First Shots with the Canon 5D Mark IV / by Hannah Couzens

I know it's not usual for a photographer to wait a few days to use their new camera but this time I had good reason. The first being that I was about to teach two lighting classes where I needed to tether to my TV and the new 5D IV needed a faster USB 3 cable which I hadn't yet purchased but the other reason being, I really did love my 5D III and I wasn't sure I was ready for our breakup.

 Canon 5d mark IV

Canon 5d mark IV

I do not hide the fact that I am not your usual gear geek. I am certainly not someone who has to have the latest kit just because. I purchased my 5DIII back in July 2013 and it's been an absolute workhorse. When I think about what I've put it through and how it has never once let me down, it's no wonder I feel so attached.

The reason I finally made the upgrade was due to a rainy afternoon in February. Some photographer friends and I decided to check our shutter actuations..........mine was 257,513!!

Whilst there is a lot of debate about how long these things can really go for (and I do not doubt that this beast could carry on for a long time yet) I guess now would be a good time to make the change.

Once again, this isn't a review. If I am honest I haven't even scratched the surface of what this camera is truly capable of and I haven't touched any custom functions as yet. This is a straight out of the box, 'let's see what you're made of' type of post.

 Unfortunately my website likes to compress and destroy images but the quality is immense with the 5D IV

Unfortunately my website likes to compress and destroy images but the quality is immense with the 5D IV

My first observation was the weight. At 75 grams lighter than the 5DIII it's around 10% lighter. That might not sound like much but I'll take it! 

Secondly IT'S TOUCH SCREEN!!! This was really weird and at first I wasn't sure if I liked it. I can now safely say that I love it. Not only does this seem to speed up menu selections but you can also scroll back and forth in playback mode with a swipe of a finger plus you can pinch and zoom into your shots. I must add that you can lock the screen if you are not a fan of this feature but after you get over the weirdness, it really is very cool.

There are still 61 focus points on the IV, the only difference being that the coverage has been extended vertically. 

The 5D IV gives us 30.4 megapixels which isn't a huge increase from the 5D III's 22 Megapixels but you know, that's fine with me! Realistically as a portrait photographer, I do not need to enlarge my images to the size of a bus very often and I will re-frame or switch lenses where possible to avoid cropping into my shots. I shoot several clients per day and I do not need the hassle of huge files from more and more megapixels when I just don't need them.


I have to say that the combination of the sensor in the IV paired with the 85mm 1.2 is unreal. The detail is immense. 

At the end of our shoot, we decided to play around with Ishana's braids and a hair flip. I put my Protofo B1s and B2's into Freeze mode to shorten my flash duration and we decided to see what the seven frames per second of the IV could get us. It's fair to say that we got some interesting results from that pairing!

 Seven Frames Per Second plus the Profotos in Freeze mode gave us some great shapes.

Seven Frames Per Second plus the Profotos in Freeze mode gave us some great shapes.

Freeze Mode Profoto

There's a whole host of super smart technology within this camera. Dual Pixel RAW allows you to make micro adjustments to focus, bokeh and ghosting in post. I am not sure if I will really ever use this feature as I really need to explore how micro we are talking and indeed if it would really benefit me personally with my workflow. The increased file sizes for a real micro adjustment I think I can live without but I am sure to others, this could be a great feature and I may go back on this with further exploration.

My next shoot requires a shot from above. I know that my camera will be rigged to a boom arm on my ceiling to shoot down at my subjects. The built in WIFI & NFC technology will enable me to connect the camera to a smart device. I will then be able to view, focus and capture what I want from my phone using the Canon Camera Connect while the camera is up near the ceiling. Needless to say, this is awesome compared to hanging off a stepladder above my client praying it's focussed, framed correctly and that I don't fall on them!

As I always say, the camera is probably capable of so many things which I will never use. I am mostly a studio portrait photographer so the impressive ISO capabilities etc just don't really apply to me. You will find countless in depth reviews on the web, this is just my view on my new gear and how on it's first outing, I am already impressed.


One thing I feel I need to mention is the price. I remember the outrage from pro photographers who were complaining about the price upon it's initial release. I would ask those pro photographers to go and add up their turnover since their last camera purchase. If the IV is going to repeat the performance of it's predecessor I am set to have many years of shooting without any problems from the one tool that I absolutely cannot do without. This is the type of investment in which your return is off the charts.

hannah couzens 5div blog

Whilst I will conclude and reiterate the fact that I am not one for the latest kit, as a full time working professional shooting thousands of frames per week and a business to run, I do need a trustworthy, reliable piece of equipment which will enable me to do my job.

hannah couzens photographer

With Canon's 5D series I have that confidence. The 5DIII was and still is an amazing camera. It has served me so well and now can finally enjoy it's retirement. The IV seems to also be an amazing camera so far. The question you really need to ask yourself is 'does this camera improve my workflow, my control over the camera and do the new features improve my experience as a user?' For me, the answer is yes so I look forward to exploring the features of my new workhorse and reporting back to you in more depth next time.