Canon 5D Mark IV Going 4K? …It’s About Time!

5D Mark IV Rumor PB

Before the 5D Mark III was released, we heard rumors that the camera would feature 4K video. Of course, that seems silly now given Canon’s conservative approach in releasing new DSLRs and video products in recent years. And in the Twilight Zone of the camera industry we live in now, Canon is the one that started this whole HDSLR craze after all with a groundbreaking product in the 5D Mark II.

Of course, Canon didn’t know what it had with the 5D Mark II. Canon would have almost certainly neutered it or rebranding the model with a much higher price tag if it knew that it would be the catalyst to the democratization of filmmaking.

The 5D Mark III was released as a very solid camera and a proper successor to the 5D Mark II. Great low light performance, much better AF and a respectable upgrade in the video department. However, it wasn’t groundbreaking. It was a calculated, incremental upgrade. It was solid and it was safe.

In the mean time, Canon has released a series of EOS Cinema cameras geared toward the professional filmmaking and video industry. The C100 currently runs about $5000, while the top-end C500 runs $20,000.

Canon and the 4K Dilemma

If you want to shoot 4K with a Canon camera, you have two choices: the C500 or the HDSLR-style Canon 1D C, which rings in at $12,000.

Just a couple years ago, we were all talking about who would be the first company to break the 4K for $10k barrier with a Super 35 or larger sensor. We’ve got those is spades now.

This year, we’ve started seeing 4k cameras in the sub-$2000 price range. There’s even a bridge camera that shoots 4K for under $1000. Plenty of 4K TVs are selling for under $1000.

4K cameras and delivery systems are primed and ready for a complete onslaught. It’s happening. Consumers are going to buy into it. It won’t be long before 1080p is no longer a “good enough” feature.

The Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7S have beaten Canon to the punch with solid 4K offerings. If Canon rolls out another incremental upgrade in the 5D line without 4K video, HDSLR customers are going to jump ship in droves. There is just too much great tech out there for Canon to stay out of the affordable 4K market for another generation.

It makes sense then that we’re hearing tips that the Canon 5D Mark IV will feature 4K video capabilities. It’s a feature I expect and would be shocked to see Canon leave out of the 5D Mark IV.

CFast Card Slots and Storage Options

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Canon dropped the aging CF card format and jumped on the CFast bandwagon in the 5D Mark IV. In fact, I will be disappointed if Canon doesn’t go with CFast.

The SD card slot from the 5D Mark III received a whole lot of eye rolls because it was not only inferior to the speed of the CF cards, Canon crippled it from the start by failing to support UHS bus standards.

The maximum theoretical speeds for CFast 2.0 specifications are 600MB/s. Lexar already has cards that deliver 510MB/s speeds. While compressed 4K video can be captured at much lower data rates than that, Canon has previously committed to the CFast 2.0 standard and 4K video is a prime opportunity to set itself apart from Panasonic and other manufacturers’ highly compressed 4K footage with a solid 4K codec.

And then there’s the CF card pins. Who doesn’t hate the pins in the card slot of your camera for CF cards? If you’ve ever bent a pin, then you know it’s about a $250 fix and time without your camera while you ship it to Canon.

The CF card is just a terrible design. They were fast and served the purpose during the rise of the DSLR, but it’s time to put CF out to pasture for good. Including the CFast 2.0 card slot on the 5D Mark IV would put a stamp of approval on the standard and further encourage prices to drop on new CFast 2.0 cards.

5D Mark IV Still Photography Specs

This is something that’s quite open for speculation still. We are waiting to hear more tips and rumors about the still image features for the 5D Mark IV.

The Mark III is a solid still photography camera. Of course, there can always be incremental improvements in sensor technology and overall image quality. That’s a given expectation on camera lines of this caliber.

But, what’s going to encourage Mark III users to upgrade to a Mark IV? The Mark III is so good, that the Mark IV is going to have to knock our socks off with something much better to invest another $3000 or so into the new body.

We haven’t seen much with Canon’s new radio TTL flash triggering. Could it be time to include that in a camera body? That would be a nice feature to sell more cameras and probably flashes too.

What about some easier bracketing and intervalometer features? Nikon has always had a major leg up on Canon in this department. If Canon made these tasks easier to accomplish in camera, the convenience alone would be a nice incentive to upgrade.

Of course, Dual Pixel AF, which we saw in the Canon 70D, should arrive in the next 5D. While this is a great video feature, it is a great live view tool for still photography as well.

These are just a few features that come to mind. What do you guys want to see on the still image capture side (or video side) of the 5D Mark IV?



  1. Dan says

    My worry for Canon is that the 5D3, even though it records 1080p, resolves much less. The footage while nice looking does not look sharp. I’m worried that Canon needs to jump through 2 hurdles, 1 just to make the 1080p footage look better, and 2 is to record 4k. Then their is the question of if they would bring this to a sub $4000 camera when they currently are charging $12000 for it. Not to mention the Sony A7s already gives me better low light, better looking 1080p, and the option of 4k if needed through a recorder and it does it for $1000 less than the years old 5D3 with the same full frame sensor. Not only does Canon need a drastic improvement to its sensor, it needs to deal with resolving detail, moire, 4k, add features like focus peaking, and it needs to stop charging 25% more than the competition. I bet before we see the 5D4, Sony will be recording 4k in camera on a FF sensor, and Panasonic will put out a full frame or APS-C version of the GH4. I own the 5D3 and 70D for video right now but just got the A7s in yesterday and have the GH4 coming in next week. I’m betting there is a good chance my Canon gear goes up for sale next month.

    • David forrester says

      I can only agree 100%. I have the 5D2 and it is was a groundbreaker in it’s day. For stills, it takes great stuff. For video, it is past it’s prime – I mean it can still take nice stuff in the right conditions, but advancements are making it only sub-par now in so many ways. Auto focus in video, follow focus, peaking, zebra’s, audio (critical here). Not even the 5D3 was better in video and these areas except a bit more in lower light and higher gain – but sharpness and the likes, sorry. No doubt to protect their over-priced C series cameras which are selling well.

      The Sony and Panasonic are amazing, well thought out, lighter, just simply better in all regards. Waaay better. Like yourself, my Canon gear is about to go up for sale. The video from either camera is astonishing in 4K even down converted to 1080, stunning. Canon does not even come close anymore. Kind of like Brazil losing to Germany in a blowout. Ouch.

      • Chris Howell says

        I think that If people want to shoot video……Buy a video camera purpose built!

        • David Forrester says

          Actually I did at 2x the cost and it was a DSLR killer. But there is something awfully nice to know that when you are doing a still shot, you can switch to video and get great stuff. That big sensor makes for nice boketh etc. It does have something that not all made for video cameras have. Now the now Sony A7S does what the 5D’s should be doing and doing it obscenely well. That camera is just so advanced over the Canon 5DM2 and 3. There is no reason to buy Canon anymore. No competition except those who have a ton of Canon glass.

  2. Gary Grimes says

    I could care less about video, high frame rates (except maybe for in-camera handheld HDR), and high ISO capability. I do a lot of pixel level editing so I want at least 40 Mpix on full frame sensor, lots of bit depth, color accuracy, and low noise and high dynamic range at ISO 100. I never shoot above ISO 100 – if I need to I add light, or add a tripod, if that doesn’t work I go home and pop the top on a cold one. I would like the capability to overpower the sun on a sunny day with a flash sync speed of 1/500 or higher with a monolight, even if it means having a goofy lens with a leaf shutter. Great autofocus in low light would be good since I use monolights on batteries at a lot of locations where I can’t use a modeling light, but I never expose for low light. Mirrorless might be OK if autofocus is not degraded from DSLR performance. I also want in camera Wi-Fi or at least in grip WiFi without degrading the grip capability from two batteries to one. I want to be able to show my model a high res shot on a tablet or studio monitor within a couple seconds of exposing the shot – all wirelessly. Simultaneously immediate storage of the shots in an in camera chip and a wirelessly connected computer would be great. WiFi that actually works without hiring a full time IT person would be good too. In camera radio flash capability would be good too, especially it if supported popular receivers for studiolights/monolights as well as Canon flashes. Also a better solution to the sensor dust problem would be great – I am totally paranoid about changing lenses on location, and even at home, although I have plenty of Canon L glass. So, in summary just want a great studio and location camera for shooting a great shot every 10 to 20 seconds or so and if I want to shoot video I will drag out my video camera. I have NO interest in sports and action.

    • Greg Adams says

      Buy a medium format camera and be done with it. Pentax has a nice one, and it does video.

  3. Helen says

    I’d like my next camera – whatever it is – to give me live view on my phone or tablet. I envy my friend’s Sony with flipout screen – particularly as we are both short. Being able to use my phone would be even more flexible

  4. Gary Martin says

    While an improved storage option would be welcomed; CFast Cards of today are priced way out of reach. For example, the SanDisk 120GB card sells for $1200.00, the 60GB version is $650.00. The prices will come down with increased demand, but how long will it be before these approximate CF Card pricing? Today, a 64GB CF Card is ~$99. This is probably a chicken and egg problem that will resolve over time.

  5. says

    For aerial use, as much as I like Canon products, as a seller of rc UAV aircraft I cannot recommend them anymore for our aerial platforms.

    With Panasonic and Sony bringing in powerful cameras in such small packages it kind of makes the Mark III obsolete, again this is only applicable to aerial use.
    I understand the situation with Canon that they have a division for pro-video, and so they are trying to avoid having one of their DSLR’s steal sales from the more “professional” cameras, so it’s a hard spot to be in, but not impossible to develop a tool in between, like Panasonic has done with their GH line of video DSLR’s, considering that Panasonic has a professional line of camcorders as well.

    • David Forrester says

      Panasonic has not done anything in their prosumer video line. The Sony’s have taken the market over with their FS and F series. But what Panasonic did was to blow out the DSLR competition with the GH4 camera – which is actually almost better than the Sony FS video line – it is amazing.

      And comparing pictures with the Canon 5D2 and 3, that camera is in some respects better. No, it is not full frame sensor, but the shallow depth of field has remained the same (how that works out, I don’t know). The lenses are less expensive, lighter, sharper, and coming from Leica, world class – and can be used with other legacy glass too! not too shabby! And they can be used on Aerial cams.

      Add the video module and who really needs the prosumer video cams? I think it even rivals the Sony F5 ($20,000) a bit – I mean the advantages are minimal for a whopping cost increase! In fact, is there a better all around camera that does both exceptionally well in the same package? Maybe the Sony A7 series with its insane low light capability. From what I have heard, the GH4 is already in a back-order situation. This may do in sales what the Canon 5D2 did in the past.

      Canon has met competition and a serious challenger. I am not sure if they are going to win this back. Loyalists perhaps and branding over the years. And many who simply will not part with a ton of Canon glass – not worth it.

      • Gary Martin says

        Dave, I don’t know much about the Panasonic GH4 because when I was researching interchangeable len mirror less camera bodies I wanted a full frame solution. And, as you so correctly stated, needed to preserve my significant investment in Canon lenses. Bought the Sony A7r and one Zeiss 55mm lens. I primarily use the camera with a Metabones adapter which supports auto focus with most of my Canon lenses. Additionally, bought the FotoDiox adapter with built in variable ND filter. awesome camera with superb features.

        Just ordered the FotoDiox RhinoCam to use my Sony body with a medium format lens ( a used $150 Mayima 645) and achieve 100+ megapixel images. The world of photography is morphing into new grounds. The Sony bodies as a base are without peer when it comes to image quality, features, and adapability.

  6. says

    I love my 5D MKll, I would also like to try my hand at video, however can anyone tell me how to break in to movie making without spending an arm and a leg on software.
    As I had mentioned several years ago I believed the MKll to be an interim camera. I do agree if you want striking video use a dedicated product. On the other hand if Canon did put 4k in an “affordable” camera they would not canabilize sales of higher end products as the majority of pros will gravitate to the dedicated solution. I believe this would be a great cash cow for Canon.
    Perhaps if Canon would offer chargeable firmware upgrades for enhanced features such as a open AEB then the wouldn’t feel so threatened about canibalization of the “1” series. Again, Pros buy pro cameras! I look at buying 3 MK5’s for one 1Ds; so far this hasn’t happened I still have my 10D clicking away doing IR duties. Simple lesson; something with mass appeal will always out sell dedicated equipment and everyone wins