A Real-World Look at Overheating Issues With the New Canon Mirrorless Cameras

The new Canon EOS R5 and R6 mirrorless cameras have been making waves for their highly impressive feature sets, but one thing that has some worried is their potential for overheating when shooting video. If you have been wondering about that yourself, this great video takes a look at real-world usage and what you should expect from them.

Coming to you from cinema5D, this helpful video discusses some of the practical limitations you can expect when shooting with the new Canon R6 in practice (and likely, you can expect the results to be relatively comparable with the R5). Johnnie Behiri from the channel used the R6 to shoot his new documentary, "Never Say No." It is important to note that his unit was technically a preproduction body, though very close to the final version. Furthermore, Behiri shot the documentary in an environment around 80 degrees. Unfortunately, Behiri ran into some real issues with overheating that caused him to sometimes have to drop his recording resolution from 4K to 1080p to be able to keep shooting, even when using fans and ice to cool the body down. He did note that the autofocus worked quite well, but that the rolling shutter was rather poor as well. Check out the video above and this blog post for his full thoughts. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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That's embarrassing that they could've taken the time to improve or fix this problem in the design phase and all they came up with was to warn people that it's faulty. Yes, you want long video, buy a video camera but if the selling point of the camera is the video features, which is what they pressed and got everyone slobbering about, this is just a waste. They could've built the perfect cameras and decided not to. That's a problem.

Seems like Canon is in a rush to compete with Sony.

And getting off tracks on the process.

Really? They produced arguably the best all around mirrorless camera to date. That's getting off track?

If you want video, sure, this is gold, if you don't care for video, well, you just pay for a camera designed for video.

I'm not sure how you can look at this and call it the best "all around" mirrorless camera to date. "All around" would include video which is not only unusable at 8K, but pretty useless at 4K.

The S1H is easily a better all around camera (and certainly superior video in every way), aside from fast tracking AF.

The A7RIV produces great video and some of the best stills and AF.

Z6/Z7 have ProRes raw 12 bit out and have some of the best stills quality for their classes.

Honestly this is very low on the list of "best all arounders."

Putting 8K raw in a camera and then not designing to... actually be able to be usable shooting 8K raw (or 4K, or 8K non-raw)... isn't groundbreaking tech. It's just headlining grabbing BS. Sony and Nikon and Panasonic could push some kind of unusable 8K video with monstrous file sizes into their cameras too.

The 1DX Mark III was a truly remarkable achievement on several fronts. Truly. This.... is not.

I understand the Sonys overheat as well, that was constantly an ongoing complaint about their bodies.

Professional film makers probably know why the Cinema bodies, such as C300 mk II are so expensive and big: Its the battery, fan and and the radiators. I have no problem with the R6 having a limited video recording time. I think however that Canon should have been quite vocal and upfront about that, and point to the fact that this body is not a replacement for a professional movie making device. Probably only the Lumix S1H is a tool suitable for professional filming: They provide a cooling fan.

Everyone who uses a 1080p work flow should contact canon and demand a 1080p 120fps for the R5. Canons Japan website says they are trying to decide whether to add it. Plus add recording modes that don't cause heat issues (but lower quality). I rather have a usable camera settings that does not overheat and have an option for lower bit rate. Cripple... Yes. But I need a workable solution. That includes 1080 120fps

1080P 120fps was announced by Canon for the R5 in the next firmware (along with CLOG3 and lower bitrate video options).

That's actually what i was waiting for the most coming from the R and was shocked it wasn't implemented initially. I don't want to buy CFExpress cards yet nor do I need 4K 120 yet.

Going by this article and a plethora of others coming out right now, you would think that Canon EOS R5 & R6 are the only DSLRs that overheat when recording video. That is NOT the case at all. The new Fuji camera that has gotten accolades will also overheat eventually. Sony cameras were notorious for doing that and will still overheat at times. Tiny cameras that are designed to shoot stills and aren’t designed for video will probably overheat when pushed to the limit of technology such as 4K or higher. I feel like you tubers and creators would be better served going with dedicated video cameras.

They should not be promoting its video features as revolutionary as what they did with the 5D Mark II

Agreed, a PR error. They should have clearly always show the C300 together with the R5/R6 and point out that R5/R6 are only for short occasional snippets, not for professional work.

Someone told me that Canon wanted these cameras to be on the list of Netflix approved cameras. I find that amusing. I have a question though. Is 8k that important?

Except even the worst Sony overheating (e.g. a6300) didn't happen until quite a bit of continuous recording, and just a couple minutes of shutdown would get you at least 2-3x as many more recording minutes. It sucked, but it WAS usable. I shot an entire 2-3 minute scene covered from like 8 angles (and multiple takes of course) in southern heat (~85 degrees) with the a6300 and it never once overheated. Strangely, it would overheat sometimes in a 70 degree room. Probably lack of moving air or something.

The Canon overheats with less than 20 minutes of shooting SPREAD OUT OVER AN HOUR and requires 2-3 minutes to cool for every minute it can record again. That's completely useless. I guess if you want to shoot a single-take short film under 15 minutes it may work for you.

Later this year, am hoping to rent a R5 for an experiment in cooling. I am currently making a fanned heatsink that would attach to the camera’s tripod mount. I am also going to attach a thermal probe with it for monitoring and see if this setup will affect the camera’s thermals.

That's pretty cool.

6200 RPM? The noise and vibration from that thing must be fascinating.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

I agree. The R5 is still the best, most advanced all around mirrorless camera to date (and if the A7SIII is only 12 MP, that can't compete with such low res since 95% of people buy these cameras for photo).

Most of the "bitching" is coming from the Sony owners (probably former Canon owners) who were butthurt when the R5 was announced. It's weird how people get so focused on what they don't have instead of what they do.

"I'm not sure I understand what the upset is."
"Yes Canon have pushed the 8K thing hard."
You had already answered your own question. The "upset" is that people were lied to.


Even with it's flaws, I would take a BMPCC4k over either of these Canon cameras.

Even with its "flaws", I'm still going to be far happier with the R5 than the BMPCC4K. What a time to be alive that we have so many great choices to film our cats with.

love that flaws is in quotes as if these issues are not 100% definitely flaws

I've had time to reflect and you are right.

Canon should have made the R5 far bigger so it could handle the heat better.
They should have included fans and a far bigger heatsink. While they were making it bigger to better handle the heat, they could have put in built in NDs to make life more convenient for the video shooter.
Oh and with a bigger body to handle the heat better, they could have also put more buttons on the body so that you could change key video settings without having to go in to the menu i.e. dedicated buttons for ISO / shutter / FPS / peaking / zebras etc.
With a bigger body they could have also then had full size HDMI and better audio input abilities e.g. dual XLRs and on-body control for the audio levels etc.
With a bigger body, they could also probably have managed to come up with a solution for swapping out lens mounts easily so YouTuber bloggers could switch between EF and PL mounts for their Vlogs.
Finally they could have had a bigger screen and also larger EVF to make working in video far easier. In fact, they probably just should have removed all the photography features and weather-sealing of the R5 because it's clearly just compromising the video side of the camera.

If only such a camera existed in Canon's range for people that want to do video....

I got a laugh out of this guy's clickbait title. He says the R5 is a "doubtful video tool' then produces one of the most amazing looking short documentaries I've ever seen on Youtube. I've never seen anything even come close to this quality from the Sony mirrorless cameras for example.

And Sonys have all been overheating for years now. The A7III can't even live stream because it overheats, and the ZV1, their newest cam overheats. The A7SIII may only be limited to 12 MP sensor making it a VERY questionable photo tool (similar specs to my iPhone) and really a specialty low light video camera that may cost $4500 cdn. Video quality on their A7RIV isn't great at all (and lots of noise in their photo side). Sony severely cripples their LCD screens with low resolution, low contrast screens that have almost no real touch functionality.

Fuji's newest XT-4, despite being a small 26mp crop sensor only shooting 4K 60, it overheats faster than the R5 and also can't autofocus.

Nikon doesn't have anything close to the R5 in it's lineup.

RED cameras overheat so production companies need backups for shoots.

Armando Ferreira just put out a near movie production quality version scene of A FEW GOOD MEN shot using the R5. You can shoot 4K 30 without heating issues putting that on par with anything out there.

It's pretty clear you've never used the cameras that you are talking about. The ZV1 is a $750 pocket camera, not really sure how that is relevant.

I've shot for hours continuously at 4k and 1080p 120fps on the a7III, outdoors on the hottest days of summer in Florida and never had any issues with heat.

The XT-4 overheats at 4k 60fps, but only takes minutes to cool back down.

RED cameras CAN overheat, but only do so at the higher frame rates when the fan is turned completely off. By default it only runs between takes, but can also be set up to run at almost silent levels during shooting, similar to the S1H.

The R5 (which I have yet to shoot with) has been shown to overheat at all resolutions and frame rates including 4k 30fps. The issue that stands out the most to me is how long it takes to cool, somewhere in the 2+ hour range according to tests.

No one is going to force you to get the camera, but you seem to have no idea what you are talking about since most of what you've said is inaccurate to say the least.

Tom, I saw a video yesterday by Matti Haapoja who ran his R5 for over an hour at base 4K with no overheating issues. Yes he had problems with the higher resolutions and frame rates but also agreed that he needs to plan what he is doing if he wants to go that high or fast

A $4000 camera marketed as a perfect companion to their cinema line on professional shoots that can only handle pixel-binned 4k at cellphone quality for any reasonable amount of time, and takes over 2 hours to cool down is not quite a professional tool. Users are reporting that burst shooting stills are causing overheating issues as well.

How long until Canon recalls this lemon?

To me, it's pretty clear that Canon wanted to release a couple of cameras that are so far ahead of anything else out there, they would put to rest the idea that Canon isn't competitive... But there's a reason every mfg hasn't just jammed headline-grabbing 8k raw or 4k120 in their cameras, and we're seeing that now; It's still in beta stages. They aren't really ready to implement it in any reliable, uncompromising form, without having to dance around the heat issues. On one hand, sure we should be thankful that Canon is giving everyone public open access to beta features that are absolutely groundbreaking... On the other hand, they should maybe have just called them beta features and not gone the headline grabbing route of selling as show-ready. This would have kept people's expectations in check.
The big mess for Canon will be if Sony's A7SIII comes out next week and can actually do 4k 120 422 without any heat issues or limitations... Then all I can say is sorry Canon, you wanted the headlines, now you have them.

If the A7SIII does 4k120 with no fan and no overheating, i will applaud them for amazing innovation. After all, competition only benefits the consumer.

Well Canon took a massive and very stupid risk by promoting the video features. Now anyone else can simply do the same but fix the overheating and they win. If Canon keeps it's new camera every 4 years policy, that's 4 years they look like idiots while other companies get the sales. If they let everyone buy up these cameras and then launch new and improved in a year or two, they look like dirt bags for selling beta gear while they they worked on the problem.

For a firmware fix they should just change the software to only allow recording limits that keep the camera well under the overheating. "Shoot 8k for up to one minute a shot."

Problem is with that, they will have everyone (you included) saying they broke out the Cripple Hammer.
Yes they took a risk, but all cameras will overheat when shoot long takes at high frame rates with high resolution.
You just need to plan better and decide is shooting an anger view at 120FPS @4K really required. Me personally no.

We will find out in about 35 hours if Sony has something that flips the script on the overheating story. If the rumors are to be true, I would take a 4k camera that is robust in all situations than an 8k camera with a personality that I have to plan around... But this is down to the fact that I'm in the wedding business, and I cannot chance having a camera decide that it's too hot this summer for an outdoor ceremony and it needs to take a break mid-vows ;)

I should point out as a NON Professional this is not a Professional Video Camera. It is a STILLS Camera that shoots nice video. As a STILLS camera it is weather sealed (not to the same degree as the R5.
Yes it has nice video (some of which I would love in my R) but it looks to me to be designed for sports photography rather than video work as its primary purpose.
If you go out with the intention to shoot long videos of course it will overheat. But if that is what you want a camera for go and get a dedicated video camera instead.

Also shooting static interviews in 4K is not exactly smart. Why not shoot them in 1080 instead. Lastly, why shoot such video at 60, or 120 FPS? It is not like you are shoot fast action you want to slow down for as Pete McKinnion calls buttery slow motion B Roll

I shoot everything in 6k. Why? Because I can for as long as I want with the bmpcc 6k. I deliver in 4k but I get better looking video and the option to crop in so it becomes to shots in one. Why shoot in 1080? Because in 10 years I'd rather my video not look like the 640x480 or 720 crap I shot years ago (which is a small square in the middle of my 27 inch monitor.

And discounting the 8k in the r5 as a little side thing not for pros while Canon is screaming to the heavens about it as a marketing point doesn't make sense.

Then why did Canon market it as a professional camera that is a perfect companion to their cinema line, suited for use on professional film sets?

I saw a live event photographer saids, he uses RAW+JPG photo mode write to sd card, takes about 1000 photos in 1 hour. The R5 overhead and NOT ALLOW TAKING PHOTOS! The overheating is not just in VIDEO also PHOTO mode.
If this is the case, there is no way to use it as an event or sport camera.

And I'm reading about 6 comments a day this past week from Sony users saying their A7III and A7RIV's have been overheating on them... in photo and video mode. Weird.

Nobody has had issues overheating taking photos. Nobody. Tony Northrup shot 1100 photos without issue, but then when he tried to record 8K, he got an overheat warning. That's very different than not being allowed to take photos.

Go to DSI PICTURES Youtube channel. Today he posted the most amazing 8K video shot with the R5, and he said he shot all day and didn't even get a warning... no overheat issues at all... shooting 8K in Australia (where it's "winter" which means normal 20c temps) . Check it out.