Overheating of the EOS R5 While Photographing and the Solution

Overheating of the EOS R5 While Photographing and the Solution

Do you have a Canon EOS R5? In that case, you’re probably aware of the overheating issues when filming. It isn’t of any concern if you’ll never use the video function. But what if an overheating warning occurs while photographing? I experienced that situation, and I have the solution.

The Canon EOS R5 is a great camera. I loved it from the start, when Canon Netherlands sent me one for a review. I shot a few weddings with that camera during the review and decided to replace my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. You can find my review here on Fstoppers.

There is one big issue with the Canon EOS R5. When filming, the camera tends to overheat. If it does, you won’t be able to use it until it cools down. That can take about half an hour. Canon released a few firmware updates, but the cooling ability of the camera does not match the amount of heat it generates.

I used the Canon EOS R5 next to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV during my review. I didn't focus on filming back then and didn't program any custom settings in the video menu. 

Overheating Issues When Filming

If you’re not into filming, the overheating problems won’t be an issue. That’s why I didn’t worry about it when I decided to buy this camera, until I got some assignments for filming corporate interviews. If I use the 4K 25p resolution, it works just fine, and that is enough for me. Most of the overheating will occur in 8K resolution, 4K 100p, 4K 50p, and 4K 25p HQ.

The Dutch menu of movie format settings on the Canon EOS R5. There is a lot to choose from, some of which are sensitive to overheating.

The overheating also depends on the way the camera is used. Do you record internal or external, and in the latter, do you have a memory card in the camera or not? Ambient temperature also has a significant effect.

But when I was shooting a wedding with a high ambient temperature, I got the feared overheating warning sign on both my Canon EOS R5 cameras, even though I wasn't shooting any movies.

There I was, on a hot summer day with a Canon EOS R5 that showed the overheating warning while photographing. Because I didn't know what it meant, it did worry me. Fortunately, the cameras kept on working without any problem, despite the warning.

Overheating Warming When Photographing

The wedding occurred on a very warm day in the Netherlands. Ambient temperatures rose up to 33 degrees Centigrade. The sun burned in the sky, and there was no wind at all. I didn’t worry, since I have already shot a lot of weddings under similar circumstances with the Canon EOS R5.

But this time, I got the overheating warning icon on both cameras. It occurred just before noon, after three hours of shooting both indoors and outdoors in full sunlight. It got me worried, to say the least. What if both cameras stopped working somewhere during the day?

It was very hot that day. The cameras felt warm, and the memory cards were hot. Fortunately, I don't do film during these events.

I kept on shooting, of course. And fortunately, both cameras kept on working without any problem, except the warning sign, of course. The memory cards were hot, which was to be expected, and the grip of the camera was also warm due to holding the camera for an extended amount of time. But that warning sign didn’t feel that comfortable at all. What was happening? What was the reason for this warning?

The overheating warning on the LCD screen. But it has nothing to do with photography. It is just a warning in case you switch over to filming.

What Does the Overhearing Icon Tell Us?

In reality, there doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. As it turns out, the icon is just a warning for the photographer about the temperature of the camera. If you look closely, you’ll see a video camera in the icon, not a camera for photography.

After some searching on the internet, I found more information about this warning sign. It tells the photographer that the camera has reached an high internal temperature, and switching over to video might result in overheating. The warning has nothing to do with photography.

Custom Movie Settings

When I asked colleagues who also use the Canon EOS R5, most of them never saw the overheating warning sign during their work. There were some who also shot a wedding on the same day as I did. But those colleagues never used the video functions of the Canon EOS R5.

Since I also use the camera for filming, I have programmed the camera for three different film settings. I used the C1 setting for 4K 25p, the C2 setting for 4K 50p and the C3 setting for 4K 100p. It allows me to change the film settings without diving deep into the menu.

I use the three custom menus for video. I programmed C1, C2, and C3, two of which are sensitive to overheating.

Two of these film setting create a risk for overheating. And it turns out these programmed settings are responsible for the overheating warning sign when photographing. The camera is responding to these programmed settings and warns the photographer about the risk of overheating when switching over to one of these custom settings.

The 4K 50p setting can cause overheating. If programmed in one of the custom settings, the camera will show a warning when photographing just in case you decide to switch over to this C3 setting.

If you haven’t programmed the C1, C2 and C3 for filming, the camera won’t show the overheating warning if you're photographing.

The Solution for the Overheating Warning When photographing

Although the camera won’t do much beyond an overheating warning when photographing, it can be quite distracting. You might even worry too much during a wedding shoot or something similar, not realizing why the sign is showing.

I used my Canon EOS R5 cameras without a problem during the whole wedding day, despite the warnings. Now that I know the reason why, I don't have to worry about that overheating warning again, as long as I don't switch over to filming, that is.

To get rid of the sign, you have to clear the C1, C2 and C3 settings, or you can change the film format to something that isn’t sensitive to overheating — the FHD 25p setting, for instance. That way, the camera won’t show that overheating warning during photography anymore.

But if you don’t have a problem with the sign showing in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen, just leave the C1, C2, and C3 settings the way they are. You don’t have to worry the camera will shut down as long as you stick to photography.

Did you encounter this overheating warning sign on the Canon EOS R5 during your photography? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Nando Harmsen's picture

Nando Harmsen is a Dutch photographer that is specialized in wedding and landscape photography. With his roots in the analog photo age he gained an extensive knowledge about photography techniques and equipment, and shares this through his personal blog and many workshops.

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It's actually just the C3 setting that you need to be concerned about. That's the custom setting that the camera will use automatically if you press the video record button while in still photography mode.

Mine is set to 1080p on the C3 setting and I never get any overheating warnings while shooting still photos.

A valuable addition. Thank you, I didn't know that.
Question though, if the C3 program button isn't programmed, which setting will the video record button use while in stills photography mode?
btw - in photography mode I have changed the video record button function into sleep mode. Although that button assignment is changed, it doesn't make any difference with the overheating warning if it's true what you said

I've been shooting the R6 since the Autumn of 2020. I've never had an overheating problem shooting stills until last weekend. I was shooting motorcycle racing in full sun in 96° f temperatures (standing on asphalt, no clouds, no shade - it was probably 110° f or more - 43° c). Normally, I would be shooting with two bodies and switching cameras every couple of minutes. But in this case I shot with one body for about 2 hours straight.

After 90 minutes, I noticed the overheating warning. I pulled the battery it was very hot. I replaced it with a cool battery and I flipped the screen out. The overheating warning never went away.

Continue to shoot, but I tried to be very conservative in my shot count to try to minimize the heat issues. I swap the batteries out every 10 minutes to try to keep a cooler battery in the camera at all times.

Camera continued to function perfectly. However, on all of the photos that I shot while that overheating warning was being displayed, there are a half a dozen hot pixels.

Never seen a hot pixel on this camera before. And I had six hot pixels on every photo I took for the next half hour. Same six pixels every time.

Later in the day, once the camera had an opportunity to cool down, the hot pixels went away. I have not seen them since.

A worthwhile conversation and useful information. My experience in the desert shooting WL at temperatures of 40-45 degrees C was quite different. The shooting tended to be intermittent (80/20 stills/video) though intense rather than prolonged. The rear screen was not in use and was stored off against the body. Didn’t experience a bit of overheating or warnings though the handle became quite hot.

Solved with the latest firmware update two days before this article was published:

EOS R5 Firmware Update Version 1.6.0

22nd July 2022

Firmware Version 1.6.0 incorporates the following enhancements:

1. Adds [Auto Power Off Temp.: Standard/High] to the menu for movie recording. When [High] is selected, the camera will not automatically turn off when the temperature of the camera body and card become high, which may allow for longer movie recording than before, depending on the shooting conditions. Note that the temperature of the bottom surface of the camera may increase at this time.

True, I haven't installed the update not yet. First I want to wait until it's been in use for a while, to see if there are no issues in real use.
But the update addresses the film function. I don't know if the warning sign will show nevertheless when the camera is in use as a photography device. It might still be valid, even with the new firmware.
We'll have to wait and see :)

Have posted this here before. The R5 will thernal shutdown on stills. I work a lot of location jobs and have seen this happen. You cannot leave this camera out in the sun like a MkIV. Make sure it has shade when you put it down. Usually we have a cooler on set and we put the camera there between shots or lunch breaks.
On hot humid days in Miami, Turks and Cacos, Charleston.

This is not something most people will experience but on pro sets, camera auto shutdown is disabled for stabiity and they are tethered to a laptop all day. We dont shoot to card.

Interesting. I'm actually working on a piece about the Canon cameras having Error 20 message. have you ever encountered this issue?

I never had that error on any my Canon cameras, both the older and newer cameras. I actually had to look it up :)

Michelle, I get that error ALL THE TIME when photographing events. It’s so frustrating!

Thanks for that message. I'm going to direct message you. I'm working on an article for it. I would love to get some information from you

Just give the R5 a rest to cooling it down, and bring out the 5D the beast.

Heres a trick for overheating issues. Carry a can of "Dust off" with you on the shoot. When you get an overheating warning, blast the bottom of the camera and grip (where the battery resides) with the can held upside down. Be careful not to spray your hand (the blast is VERY cold). You may want to be careful not to hit the screen too, although it can probably handle it. Dont hit the optics either because you'll have to clean it before you shoot. This will cool the camera down fast.

the new firmware update allows you to turn off the overheating shutdown issue now. No need for a spray can anymore. But it sounds like a nice idea, with too many 'be careful' warnings, though.

I'm betting, S Pon, that you've probably never used an R5 before, and that you've definitely never sprayed "Dust Off" on one before, because if you did, you'd know your advice is useless and incorrect. The overheating warning is based on a timer, not a temperature sensor, as proven many times by tests involving pulling the battery to reset the timer, or shooting with the camera in a refrigerator to keep it cold but having it still display an overheating warning.

Yes, I didn't know the overheating issue is not related to overheating, my error. But as I was just trying to help the OP, I find your response quite rude. Perhaps if you the OP, it might be acceptable. But since you weren't, you were just jumping in trying to make me feel bad. Rest assured, I won't try to help you Stephen as I prefer not to deal with unkind people.

You were "trying to help" by advising someone to spray flammable liquid refrigerant on their R5, which at best won't do anything to help with overheating, and at worst could damage their camera. You presented as factual information something you have not actually done and have no knowledge about whatsoever. In the future, please refrain from trying to "help" not just me, but also everyone on Fstoppers, by not spreading dangerously false "information" that you have made up.

it is not easy to develop a machine that is practically watertight and that at the same time lets out large amounts of heat

Im getting no OT signs while shooting but after 4-5 hours on my AF locks up on one side or the other and I have to reset the camera settings...Then its ok

Thanks - it clarified that the firmware update is working