Midjourney v5 vs. v4: What Are the Differences?

Midjourney is an industry leader in AI generative art. With each new version, it manages to increasingly blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Thanks to ongoing development in algorithms that serve to boost photorealism and dynamic range, among many other traits and features, Midjourney continues to awe its users with each new update.

And the latest version is here once again.

Midjourney v5 Is Now Available


Midjourney v5 was released in beta on March 16, 2023. It’s accessible through Discord, a voice and video chat platform popular with gamers. We walk you through how to get started with Discord if you’re interested in getting started with Midjourney. Then you’ll be able to access the Midjourney server in Discord and start creating AI art.

Existing Midjourney users can access v5 by typing /Settings and then clicking on MJ version 5 in the menu as shown below.


It’s worth noting that if you’re a newcomer and haven’t used Midjourney before, you’ll be on a free trial that offers you a total of 25 image generations. Use these wisely because it’s easy to blow through them in a matter of minutes.

If you’re interested in continuing with Midjourney on a subscription basis, there are three tiers. Visit Midjourney’s account page to purchase a plan. We recommend the Standard Plan for serious users who intend to use the platform regularly because of the unlimited Relaxed generations included.

Midjourney v5 vs. Midjourney v4: What Has Changed?

The feature improvement getting the most buzz is hands. Midjourney v5 definitely is an improvement over v4, especially when it comes to getting the finger count right. But there are still several kinks to be worked out before we can say that Midjourney has mastered hands.

Let’s take a look at how v4 handles hands in a portrait situation using the prompt “a portrait of an old man with folded hands on lap”:

Midjourney v4 Hands example

Here’s Midjourney v5 using the same prompt:

Midjourney v5 Hands example

It took four re-rolls in v5 to achieve one result that’s passable for realistic-looking folded hands (bottom-right image). And even then, the hands aren’t folded either.

Ironically, you’ll often see the major improvements to hands in images where hands aren’t specifically mentioned in the prompt. Now, compare the prompt “full-length portrait of an old man” between Midjourney v4 and v5.

Midjourney v4:

Full length portrait of an old man Midjourney v4

Midjourney v5:

Full length portrait of an old man Midjourney v5

In cases like this, the hands in Midjourney v5 appear much more natural, without them morphing into canes, which is what happened with the v4 example.

If you need help fixing some of Midjourney’s flaws and idiosyncrasies in your artwork, we show you how to fix your Midjourney art in Photoshop.

There are several more big differences between Midjourney v4 and Midjourney v5. Let’s take a look.

Creating Unique and Realistic People From Scratch

One of the major allures for Midjourney users is the ability to create realistic individuals based on mere text prompts. The differences between Midjourney v4 and v5 are quite dramatic for these types of requests. Here’s another head-to-head comparison, using the prompt “the artist in her studio”.

Midjourney v4:

the artist in her studio Midjourney v4 prompt

Midjourney v5:

the artist in her studio Midjourney v5 prompt

Rendering Celebrities

Similarly, Midjourney v5 knocks it out of the park when it goes up against its v4 predecessor when it comes to prompts with celebrities. Here’s the next prompt challenge, “a color portrait of Tom Cruise, studio strobe lighting”.

Midjourney v4:

Color prompt of Tom Cruise Midjourney v4

Midjourney v5:

Color prompt of Tom Cruise Midjourney v5

Resolution and Speed of Upscaling

Two more notable changes between Midjourney v4 and v5 are resolution boosts and faster processing times for upscaling. The resolution boost can be seen in both the details (especially fabrics) and the file sizes. Here are two of the Tom images from before.

Midjourney v4:

Tom full screen Midjourney v4

PNG file size is 1.22 MB.

Midjourney v5:

Tom full screen Midjourney v5

PNG file size is 1.30 MB.

Midjourney v5’s speed boost for upscaling is due to the fact that Midjourney seemingly creates the upscaled versions simultaneously with the processing of the initial prompt. So when you click on one of the images to upscale, the result typically appears immediately if you don’t have too many jobs in the queue. In all previous versions, you have to wait for the upscaled prompt to be processed from the beginning.

This change alone could spare some Midjourney v5 users hours each month on upscaling duties. That equates to saving time in Fast hours and saving Midjourney users money overall.

Everyday Objects

Objects also get a boost in realism, if that’s the goal. Let’s take a look at two renderings of “a basketball”.

Midjourney v4:

A basketball prompt Midjourney v4

Midjourney v5:

A basketball prompt Midjourney v5

Everyday objects actually seem to be an Achilles Heel at times for Midjourney on par with hands. Neither version did too well when it came to a simple prompt like “a hammer”.

Midjourney v4:

A hammer Midjourney v4 prompt

Midjourney v5:

A hammer Midjourney v5 prompt

One could make the case for either one of these results being better than the other if realism is the goal. But where Midjourney v5 will outshine v4 is when you apply more detailed prompts, which we’ll cover next.

Complex Prompts

The best results in Midjourney are usually due to a detailed and carefully crafted prompt. Apart from adding weights and appended modifiers to help build an image, packing a lot of descriptions separated by commas seems to be a best practice that many experienced Midjourney users follow.

Midjourney v5 is supposed to handle these prompts even better than in previous versions. Let’s take a look and see if it’s true. We’ll use this prompt to test each version, “A lone man facing a lake, birds flying overhead, a mountain glistens against the sky in the distance, a partly cloudy sky, a fishing boat in the middle of the lake, in the style of Marc Chagall”.

Midjourney v4:

Marc Chagall prompt Midjourney v4

Midjourney v5:

Marc Chagall prompt Midjourney v5

In this example, Midjourney v4 doesn’t do a bad job of it. In fact, v4 shines in producing creative landscapes and handling abstract queries. But Midjourney v5 does a much better job in both relevant details and mimicking the famous artist’s style.

Complex prompts in v5 can be put to use for making portrait backgrounds with Midjourney.

Midjourney v4 vs. Midjourney v5: Out With the Old and In With the New

Midjourney v5 leaps out in front of v4 in the overall visual experience. In v5, we completely lose the “Midjourney look”. The new v5 could easily be considered another universe, both in terms of photorealism and details.

One of the key factors is a boost in dynamic range that’s widely abundant in Midjourney v5 imagery. It would almost be fair to call Midjourney v4 flat in comparison, like the difference between a photo of a mountain landscape taken on an old point-and-shoot camera and one taken with a $10,000 camera. The two versions are that far apart!

If you’re new to the world of AI art, try these AI art tips and tricks to improve your results.

Midjourney Is Improving With Each Iteration

Midjourney is improving with each new iteration by great strides. It’s very likely that Midjourney and companies like it will completely revolutionize how we create and interact with art if subsequent versions are as amazing as v5. Maybe it’s time for you to check out what Midjourney has to offer.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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