If It Wants to Beat the Canon r5 and r6, the Sony a7s III Just Needs to Shoot 4k 60p Without Overheating

The phenomenal video features of the Canon EOS R5 are mind-blowing, so how can the soon-to-be-announced Sony a7S III possibly compete? The answer might be simple: shoot 4K 60p — or even 4K 30p — without overheating.

The R5 is yet to fall under proper scrutiny and be tested in the field by filmmakers who want to make the most of these incredible specifications making it hard to know just how good this camera is, despite the insane features. One major revelation has come to light, however: according to details unveiled on EOSHD, there will be some serious limitations when it comes to cranking up the video resolution.

Unearthed from among information supplied by Canon to one of its suppliers, there is a recording time limit of 20 minutes for those wishing to shoot in 8K due to overheating. 4K doesn’t fare much better: 4K 30p oversampled is restricted to 30 minutes, and if you want to shoot 4K 60p without a crop, you get up to 35 minutes (although that will mean shooting for 29 minutes and 59 seconds before hitting record again for another 5 minutes and 1 second). All of the chat suggests that if you want to shoot 4K without melting anything, you’ll need to shoot lineskipped 4K, and as Tony and Chelsea Northrup pointed out, the lack of actual reviews means that it might soon emerge that the rolling shutter is terrible.

The R5 has no mechanism to cool it down and both 8K and 4K place a lot of demands on the processor, producing a lot heat that threatens the integrity of the camera if it’s allowed to go beyond a certain level. In addition, Canon is sticking with the 29 minute 59-second record limit that’s a result of some odd taxes imposed on cinema cameras in Europe.

So where does this place the long-awaited Sony a7S III? Expected sometime in the next month (we assume), details are scant and Sony seems to have done a good job of keeping a lid on the specifications. That said, Sony Alpha Rumors is reporting something that should be of interest to filmmakers: there will be no recording time limits — neither as a result of overheating nor for tax purposes.

“But that’s ok,” you might think, “if overheating is a problem, maybe the R6 is a better option.” Unfortunately, it seems that the smaller sensor in the R6 doesn’t mitigate the heat problems and the 4K modes will be subject to very similar limitations:

While Canon is grabbing the headlines with the R5 and R6, Sony will steal some of them back with a7S III if it has found a means of overcoming the build up of heat that arises due to shooting such high resolution video in such a small unit. As mentioned in the video above, for shooters who are documenting a live event, sure, they might not need to shoot continuously for more than 20 or 30 minutes, but over the course of an hour, you might be filming intermittently, still building up heat, and the camera will not necessarily cool down sufficiently, especially if it’s in your hands between shots. The possibility that the camera suddenly decides that it’s too hot is not a pleasant prospect.

As a result, we might not see the exodus from Sony back to Canon that many are predicting, and this makes me even more intrigued to find out what Sony is planning. Is a 12-megapixel camera still viable in 2020? Will it shoot 4K 120p internally? Will Sony be aggressive with the pricing in order to make it more appealing than the R6? As usual, leave your thought in the comments below.

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64 Comments

Wilder Berry's picture

Pre-ordered R5. Suits me perfectly. So excited for a hybrid device that has amazing capabilities and less compromises for somebody that shoots both stills and video. The true artist sees creative possibilities.... This whole "clickbait' Canon vs Sony vs Panasonic is terribly pointless. Well done for adding to it.

davidlovephotog's picture

Send us a true artistic pic of you sitting and waiting for the camera to cool down.

Wilder Berry's picture

I'm not sure why that is relevant. My Sony A7sii used to overheat. So I simply used it in within the boundaries of what it could do and where it was the most appropriate tool for the job. It's really not that difficult.

davidlovephotog's picture

Nah it's bad design plain and simple. When you add a feature you know will not work without issues and even warn about it in the manual, that's a problem that could've been fixed. None of the still features are blowing people away because they are playing catch up to what other companies have been doing. So what's left, video and overheating issues. I'm happy with my mark 4 and a separate video camera (without boundaries).

Dale Karnegie's picture

gotta admit that made me laugh!

microteck's picture

Your bio shows you are a Director, so you must know even big film studios don't continually shoot for long periods. So it doesn't make any difference if it overheats after 20 minutes. Or have you forgotten? Movie scripts are written with structure, then shot. Then the movie set is rearrange with lots of short breaks in-between. So again, it doesn't make any difference.

davidlovephotog's picture

Ah so the heat doesn't build up with a bunch of smaller shots through out a long shooting day? Awesome. I doubt that but we'll see when the real reviews come out.

David Pavlich's picture

I don't shoot any video, so all the hand wringing is wasted on me. I'm looking forward to seeing how these new bodies do with the stills side of the equation. However, I know that the vast majority of the press will be focused on the camera overheating. Doesn't matter if it takes magnificent stills. There's a lot of purpose built video cameras out there if video is that important.

Besides, the other elephant in the room is processing 8K videos. Run of the mill computers ain't gonna' cut it.

davidlovephotog's picture

If you don't shoot video and pay Canon almost $4000 you're basically tipping them because the 8k is why the camera is so expensive.

Deleted Account's picture

I do not recall Mr Pavlich stating or implying his intention to purchase it.

Robert Nurse's picture

Well, he did say he was "looking forward to seeing how these new bodies do with the stills side of the equation". That suggests a purchase, maybe? But, Love's point is kind of moot seeing that video is part of the DSLR equation across the board. There are a lot of photographers (me included) that don't shoot video.

Adil Alsuhaim's picture

8K is not why the R5 is expensive. Panasonic S1R is $3700, and it doesn't shoot 8K. I think the Sony A7R IV sells for about $3500, and it doesn't even do 4K/60 or 10-bit video. That's what these cameras sell for. These cameras are primarily for stills, and they're good at it.

Michael Clark's picture

Canon EOS 5D Mark III in 2012: $3,499 at introduction ($3,907.43 in 2020 w/ inflation).
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in 2016: $3,499 at introduction ($3,737.90 in 2020 w/inflation).
Canon EOS R5 in 2020: $3,899 at introduction.

Now tell us all again how 8K is why the EOS R5 is so expensive?

davidlovephotog's picture

And yet the BMPCC come out way cheaper as do other cameras. It's not inflation, it's pretending you invented the wheel when your new camera is basically just catching up to others and you added a pointless resolution video size for spec points. I'll stick with my Mark 4 at 30.4 Megapixels and skip the IBIS, Cat AF, 8k in overheat mode and save money on a EF adapter and $600 cfexpress card.

Yin Ze's picture

David Glove, get a life. BMPCC has way too many issues beyond the spec sheet. I shoot Sony and am considering purchasing the Canon r5 for the video capabilities. I buy gear that quickly pays for itself and this is one of those pieces of gear that i am confident will pay off easily.

davidlovephotog's picture

Ah my favorite troll is back thinking changing the spelling of my name is cool. You can't even afford an avatar so stop talking about buying gear. Go ahead and name those BMPCC 6K issues for me. You mean that it's too heavy for you? Doesn't have IBIS and you can't afford a gimble? Won't focus on your cat doing those funny tik tok things? You're funny.

Yin Ze's picture

David Glove, you are the resident sad sack so please take your budget bmpcc 6k and go play somewhere else. apart from those other issues you mentioned there is crappy battery life, ugly body, puny sensor, unstable software interface, crappy af for times you need it, crappy rear display... i can't afford to go on as I have another paid shoot to prep for.

Yin Ze's picture

you are Penny wise and pound foolish with your unstable bmpcc suggestion. having the limitations of the BMPCC affect a shoot would end up costing you way more money.

davidlovephotog's picture

Thanks, we get it, you're a moron. When someone says "ugly body" we know to stop reading. Yeah that back display is so big I hate it. I don't need AF and apparently neither do studios or all the expensive cameras would have it. Battery life? Vmount last 3 hours and fits on my gimble and rig. Davinci Resolve unstable must be why so many use it for pro projects. You can be quiet now.

Yin Ze's picture

lol, ok mr hollywood. you are ze moron. you apparently stopped reading at the "crappy af" part and not the rest of ze setence "for times you need it". admit it...that camera is straight up fugly. as steve jobs once said about pocket cameras... " if you see a Vmount battery, they blew it." hope you don't sprain a muscle with that huge rig on your steadicam smoothee.

davidlovephotog's picture

There are no times when I need it moron. And if vmount means they blew it then I guess Red and Arri have failed but I forgot, you think all movies are filmed in AF with Sonys. Let me know when you have a link up to those big jobs you're doing or even one photo you've taken.

Yin Ze's picture

Hi Mr. Hollyweird, Red and Arri are in a different weight class. I am aware they do not have AF because most movies shot with those cameras have what is known as a focus puller (look it up). BMCC is a joke and hope it doesn't reboot like Windows 98 during an important shoot. You gotta be really high 20 iq if you think anyone on these forum thinks Hollywood movies are shot with Sony AF. You may not need AF so that's why you have poor man's Alexa. Keep saving and get a real camera or perhaps trade up to a7siii.

davidlovephotog's picture

The stupid just runs out of you doesn't it?

Yin Ze's picture

did you put up that craigslist ad for focus puller, yet? how many times did your bmcc crash today?

Christian Durand's picture

Get a video camera !!

Daniel Lee's picture

Couldn't agree more!

Newbie Nubes's picture

Not even going to read this trash. The headline is tabloid garbage. AKA click bait. Seriously. There's dozens of articles like this that are created based on what? Pre-production models that a handful got to test? Did you test it? Btw, I'm not brand loyal and am testing new products but your bs content won't steer me any direction.

I used to read this blog. No longer. You're as legit as MSM news channels.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Sorry, but compare the Canon EOS R5 vs the Panasonic S1H, where the S1H addressed this cooling issue by adding active cooling, Canon did not, this is a design flaw which drastically hinders it for video, which is what Canon is touting up in the media.

This article and the headline is legit, if the A7SIII can do 4K60 without time limits or overheating, then it destroys the R5 already.

Michael Laing's picture

The R5 is a photographic camera that does video. The Panasonic S1H and a7sIII are a mishmash of video camera with a mirrorless camera body (which I felt was always a bit stupid). Video comes first, with photography second (a very distant second if the A7SIII is still 12mp sensor).

You buy the R5 for the same reason you buy the Nikkor D850, the Z7 the S1R and the A7RIV because it has a full frame sensor with 45mp and exceptional AF.

It is a photographic camera that does video, Canon have lots of very good cine line cameras, if you just want video.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

Whilst what you said is mostly correct and I agree with you, I still gave you a thumbs down for your post for one simple reason...

Most of Canon's marketing, and thus vendor advertising for the R5, are focussing HEAVILY on the 8K video capabilities of the camera, and not the, now average, 45MP still image capabilities of the R5.

You are correct that the R5 is primarily a stills camera first, as are most DSLR and MILC cameras (whether APS-C or FF), however Canon's marketing is leaning on the video portion more than the stills, as are most YouTuber's trumpeting the virtues of the R5, since this is a much splashier hype machine for them.

And the R6, well, 20MP in 2020 on a mirrorless camera? Really?

2014 called, and wants its sensor back...

Michael Laing's picture

Anyone who thought the R5 would not have a recording limit at 8k is an idiot who deserves what they get. All companies will promote the big new features of the camera because that is what gets people interesting. They didn't lie, they just gave the positives, which any company marketing a new product will do.

What were they meant to say, the R5 does video but the 20-minute recording limit at 8k in ideal shooting conditions means its actually a bit shit?

Anyone who is going to buy a camera needs to do their research, they need to look at the specs, watch the reviews and go try out the camera.

As for the R6 sensor, 20mp is a little low for 2020 but I know a lot of professionals still using the Canon 5Dmk3 and that is only 2mp more. It is also much more detailed than any 35mm film and can easily be printed 30x40", which is more than most people will ever want.

Tomas Ramoska's picture

Experts making reviews without even trying cameras :D

Deleted Account's picture

"we might not see the exodus from Sony back to Canon"

Why would a significant number of people move between systems, when products were already mature; and in a depressed market and economy, which are almost certain to get worse?

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

I just wish Canon made the adapter to use EF lenses on R5 rather than leave it to a third party. Nikon did that with their Z mount lenses.

Michael Clark's picture

Canon makes four of them. One with no frills, one with a control ring, one with a drop-in VND, and one with a drop-in CPL.

Daniel Lee's picture

I really wish we'd get more bodies like the Nikon DF which did stills only.

Deleted Account's picture

That body has held its value unbelievably well.

And yes, me too.

Adil Alsuhaim's picture

I personally liked the Nikon Df retro-style dials, and I think Nikon should do another one of these. But nowadays, I doubt that it would sell well if it's stills-only.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I came so close to buying one back in the day. But, that 1/4000 shutter speed limit was a deal breaker for me.

Gary Diamond's picture

Even Peter McKinnon, in his gushing biased review (he's a Canon Ambassador) had to admit the thing did overheat when he was shooting extreme sports type footage, and judging from the video he was using this in snowy cold conditions. This suggests real world shooting in the hot and humid might make the claimed maximum of 4K60 even shorter.

The thing is, although the Sony A7s III might fare better, and I hope it will as one of my main cameras is a Sony A7 series model and I love it, you're still getting those great Canon ergonomics, superior natural colours and arguably better auto focus and stabilisation. Losing a few minutes of video shooting for all those perks is not gonna bother some career photogs and videogs. The really well heeled ones will be using a backup camera of similar quality anyway so they're unlikely to miss key moments. Any small differences can then be adjusted for in the edit.

Chris van's picture

There are a few 8K TV’s available now at ridiculous prices of course, but actual programming from cable/satellite is still a long way from becoming a reality. I guess we live in a world where we always want the next best toy. It’s quite funny knowing these demands are based on the people who put out YouTube videos and want it in 8K because you just can’t see it as good on our 4k phones.
New technology is wonderful but I would hate the pressure of putting out something new and it not be ready.
I’m curious why these companies don’t focus on the 5G technology instead of the 8K technology. Having a camera that can put out fantastic raw stills and having them transferred in a minute or two directly into your raw file editing software of choice is definitely something they can do and win back some of those people who believe that phone photography is good enough.
I believe the still photographers will definitely love Canon’s latest efforts. The rest will complain and threaten to switch for the 20th time.

Carlos Calvo's picture

I do still photography only and to me it is a shame to pay a lot of money for video features I will never use. They should make a camera version for people who do only photographs. Is it too much to ask? Am I the only one who feels we shouldn't pay for video features if we don't use them? All the fuzz is about video these days but I am a photographer who love to use full frame cameras. It's frustrating....

Tony Tumminello's picture

"They should make a camera version for people who do only photographs. Is it too much to ask?"

Ask Nikon how their Df worked out.

Robert Nurse's picture

A $2999 R5 without video would have suited me just fine! Or, maybe even a 30 mega pixel R6 for $1999?

Rayann Elzein's picture

Well no manufacturer is ever going to make 36 different types of models just to suit every customer's preferences. And believe it or not, there are more and more stills photographers who need to do a bit of video here and there, and having a body with decent capabilities, able to shoot a few clips of a few seconds once in a while will be very appreciated.

Yesterday I went out on a stills wildlife shoot, but I needed to also make a short film documentary. I can tell you that the video on the 1DX2 and 5D4 is far from being the best solution: bad codec / heavy files, crop in 4K, no C-Log, no sensor IS for when using a non IS lens (I don't carry a gimbal, so that extra in-body stabilisation would be perfect), etc.

I think I would have had a much easier day with the R5, and would have a much easier following day editing the R5's files :)

Michael Clark's picture

The video features are all mostly software. Not to mention that the demands of video is what drives the hardware development. The same hardware demands on a sensor to give high frame rate video is what demands sensor readout fast enough to allow 12/20 fps for still images.

Bernie Retallack's picture

I completely disagree, Sonys cameras do not have the same quality of glass, same IBIS capabilities, dual pixel AF, 20 fps 45mp is insane to say the least, overheating only happens at the 20 minute mark at 8K 12 at 23c by which point you've already consumed 400gb of card space.

Nobodies going to be recording long interviews at 8K or weddings for that period of time, they didn't use 8K for it before, why would they now? Sony doesn't even have 4K 120 and don't complain about that overheating, it's a stills camera, it already has a 30 minute limit in place. If you want to record the next avengers movie, use a RED/Arri, this isn't for that. This is a handheld camera.

Also how can people possibly complain about the price of this with these specs? It absolutely curb stomps Sony/Nikon for the same price.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Wise words. This, plus the fact that I hardly think that any movies scene is shot for more than a couple of minutes :) I really don't get why people complain about that limit. Really really don't get it.

Stig Nygaard's picture

> if you want to shoot 4K without melting anything, you’ll need to shoot lineskipped 4K

From what I have heard, it uses pixel binning in "normal" 4K mode. Not lineskipping.

Disclaimer: Have not watched the video.

Otakeng Solepe's picture

You can't make everyone happy 🤦🏾‍♂️.

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