October 30, 2016

Canon 5D Mk IV – My Report on Long Exposure Noise Results

Run Aground – 2 minute exposure

I’ve just processed the first images from my Canon 5D Mark IV and wanted to report back on what I’ve found. To recap my previous post regarding the Mark IV: I love the new features and increased resolution, but my litmus test is how much noise there is on images with long exposures of 2 minutes and longer, and particularly those images that have been underexposed (which is how I shoot).

I’m happy to report that the Mark IV does much better than what I experienced with the 5DSr. Exposures up to 2 minutes are very clean. The image above was a 2 minute exposure and I was very happy with the quality and noise levels.

But what about images that are over 2 minutes? Here’s a 6 minute exposure:

Monolith No. 97 – 6 minutes

This image was shot at sunset and was greatly underexposed (perhaps by 3 stops) due to the sun going down during the exposure. I found it had much more noise than a 2 minute exposure, but I was still able to work with it and salvage the image. So I was pretty happy about that.

Here is the same scene with a 2 minute exposure:

Monolith No. 98 – 2 minutes

There is no doubt that this image is cleaner and has less noise. But as I said, with a little extra work the 6 minute exposure was usable.

Patterning. I don’t really know what to call this phenomenon I’ve seen with the Mark III sensor, but I call it “patterning.” It’s a pixel pattern that shows dark streaking vertical lines in areas that have been heavily dodged and burned. 

This is an example of light patterning from a Mark III image. Sometimes I have to back off my dodging and burning in these areas or I’ll break up the lines with dozens of healing brush taps.

Fortunately I have not yet seen this patterning appear with the Mark IV images, which is very encouraging. But again I’ve only shot and processed a few images.

Conclusion: I am very optimistic that the Mark IV images are going to serve me well with my style of long exposure and underexposed shooting.

Separation No. 2 – 30 seconds


6 thoughts on “Canon 5D Mk IV – My Report on Long Exposure Noise Results

  1. Can you give an update on this camera now that you have used it for awhile? I do a lot of long exposures and there aren’t too many people who mention that kind of thing in there reviews. I’m looking to purchase the 5DIV soon.

    1. Zach, I’ve been very happy with the Mk IV!

      I do think it has more noise than the Mk III, but it’s certainly better than the 1DSr.

      I do see noise on my 8 minute exposures, especially if I’m doing several in a row on a hot day. But 2 and 4 minute exposures are pretty good.

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