What's New: EOS 5D Mark IV Touchscreen LCD

August 31, 2016

You probably do it every day with your smartphone and/or tablet, and don’t give it a second thought — that is, touch the surface of your mobile device’s display to make a host of operational settings.  It’s become second nature to many modern-day citizens of the world.

Our cameras have been slower to adopt these concepts, but we’ve seen touch screen operation in previous EOS models such as recent EOS Rebels, the EOS 70D, and current EOS 80D.  Canon engineers have done a particularly good job of executing touchscreen operations in these cameras, providing an extensive range of camera operations that can be controlled in this manner.  But for many more advanced Canon EOS shooters, this may be new and unfamiliar territory.  We haven’t had full touchscreen operation, for instance, in any previous full-frame EOS digital SLR.

The wait is over.  The EOS 5D Mark IV brings this intuitive device control squarely into our advanced camera line-up.  We’ll briefly introduce it to those for whom it’s a new operation feature, and re-acquaint those who’ve used previous, less-expensive EOS models about its operation.

Why touchscreen operations in the first place?

You’re entitled to ask this question, especially since the EOS 5D Mark IV allows you to continue to make menu settings and virtually all other operations using traditional buttons and dials.  Unlike today’s smartphones, the addition of touchscreen operation hasn’t changed camera design (well, at least not to date) and the number of buttons on our cameras has remained mostly the same.

Speed and simplicity pretty much sum up the touchscreen benefits.  And, the cool thing is that you’re not required to adopt this new method to simply view a playback image, or make menu settings.  If you’re content with the former buttons-and-dials approach, you can either choose to disable the touchscreen feature or just leave it active, and make EOS 5D Mark IV settings in the same manner you always have.

What does touchscreen let you control?
  • Menu operations:
    Access, view and make changes to any item on the camera’s menu screen; make adjustments to Picture Style/Multiple Exposure/HDR, once the Creative Photo button has been pressed; select and change individual items on the Quick Control Menu screen once it’s been activated via the “Q” button
  • Live View:
    - Fundamental camera settings  (shutter speeds/apertures;  exposure compensation in automatic exposure modes;  ISO;  and whether the Touch Shutter feature is active or disabled)
    - AF Method (Face Detect + Tracking — FlexiZone Multi — Flexizone Single AF area coverage);  AF Operation (One Shot AF/Servo AF);  Drive mode;  Metering pattern;  even your Image Quality (RAW or JPEG shooting)
    - Touch the screen to dictate where AF will take place;  option for Touch Shutter enabled/disabled  (camera will focus where you touch on the screen, and immediately fire shutter upon completion of AF)
  • Video:
    - Touch (or touch and drag) to select where AF will focus in scene; change this at any time during recording
    - Primary camera settings, including shutter speed/aperture, ISO, pause and re-activate Movie Servo AF; adjust sound recording sensitivity, and headphone volume if accessory headphone to monitor sound is plugged into camera
  • Image Playback:
    Swipe to move from one image file or video file to the next; swipe up/down during histogram/detailed info view to scroll through different information screens;  squeeze/pinch or expand two fingers to zoom in or out on a full-screen image — even if it originates on-screen as a thumbnail with histogram view;  drag with one finger to scroll around a magnified view

It’s absolutely true that the touchscreen interface on the EOS 5D Mark IV doesn’t completely replace the need for traditional buttons and so on, but once you’ve got something up on-screen, it offers fast and smooth ways to make multiple changes to what the camera is doing.

Control for Touchscreen operation

EOS 5D Mark IV provides a certain measure of control over how touchscreen operation works.

Enable or disable the Touchscreen feature
Set-up Menu (gold menu color):  
2nd menu screen  >  Touch Control  >  Standard—Sensitive—Disable

The Standard setting is usually fine for ordinary touch operations; the Sensitive option would help in situations where a user might be wearing gloves, or in conditions where normal touch seems less effective than normal (extreme cold, etc.).  Disable, of course, completely turns touchscreen operation off.

Touch Shutter operation
Shooting Menu (red menu color):
5th menu screen  >  Touch Shutter  >  Disable—Enable

By default, the Touch Shutter feature is disabled, and users must engage it for Live View shooting.  The Menu (just described) is one option; when Live View is active, another option is to touch the little icon on the bottom-left corner of the Live View screen, which then immediately gives you the same on/off options on-screen.  Press the INFO button if the control touch points don’t initially appear at the bottom of the Live View screen.

Summary

In the past, touchscreen operations on a high-end camera might have been looked at skeptically by traditional, experienced SLR shooters. After all, if we’ve evolved from relatively simply 35mm film SLRs to today’s sophisticated digital SLRs, using buttons and dials, why change a good thing?

But as mentioned in our opening, even the most tradition-bound camera user probably uses a touch-based interface regularly, when he or she pulls out their smartphone or mobile device.  We’re all more accustomed to this type of immediate, tactile input (well, nearly all of us!).  Canon has a track record of excellent touchscreen design in more consumer-oriented cameras, and that technology and its convenience has trickled up the food chain, to the EOS 5D Mark IV.  Unlike the recently-introduced EOS-1D X Mark II (our top-of-the-line, professional DSLR), the 5D Mark IV is blessed with the full touchscreen interface, and all the attendant options.  We’re confident that new EOS 5D Mark IV users who give it a try will find it really can help speed up some of their menu selections when examining images during playback.  We certainly urge anyone thinking of trying out this camera to give the touchscreen interface a test drive!

The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.

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