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

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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63 Comments

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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 🤦🏾‍♂️.

Daris Fox's picture

It was inevitable that the media would get hung up on this and start basing the camera before it comes out. Here's the thing, at least Canon is up front and honest about it, and advises how to mitigate any issues in their documentation. A far better handing of the situation than other manufactures have done in the past.

For the price point it's, at least on paper, one of the best 8k/4k cameras and here's the caveat within it's limitations and price point. Especially if you shoot C-Log which it has full support for. At the end of the day all cameras have limitations you just work around them if the base features suit you, but of course that doesn't get clicks or views so brand bashing becomes the norm instead of actual analysis.

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

I doubt someone with 5-10 Canon lenses and uses current cameras will switch to Sony over 8K heating. People switch companies only if they have not invested in huge number of lenses and now I have a desire to shoot more video and not just still. And they are camera junkies like me - just leave us be.

Daris Fox's picture

Aye, and going by reports it's their best selling camera based on pre-launch sales leading to likely delays in fulfilling orders. This cameras is going to make Canon bucket loads of cash. It's going to be interesting to see how the mirrorless market shapes over the coming months. It's good to see Canon actually taking the fight to Sony again.

Now all we need is the final production reviews and how it performs in the real world before the media proclaims all Canon cameras should come with a fire extinguisher (which is going to happen regardless).

Steven Kothenbeutel's picture

I shot Canon for nearly 23 years until I moved over to Sony 4 years ago. To be honest, I don't care much for the video capabilities of SLR's. What I was hoping was that the R5 would push stills resolution. From this perspective, I don't see a need for me to buy a Canon R5... although it was tempting.

For the video specs... put aside the 8K for a moment... I would think that overheating even at 4k presents an issue for event photography (i.e. weddings). Its been years since I shot my last wedding but given the need for consistent performance without interruption, I would think that overheating while shooting 4k is going to create issues.

I applaud Canon for taking another step into mirrorless. Now for the video-centric community, I wonder what the Sony A7SIII will deliver. If Sony delivers 4k/120, I'm guessing the video-centric folks will flock to the A7S lineup all over again even if the camera can't shoot 8k.

I have heard the comment from lots of people who say "my machine can't handle 8k" or "8k TV's are not really a thing right now." I think that is somewhat besides the point... if you can record at 8k now, you will have 8k video for when 8k becomes standard. Yes, it requires more processing now to downsample to 4k but to use this point to berate Canon for attempting to deliver 8K is funny.

I remember a time when my A7RII used to overheat and the photography world had memes and jokes for this. Sony eventually corrected this. So, I am going to wait for the next generation of mirrorless cameras from Canon that deliver higher resolutions for photography.

Given all that I said, I'm looking forward to in-depth testing of the R5 and R6. Perhaps the overheating isn't as bas as you think? Who knows.

Rayann Elzein's picture

If you're going to shoot a wedding in video and let it run for the entire ceremony, get a video camera, not a R5. Canon even has those in their line-up. I don't get why people are focused on this. It's a non-issue.

Michael Clark's picture

"Unfortunately, it seems that the smaller sensor in the R6..." Say what? Both have 36x24mm sensors.

Corey Weberling's picture

I want an a7IV with 4k/24/30/60 10bit 4:2:2 internally.....for 2k.

Actually honestly....I want an a7000 with all that and significantly better IBIS for like 1600-2000. That's what I'm ACTUALLY waiting for to go with my Sigma lenses.

Dave Haynie's picture

It's a bit more than that. Current Sonys only shoot consumer grade 4K, internally or externally. So for anyone doing serious video, pro-grade is required. So Sony had not been a factor. But there have been quite a few others willing to accept Sony as a compromise, deciding for some reason they needed full frame. Between Nikon, Panasonic, Fujifilm, and now Canon offering real in-camera or external pro-grade options, there's virtually no reason to use Sony today. They need to fix this in every upcoming camera to appeal beyond Fanboi vloggers on YouTube.

As for heat and IBIS, Sony has certainly had their own share of heat issues, even dping consumer grade video. The ability to shoot 4K 10-bit for hours on a new Sony might be pretty compelling. The ability to shoot lower quality longer than Canon, not necessarily useful. What actually shows up will matter more than manufacturer's hype. Canon makes big claims about IBIS. So has Sony, but they never really delivered. In particular, especially for a big sensor, heat is usually a tradeoff vs. IBIS. If Canon has really anything even close to 8 EV IBIS (1/2 stop better than reigning champion Olympus with 1/4 the sensor mass and decades more experience with the technology), Sony is toast on that front... but does that even matter for FF video? Canon does have excellent OIS tech, and their numbers are always hybrid system numbers. And Sony's got tgecweajest hybird stabilization going. Looks hood, but lets hear from people testing this put who don't work for the Canon marketing department.

And its not just Canon and Sony. Panasonic and Nikon have been outperforming both for awhile, on video. Both offer external raw options, in addition to better in-camera options.

Yin Ze's picture

only time i shoot more than 30 min of video is if i accidentally hit the record button in the bag. other than that 20 min is fine for a majority of the target market. having 35 megapixel stills from video is a huge deal.

paul aparycki's picture

Something that all the masturbators out there will overlook . . . much to the glee of Canon and other manufacturers.

Overheating is a far more serious problem than what Canon, Sony, Godox would let on. Forget all the marketing bs that you masturbators drool over . . . and consider some basic science. When heat is applied, or present, everything expands. As it cools, everything will contract. Expand, contract, expand, contract . . . can you break a wire? No. But keep on bending it (constant flexing . . . like expand/contract) and it will break . . . SOONER rather than later. Constant expansion and contraction is a built in recipe for premature failure . . . not tomorrow, not next week . . . but sooner than it should happen.

But the jerk-off elite will race to buy another piece of flawed technology, but marketing smarts will as usual, prevail . . . a sucker is born every minute . . . so they will sell a boatload of . . . junk.

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