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Is Your 5D Mark III Freezing During Video Capture? A Petition to Canon Seeks a Solution

02.14.13 @ 11:08PM Tags : , , , ,

Have you ever had your Canon 5D Mark III freeze after capturing a video up to the time limit? Apparently the Mark III has issues with certain CF cards, regardless of speed, and cameras have been locking up and losing footage. This seems to occur most often once the camera reaches the 30 minute mark. Since the Mark III records to a FAT32 file system on CF cards, the max file size for each clip can only be 4GB, which corresponds to about 12 minutes. Once the camera hits 30 minutes, certain cards have caused the camera to lock-up, losing the previous 12 minute clip in the process. Now we have a petition from users who have been affected hoping for a fix from Canon.

[Update]: a1ex from Magic Lantern sent me some interesting information, and possibly a way to see if there are specific cards that have issues:

It may be related to this bug that I’ve found in 5D Mark III on file i/o side:

I would like to ask the users who experience this bug to try to run the alpha 3 ML – it includes a card test at startup, and will refuse to run if the card is incompatible. I’d like to see if there is a connection between these problems and my bug.

Card problems with 5D Mark III? Run the card tests from Magic Lantern!
Magic Lantern

Here is the petition letter to Canon, sent to me by Max, which was only started recently:

You have probably heard of many customers globally having problems with Canon 5Dmk3 camera freeze and lost files, both video and stills. If not, this is just one of quite a few forums discussing this for your reference –

We need to draw your attention to us needing you to get it fixed ASAP. 
As simple as that – admit it exists and find a solution, please.
We can’t afford losing our files any longer and using the gear that have a problem that is intermittent.

This is one of Canon’s official responses about the issue:

We are not aware that there is an issue with these Sandisk cards within the camera. If you suspect it to be the cards, I would recommend trying a different brand and or size to see if the issues persist. We are not aware in advance when new firmware and or changes are coming to the camera. Anything like this would be announced on the Canon EOS web site. I would say that if another card causes the same issue you would want to send the camera in for service. Currently we are not able to recommend one specific brand of cards over another. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you at this time.

There is no reason why the cameras should be experiencing these issues. I was using only Sandisk cards during my time with the Mark III, but I never recorded more than a few minutes at a time, so I couldn’t have replicated the problem. It seems that this is an intermittent issue, so that could be one of the reasons why there has not been a fix issued so far.

I also think this could be a good forum to talk about the problem, and see who else has been experiencing it and how widespread it actually is. If the percentage of people who have had issues is low enough, Canon may not see the point in spending time and money to fix it. However, people have bought this camera expecting to use it as advertised, and that has not been the case for many.

If anyone has more information about the problem, or would like to contribute their own story, feel free to share in the comments. If you have been affected, you can find the petition using the link below.



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  • I’m just about to blow all of my savings into buying this camera and this frightens me!

    • You should read the Canon Rumors forum posting about it. It seems Sandisk cards have the most issues.

      • Its likely that Scandisk has the most problems because its the most popular.

        • That’s also possible, but it seems the Sandisk users have had the most issues. Hopefully more users can chime in.

      • It seems a lot of users are facing this and on many different card brands. And it’s been going on ever since the camera was released! Thanks for sharing! Had I missed this I’d have gone ahead and bought the same camera/card combo feeling happy with myself for finally investing in a “legitimately professional” camera for my upcoming projects! So bigger dilemma now, what are the alternatives cuz I really can’t afford to make the purchase in the hope that it won’t happen with me!

  • I have been using a 5DMkIII for a few months now and haven’t had this occur. I use ADATA CF cards 16GB 533x. I wonder if it is specific to certain cards.

  • has this been reported with sd cards too or just cf?

  • Not to long for the clean HDMI out recording aaa I’ve never been a fan of cramming footage onto a CF card.. Bet way to go with an external recorder onto SSD.. I’ve got my Atomos Ninja2 waiting to go… The 5DIII is a great B camera for video but Canon need to look after the Pro DSLR independent video maker or bye bye to the other companies.

  • Haven’t had this happen on my D800 – its a ROCK! ;-)

    Seriously though I’ve used an external recorder on a few projects and honestly its completely overrated. The internal codec on the D800 is amazingly good and also efficient. It does what other cams have to resort to a 50mbps or more to achieve. This means data management and backing up is a breeze as you only need half the space.

    I smile at all the Canonites eagerly awaiting the HDMI out fix, I think there are going to be some VERY disappointed shooters when they realize it does nothing to enhance the footage or even provide latitude in post in any meaningful way.

  • This has happened 5 times with me on 3 different 5D3s. Happened on both Sandisk CF (60mb/s) and SD cards (45mb/s). It was never about hitting the recording limit, the cameras just locked up randomly and I lost the clips. NOT NICE for weddings!

  • Not that it really helps, but I’ve recorded clips over two hours in length on my Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and left the camera switched on for over six continuous hours (running down a V-lock battery). With the BMCC out there, I couldn’t imagine spending a similar amount of money for any DSLR today. Anyone considering a 5D3 should watch Marco Salorio’s comparison if they haven’t already seen it:

    • Lain, there is no doubt about the fact that BMCC is a far superior camera but that doesn’t make it suitable for everyone. A DSLR is what is ideal for the kind of work many of us do. Handling, ease of use, low-light, lenses and most importantly, photography!

      • I agree. The BMDCC is fantastic, but won’t take stills. :-)
        And as I’m waiting on the MFT version of it, I’m pretty busy shooting video with my DSLR.

      • If you need to take photos as well as video, then a DSLR could be ideal — I’m really just recommending against buying a DSLR for video-only use given that the BMCC is out there. I’ve really not found the BMCC difficult to handle or operate, and the post experience is worlds better. For photos, I still have my older DSLR. Here’s a video I made today on the dynamic range difference between the two:

        • If you shot RAW, which I assume you did, then comparing the two cameras at the same settings is completely useless. What is actually happening is that you exposed incorrectly on both cameras but the black magic was able to repair it. Also no highlights were every lost! I hate when people talk about this as a benefit. The rec 709 Lut or “video” mode remaps the log gamma curve to a 7 stop range, killing at least 5 stops, reverting to highlight information from the log gamma curve is not recovering lost highlights, its just undoing a potential color correction. You can expose without clipping on a 5d lift your gain and clip your highlights and the move them back and the also say look at the dynamic range!

          • No, it was all shot ProRes, not Raw, and yes, exposure/aperture/ISO were matched between the two cameras. It’s possible that matching the settings isn’t actually giving the Canon a fair chance, but the point of the video was to show that you can rescue a shot more easily on a BMCC than a DSLR in the same situation.

            I take your point about “the highlights were never really lost”, and that’s technically true, but “recovered” is the terminology for Raw and for Log; it’s common to apply a LUT to start from (say) Rec 709 and “recover” from there. Still, in this case, the highlights were captured in the first place due to the superior dynamic range of the BMCC. The correction that made the first half of the shot look good could be dialed back to make the second half look good too, but the Canon didn’t have the range to make that happen. There really is more dynamic range in the BMCC image.

            Even if your shot doesn’t require more dynamic range than the Canon can provide (and you expose it perfectly) the BMCC still offers 4x the color fidelity with 10-bit color in ProRes/DNxHD, or 16x the color fidelity with 12-bit color in Raw. That can really make a big difference in post.

            You did bring up some useful points, and I’ll try to be clearer in future videos. Thanks.

  • I have an issue with the 5D MKIII and Log and Transfer where the first clip of a batch that is to be converted seems to go corrupted upon Pro res conversion and basically that clip will not read. This has happened with a few different bodies and am array of different cards. This happens only in Log and Transfer and not in Compressor…..Compressor takes way longer to convert footage for some reason. What gives?

  • Check out the wedding videographer’s page on facebook, those guys are the ones who use the MK3 up to the 29min limit during full ceremony coverages..and they also report this freezing issue a lot.

  • haven’t seen this issue and i’ve run to the recording limit many times. using sandisk sd cards. hopefully a cf only issue but sure would like to see what canon does…

  • Apparently MK II faces/used to face the same problem. Did anyone here face it on their MKII and was able to successfully solve it? A couple of discussions from 2-3 years back.

  • To anyone considering getting a Mk III for video work, just don’t. It’s way more hassle than it is worth, and video still feels like an afterthought on Canon’s part.

    Look into the D800 if you absolutely must have full-frame. Otherwise, you’d be downright silly to not get a GH3 for half the price.

    • mikko löppönen on 02.15.13 @ 7:43AM

      It is still better than the D800. No moire/aliasing plus usable 720p vs not-usable in the D800.

      • The trade-off for moire/aliasing is unavoidable softness, which really stands out in comparison to models like the GH2/GH3. You’re basically getting a 720P resolved image regardless of shooting in 1080 mode.

      • vinceGortho on 02.15.13 @ 5:00PM

        Mosaic engineering anti aliasing filter is your friend.
        As a former owner of a 5d3 I felt cheated that the removal of the aliasing made the 5d3 softer than the 5d2. I owned a 5d2 and do all my editing/playback on a 60″ sharp flat screen.
        Go with D800.

    • For low light the 5D III is worth it. Crazy ISO with a manageable amount of noise is far better than the MK III with lots of noise at low numbers,

      • vinceGortho on 02.15.13 @ 11:25PM

        Not really. 5d3 isI so soft it looks like 720p, even when sharpened in post.
        The noiseon d800 doesn’t look bad at all and is nice and sharp.
        I never need to go past iso 1600

      • vinceGortho on 02.15.13 @ 11:28PM

        Im guessing you consider ISO 1600 low ISO

  • on 02.15.13 @ 8:57AM

    It sounds as though the response given by Canon is coming from a customer service rep. When the petition is finalized, I suggest making several copies and sending each to the heads of Canon — CFO, CEO, etc.

    I’m sorry to hear about this. I don’t have the camera, though I hope that this is solved quickly for those who do.

  • I had this same thing occur with my 5DII a couple of times. I don’t recall which brand of cards I was using.
    So far my 5DIII has been fine, I have been using the Transcend 32 & 128 gig cards.

  • I’ll be surprised of Canon even takes note. Canon has the worst support ever. Keep hacking kids it’s our only hope.

  • This happened to me once on my Mark III. I use Transcend cards, and the video in question was around 10 minutes long. It froze after I tried to stop recording. Never happened before or since, and at the time I had over 10,000 shots (mostly video) on my 5D in my first 6 months of ownership.

  • This happened to me when using an SD card (not smart I know) during an interview. It froze around 12 minutes and I lost the footage. Had to redo the interview.

  • I just received my new 5D MKIII and have yet to do any video testing, so this topic is of great interest to me. As soon as I have a better sense of how my camera handles this situation I will report back. May I suggest that all further posts remain *on topic* so we can remain focused on this matter? I’m just sayin…

  • Try removing any SD card you may have in the camera. While the 5D3 has both slots…CF cards struggle when a SD is present (regardless of writing to it or not). There is an inherent flaw with the way Canon designed the card handling design. Love my 5D3, but that frustrates me beyond belief. Having an SD card present slows down wrote times significantly to the CF card… Not just video btw.

  • Look – they can say its the SD card all they want, but it’s the camera. If I took one of my cards out of a 5D III and put in like a 550D – going by Canon logic I should get the same issues, correct?

    It’s a shitty excuse for their own mistake.

  • – 5D Mark III Malfunction / Freeze / Defect ?

    This happened to me but it was last year, my 5DMKIII was replaced 2 times in total, first was because of the freeze, second is ‘Error 20′. But since November 2012 until now, it’s been perfectly functioning the way it should.

    Shot a 17hr shoot (10-20mins per video shoot) for an advertisement, and shot up to 10 episodes of work without any problem in under rain or hot sunny condition. And shot numerous events… No overheat problem, no lost file or anything.

  • Although I have had no probs with short clips on 5D3 to Sandisk CF and SD I tend to only play with short clips. Shooting stills however using the EyeFi cards I had to abandon any usage as the camera locked up by the minute. Canon never answered any queries and of course the standard ” it must be the card” Guys I have been shooting digital stills since the first 30D and always used Sandisk cards professionally.

    I know things might be tough in Japan but if these guys dont get quality control and customer service sorted they watch RED, BMC, or whoever is waiting in the wings walk further over them than ever before.

    • OH btw Canon if your going to take folks to court for hacking your firmware on the pro cameras…. try to make sure it does not become the only way users can find a solution to your inability to make em work right first time !

  • Maxim Drygin on 02.22.13 @ 7:37AM

    A message from the petition creator:

    Hi all, thanks for your attention and support.

    Just one week since it was started, we are 105 strong. We are global – USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Finland, Malta, Germany, Thailand, Indonesia signees are in anger over losing files of wedding ceremonies, short films, or stills.

    The way petitions works is every time a new person signs up, an email with the petition text is sent to all those that I marked as addressees.

    The PR manager of Canon Business Imaging Australia have been in touch with me since the petition was started, advising the information on the problem and the petition was sent to Canon HQ in Japan – but only once, unfortunately, and I don’t feel it is enough for our recurring troubles to disappear.

    One of fellow supporters who had the freeze issue investigated by local Canon Service a year ago without success beginning of this week reported unexpected call from a Canon Service rep. He was asked a series of questions about the malfunction, told that there were only 2 cameras locally reported since, and advised of further follow up calls as internal investigation was on its way.

    Despite these positive signs of interest from their side, I’ve ramped up the plea by adding emails of high-rank Canon managers that I’ve found.

    If anyone of you happen to know your country email addresses of any Canon reps or local service centres, please send these through to maxim.drygin at, I’ll add them to the petition as a means to increase involvement of other Canon employees into the problem that we’re eager to resolve.

    Lastly, I’d like to ask everyone of you guys to sign up for the petition yourself if you’re concerned – you don’t have to have had this issue to join in if you genuinely support the idea of professional gear problem to be treated professionally –

    Max Drygin

  • Maxim Drygin on 02.22.13 @ 5:18PM

    Here is the first ever video of the problem real-time affecting video captured by a fellow supporter Steven Marshall from Auckland, NZ –

    Join the petition, I’ve added this link to the petition copy as well –

  • I have a 7D and have a similar issue so it might not be restricted to the 5D. If I shoot stills on it, I can shoot as much or as long as I like, no problems. Shoot ANY video, and if I record more video or try to shoot stills it will occasionally glitch out and I’ll lose the last movie or last few shots. Using Sandisk CF cards.

  • face it, it is simply not a video camera :(

  • I have had this problem with the 7D. Card filled up during video shoot and camera froze completely. Not one button or control on the camera worked during freeze so I had to take the battery out to turn it off! All video was lost from last shoot before freeze. Surely Canon knows about this. BTW my CF card is Kingston not Sandisk.

  • Maxim Drygin on 03.1.13 @ 7:35AM

    Canon 5dmk3 petition – new info from Canon and the gear shift towards bringing the troubled cameras to local Canon service centres.

    Firstly, the petition has made a significant impact on Canon on all levels as I heard from Canon reps.

    Secondly, the video produced by Steven Marshall helped Canon Inc to make some discovery that at the moment is related to only one sample of 5Dmk3 they investigated. I’m bound by non-disclosure to share more on this, sorry.

    I’ve been asked by Canon to channel the following request to everyone: “Users EOS 5D Mark IIIs and CF cards who can reproduce the freeze during video recording to please bring the camera and the CF card to the nearest service centre in their region”.

    You can find your local service centres contacts here

    Whether your camera is grey-imported or has local warranty, bring it in, my guess Canon is very interested inspecting it.

    Questions/concerns? Email to maxim.drygin at

  • I have been having this issue with my Canon 5Dmkiii. I have been using a Transcend compact Flash 400x card. It shows that is recording video and when I get home there are gaps of footage missing in the interview. This is a big problem and I need to solve it or else I will have to return the camera because my business can’t afford to loose data.

  • Hi all, I am having issues with a Scanisk 16GB Extreme Pro SD card and a KomputerBay Professional 128GB 1000x Compact Flash card.
    When recording long interviews the first 5 minutes and 57 seconds is find and all of a sudden I lose the footage (Grey, stripes, I will post a video on Vimeo).
    I know I am using suspect cards but thought it would help to share.

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