Canon 5D Mark III Vs. 5D Mark IV

Canon 5D Mark III Vs. 5D Mark IV

It’s been a few days since the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV was announced, and we have had some time to digest the specifications of Canon’s new camera. Now therefore is a good time to see how it stacks up against its older sibling, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, so without further a’do lets compare the 5D Mark III and the 5D Mark IV.


Imaging Final


Sensor resolution is up from 22.3mp to 31.7mp on the Mark IV, a huge leap compared to the increase the Mark III gave over the 21.1mp Mark II. The sensor is also a brand new design, a Dual Pixel sensor offering all the benefits of dual pixel autofocus and Canon’s new DP RAW mode. DPRAW uses the slight horizontal difference in position of the two photodiodes on the Mark IV’s sensor to allow fine adjustment of focus in post processing along with the ability to shift out of focus highlights and reduce ghosting. The system works by capturing two separate images, one for each photodiode and then uses the Parallax shift caused by the difference in position of the two photodiodes to allow extra post processing flexibility. The Mark III does not use a Dual-Pixel sensor. The Mark IV uses Canon’s latest Digic 6+ Image processor compared to Digic 5+ on the Mark III, said to bring increased noise reduction and faster sensor read speeds to help achieve that 7fps burst ability. The choice of onboard media storage on the Mark IV is possibly one of the cameras biggest disappointments. The 5D Mark IV features SDXC / SDHC / SD and CompactFlash Type II compatibility, no CFast, and the SD card compatibility is only UHS-1. The 5D Mark III, released in 2012 has virtually identical storage specifications. The Mark IV will be expected to have a four year shelf life, and by the end of that period its onboard storage specifications will basically be equal to that of an 8 year old Camera.

Focus Control

Focus Control


The Mark IV’s autofocus system may appear similar on paper, but the spread of focus points covers a wider area of the sensor than the Mark III, and all 61 can still be used at f/8 with 21 remaining cross type. A huge bonus for fans of extenders. The Mark III can only deploy 21 of it’s focus points at f/5.6, at f/8 only the center point is available. The Mark IV also gains Canon’s Dual Pixel sensor technology. When shooting video and in live view there is no need for the separate phase detect autofocus sensor to be used as each pixel on the 31.7mp CMOS sensor is composed of two separate photodiodes. One captures the image, the other performs phase detect duties. Placing the architecture on one sensor frees up precious processing power allowing super snappy, seamless AF tracking. It also allows the shooter to use the Mark IV’s expanded touch screen capabilities to control focus in live view mode. 




The Mark IV gets bump in LCD screen resolution from 1.04Mdots to 1.62Mdots, so clarity is an improvement here. The Mark IV also gets Canon’s LCD Colortone feature, allowing shooters to choose between one of 4 presets, customizing the LCD image to more closely match their needs. The Mark IV also gets touch control via the LCD, allowing control of focus in live view, easy access to camera menus and image viewing functions such as pinch to zoom. The Mark III of course has no touch screen functionality.

Exposure Control

Exposure control 3


Native ISO range is up on the Mark IV with a new maximum of 32,000, but expanded ISO remains the same as the outgoing Mark III, ISO 50-102,400. The new Digic 6+ image processor mentioned above should help improve the Mark IV’s noise performance over the Mark III.  Burst mode is up from 6fps on the Mark III to 7fps on the Mark IV, not a huge leap on paper, but when you take into account the bump in sensor resolution you can see that the increase is no small feat. The downside? The RAW buffer can only hold 21 images. Yes it is an improvement on the 18 image buffer the Mark III offered, on a camera that has been in development for 4 years, that will be expected to perform in a variety of situations by its adopters Including wildlife and sports photography it isn’t really enough. The Mark IV also gets a new 252-zone 150k RGB+IR metering sensor, compare to the 63- zone IFLC sensor present in the Mark III so look for improvements in exposure metering, and knock on positive effects in focus tracking.




Flash sync rate remains at 1/200th second for the Mark IV, the same as it was on the Mark III, in fact it is the same as it was on the original 5D, 15 years ago. Flash shooters are always begging manufacturers for faster X-Sync rates, Canon it seems, hasn’t listened.

AV Recording

Av Recording


The Mark IV of course gets DCI format 4k capture at 4:2:2 albeit at a questionable crop factor of 1.7, and can capture Full HD at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. The Mark III captures Full HD at a maximum of 30fps, and 720p at 60fps. Don’t forget though, 4k on the 5D Mark IV is internal only thanks to the HDMI 1.3 port. It is also possible to pull an 8.8MP JPEG from your 4k footage on the Mark IV. An HDR video mode is also present, a feature not available on the Mark III. Thanks to the Dual-Pixel sensor, and Canon’s Dual-Pixel Autofocus technology, the Mark IV gains continuous autofocusing in video, a feature sorely missed by 5D Mark III Videographers.




The Mark IV provides a fractional improvement in shutter lag and gets WiFi, NFC and GPS onboard giving shooters remote file transfer and control options along with onboard geotagging capabilities. The Mark IV also gets USB 3.0 support, 5gbps vs the Mark III’s USB 2.0 at 480mbps.


Power 3


The Mark IV gets a 1865 mAh battery, vs the 1800 mAh unit in the Mark III, the Mark IV however is rated at 900 shots per charge vs. 950 for the Mark III. Environmental operation specifications remain the same.




The Mark IV is slightly smaller and 60g lighter than its predecessor, The shutter release port has also been relocated to the front of the camera.

So there you have it, the 5D Mark III vs the Mark IV. A worthy update, or a missed opportunity? If we helped you decide which one is right for you, you can grab your choice at the following links:


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