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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David Love's picture

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.

Steve Powell's picture

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

Benoit Pigeon's picture

And getting off tracks on the process.

D R's picture

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

Benoit Pigeon's picture

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.

Matt Williams's picture

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.

Thomas H's picture

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.

Bryan Butterfield's picture

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

D R's picture

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.

Chris Taylor's picture

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.

Jay Galvan's picture

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

Thomas H's picture

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.

Steve Powell's picture

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?

Matt Williams's picture

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.

Anthony Cayetano's picture

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.

Chase Wilson's picture

That's pretty cool.

Lee Christiansen's picture

That is very clever. Does it actually work?

Spy Black's picture

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

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I'm not sure I understand what the upset is.

Canon are being very open about heat issues and have even produced a document to demonstrate any limitations - and let's not forget, no one has committed any money to purchases yet, so there is no mis-selling.

Secondly, this is a photographic camera that can do video - not the other way around.

Would people prefer that Canon left out the option of shooting 8K (albeit for a limited amount of time), until they had tech that allowed long term filming, or should they at least give it as a limited option. You can't have it both ways.

These are small cameras. There is a limit to processing power vs heat generated. Laws of physics still apply with current developments and just because we want it doesn't mean we can have it.

Have we forgotten the low price of these things? And yes, £2100 for a prime stills camera that can also shoot amazing video is a bargain. I work in a world where that buys a 1/3 of a reasonable video lens or 1/10 of a decent video camera... Those things don't overheat - if you want to spend the extra.

Yes Canon have pushed the 8K thing hard. I don't blame them. People are screaming for resolutions they simply don't need and want it now. And they don't want to pay for it, wait for it, or have any limitations. And it had better be tiny, do a gazillion other things and heck where is the GPS, toothbrush and hair curlers...? All in a package that weighs nothing and preferably folds flat so we can roll it into our pockets.

Lets be realistic. Canon have offered an option to shoot at silly resolutions because we demanded they did. So they did it now because we demanded they did - rather than wait some years because "now" is the new "yesterday."

What next:
Canon sold me this 48MP camera but it doesn't have 100MP
I bought this Ferrari but it doesn't float
My dog is not a cat - I'm taking it back.
Why is it 2020, I want it to be 1990

Personally I'm looking forward to this photographic camera because I want to take some photographs with it. When I want to do serious video work, I use my serious video camera. Just like I don't use my car when I want to go to the moon.

Enough with the moaning. It's like when I hear "this lens is too expensive - it should be 1/10 of the cost", or "why can't batteries last longer when I watch the monitor all day", or from a recent date said to me, "why don't you have more hair at the age of 53..."


D R's picture

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.

Spy Black's picture

"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.

Lee Christiansen's picture

They weren't lied to. It does exactly what it says.

Canon make batteries, but they don't run my camera for 3 days. There is a limit to everything. People expect massive processing in a small box and think it will all stay nice and cool...? Heck, I'm not technically proficient in that area, but even I'd worked that one out.

People expect what they want. Those things are not always bedfellows.

Steve Powell's picture

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

Wilder Berry's picture

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.

Matt Williams's picture

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

Wilder Berry's picture

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....

Lee Christiansen's picture

Ah... I see what you did there... heh heh.

D R's picture

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.

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