Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark III vs 5DS

Canon 5D Mark IV camera vs 5D III and 5DS

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV was announced on August 25, 2016, Since the 5D Mark III, Canon has released two new models for the 5D-series, including the  EOS 5DS and EOS 5DS R. The 5DS R feature a Low Pass Filter, which the 5DS lacks, but other than that, they are the same cameras. In this article I’ll compare the new 5D Mark IV versus the 5D Mark III and the 5DS. All three are professional full frame  DSLR cameras . The 5D Mark IV costs around $300 more than the Mark III, but the same as the 5DS. As of the time of writing, the 5D Mark IV is already a #1 best seller in the DSLR camera category on I’m sure that many photographers have been waiting for this camera, and not that it’s here, let’s see how it differs from these other two excellent FF cameras.

Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon continues its tradition in expending the 5D series by adding a new model, the Canon 5D Mark IV. Unlike the 5DS that has 50.6MP and the 5D III that comes with 22.3MP, Canon has chosen to go with a resolution that is somewhat in the middle, a new 30.4MP sensor that boasts a native 100-32,000 ISO sensitivity that can be extended to 50-102400. The new sensor also boasts Canon’s Dual Pixel on-sensor phase-detection AF technology, which was designed to improve the subject tracking performance when shooting in Live View mode or when recording videos.

Canon 5D Mark IV camera
The new Canon 5D Mark IV Full Frame DSLR camera

The new camera also takes advantage of the Dual Pixel technology and brings a new feature called Dual Pixel Raw. This feature suppose to combat image degradation causes by some lenses due to blurring effects from diffraction. In this unique shooting mode, images shots as DPRAW are captured using two 30MP images, one for each of the two photodiodes, and the photographer can decided how the camera should process the information, should it be used for ‘Image micro-adjustment’ (Maximize sharpness), ‘Bokeh shift’ (Ghosting reduction) or ‘Diffraction Correction’ (Reduce blurring effects from diffraction). It’s great that Canon has given photographers even more control over how the results, because it really depends on the scene, the subject and the lens.  For example, if you a close portrait shot with a very shallow depth of field, you probably want to use the Bokeh Shift, that prepositions the viewpoint of foreground Bokeh to achieve more pleasant and unique results.

So the new sensor certainly helps to bring even better low-light performance but also comes with unique features that helps photographers achieve better looking photos as well. Above that, the 5D Mark IV also comes with a built-in Digital Lens Optimizer when shooting in JPEG mode and micro-adjustment, all are used to make sure that you get the best possible results with little or no compromises on image quality.

The new Canon 5D Mark IV inherits the EOS 5DS 150K-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor that helps to provide precise exposure, help detect flickering lights and helps support the scene recognition system. This is an improvement over the Mark III that has a much less advanced 63-zone dual-layer metering sensor.

The 5D Mark IV also enjoys an improved video recording capabilities. A 4K Motion JPEG video capture at 30p and 24p, still frame grab from 4K at 8.8-megapixels, Full HD video recording at up to 60p and HD video up to 120p for slow-mo capture. Add to that the excellent low-light capabilities, headphone socket (for attaching an external stereo mic) and the on-sensor phase-detection AF system, you get a very highly-capable video camera for professional work.

Other features include a built-in WiFi/NFC and GPS connectivity, touchscreen display,  7 fps continuous shooting speed and DIGIC 6+ processor. The Canon 5D Mark IV is the only camera among the three that comes with built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS. This makes it easy for photographers to share, upload and backup their photos to an external device, as well as control the camera easily using a smart device without the need for a proprietary accessory.

The Canon 5D Mark IV will definately be tested against some other professional full frame Nikon cameras in terms of noise performance and dynamic range. Some photographers suggest that the dual-pixel technology will actually lower the overall dynamic range  and produce noisier images, but that’s yet to be seen.

The 5D Mark IV packs a large arsenal of features that will certainly appeal to both enthusiasts and professionals. That being said, I think that the real test will be in image quality tests, so photographers can see whether these new enhancements and sensor technologies comes at the cost of image quality and dynamic range.

5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark III vs 5DS

The Canon EOS 5D IV has several advantages over the 5D III and 5DS.

  • Broader native ISO range (100-32000) and Newer image processor
    considerably larger than the 5DS native ISO64000, but not that much compared to the 5D III ISO25600. But we need to consider the fact that this is a new generation sensor that we are talking about, and we can expect a significant image quality improvement  bot due to the new sensor and the more powerful Digic 6+ image processor
  • Wider spread of the AF points (61 AF points, 41 cross-type)
    All three have a 61 points AF system (41 cross-type), but the 5D Mark IV’s AF points are spread over an expanded region, which improved subject detection across the frame range
  • 15,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor
    The  5D Mark IV features the same light-metering sensor as the 5DS, a more advanced one than the 63-zone one found on the 5D Mark III
  • Higher resolution Touchscreen
    The 5D Mark IV now has a higher resolution display, which is also touch-sensitive. So photographers can now operate and control the menu system and operate the camera using touch controls.
  • 4K video recording
    I personally shoot mostly in 1080p, but it’s great to see that the new model comes with 4K video recording, as well as 60p in Full HD and 120fps in HD. The other models are limited to 1080p30 video recording.
  • Headphone Socket
    The 5D Mark IV comes with a headphone socket, the same as the 5D Mark III, but the 5DS lacks this feature. Headphone socket is useful if you want to attack an external microphone instead of using the built-in one or use an external recorder and later synchronize the video and the sound.
  • Faster burst speed (7fps)
    The 5D IV features a slightly faster burst than the 5D III (6fps) and 5DS (5fps)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/NFC and GPS
    The 5D IV is the only camera among the three that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and GPS wireless capabilities. Geotagging images has never been so easier and now with built-in wireless capabilities you don’t need to invest in other accessories, all is built-in.
  • 8.8MP stills from 4K video capture
  • HDR Movie Mode
    The 5D Mark IV is the first camera in the 5D series that comes with a built-in HDR movie mode
  • Digital Lens Optimizer can be used also with JPEG files
  • Anti-Flicker technology
    Not available in the 5D Mark III
  • Intelligent ViewFinder II
    The 5D Mark III uses the Intelligent Viewfinder I


The new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV features many new improvements over the 5D Mark III and is a great alternative to the 5DS as well. We still need to wait and see how the 5DS and 5D Mark IV compare in image quality testing. If the 5D Mark IV comes on top in terms of noise and dynamic range, I’m sure that the 5D Mark IV will be praised even more. I have my doubts, but they Canon 5D Mark IV is an impressive camera nevertheless, especially for those photographers that have been waiting for it and are still shooting with the 5DMIII and 5DMKII.

I love the new added phase-detection AF feature and the built-in wireless capabilities. I don’t usually shoot 4K videos, but I’m sure that there are many outdoor photographers are more than thrilled than me to have this in their next camera. The pricing is also about right, but I personally would have been happier if Canon had improved the camera’s ergonomics, but if the formula works, why change it.

The Canon 5D Mark now an even better hybrid camera than it was before. The competition from Sony and Nikon are still there, and in future articles I’ll compare the 5D Mark IV against some of Nikon’s and Sony’s full frame offering, to see how well the 5D IV stacks against these cameras.

What do you think about the new 5D Mark IV? Anything other key differences that you’ve spotted that we missed here? – please take a moment share your opinion in the comment section below and thanks for reading.