The Canon 5D MKIV Isn’t a Video Camera. Surprise! Or maybe not

August 25, 20162 Comments

Canon 5D MKIV Body

For a while know I’ve been having discussions with my fellow camera geeks and DP’s about the new Canon 5D MKIV and the first thing I say is “it’s not a video camera. It’s a pro DSLR that shoots video”. That’s it. Canon doesn’t want it to be like a Sony A7s ii or A7r ii camera. Plain and simple. Yes this comment brings a lot of heat because “WE” want more from the 5D and have for some time now. With the last 5D MKIII Canon showed us that if you want a camera with Log profiles and all the tools a video camera has then buy a Cinema EOS camera. We have a few models to choose from starting at $4000 for a C100 MARK II. The XC-10 doesn’t count because it has a 1″ sensor and I don’t see it as a main camera unless you are in the camcorder market then it could be a great option since most camcorders also have about a 1″ sensor but I digress. Stay on point here Erik! ūüėÄ

Okay so here’s the rub and I get it. You’re a Canon guy or gal and don’t want to buy a Sony mirrorless camera because you love the Canon “Look” and have a ton of Canon glass plus using a dang electronic adapter sucks when you shoot stills with auto focus. You also don’t want a bigger body like the C100 MKII and up. Plus being able to shoot stills is important, but more secondary to video in a small package. What’s your options? Well you don’t have one in the Canon ecosystem. The true hybrid is now Sony’s big push in this space. The only Canon large sensor sort of hybrid is the Canon 1Dx and 1D C. ¬†They are both expensive at $4600 and now the 1D C is $5000 plus they are tall and big. Not very gimbal friendly either, and I know you want to use that camera on a gimbal too right?. I do, and I love the a7r II on them.

One huge improvement but a bit of a pain to work with on the new 5D MARK IV is the addition of 4:2:2 500Mbps MJEPG as the 4K video codec. This is going to give you a better quality image than the previous 5D and with 4:2:2 it’s going to make it even better. So it has that going for it. To edit the MJEP you will most likely have to transcode the file. Also get some big media cards because that codec is going to fill them up fast.

I think it’s time to accept that Canon isn’t going to do what Sony has done at least not with a DSLR. They want to keep the product line separate. The 1D C is probably going to be discontinued soon and that will leave the 1D X the more full featured DSLR in the lineup. I just don’t see most hybrid fans lusting for the 1D X really for video

So Canon what’s up with no mirrorless cameras? This surprises me that Canon isn’t in the game with mirrorless. They have the resources for making a high quality EVF. Does it worry them to branch out in this space because then the video functions will be more in demand and…. well…. here we are again with that same issue. Hard to say but we might not see a mirrorless either with solid video features.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Video Formats

4096 x 2160p / 29.97 fps (500 Mbps) / 24 fps (500 Mbps) / 23.98 fps (500 Mbps)
High Definition MOV
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (180 Mbps) / 29.97 fps (90 Mbps) / 24 fps (90 Mbps)
/ 23.98 fps (90 Mbps) / 59.94 fps (60 Mbps) / 29.97 fps (30 Mbps)
/ 24 fps (30 Mbps) / 23.98 fps (30 Mbps)
1280 x 720p / 120 fps (160 Mbps)
High Definition MP4
1920 x 1080p / 59.94 fps (60 Mbps) / 29.97 fps (30 Mbps) / 24 fps (30 Mbps)
/ 23.98 fps (30 Mbps) / 29.97 fps (12 Mbps)


  • 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • DIGIC 6+ Image Processor
  • 3.2″ 1.62m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • DCI 4K Video at 30 fps; 8.8MP Still Grab
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF
  • Native ISO 32000, Expanded to ISO 102400
  • Dual Pixel RAW; AF Area Select Button
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF
  • 7 fps Shooting; CF & SD Card Slots
  • Built-In GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Video Specifications

  • Compact Flash/SD Card Slots
  • 4K 4:2:2 500Mbps MJPEG
  • HD 4:2:0 8bit
  • 4:2:2 Mini HDMI out is only HD. No DCI 4K.
  • 24/30fps @ 4K
  • 60fps @ 1080
  • 120fps¬†@ 720
  • USB 3
  • Touchscreen functionality
  • DPAF (Dual Pixel Autofocus)

The Canon 5D MKIV doesn’t have a LOG profile.

When shooting 4K, the central 4096 x 2160 area of the sensor is used at a 1.74x crop in order to record 4K video with a 1:1-pixel ratio, This should eliminate moiré and aliasing but a cost of this massive crop factor. Shooting wide will require some pretty wide lenses.
In HD the 5D MKIV uses the full frame but with a lesser codec.

Also announced two updated lenses.

EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens: $2,199.00

EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens: $1,099.00

As for the 24-105 I sure hope Canon fixed the light transmission issues it has. The former model lost light when zooming in with all aperture settings except f4.

So for now if you lust for a great DSLR the Canon 5D MKIV looks to be a very nice camera with pretty good video features but if you want real video features like a better codec and log modes and all the goodies that Sony has put in a hybrid camera well…. You know what to do.

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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (2)

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  1. Zach says:

    Canon is indeed behind. The trend is now turning towards a hybrid form of camera. However, it is still intended to be a DSLR and not a pro camera. Doing full on video projects is still not the actual purpose for DSLR or even Mirrorless cameras.

    Being a motion graphic designer/photographer, I think it will hold off nicely as an actual “DSLR” with short burst style of shooting. But as in your article, you know what to do if you want full video features.

    I personally can’t help but find how so many are impatient though with photography cameras. When you think of the actual timeline of for this kind of cameras, they are still extremely young. It’s not like everyone gets on the same bandwagon all at once. And if you look at how the tech is being used in the industry as a whole in the US or even at an international level, not everyone is keeping up. Meaning there is still plenty of time.

    But again, everyone has their own opinion. Hell, I still use my Canon 5DMKii and no one has any clue what format I shoot in. No one complains about my work (unless is an “account executive”). Nothing happens overnight. And if Canon does have something up their sleeve and their stock prices don’t drop 50% overnight, they got time to catch up. If they don’t, it’s on them…

  2. VanWeddings says:

    it’s not a video camera. it’s not a good hybrid camera either. fine for stills-only photographers who won’t even use the video features. sony will gladly take canon’s business.

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