Which is Best for Me, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or the EOS-1DX Mark II? The Definitive Answer to this Vexing Question! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Which is Best for Me, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or the EOS-1DX Mark II? The Definitive Answer to this Vexing Question!

What’s Up?

The Understand Photography interview with Peggy Farren was huge fun. In tomorrow’s blog post I will let you know how to see the interview video. And the DPI-SIG program was extremely well behaved. It is looking very much as if I signed up two very nice sisters for the UK Puffins and Gannets IPT and perhaps six or seven folks for the DeSoto In-the-Field morning session. All pending the receipt of the deposit checks of course 🙂

Please remember that the blog is intended to be interactive; the more folks who participate, the more everyone learns, including you. And me.

Yikes, I almost forgot: my loaner 5D Mark IV will be here on Monday. I can’t wait to share.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 304 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

Which is Best for Me, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or the EOS-1DX Mark II?

Everybody wants to know, which camera body should they buy, which of the two is best for them? Below are two e-mail conversations that will shed lots of light on these questions. You will find the definitive answer in each e-mail and I will summarize it near the end of this blog post.

The original e-mail from David Bates

Artie, Since you have the 1DXII and have raved about the 5DSR, when would you use the 5DIV? My real question is I have the 1DXII, 1DX and the 5DS R. I’m trying to decide if I should swap my 5DSR for the 5DIV. Do you think I should?

My answer

David, I am not sure yet as I have not used the 5D IV yet. I cannot, however,believe that you do not study the blog regularly; there have been several blog posts in the past two weeks dealing with the 5D IV.

I have explored many 5D IV issues here, here, and here. Please go back and study them and let me know then if you have any questions. If you buy a 5DS R, please use my link. And do get in touch if you want me to try to sell your 5DS R.

Our Next Conversation

DB: I do read and enjoy your blog daily. I had read and reread all of the blog entries you directed me to. I did not see an answer to my question: Should I swap my 5DS R for a 5D Mark IV?

am: David, The material in the links that I sent and you studied covered all of the important factors. I can never tell what is best for the other guy. After the DeSoto IPT—you should come on that one by the way, I will know a lot more and have images to share. But do remember that I I can only tell folks what I think, share my experiences, and show them the images. Those last two only after I get the camera 🙂 But even then I cannot and will not tell anyone what to do. What I try to do is educate and enlighten them so that they can decide. Best would be to come on the IPT and get to use my 5D IV for an hour!

DB: I look forward to reading about your impressions. Thank you.

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another

My e-mail conversation with Marlo Casabar

MC: I purchased and received your CD book The Art of Bird Photography II. I love the photos and expert advice.

am: Many thanks and thanks also for your purchase.

MC: I have the 7D Mark II and love it. I find, however, that the image quality in low light with the higher ISOs is lacking and I don’t like the noise with images above 800 ISO. I am seriously considering purchasing either the 5D Mark IV or the 1DX Mark II. I know that you are going to write a blog post regarding this topic and look forward to it.

am: I have already commented on the blog on many of the relevant factors, at least in theory. Stay tuned until after the DeSoto IPT when I will get to use a 51D IV…

MC: Here are my personal thoughts as far as upgrading to either the 5D IV or the 1DX II: Full frame offers better low light performance.

am: The edge there goes to the 1DX II, the current high ISO king.

MC Enhanced focus when using the 2X III teleconverter.

am: Again the edge goes to the 1DX II especially as far as the speed of initial AF acquisition is concerned. With the lens alone or with the 1.4X III TC, I would be willing to bet the once you have acquired focus that the 5D IV will track beautifully and accurately just as it does with the 5DS R.

MC: Video

am: Here the 5D Mark IV is the clear winner.

MC: The 5D IV has 30 mp files so I could crop and still have a nice image.

am: yes, when it comes to cropping and maintaining image quality goes to the 5D IV.

MC: The 1DX II has a very frame capture rate.

am: Yes, the frame rate edge goes to the 1DX II by about double.

MC: The 5D IV is less expensive.

am: Yes, at about half the price you could by two for the price of a 1DX II… BTW, I am pretty sure that I covered everything above on the blog 🙂

MC: What are your personal thoughts about upgrading from the 7D Mark II to either the 5D Mark IV or 1DXII?

am: I am 100% sure that you should upgrade from the 7D Mark II. I owned two of them and sold them both. I cannot know which body will be best for you. But you have all the facts and will learn a lot more after the Fort Desoto IPT. Keep studying and then decide for yourself which is best for you.

MC: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. When I decide which body to purchase, I will definitely use your B&H affiliate link to purchase it.

am: Many thanks. Please remember to send me your B&H receipt via e-mail when you purchase.

thanks and later and love, artie

The Definitive Answer

The definitive answer of course–and I am sure that more than a few of you came to this conclusion when you read the title–is that I can never tell you which camera is best for you. Just as I can never let you know if purchasing this camera or that lens will be “worth it for you.” I will continue to try new gear, to see how it works for me, and to share my experiences and the images made with that gear. Please, however, remember that it ain’t the camera and it ain’t the lens. As always it is what is in the heart, mind, and eye of whomever is holding the gear at the moment of exposure…

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

15 comments to Which is Best for Me, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or the EOS-1DX Mark II? The Definitive Answer to this Vexing Question!

  • avatar Mal Graham

    More great information as usual, Artie.

    I’ll be very interested to read your thoughts once you’ve had a chance to use the 5DIV. I got a chance to use one today and found that the initial focus acquisition seemed noticeably slower, inaccurate, and hit-and-miss, compared to my 5DIII. Maybe there’s an AF setting that I’ve missed or is different but I went through every menu item line by line and tried to make it the same as my 5DIII.

    First impressions of the images that did focus though look outstanding. Can’t wait to see the images you get out of it!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mal,

      Mine is on the table un-opened. Soon, I hope.

      I am hoping that what you say is not accurate or is due to a problem with the body (but it does not sound like that…)

      But who knows???


      • avatar Mal Graham

        I admit I was shooting in quite challenging conditions for auto-focus … dark, rainforesty type vegetation, at ISO 3200-6400, with only the centre AF point active due to a lot of twigs, leaves, etc.. But even so, I’ve shot in the same location before with the 5D3 and 7D2 and both auto-focused without a problem at all. I am hoping I’ve just stuffed something up when I went through all the settings. Or, possibly, it’s a problem with the body I have as you suggest, although I’ve never had a single hardware issue in any of the Canon gear I’ve bought in the past. First time for everything I suppose.

        I also noticed at one point that I seemed to have adjusted the flash compensation setting with my nose on the touch screen. I don’t know how that happened because I think you have to press the “Q” button before the touch screen is activated. Maybe that’s what I did during all the crawling around on the forest floor.

  • avatar Ted Willcox

    Hi Artie, I just finished watching your interview on Facebook, you are so relaxed and natural which made the interview so enjoyable to watched. Good stuff!

  • This is just my opinion, but my bet is Carlos will be contacting you again soon after he makes his next camera purchase.

    I could be wrong, but if he can’t get a satisfactory image out of a 7D Mark II at, lets say ISO 1200, he better read the exposure chapter in ABP II a few more times, because he probably won’t be happy with the results of either the new cameras if he keeps doing the same thing over and over again.


  • avatar Henry

    It’s not the stuff… it’s the stuffing that really counts.

  • avatar James Saxon

    A lot of us, myself included, get mesmerized by the latest and greatest gear. If money is not a problem then go get what you want. The camera, lenses, software, etc. are tools we use to bring our vision into an image. Investing in workshops, reading blogs, studying images, following various photographers is an additional part of the process. Education is as important as equipment.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      We agree in part James. I am trying to wake up the folks who spend the money on the gear but do not lift a finger to improve (except to take their wallets out of their pockets). To beat the dead horse, every time I am out photographing I see folks with adequate gear and folks with great gear who do not have a clue 🙂


      • avatar John Patton

        I saw a very good example of that this past spring in Viera Wetlands. A “famous” photographer from the Tampa area was leading a tour with about a dozen students. Each had a 600 mm Canon lens and a Wimberley head on a Gitzo tripod. It was surprising to hear the questions they where asking: how to use autofocus, what exposure to use and how to set it, why are my photos blurry when I’m using a tripod and many more that indicated they had more money than experience. It was sad because they missed many opportunities and their leader was more interested in shooting than helping. Though to his credit he did tell them where to stand; unfortunately it was 90 degrees off sun angle. I suggested to a few of the students that they would be better served reading your blog.

  • avatar Bill Richardson

    The definitive answer is to buy both bodies. Life is short.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Many thanks. I love that you say–as I long have–i can’t tell you which camera is best for you, only what I know about the cameras and which I prefer. For what it’s worth, if I could have only one of those cameras, I think I’d get the 5DIV. But I’d need a new computer to make that upgrade.