I’ll keep this short.
Finally, the Canon 5D IV is here. If it has the sort of 13.5 stops of dynamic range we’ve seen in the new generation of Canon sensors, it will be the camera many have been waiting for. It runs 30MP frames at up to 7 frames per second, which is 1fps more than the 5D III. It has a fancy incarnation of Canon’s dual-pixel AF, which means you can slightly adjust focus after you’ve taken the shot. It’s a gnat’s whisker lighter than the 5D III. It has a new wiggly joystick thingy on the back, NFC, WiFi and 4K video with a 1.7x crop factor. It also has improved AF and that’s about it. It’s a solid evolutionary upgrade, assuming the sensor is up to snuff. It’s all great, right? Well, apart from the price it is. In the UK, the Recommended Retail Price is even higher in Pounds than it is in Dollars in the US. Along with the new 16-35mm f2.8 L III and 24-105 f4 L II, prices are causing discomfort, even among the Canon faithful.
So just how expensive is the new Canon 5D IV’s release price in relative terms?
Well, let’s imagine you are a wedding photographer (and 30MP is not significantly better than 24MP for your needs) it is over twice the price of the Nikon D750. The cost over a three body bag is enough to buy all the Nikon lenses you could possibly need for weddings. Depending on lens selections, you may also be able to afford a couple of cheap holidays as well. I have to say, prices are going to have to fall if this new camera to have widespread appeal in the UK. That launch price is just too much to fly, in my opinion. It’s also much higher than the Nikon D810, which is a supremely well-rounded camera. It’s good, possibly even great, but I am not convinced it offers enough extra for a large additional premium.
If Sony produces a superb flagship Sony A9 model, this will surely hit Canon, because you can always continue to work Canon lenses on new Sony bodies while slowly adding new native FE lenses. I’m as pleased as punch that Canon is now producing sensors with on-sensor Analogue Digital Convertors and therefore better dynamic range, less banding and less noise, but Sony/Nikon has had this for eons. It’s nothing new and it is not worth the massive price premium for those who have no trouble getting their shots in focus without dual-pixel AF.
I’ve sold my Leica Monochrom and now I need to decide whether Canon is here to stay or go. If the Sony A9 is a corker, it will provide powerful temptation, which is a shame. I still *love* Canon lenses, but the price of upgrading my 5D II and III is quite shocking and I have to evaluate the value proposition of doing so. For my purposes, I’d happily take two D750s with a Canon badge on them and an EOS mount, but Canon don’t make them…. which brings us to the 6D II. Will Canon hobble that camera to protect Canon 5D IV sales? If they give it top flight AF (like the D750 has), a 24MP new generation sensor and a 6D price point, won’t 5D IV boxes will just gather dust? I don’t know, but it does present Canon with a bit of a dilemma.
As an aside, I thought I would check to see if there has been more testing on the Canon 1DX Mark II sensor and it seems DxO has their verdict:
How can the Canon 1DX mark II and the D5 end up with the same overall score? The Canon has 1.2 stops more Dynamic Range (which is significant when you are in the 12-13 stop realm) and nearly 800 additional points on the ISO score. The Nikon has one bit more colour depth (which computers might see but humans almost certainly wouldn’t), yet that levels things out? It’s a pretty awful algorithm that they use to obtain their overall score, in my opinion!
The good news is that the new sensor architecture Canon is using provides measurably better Dynamic Range (and I do trust DxO’s DR and other individual measurements). In addition, you can expect much lower levels of colour noise and banding in the shadows when they are pushed. This should be a game changer for people who work hard on their contrast, tonality and shadows i.e. B&W shooters! With the Canon 80D showing similar improvements, there is no reason to think the 5D IV will be any different, which is good news.
Looks like a solid upgrade, but an expensive one!