DIY Water-Cooled Canon R5 Set-up Results in Unlimited 8K Recording

Imagine being able to film unlimited 8K video, or capturing images of deep-sky objects all night with almost zero noise. While there may be better ways to manufacture a camera without heat issues, there is a market for a camera that could be cooled beyond the average current camera housing. Water-cooled cameras are not anything new and for that matter creating a custom water cooling system for a DSLR has been done many times before too. Dedicated cameras in the astrophotography market often come water-cooled in order to reduce the heat that leads to increased noise during long exposures. To that end, several astrophotographers have set out to create their own version with a popular DSLR for astrophotography. As 8K has become more mainstream in smaller form factor cameras so have heat issues. Even when those issues don't cause the camera to shut down completely they do lead to other issues like higher noise and hotter devices. 

The projects over at DIY Perks are often experiments in the possibility rather than the best solution for a problem and this new video is no different. It's really interesting to see different cooling mods and the results in recording times that can be achieved. It is unlikely everyone is going to go out and build water-cooling setups for their cameras but the results speak for themselves. So maybe there is a market for a 3rd party company to produce a new camera back with built-in water cooling. Or at the very least the video shows a vast improvement from just improving the heat transfer plate that would be pretty simple for a company to produce and consumers to install. 

While I don't think the vast majority of consumers have a need for any changes to most existing cameras on the market there are niche uses like astrophotography that would benefit from cooling modifications and maybe this could lead to a new product market similar to the one built up around PCs. 

If Canon wants to send me a new Ra I'd be happy to water-cool it and do some testing to see what kind of improvements can be achieved. 

Log in or register to post comments

22 Comments

vik .'s picture

I had to sign in just to give this guy a thumbs up on his video. Amazing work.

g coll's picture

Yep amazing. He has a lot of really great videos and one particularly on converting old lcd tvs into daylight lights which could be great for studio work.

Just me's picture

So many people still claiming the overheat issue is not faked.
"“This proves that the camera with the initial firmware actually did not measure the temperature to decide when to shut down. It was programmed to shut down after a certain time and implement a long recovery time.”"
Do you really need another proof?

Without going to the full water cooling system; a simple heatsink upgrade gives you almost twice recording time.
That's embarrassing for Canon, at least.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Well of course the overheating issue isn't faked, it does get too hot. Not very surprising when we consider this is a stills camera that can do video. (And apparently people are needing 8K because... actually I have no idea for the real world...)

Canon chose a timer solution because they'll have done tests to work out how long it takes to overheat and then add a safety margin. Otherwise the next complaint is "my camera baked itself, why didn't Canon protect the camera..."

This was a fascinating video and shows how things could have been improved - but it would be at an additional cost and weight - and then we'd have the moaners out for these issues too.

What would have been useful would be to have had, as this chap suggests, an adapter kit that can be service fitted to allow additional cooling. I wonder if a back body plate that allows more internal space might have been a good option and with a built in fan and heatsinks. It would have made the camera somewhat bulkier but can keep the 8K fan base happy (no pun intended).

But seriously I can't work out what the fuss is about. We don't really need 8K - for virtually anything. And if people need it to reframe and crop a shot - learn to frame a shot... People just want high resolution because they want more. And they want it cheap, they want it now and they want it in a tiny body.

And when they get all that, they want to record all day. (And then they moan about data storage costs.)

Canon, like any manufacturer, ride a careful balance between costs, convenience, market timing and form factor.

People, like people, base desire on "I want it now..."

But few people who moan about all this have actually taken the time to work out the limitations and design a solution. I applaud this chap who has.

For those who want a cheap 8K+ video camera in a convenient package for not many pennies - we already have it. Made by Black Magic. But surprisingly the BM solution doesn't work well as a stills camera - who'd figure... But the BM fan base aren't moaning so much about that.

So I'm not so sure why Canon should be embarrassed. They've broken new ground and produced a world beating stills camera that does 2, 4, 8K video as well. But we can't have everything, even if we want - well not at least yet.

(And when we can - where's our 16K video camera...?)

Frank Sanders's picture

"Canon chose a timer solution because they'll have done tests to work out how long it takes to overheat and then add a safety margin."

Thats interesting. I always try to check the facts. Can you please give me the source of this that I can check it.

Or is this just a guess?

g coll's picture

Did you watch the video?

Frank Sanders's picture

Of course, but I thin Perks is not a Canon official also.

David Vivian's picture

Of course, let's get someone from Canon marketing to chime in.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Ok I'll add the word "guess" to make you happy. But looking at Canon's decisions and what happens seem to suggest the bleeding' obvious. Sometimes the obvious is right in front of us if we don't try and see around it.

Heat sensing can be an inaccurate game at times, and if Canon pushed everything to the limit with such a cut-off method, then they could easily end up with bricked cameras through overheating - and that tends to get everyone upset.

But a timer based on known results of testing and with an additional safety margin is easy to implement and makes things safer for the electronics. It makes perfect sense that that would be the way to go for a manufacturer trying to ensure less failures.

Who'd figure everyone was so desperate to record at a resolution they can hardly edit, or load back on screens that can't deliver... but photographers and amateur video makers are a strange lot...

People moaned and so Canon gave us a solution that pushes the envelope of safety for the camera's electronics closer to the limit. (longer record times = more heat = closer to the safety margin = more chance of failures).

I guess...

Happier? :)

Frank Sanders's picture

Yes.

"But looking at Canon's decisions and what happens seem to suggest the bleeding' obvious. Sometimes the obvious is right in front of us if we don't try and see around it."

I am not a Canon shooter, but I observed the discussion from both sides and I see that for lot of people a "cripple hammer" is as obvious as your arguments. And for them it is also obvious that top engineers never will come up which such a bad heatsink solution like on the R5.

Lee Christiansen's picture

How has it crippled you when you don't have any investment in Canon gear?

How much is the video world "crippled" when it can't shoot in 8K on a cheap camera? Or are you just upset on our behalf because we can't have everything, all the time, for hardly any money?

And you're suggesting their engineers are not good? You'd be more qualified then?

And you realise that although amateurs feel camera manufacturers are making products as a charitable exercise, the engineering decisions are based on cast, weight and marketing.

Good grief, if you need a Canon badge and higher resolution, there's a lovely C500 Mk2 for you, (or is 6K not enough), or maybe you need even more, (you know, when you need to crop for an 8K production) with the Black Magic 12K offering (with a Canon mount). These are options where camera cooling has been built in as a more pressing concern, along with other lovely options - but it will cost you a bit more.

Or is it that you are upset (on our behalf - so thanks for your concern), that we can't have 8K in a tiny form factor for hardly any £££

The R5 is selling faster than they can ship them. Seems to me like Canon got its engineering / cost balance about right - for a STILLS camera.

Felix C's picture

Another issue is that the camera, as it currently sized, probably would not be able to dissipate the heat in an efficient manner without the whole case also getting too hot to handle. There were lots of tradeoffs that Canon had to make. The timer implementation probably came at the late stage of development when they truly found out there was a heat issue and scrambled for a way not to damage the camera.

As far as the "cripple hammer" comments, those are wannabe engineers with no design experience in electronics or thermodynamics. EOSHD.COM said it was a total hoax, same as some really stupid YouTubers (Tony Northrup, Matt Granger, Andrew Reid...)

Just me's picture

Camera is overheating in all HQ mode, even in 24p.
And, please, can you spot me any other 3C device that use a timer to deal overheating protection.
Can you?
No,
There is none. Not one single device do so cause it's simply impossible to simulate heating in a realistic way.
Canon have thermal sensor but added these fake limitation.
Go check magic lantern if you like more details.

Fact is that Canon first released a camera with an extra counter to stop people from recording 4K HQ even inside a fridge. (But no limitation in 8K with external recorder, what a joke)

They changed later with firmware 1.1.1

Felix C's picture

Are you complaining about the actual camera overheating or the fact they implemented a mickey mouse procedure to try to save the camera? Overheating is an issue with the camera. That is a fact. They implemented a poor method to stop they camera from overheating which they corrected with some firmware updates. A better heatsink may not be the answer. You do realize that a more efficient thermal design means less delta from the hottest component to the case temperature? Would you be happy if the case temperature rises to 120 degrees? There were several tradeoffs that Canon had to do.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Says the guy who clearly knows more about camera design than Canon. (And has checked EVERY other device ever made...)

Stop using the word "Fake" every time you don't like how a limitation is imposed. (We know that doesn't work out so well in real life...)

My broadcast, tape based video camera had a humidity detector - not on the drum but on the circuit board. It was programmed to detect humidity on the drum which of courser is impossible if it is on the circuit board - so Sony worked out a relationship between that detector and any humanity on the drum and imposed a cut-off to stop damage.

A similar principle to Canon's timer based on expected heat issues, (unless of course you subscribe to the conspiracy that Canon are all evil geniuses trying to stop us filming in 8K).

Now I'm sure Sony were a little over cautious on their cut-off point. And the prolonged wait until the camera would be safe to use was infuriating. But did the professionals fly around the room in a screaming huff crying "fake fake fake..." ?

No we didn't.

Canon make a camera that does 8K with a time limitation - a published time limitation, FROM CANON... Oh no, the world is ending.

If you don't like that, I can sell you a lovely RED Helium 8K camera, or a tasty Black Magic 12K camera.

My car has a published top speed of 110 miles per hour. But one day, I could get it to 115 mph. "FAKE" I tell you, they lied to me... They made my car go better than the published specs. How dare they. And besides, I want my car to go 250 mph - why won't they build my car that fast... cheaters....!

If you've done any real research, (apart from aaah, I want more minutes and pixels...) you'll find there are a myriad of issues with heat in camera and on the card media. So a simple heat sensor in camera isn't a true reflection of protection. Life is more complicated than it seems when we take the time to look a little harder.

But in your infinite wisdom you scream "Fake" and then when Canon make some changes to keep the 8K must-haves a little happier, you cry that they lied to you. (You do that every time a firmware update improves or offers more options on a product?)

But you're probably right. Canon held a gun to your head and forced you to buy - ah, no...
They took your money before publishing the time limitations - ah no...
There are no other camera options - ah no...
You REALLY need 8K - heck no...

On cameras suitable for feature films, the experienced DoPs are quite happy with 4K cameras shooting at 4K. And if you shoot this way then the R5 doesn't overheat. Of course it has heat issues with 4KHQ because it is based on sampling from an 8K capture. And if you insist on recording this way, Canon offers the option to record externally - as published and recommended by Canon.

I'm just wondering though - for all these amazing 8K productions you're making or all these 4KHQ rushes you're shooting because ultimate quality is everything - your lighting, your grading, your grip, your sets, your concepts... must be equally as stunning. Or is it just the same old thing but more dots?

8K is a technical achievement that has been overblown by fans who want lots of pixels. Not because they need them or because their productions warrant them, but because they just want them. And when these fans (?) can't have everything for virtually no money in a package that weighs almost nothing in a time frame ahead of the curve, and the only restriction is they shoot slower or pop on an external recorder, (as suggested by Canon), they have a hissy fit - presumably because they could have recorded longer in their fridge without a fake limitation.

Again - if your production is soooo amazing that it demands 8K, then shoot on a dedicated video camera and not a stills camera.

Just me's picture

Funny how you keep talking about 8K
The camera oveheat in 24p HQ.
Yes, this is something I'm using quite a lot these day.
I really don't care about 8K at all.
This is used as bait for troll to exlain how good Canon is.

Sorry.

An no, not one single 3C product is using time as oveheat protection.

Even Canon now have kinda lift this infamous "recovery timer" of 40mn.
Yes, 40mn recovery time!!! Can you explain me?
My oven that is designed to keep heat inside is colder than a camera recording 4K24p after 40mn.

Lee Christiansen's picture

As I said, 4KHQ is based around oversampling of 8K. The whole heating "problem" is related to anything 8K related.

But glad your productions are such high quality that you're demanding HQ and higher standards than many of the high budget features. I'm assuming you're not just chasing those benefits in your workflow so you've invested in all the other production elements as well... good on you.

4K recording is just fine - and even the feature film and broadcast boys seem quite happy with that workflow. (I'm a broadcast DoP and we chat about this sort of stuff).

Recovery times will be slow if heat dissipation isn't great to start with - and the small form factor together with the chosen system of heat sinking will create a situation where heat can build up and so naturally won't dissipate quickly either - that's just physics. (You asked me to explain it to you).

Ovens are not cameras - different rules apply.

And again - Canon published these figures BEFORE anyone was required to commit their hard earned £££, so what is the problem. My car manufacturer publishes a max speed of 110 mph, so I don't moan when I want to do 200 mph. (And if my car manufacturer finds a way of me getting 130 mph, I'm not going to moan if they've squeezed better specs later on.)

You're complaining about a problem that isn't a problem. You're asking for things the camera can't do. If you want those features (extended filming with 8K or 4KHQ, then buy a product that can.

Or design something yourself.

Canon has marketed a product, told us of its limitations and yet people are moaning that it can't defeat the laws of physics, or that Canon hasn't added features that were never advertised.

Read the specs, choose accordingly. Take note whether cameras are video or stills cameras when choosing. Then spend your money. Oh no... my £30,000 camera only records regular HD... should I complain?

What next, complaints that a 48MP camera doesn't have 100MP ?

Just me's picture

Canon marketed the camera with a big 8K logo. But people are stupid asking for this feature?

Taking picture at very low temperature only for the span of one hour gives you 0 minute of 8K video.
How is this fair?

Why don't you answer about the 40mn recovery time?
How this is possible? Except fabricated limitations with no relationship with actual temperatures?

Emmanuel Garcia's picture

On my YouTube channel, i recorded 8k video for 30 minutes until the camera stopped due to the video recording time limit. It then showed me i had another 30 minutes of 8k record time in the r5. Not kidding! My channel is youtube.com/Magnus547 . I published it a couple of days ago. No hack involved!

Frank Sanders's picture

Would't it be nice if a startup company would produce a "new heatsink pack" for Canon R5?

Pitter Brayan's picture

don think so...

Pham Anh's picture

"there are niche uses like astrophotography that would benefit from cooling modifications and maybe this could lead to a new product market similar to the one built up around PCs. "
There is camera like this already. And it's different to this mod.
Astronomy camera need the cooling at the SENSOR to lower the electronic noise of device (which corresponding to temperatures). There is company moves the sensor and mount out of camera to put them in a cooling chamber (Peltier).
With the EOS R, there is a space inside the body, under the sensor (according to Lensrental teardown) so it's possible for a thin heatpipe over there.