All Midjourney Versions [V1-V5.2] Compared: The Evolution of Midjourney




Newcomers to Midjourney have no idea how good they have it now.

That's not to say early users weren't impressed by Midjourney V1.

We were spellbound by the first version of Midjourney.

It's just that the difference between Midjourney V1 (which came out in Feb 2022) and the current version of Midjourney is night and day.

Let's take a walk through the past and compare at every single Midjourney Version. We'll also give some context into the Midjourney timeline, giving you a glimpse of what was happening with the product at the time.

Every Midjourney Version compared, with version timestamps. The difference over time is absolutely staggering.

Midjourney also has an anime model called Niji Journey.

We won't be doing a full comparison yet as there are only 2 versions out, but it does have multiple styles (a style is an alternate version of the same model that has been trained for a particular aesthetic). Here's what they look like:

Every Niji Version and Style compared.

Timeline of Midjourney Versions

Midjourney is an absolute juggernaut today with millions of Discord users. This wasn't always the case though. Let's start from the very beginning.

Early days of Midjourney
  • Midjourney V1: Februrary 2022
    Midjourney beta released, and initial onboarding begins. Midjourney is released to a select 500 users, who are allowed to invite another 500 users for a total of 1000 users. David Holz, Midjourney founder, asks more people to share their images on social media.
  • Midjourney V2: April 12, 2022
    Upscaling and Variation buttons are released along with the new model. With community feedback, the Midjourney team hones down on a concrete pricing plan (prior to this point users have been generating for free), and switches to a paid beta. From this point on the waitlist starts to grow.
  • Midjourney V3: July 25, 2022
    V3 is released along with the --stylize and --quality parameters. The Midjourney Discord grows to one million users, surpassing the Fortnite and Minecraft Discord servers.
  • Midjourney V4: November 5, 2022
    Midjourney V4 brings an unprecedented level of quality, far beyond what Stable Diffusion can produce. This model expedites Midjourney's viral growth on social media.
  • Midjourney V5: March 15, 2023
    Continues the quality and versatility upgrades of the previous version.
    • Midjourney V5.1: May 3, 2023
    • Midjourney V5.2: June 23, 2023

Here's the timeline for Niji Journey, Midjourney's special anime model:

  • Niji V4: December 21, 2023
    Midjourney releases their anime model to very positive reception. The anime model is far ahead of alternatives at the time, which include the open source models NAI Diffusion, Anything V4, and Waifu Diffusion.
  • Niji V5 --style original: April 3, 2023
    Midjourney upgrades Niji and includes a whole bunch of alternative styles.
    • Niji V5 --style expressive: April 10, 2023
    • Niji V5 --style cute: April 17, 2023
    • Niji V5 --style scenic: April 24, 2023
    • Niji V5 Default style: May 27, 2023


Lets compare a character design using the same prompt and seed across all versions.


dungeons and dragons, female knight, of the rolling plains, full body, dark azure, victorian genre paintings, serene face, realistic depiction of light, golden light --seed 5

Midjourney V1

Having grown up with these technologies, younger people won't realize how revolutionary Midjourney V1 was. This was ahead of the release of Stable Diffuion v1.4 (August 2022); at the time Midjourney and DALL-E 2 produced the most amazing results of all apps.

We weren't even thinking about "quality". We were just impressed that we could generally tell what the images were about.

Midjourney V2

The character has a more realistic form; the artifacts still create a "psychedelic", dreamlike quality.

Midjourney worked differently at this point: you produced low detail images in the initial grid, and when you Remastered them Midjourney will greatly improve the details and quality.

Midjourney V3

This model was a big step up: lighting and shadows are greatly improved, and it seemed like Midjourney could handle real illustration tasks for the first time.

Midjourney still has the Remaster feature at this point.

Midjourney V4

This model changed everything: at the time of release it was the highest quality model out there and could handle subject matter that other models couldn't, like logos and webi design.

Midjourney V5

Continues the trend of V4: the sense of realism is improved, and Midjourney continues to focus on the things that make the image more aesthetic.

Midjourney V5.1

Pushed the aesthetics even further.

Midjourney V5.2

Pushed the aesthetics even farther. Character-wise, the designs are more cohesive while having better facial details.

Environment Comparison

Let's compare an environment now. We'll use an architectural prompt:

large interior by Kengo Kuma, Harmonious blend of natural elements and modern design, an eco-friendly structure, pools and falling water --seed 10293

Midjourney V1

Getting lots of interesting textures here without too much dimensionality.

Midjourney V2

I really like this one.

You get a sense of the space and it looks like a concept you would actually come across in the architectural design process.

This leads me to an interesting point: a newer shinier model might not necessarily be better and some of the most creative possibilities will come out of the older models.

Midjourney V3

You can see how Midjourney V3 is big step up in proper lighting and reflections, which matter a lot in making it look more realistic.

Midjourney V4

The first "realistic" model, where generations move from concepts to looking more like photographs and renders.

Like I've said, for this one I actually like the older versions. Even though this one is objectively "nicer" it's harder to get creative results.

Midjourney V5

Continues the trend of V4: the sense of realism is improved, and Midjourney continues to focus on the things that make the image more aesthetic.

Midjourney V5.1

Pushed the aesthetics even further. Just look at that water!

Midjourney V5.2

Pushed the aesthetics even farther. Water reflections continue to improve, and and handle more details than before, as evidenced in the trees.

Img2img Comparison

One of the bigger changes has also been Midjourney's image-to-image generation capabilities.

Below is the image that we'll use to generate new images, and the prompt.

from PixaBay
vintage photo, girl smoking cigarette, irina nordsol kuzmina, a hazy memory, pixiv --ar 2:3

Midjourney V1

In line with what we see from V1, Midjourney pieces together concepts without much cohesion.

Midjourney V2

These results are truly horrifying. Notice the switch from black and white photos to the sepia and retro tones.

Midjourney V3

Starting to improve but still deep in uncanny valley. I'd say Midjourney V3 mastered this look.

Midjourney V4

With the big step that is V4, I think the most interesting part of about this one is how it weighs the "vintage"word stronger than the other models do. Word strength is actually something you can analyze now.

Midjourney V5

Even though the quality of these is slightly better, prefer the look of V4 more here.

Midjourney V5.1

New aesthetic system. You can see the model is more opinionated, and the results are less varied.

Midjourney V5.2

Pushed the aesthetics even farther. One of the changes announced was a high variation mode.

And that's the history of Midjourney, summarized in a few comparisons!

I'll sound old when I say this, but young children growing up now will think that this was always the norm... and we'll say no well these images are actually incredible!

Which is your favorite version of Midjourney? Let me know in the comments below!

That's the article! Also check out:

The Big Book of Prompts: Midjourney V5 Lost Worlds

Endless hours and thousands of prompts of experimentation later... I’m happy to release the Midjourney V5 book:

  • 94-pages, 200+ prompts, and time saving techniques
  • Focus on fantasy and worldbuilding
  • Create high quality assets to use in games, concept art, and hobbies

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