review

Canon 5DSR vs 5D Mark IV, which should you buy?

When it comes to buying new cameras, it can sometimes be quite difficult deciding which is best. This seems to be especially true when it comes to deciding between the Mark IV and 5DSR. A number of people have been asking me which of these two would be best to buy and in this review, I aim to answer that question. 

I will quickly mention, before starting this review I thought that this was a tough question, however, as I did more and more comparisons, the decision became much clearer and easier. Also, I was a little conscious about the length of the original video so I have split some of the comparisons into a second unlisted video, available for you to view below. 

To begin with, we started in the studio taking a few images of Amina who is a fantastic model. Considering my lack of experience working with models I decided it would be best to have my friend Imran take over for this section. His experience working in studios and with models meant that he could deliver the results and also express his thoughts. Ultimately he wasn't too bothered about the extra features of the Mark IV and opted to side with the 5DSR. The detail and clarity were what really blew him away. Things to consider are the fact that when shooting with the 5DSR, any issues in your technique will be amplified and the results can be vastly different. The 5DSR is a very unforgiving camera whereas the Mark IV can be far more flexible and forgiving to your techniques.

Dynamic range can be quite an important feature for allot of people and this is where the 5D Mark IV really excels. For any single image taken from each of these cameras the Mark IV images are far more flexible and clean. The amount you can recover safely really make a difference to your workflow, you may not need to take that extra shot you do with the 5DSR increasing time spent and storage costs. Having said that, adding some noise reduction to the 5DSR can really shrink the gap. Also if time and storage costs are not a factor for you then using several layers to create the final image will really increase the difference in image quality. Both have their respective advantages in this area and it depends on your individual requirements. 

Long exposures have similar results in that the 5DSR is much noisier when compared to the 5D Mark IV across the frame. This is going to a much bigger factor to consider if you're shooting at slightly higher ISO, as the amount of noise may start to make the images unusable for many. Noise reduction will still clean up the 5DSR images quite a bit making them very comparable and potentially even more detailed. 

The main areas where the 5DSR can perform really well are colours, sharpness and detail. In controlled environments where you shoot at the lowest ISO, you can achieve some of the absolute best image quality. The colours tend to be more vibrant and accurate based on my testing and the detail is significantly more.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I much prefer the 5DSR, the incredible image quality and detail are very appealing to me. Most of my professional shoots are done using manual lenses, therefore I tend to take my time for each image ensuring I'm getting the best results. I enjoy shooting with more layers and bringing out the extra detail in post, that to me is part of the fun and not at all a chore. 

Before doing this comparison I didn't enjoy using the Mark IV very much at all because to me, it represents a little bit of a middle finger from Canon. Having said that, after doing all of these tests and comparing it to the 5DSR, I now firmly believe that it is one of the best cameras you can buy. For most people, the Mark IV is a much better option, the 5DSR is far too niche of a camera for the majority. Yes, the 5DSR does have better image quality, however, image quality is not really that important when comparing cameras at this level. For that extra detail and resolution, you will be sacrificing far too many useful features to make it worth while. On top of that, the Mark IV will dramatically improve your workflow when compared to the 5DSR. The cleaner and more flexible images straight out of the camera from the Mark IV mean that for most uses it is far more effective.  

I'm still quite disappointed in Canon for releasing a camera with such unnecessary and obvious limits. Even with that, however, I strongly recommend the 5D Mark IV above the 5DSR.  

Please check out my video above and if you're interested in seeing some of the other tests I did please check out the second video below.