Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2016 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 5D Mark IV has a resolution of 30.1 megapixels, whereas the 5D Mark II provides 21 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|30.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||21 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 100-32000 (50-102400)||ISO 100-6400 (50-25600)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 1620k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7 shutter flaps per second||3.9 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|900 shots per battery charge||850 shots per battery charge|
|151 x 116 x 76 mm, 890 g||152 x 114 x 75 mm, 850 g|
Body comparison: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Canon 5D Mark II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D Mark II is somewhat smaller (1 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark IV. Moreover, the 5D Mark II is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the 5D Mark IV. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 5D Mark IV»||151 mm||116 mm||76 mm||890 g||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II«||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D« »||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Nikon D850« »||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D810« »||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
Sensor comparison: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 5D Mark IV uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6+) than the 5D Mark II (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 5D Mark IV offers a higher resolution of 30.1 megapixels, compared with 21 MP of the 5D Mark II. This megapixels advantage translates into a 20 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 5D Mark IV has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.36μm versus 6.41μm for the 5D Mark II). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 5D Mark IV is much more recent (by 7 years and 11 months) than the 5D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The 5D Mark IV has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 32000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600..
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark IV provides substantially higher image quality than the 5D Mark II, with an overall score that is 12 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 5D Mark IV»||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II«||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.2||1135||79||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D« »||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||-||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Nikon D850« »||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D810« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 5D Mark IV provides a higher video resolution than the 5D Mark II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the 5D Mark II is limited to 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D Mark IV and the 5D Mark II are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 5D Mark IV, the Canon 5D Mark II, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 5D Mark IV»||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||7.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II«||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||8000||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||4000||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||3.0||n||n||Canon 5D|
|Nikon D850« »||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||8000||9.0||n||n||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D810« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||8000||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The 5D Mark IV has a touchscreen, while the 5D Mark II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The 5D Mark IV writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the 5D Mark II uses Compact Flash cards. The 5D Mark IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 5D Mark II only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS 5D Mark II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 5D Mark IV»||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II«||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Nikon D850« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D810« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
It is notable that the 5D Mark IV has a headphone jack, which is not present on the 5D Mark II This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
The 5D Mark IV is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 5D Mark II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 5D Mark II was succeeded by the Canon 5D Mark III.
Review summary: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 5D Mark IV better than the Canon 5D Mark II or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (30.1 vs 21MP) with a 20% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (12 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6+ vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
- Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 920k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 3.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 5D Mark II launch.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II:
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark IV is the clear winner of the match-up (18 : 1 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 5D Mark IV or the 5D Mark II. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 5D Mark IV vs 5D Mark II
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 5D Mark IV»||HiRec||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499||Canon 5D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II«||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Rec||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 80D« »||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199||Canon 80D|
|Canon 5DS« »||Rec||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Rec||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 5D« »||88/100||HiRec||rev||rev||-||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Nikon D850« »||HiRec||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Nikon D810« »||-||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||-||Nikon D810|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Pentax K-3 II
- Canon G1 X Mark II vs Canon T5i
- Canon M100 vs Pentax K-1
- Canon T6i vs Panasonic LX100
- Fujifilm X-A2 vs Canon 100D
- Fujifilm X-A5 vs Canon G1 X Mark III
- Leica M9 vs Sony A9
- Nikon Df vs Nikon D1
- Olympus E-P5 vs Fujifilm X-E2S
- Panasonic G7 vs Fujifilm X-T3
- Sony A6000 vs Canon T5
- Sony A7 III vs Olympus E-510
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark IV vs Canon 5D Mark II
|Camera Model||Canon 5D Mark IV||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2016||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 3499||USD 3499|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||30.1 Megapixels||21 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6720 x 4480 pixels||5616 x 3744 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.36 μm||6.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.48 MP/cm2||2.43 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-32000 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-102400 ISO||50-25600 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6+||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||91||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.6||11.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2995||1815|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||3.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||LP-E6N power pack||LP-E6 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||850 shots per charge|
151 x 116 x 76 mm
(5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
152 x 114 x 75 mm
(6.0 x 4.5 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||890 g (31.4 oz)||850 g (30.0 oz)|
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