Why I Love My 5D Mark IV: The Beyond Incredible Imaging Sensor. And So Much More… « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why I Love My 5D Mark IV: The Beyond Incredible Imaging Sensor. And So Much More...

What’s Up?

Good news. I am heading to South America with bells on this afternoon, Wednesday OCT 12, 2016.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA 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: 334!

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, 334 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.


This image was created on my pre-IPT scouting trip to Fort DeSoto County Park on the late afternoon of Friday, September 23, 2016 with the Induro GIT 304L/Mongoose M3.6-mounted Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens, the Canon Extender EF 2X III, and the new Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. ISO 800. Evaluative metering + 2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/10 (mighta coulda been +1 stop). Daylight WB.

I selected a single AF point three to the left of the center AF point (Manual selection)/AI Servo/Shutter Button AF as originally framed was active at the moment of exposure. The selected AF point fell just about on the middle of the bird’s bill; see the DPP 4 screen capture below.

LensAlign/FocusTune micro-adjustment: -1

Short-billed Dowitcher in basic plumage preening

Why I Love My 5D Mark IV

  • 1: The newly developed 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor paired with a DIGIC 6+ image processor that balances fine detail and resolution with low-light performance is, in my words, beyond incredible. It produces the cleanest image files I have ever seen. Check out the virtually noise-free sky blue, smooth as a baby’s tush background in the 100% crop below. And with the vast improvements in the imaging sensor, the fine detail in the 5D IV’s 30mp files is comparable to the 50mp files from the 5DS R.
  • 2- Because I routinely use the 2X III TC with a variety of f/4 super-telephoto lenses, the fact that the 5D IV offers all AF points and all AF Area Selection Modes at f/8 is a huge plus for me over the 5DS R. And the same goes for the 100-400II/1.4X III combo.
  • 3- Crop-ability. Because of its large, high quality image files, sharp 5D Mark IV images can stand up well to relatively large crops (as seen with today’s featured image).
  • 4- 7 frames per second.
  • 5- An improved AF system that does not require much of a learning curve for those familiar with previous Canon DSLRs. Best of all, AF with the 2X III TC is fast and sure and accurate.
  • 6- As compared to the EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon’s blazingly fast flagship body, the 5D IV offers lighter weight and lower cost. Not to mention far superior image quality.
  • 7- The high ISO performance of the 5D IV at least rivals that of the vaunted high ISO king, the EOS-1D X Mark II. Control of fixed pattern noise with the 5D Mark IV is outstanding.
  • With the pixels on the 5D IV packed less densely than the pixels on the 5DS R, unsharpness due to gear shake and subject movement are no longer exacerbated as they were with the 5DS R. In fact, the sharp images with my 5D Mark IV are sharper than anything I have ever done before; they seem to leap off the display of my Macbook Pro with Retina Display.
  • The Actual Weights

    With a Delkin 64gb e-film Pro Compact Flash card in each body, these are the weights:

    5D Mark IV alone with one battery: 2 pounds

    5D Mark IV with the battery grip and two batteries: 3 pounds, 1/2 ounce.

    1DX Mark II: 3 pounds, 6.5 ounces.

    The crazy thing is that even though the 5D IV with the grip and the extra battery weighs only six ounces less than the 1DX II, the 1DX II seems at least a pound heavier because of its much larger size and bulk. The 5D IV is much smaller physically yet fits beautifully in my hand with or without the grip.

Summing Up/Case Closed…

In mid-September, I sold both of my 5DS R bodies and purchased two 5D Mark IV bodies. I envision using the 1D X Mark II for bird photography only in pure flight situations where its faster frame rate is somewhat of an advantage. And as an expensive back-up body.


If what you read here on the blog today or in previous blog posts inspires you to purchase a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, please consider using my B&H affiliate link for your purchase. Doing so will not cost you a penny and is a great way to thank me for my efforts here on the blog and the time spent answering your gear and photography related e-mails.


The DPP 4 Screen Capture

The DPP 4 Screen Capture

With the cursor on the whitest part of the belly when I made the screen capture, note the very nice RGB values: 235, 235, 227, despite that fact that the image looks a bit under-exposed on the histogram. Note the illuminated red square showing both the selected AF point and the fact that is was active at the moment of exposure. As noted above, having all AF points (and all AF Area Selection modes) available at f/8 is a huge plus especially for me because I use the 2X TC so often. Those with good eyes can see that I increased the exposure 1/6 stop (+.17) via the Brightness slider and that I moved the color Fine Tune three notches to the left toward blue. I have been utilizing the color Fine Tune control more and more lately.


A 100% crop of the master TIFF file

A 100% Crop of the Master TIFF File

Whaddya think? The fine feather detail looks excellent to me but it is the smoothness of the background–without any noise reduction other than the noise reduction during the DPP 4 RAW conversion, that blows me away. Check out the tiny feathers on the top of the head. And all that with the 2X III TC…

The 5D Mark IV and Bears…

With so many bears having dark fur, the 5D IV would seem to be the best-ever bear boat camera body… I will, however, have to wait a while to experience that. Scroll down if you would like to join me in Alaska.


Images and card copyright Arthur Morris/BEARS AS ART 🙂

2017 Bear Boat Coastal Brown Bear Cubs IPTs: July 18-24, 2017 from Kodiak, AK: 5 FULL & 2 Half DAYS: $6699. Happy campers only! Maximum 8/Openings 3.

Join me in spectacular Katmai National Park, AK for six days of photographing Coastal Brown Bears. Mid-July is prime time for making images of small, football-sized cubs. The cubs, and these dates, are so popular that I had to reserve them three years in advance to secure them. There are lots of bears each year in June, but the mothers only rarely risk bringing their tiny cubs out in the open in fear of predation by rival bears. In addition to making portraits of both adults and cubs, we hope to photograph frolicking and squabbling youngsters and tender nursing scenes. At this time of year, the bears are either grazing in luxuriant grass or clamming. There will also be some two- and three-year old cubs to add to the fun. And we will get to photograph it all.

We will live on our tour operator’s luxurious new boat. At 78 feet long its 24 foot beam makes it quite spacious as well. And the food is great. We will likely spend most of our time at famed Geographic Harbor as that is where the bears are generally concentrated in summer. On the odd chance that we do need to relocate to another location we can do so quickly and easily without having to venture into any potentially rough seas. We land via a 25 foot skiff that has lots of room for as much gear as we can carry.

Aside from the bears we should get to photograph Horned and Tufted Puffin and should get nice stuff on Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Harbor Seal, and Steller’s Sea Lion as well. A variety of tundra-nesting shorebirds including Western Sandpiper and both yellowlegs are also possible. Halibut fishing (license required/not included) is optional.

It is mandatory that you be in Kodiak no later than the late afternoon of July 17 to avoid missing the float planes to the boat on the morning of July 18. Again, with air travel in Alaska (or anywhere else for that matter) subject to possible delays, being on Kodiak on July 16 is a much better plan.

Barring any delays, we will get to photograph bears on our first afternoon and then again every day for the next five days after that, all weather permitting of course. On our last morning on the boat, July 24, those who would like to enjoy one last photo session will have the opportunity to do so. The group will return to Kodiak via float plane from late morning through midday. Most folks will then fly to Anchorage and to continue on red-eye flights to their home cities.

What’s included? 7 DAYS/6 NIGHTS on the boat as above. All meals on the boat. National Park and guide fees. In-the-field photo tips, instruction, and guidance. An insight into the mind of two top professionals; we will constantly let you know what we are thinking, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Small group image review, image sharing, and informal Photoshop instruction on the boat.

What’s not included: Your round trip airfare to and from Kodiak, AK (almost surely through Anchorage). Your lodging and meals on Kodiak. The cost of the round-trip float plane to the boat and then back to Kodiak as above. The cost of a round trip last year was $550. The suggested crew tip of $200.

Have you ever walked with the bears?

Is this an expensive trip? Yes, of course. But with 5 full and two half days, a wealth of great subjects, and the fact that you will be walking with the bears just yards away (or less….), it will be one of the great natural history experiences of your life. Most folks who take part in a Bear Boat IPT wind up coming back for more.

A $2,000 per person non-refundable deposit by check only made out to “BIRDS AS ART” is required to hold your spot. Please click here to read our cancellation policies. Then please print, read, and sign the necessary paperwork here and send it to us by mail to PO Box 7245, Indian Lake Estates, FL 33855.

Your deposit is due when you sign up. That leaves a balance of $4699. The next payment of $2699 will be due on September 15, 2016. The final payment of $2000 is due on February 15, 2017. We hope that you can join me for what will be a wondrously exciting trip.

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 🙂

18 comments to Why I Love My 5D Mark IV: The Beyond Incredible Imaging Sensor. And So Much More…

  • avatar danny

    arthur, i have the 1Dmark 4 , will i have the abbility to crop the image so far that i can forget the cropcamera with 1.3 factor ? without loss in quality ?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Whenever you crop away pixels you reduce image quality. The sharper the image you start with, the more you can crop …

  • avatar Holly

    Thanks for the great information and review on the canon 5d mark iv. I am seriously considering an upgrade and will gladly use your B&H affiliate link for my purchase. Very glad you will be able to make your trip. Enjoy and thanks again for all the great blog posts.

  • First of all, I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Thanks for the great information about the 5DIV. I have the 7DII. It has been great for birds in flight with 10fps. But it is killing me on early morning shoots with its poor ISO capabilities.

    Losing fps on the 5DIV seems a small price to pay for the better image quality. The loss of 1.6 crop factor is more than made up by your 100% zoom.

    I was thinking about the 1DXII, but seeing this post has me reconsidering my next purchase.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      No contest for me. And you can buy two 5D IVs for the price of a 1D X II. Please remember to use the B&H links if at all possible.

      thanks and later and love, artie

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Hi Artie,

    Very pleased that you are good to go for your trip. Thanks for your summary on the 5DIV. Couldn’t agree with you more. With mine, by far the best quality images I have seen so far. By necessity I am using DPP4 to process the raw files in that as I understand it Adobe has yet to support the them. I had used it occassionally just to try to get a general feel, and now, considering the quality of the images coming into Photoshop from DPP4 I guess I am going to have to learn its nuances. Photoshop is now basically a crop/clean up program while DPP4 does most of the work. I will say however that with the quality of the 5DIV files, as long as the exposure is correct, other than converting, the files don’t need nearly as much manipulation as required on other bodies (mostly noise control). Anyway, my take is that, like you, the 5DIV will get most of the attention while the 1DX will be used primarily for flight (maybe).

    Have a blast on your trip and looking forward to seeing more 5DIV images.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I am with you on all counts. You will learn the fine points of DPP 4 on the Galapagos trip if you have not already before then. Have you tried the color Fine Tuner?

      later and love and you will see lots from the dark jungles of Peru 🙂


  • avatar Mike H

    Thank you for another well reasoned assessment, Artie.

    I currently have a 7D2 with 100-400 LIS MkII. In most situations I am working the 100-400 at full (or near full) reach as and would like something that handles the low light levels better (think rainy northern England or Pacific North West for prevailing conditions).

    I am torn between the 300 f2.8 Mk II for wider aperture or the 5D MkIV that gives me better high ISO handling. I would keep the 100-400 regardless because of its versatility, it is just the low light side of things and where I best spend the money. I know you were very impressed with the 7D2 (before you got your paws on the 5DSR and now the 5DIV!) so the benefits of your experience will be most welcome.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mike,

      We face lots of tough decisions. And yes, I am guilty of going all full frame and loving it. It is a hard call on the 300 f/2.8 because it is so closely counterfeited by the 100-400. If you go to the 400 DO II you will have 400mm at f/4, 560 at f/5.6, and 800 at f/8 … Best answer: get the 400 DO II and the 5D IV!

      Lots of great Dan Cadieux 7D II high ISO image coming soon so stay tuned. If push came to shove, I’d for for either the 300 f/2.8L IS II or the 400 f/4 DO II. Good luck and please use the links!

      later and love, artie

      • avatar Mike H

        Thanks, Artie.
        Unfortunately the 400 is out of my price bracket so I need to look a bit more closely at the 300mm lens. The f2.8 would certainly give me latitude to increase ISO and expose to the right (ish) so that is food for thought. I will certainly keep my eye out for Daniel’s images.

        I am in UK so I don’t know if using your link would work for both of us but I do not B&H despatch international.

  • avatar David Policansky

    Artie: Great blog, thanks. The 5D4 is clearly a great camera. But I wonder if you’re not trying to have it both ways in one aspect–fine feather detail versus sensitivity to shake. Both fine detail and sensitivity to shake vary the same way with pixel density because they both are related to resolution. In any case, enjoy your wonderful cameras. The noiseless blue sky is a treasure.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. From where Patrick and I sit the 5D IV sits perfectly in the middle between the 5DS R and the 1D Mark II.

      See you on the ship!

      later and love, artie

      • avatar David Policansky

        That sounds right to me too, Artie and Patrick. Artie, you sold your 5DSRs; did you keep a 1DXII? Yes, I’m getting excited about the trip!

  • avatar Sabrina Walsh

    So excited to hear you’re able to make your trip after surgery! You just made up my mind between the 5D Mark IV and the 1D X Mark II. I’m going with the 5D! When I do, I’ll use your link! Thanks for all you do in giving back to all of us! I love your teaching style by the way!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thank you kindly Sabrina. You will love your 5D IV. And tanks a stack for using my B&H link . I hope to see you on an IPT someday where the real learning takes place! Maybe San Diego …

      later and love, artie

  • avatar Kerry Morris

    Artie, the info above is incredibly helpful. I love reading your comparisons about camera gear, but when you give definitive info like the above, it’s great! Thank you! I will use your link if I make the leap to buy this camera body.
    Bon Voyage! Thanks for all you do!