysis of the video capabilities of the EOS 5D Mark IV in the near future.