5D Mark II vs 5D Mark IV: Evaluating Two Legendary Canon DSLRs

I lately wrote a review of the Canon 5D Mark IV. In it, I discussed that earlier than shopping for it, I used the 5D Mark II. The Mark II has been nothing however good to me.

I really like the digicam and might’t suggest it sufficient to anybody who’s beginning out. Maybe I might say to begin off with a used 5D Mark II. The total-frame sensor is healthier than any cropped sensor. A medium format sensor, even from 2009, typically beats something full-frame. It’s simply how the physics of sensors is. However what would occur if I used to be to place two 5D fashions side-to-side?

Curiously, I don’t use a 5D Mark II for my work now, as I am going with a 5D Mark IV. So might it’s that me recommending the 5D Mark II is hypocritical and I ought to actually ignore Mark II? I don’t suppose so. The rationale, as I outlined in my evaluation of the 5D Mark IV, is solely that it offers me extra decision, which is crucial for crops and huge prints that inevitably most vogue photographers cope with. A number of extra issues just like the improved autofocus and higher sensor made the transition extra needed.

That stated, might I nonetheless do a shoot on a 5D Mark II? Completely! However how totally different wouldn’t it be? That’s the query I wish to reply on this article.

I took a 5D Mark II and 5D Mark IV to a take a look at shoot and examined them in two conditions: magnificence and vogue. To do each cameras justice, I’ll look at uncooked recordsdata that weren’t retouched. Whereas retouching is the place a lot of the magic occurs, I really feel it’s only honest to point out what the digicam can do, not what a post-processing software program can.


Holding two cameras in the identical hand for hours reveals the 7 years of improvement between them. The Mark IV is healthier on this regard, it’s extra steady to carry in your hand. With regards to the Mark II, I’m usually frightened about it slipping as a result of the cardboard slot cowl is naked plastic that lacks grip. In any other case, the cameras are primarily the identical by way of weight, dimensions, and measurement.

A giant edge the Mark IV holds is its locking mode dial. I’d usually by chance change the mode on the Mark II, and it bought so unhealthy I taped the dial at one level.

Sensor and Picture High quality

Right here is the place the largest distinction is, however you will need to put that distinction into perspective. Having had them facet by facet, the distinction is noticeable, however not day and evening.

The most important for me is decision. I crop to suit totally different print functions usually, so the additional ~10 megapixels (21MP vs 30.4MP) make a distinction. That stated, in the event you prefer to get every little thing good in-camera good, for you. My capturing fashion is kind of fast, as more often than not, I’m working with a strict timeline.

Mannequin: Hadisha Sovetova @hadishasovetova Hair & Make-up: Karina Jemelyjanova @karinajemelyjanova

For ISO, I not often used the 5D Mark II on something past ISO 3200. Vogue work shot on a Mark II something above ISO 800 isn’t usable, however it’s uncommon to go that top. With a Mark IV, ISO 1250 is usable to a point. As with all cameras, outdated or new, element and distinction are misplaced.

Generally a excessive ISO is required when the strobe doesn’t have sufficient energy or the placement dictates it. The 5D Mark IV is noticeably higher in that sense too. The sensor has a greater dynamic vary in addition to shade depth. Each sensors have comparable shade replica which is second to none. Sure, each cameras are inclined to shift the crimson to orange whereas giving blue a extra cyan shift, however that’s simply how Canon’s color science works. I discovered the Mark IV and II to be equivalent by way of shade replica.

Mannequin: Hadisha Sovetova @hadishasovetova Hair & Make-up: Karina Jemelyjanova @karinajemelyjanova


The 5D Mark IV is full of totally different options that make it quite a bit higher than the 5D Mark II.

The Mark IV has a touchscreen that makes navigating quite a bit quicker and extra intuitive. For photographers all for time-lapsing, the Mark IV has a built-in intervalometer that I used to make this time-lapse of some clouds:

The 2 game-changing options for me are the twin card slots and USB 3.0 connectivity. I shoot tethered more often than not, so the improved switch speeds are at all times welcome. Once I cant tether for some purpose, I discover myself utilizing the twin slots on a regular basis. It offers me peace of thoughts that my pictures are probably not going wherever. With Mark II, that was a relentless fear. When tethered, the Mark II is a stable digicam with okay switch speeds. It may possibly definitely work and do job at it.


A Mark II has just one usable autofocus level. You’ll be able to disregard the remaining as a result of they merely miss an excessive amount of. The Mark IV solves that drawback, which makes capturing quite a bit simpler. I seen that the 5D Mark IV nails the main target a lot higher. Having programmed the AF-ON button to change to steady focus when pressed makes the Mark IV ever so significantly better. Generally pictures I shoot are fairly dynamic, and the AI-servo actually helps in that state of affairs.


Worth is a key think about any digicam, no matter its options. I’m proud to say that I’ve by no means purchased a brand new digicam. For that purpose, I’ll give common avenue costs. A 5D Mark II in good situation can be round $400-$450. A Canon 5D Mark IV can be round $1,500. These costs differ dramatically from location to location. In the event you’re beginning out, a Mark II is a nice budget-friendly funding. If I had been to begin once more now, I’d go for the Mark II and purchase a good lens with it.

Closing Ideas

Does the 5D Mark IV enhance over the Mark II? Sure, it does, and I’d be foolish to say that they’re equal. However on the similar time, I can’t say that the Mark II is so unhealthy it’s not usable anymore. For individuals capturing on later fashions, it’s a nice backup digicam, and for ones trying to change to full-frame from APS-C, the Mark II is a improbable budget-friendly choice.

Concerning the writer: Illya Ovchar is a vogue photographer based mostly in Budapest, Hungary. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. You’ll find extra of Ovchar’s work on his website.

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