Just this week on Thursday the 25th of August, Canon publicly released the long-anticipated 5D Mark IV full frame DSLR body, the successor to the popular 5D Mark III. The 5D line has always been popular amongst wedding photographers, product photographers, fashion photographers and photography enthusiasts, but not so much amongst planespotters. Instead, the Canon 7D series has long been the camera of choice for aviation photographers, mainly because of its superior speed and AF tracking system. But as the 5D Mark IV is bringing along some features that will give it some of the speed of the 7D, perhaps it could be the new camera of choice for aviation photography.

5d mark iv official product photo canon

Canon’s official product photo for the Mark IV

According to the official Canon website, the new Mark IV will have the following specifications:

-30.4 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor

-61 autofocus points, 41 of which are cross-type (see what cross-type means here)

-f/8 autofocus with all 61 AF points, maximum 21 cross-type

-NFC, WiFi, and GPS built-in

-7fps continuous shooting speed

5d mark iv back

Back of the new Mark IV

The autofocus system of the 5D Mark IV is a vast improvement over that of the Mark III, and is supposedly similar to that of Canon’s flagship DSLR the 1DX Mark II. The new Mark IV also contains a new feature called “Dual Pixel RAW”, which is a type of RAW file that Canon says will allow for minor focus adjustment in post production. I’m guessing that this features is going to be useful for event photographers working with low depths of field and wide apertures, but not so much for aviation photographers as it’s much harder to misfocus with a small aperture and a telephoto lens. ¬†Overall, the Mark IV features nearly the same speed as the 7D Mark II whilst also maintaining the advantages of a having a full frame sensor. As most telephoto lenses (and all “L” lenses) are designed for full frame sensors, optimum image quality cannot be achieved when they are used on crop sensors such as that of the 7D Mark II. Thus, the 5D Mark IV will be able to yield better looking images¬†as it will be able to take full advantage of the quality of the lens.

Until we are able to get our hands on consumer copies of the camera and try them out at the airport, it is impossible to know for sure how suitable it will be for aviation photography. From the official specifications, I can guess that it will be an absolute beast and I can’t wait for it to start shipping in early-September.