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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David Pavlich's picture

I'd love to read the study you've found that demonstrates the expanding and contracting camera that's succumbed to said expansion/contraction. Or are you speculating?

You seem to be worried about how others spend THEIR money. Why do you care?

Dave Haynie's picture

Which is of course why PCs, with their 180W CPUs and 300W GPUs, only last a year or two. Oh, wait...

Seriously, the heat involved can be problematic, but it's not leading to PCB flexing problems. Keep in mind, unlike your standard PC, these are highly mobile devices designed for rugged use. Pretty much every non-trivial mobile device has to deal with the potential of overheating. Not just a Canon R5, but every camera, every smartphone, etc. Every digital circuit generates some heat. Every system design has a fixed ability to remove that heat. And every digital circuit has a maximum operating temperature, which is absolute. Given a hot enough ambient temperature and sufficient work, every device will overheat.

Canon's one of the few suggesting when and admitting it happens. But it'll happen on a Sony, a Fujifilm, a Nikon, etc. under the right operating conditions. In fact, Sony had a big problem with that in the A7II generation and were not very forthcoming about it. If you don't want a camera that overheats in 8K, don't buy the R5. Or buy it without any plan to ever shoot 8K video. But if you want a camera that never overheats, you're probably better off with a pure mechanical film camera... though those expansions and contractions will affect that camera even more. And this includes your smartphone as well, which can easily overheat, depending on what you ask of it. Particularly considering that iPhones, for example, are only rated for operation at up to 35C ambient temperature.

Michael Laing's picture

Oh ffs. This is getting moronic. Why the hell would people want to shoot 4k 60fps for 35 minutes! There is a reason that films and TV still shoot at 24 and 30 fps, it is because our brains are hardwired to that and the vast majority of films, which shoot faster just look weird, from the Hobbit through to Gemini Man.

8k 30fps and 4k 60fps, isn't the issue it is made out to be. People need to remember that 8k is the equivalent of 32mp, shooting 30 frames per second for up to 20 minutes. That is a huge achievement.

Even then though, 8k is useless for 99% of videographers because the file size is just so massive and most people can't tell the difference.

Whilst 4k 60fps and 120 maybe more useful, I can't imagine many situations, where I am going to need to shoot them for long periods of time and if I did, I would want a proper video camera.

This all sounds like people getting desperate to complain about something and is exceptionally sad. Now I am a Nikon owner and love taking the piss out of Canon owners but this is so off the mark I am embarrassed.

The R5 and R6 are designed to be photographic cameras first and foremost, with good quality video. The A7sIII is designed for video first, the same as the Panasonic S1H.

If people want to complain about the R5/R6, complain about it having a micro HDMI port (in fact any camera which has a micro HDMI port) because they are shit and break easily.

Complain about a real issue not some made up bullshit.