Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark III: 18 Key Differences

5d mark iv vs 5d mark iii

Planning to buy a new Canon full frame camera body? Confused whether to buy the hot-selling EOD 5D Mark III or the recently launched EOS 5D Mark IV? I have tried and put together 18 key differences between these two camera bodies, which can help you decide your camera.

New Sensor

The EOS 5D Mark IV features 31.7 megapixel image sensor which can produce images at 30.4 megapixel, whereas the EOS 5D Mark III produces 22.3 megapixel images.

As the pixel are increasing, Canon has also introduced a low-pass filter in front of the sensor to prevent aliasing artefacts from affecting the image quality as the sensor size is the same.

New Processor

The EOD 5D Mark IV comes with the new DIGIC 6+ processor, whereas the EOS 5D Mark III used the DIGIC 5+ processor.

As per the specifications, the upgraded processor will provide high-quality still image and 4K video recording. It will also reduce noise at high ISO sensitivity and boost the continuous shooting speed.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF

One upgraded feature that you will find in almost all the new EOS DSLRs is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which is for the obvious reasons present in the EOS 5D Mark IV. This is something which the EOD 5D Mark III lacks.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AF comes into play when the mirror is flipped up, while you are using the live view mode to click still photos or to record a video. This will let your camera achieve smooth focus transition as you touch the screen to select desired focus point and track the subject.

Dual Pixel Raw format

Dual Pixel Raw format is something which you would not find in any of the EOS models (not even the EOS 5D Mark III), as it makes it debut in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. When you click a photo in this format, you can change the point at which the image appears to be sharpest after the photo has been captured in your memory card. Few of the Panasonic cameras feature a similar feature.

In total, there are three adjustments that can be made using the Dual Pixel Raw format: Image Microadjustment, Bokeh Shift (you can adjust the position of the bokeh) and Ghosting Reduction. All these three adjustments can be made using the Canon Digital Photo Professional software.

Revised AF system

Both the EOS 5D Mark IV and 5D Mark III are equipped with 61-point AF system, but the one that comes in the newly launched 5D Mark IV is an upgraded one.

The new camera uses the same AF system which is being used in the EOS 1DX Mark II. The 61 focus points cover a wider area and all these points are effective at f/8, compared to f/5.6 in the EOS 5D mark III.

The focus detection range has also been increased from -2EV on 5D Mark III to -3EV in the 5d Mark IV, and to -4EV while using the live view.

Expanded sensitivity

Though the base ISO remains ISO 100 (same as in the 5D Mark III), the upgraded sensor supports the native ISO range as high as ISO 32,000, from ISO 25,600 in the 5D Mark III. Talking about the total range, both the bodies have the same range of ISO 50 – 102,400.

4K Video

Though at the time of the Canon EOS 5d Mark III launch, none of us thought that DSLRs would feature 4K video functionality. Now the EOD 5d Mark IV enters the market when almost every brand is featuring 4K video recording in its high-end products.

The new EOS camera body records DCI 4K format with a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is same as found in the EOS-1D X Mark II.

Still from video

The new 5D Mark IV also allows the photographer to extract JPEG still frames from the 4K video clip. The still image that you extract will be of 8.8-megapixelolution.

HDR video mode

HDR video mode is one such feature that makes its debut in the EOS series with the 5D Mark IV, which was obviously not there in the 5D Mark III.

Burst shooting

As we know that the EOS 5D Mark III was not made for or marketed as a sports/wildlife photography camera, but it still features 6 fps. But with the recent launch of the 5D Mark IV, the brand is trying to position the new camera as an action camera as it shoots at 7 fps. So there is an increase of 1 fps, enough for those who are considering this camera for action/wildlife photography.

Canon claims that the 5D Mark IV has a burst rate of 21 RAW image (using the recommended memory card), whereas the 5D Mark III can click up to 18 RAW images. The 5D Mark IV can also click images at 4.3 fps while tracking the subject using the live view.

Digital Lens Optimizer

The digital lens optimizer lets you correct peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration, distortion and diffraction. As in the Canon 5D Mark III, you can apply the digital lens optimizer function using the DPP software and that too using only the RAW files.

The all new Canon EOD 5D Mark IV now comes with in-camera digital lens optimizer, which will correct the issues mentioned above within the camera that too for a JPEG format file. So if you are a JPEG shooter, this is a great upgradation considering you do not prefer spending time on a software.

Touch control

One of the most talked about upgradations in the Canon 5D Mark IV is the introduction of the touchscreen, which is missing in the 5D Mark III. Now you can control the menu and select focus point by tapping on the touchscreen panel.

WiFi and NFC

One of the let-downs of the Canon 5D Mark III was that it did not have the WiFi functionality. It was obvious and Canon did it, the 5D Mark IV features WiFi as well as NFC technology.

The WiFi technology will let you wirelessly control camera settings and press the shutter release using an iOS or Android device with the help of the free Canon Camera Connect app. Using the NFC technology, you can easily transfer images and videos from your camera to an Android device.

GPS

The all new 5D Mark IV also features the GPS system, which was also missing in the 5D Mark III. This is a great feature for travel photographers as it lets you record longitude, latitude, elevation and auto time syncing with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

New metering sensor

The upgraded metering sensor inside the Canon 5D Mark IV is a 150K RGB+IR sensor, which is the same as in the 7D Mark II, 5DS and 5DSR. Whereas the 5D Mark iii uses the 63-zone iFCL metering sensor.

The metering sensor inside the 5D Mark IV uses 252 zones for analysis, and Canon claims that it will provide more accurate exposure and better focus tracking. That’s not all, it also sports a dedicated DIGIC 6 processor.

New silent modes

Moving on from a single silent shooting option in single/continuous modes in 5D Mark III, the 5d Mark IVnow offers three options: Silent High, Silent Low and Silent Single.

Built-in Interval Timer

The 5D Mark IV also sports a built-in interval timer which will allow you to set the number of clicks you wish to be triggered and the time interval between the shots. This is a great addition over the 5D Mark III if you like making timelapse videos

Built-in Bulb Timer

This new camera by Canon will now let you set a shutter speed of up to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds, which was missing in the 5D Mark III. Now there is no need to carry a shutter release remote.

Conclusion

As per the specs listed by Canon, the EOS 5D Mark IV looks promising. But the question is, which camera body should one buy: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or EOS 5D Mark III?

As per my observation (looking at the specs), if you own a crop sensor camera body and are looking at buying your first full frame camera body, 5D Mark IV is a great buy. You get access to upgraded sensor and processor, focus tracking in live view, higher fps, Wifi, GPS and NFC. To mention a few more advancements, you get built-in interval timer and bulb timer. You get to use all the latest and upgraded features by spending INR 254,995, around INR 50,000 more than the EOS 5D Mark III.

But, if you already own a 5D Mark III camera body and are not that interested in making videos (4K videos to be specific) or are not a fan of live view, i don’t see any major reason to upgrade. Yes, if you would be getting your photos printed in bigger sizes, then the 30.4-megapixel files would be a reason to upgrade to 5D Mark IV.

Though I see great features being added for videographers, such as the 4K video, grab from a video clip, focus tracking using the live view, touch focus and HDR video mode. Some may find it useful and some may call it a disaster, the 4K video is recorded at 1.74x crop factor.

But I would be waiting to get my hands on the 5D Mark IV to see if proves to be a killer camera body and if it can out beat the 5D Mark III completely in terms of the image quality. Would also be testing the touch screen accuracy and how well it can track the moving subject when in live mode.

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About Author

Kunal Malhotra
Kunal Malhotra, a photography enthusiast whose passion for photography started 6 years back during his college days. Kunal is also a photography blogger, based out of Delhi. He loves sharing his knowledge about photography with fellow aspiring photographers by writing regular posts on his blog: The Photography Blogger. Some of his favourite genres of photography are Product, Street, Fitness and Architecture.