Canon Speaks Out About R5 and R6 Overheating Video Modes

Canon releases detailed information about EOS R5 and R6 overheating in certain video record modes. 

Shortly after Canon released the EOS R5 and R6, reports started surfacing that the cameras could overheat recording video. No Film School first reported about this during the initial release of the cameras and as a reason why we disliked the camera. However, it was based on written information instead of real-world testing, but does the overheating actually matterwill you ever run into it as a problem?

As of July 14, 2020, No Film School doesn't know of anyone, either with press or content creators online, that have a production model of the Canon R5 or R6. If you do have one, let us know in the comments below. 

Videos from Canon ambassadors, or even dealers who sell the product used pre-production models. Why is that important? Pre-production models are not the final versions of the camera and can, and often do, see changes before they make their way into consumer's hands. This could potentially handcuff those "reviewing" the cameras in what they can actually share as fact. That last word is important. Fact. Not thoughts. Not opinions. Actual facts that can be tested and reported on as actuality or not. Since the release, more information has become available directly from Canon. 

Below is the statement from Canon in its entirety:  

"The EOS R5, one of the latest additions to Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera line, offers class-leading autofocus with high-resolution and high frame rate video recording options using the maximum width of the full-frame sensor at high bit rates.  Inevitably, this combination of features has potential to generate some significant heat, which will limit recording time. 

Canon has taken several steps to manage the potential for overheating, including:

  • Magnesium alloy was used in the body to dissipate heat away from internal components
  • An “overheat control” function to reduce heat generation when the camera is in standby

In regard to the installation of a fan: The decision not to install a fan within the body was made in order to maintain the EOS R5’s compact size, lightweight construction and weather resistance.

Before recording starts, the EOS R5 and EOS R6 display an estimate of the recordable time based on the current camera temperature and the set recording mode.

Canon has published and included below the approximate recording and estimated recovery times for 23°C / 73°F environments and ensure that the camera will warn users when it is getting too hot. Additionally, tips to reduce overheating as well as recovering time are listed below.

How can you reduce heat buildup in the EOS R5?

  • Set Overheat Control function to "ON" (default). When the overheat control function is enabled, the movie size and frame rate are automatically changed while the camera is in standby mode to suppress the rise of the internal temperature
  • Between recordings, it is recommended to turn off the camera
  • Position the camera out of direct sunlight
  • Use an external fan to dissipate heat

How long will it take for the camera to recover?
Estimated camera recovery times are indicated below. The time until full record time is available will vary with ambient temperature, continued camera operation and the selected shooting resolution.

What about the EOS R6?
Like the EOS R5, the EOS R6 offers powerful movie recording and stills capabilities within a compact body design. At the highest frame rates and resolutions heat is inevitably generated. We believe the EOS R6 offers best in class performance, especially for enthusiast photographers and video content creators.

The EOS R6 can record up to the 29 minutes 59 second recording limit in the 5.1K oversampled 4K 60p mode at (23°C / 73°F) before encountering any heat related issues within the camera and up to 40 minutes of 4K at 30p."

What does this all mean? 

The biggest question is how the potential overheating affects workflow and filmmakers. To be clear, it will take real-world testing to find out. There's no easy answer at the moment as production models of the camera are not available yet. Yes, Canon has provided suggested record times, but how does that translate in a real setting. How does it affect a filmmaker's workflow? Where in a cart before the horse moment. It's very similar to RED's Komodo camera. There's a lot of information available but not everything.

That said, you can still look at certain things to see if the camera potentially fits into your workflow. If you simply only understand math, you can begin to recognize that the limited record times on the Canon R5 and R6 may not be an issue.

For example, let's look at the storage capacity needed to record 8K. A 256GB CFexpress card provides approximately 13 minutes of 8K RAW recording. Then you need to change out the card. 512GB about 25 minutes, which is close to the 20 minute maximum record time. Again, then you need to change the card. How much do those CFexpress cards cost? Between $400 and $600. 

Are filmmakers rolling for 20 minutes straight? Sure. See David Fincher. But Fincher's budget is going to be different than yours. He's going to have multiple cameras on set that are exchanged out immediately. 

If you want to bump the CFexpress card to 1TB, which provides approximately 51 minutes of record time, that will cost you between $600 and $1,000 depending on the model and write speed. Even with that 51 minutes of record time, it's unknown exactly how the R5 or R6 could potentially overheat. Is it 8K for 20 continuous minutes only? Is it shooting 8K for 20 minutes over an hour? Over 4 hours? At what temperature does it start to overheat? Is it immediate when shooting above 73°? How long are the actual waiting times? And many more questions are still unanswered at the moment. 

What is known is that when shooting to an external recorder the cameras will not encounter overheating issues. The only contention is the limitations of the storage device on the recorder.

Additionally, 4K video recording on the R5 potentially overheats when High Quality mode is turned on. This High Quality mode oversamples the sensor at 8.2K or 7.7K, depending on the frame rate, and outputs the 4K image. When High Quality mode is turned off, recording time is not limited by heat. With the R6, the sensor oversamples 5.1K to produce its 4K image, and with certain frame rates, it potentially overheats. 

For now, this is to be continued, but at least Canon released an official statement for those considering a pre-order. No Film School will be testing exactly what is happening under the hood when production models do arrive.      

Your Comment

11 Comments

Honestly so far I'm not too concerned about overheating. I pre-ordered the R6 as it finally presented a camera that ticked all the boxes for me (4k60p, mirrorless full frame, IBIS, Tiltscreen that flips out not up, internal 10bit 4:2:2). I dont do much long take filmmaking, mostly short bursts for travel so I feel I'm good with this. I do feel the overheating issue could overshadow the release for awhile. Hopefully they doesn't turn out to be the case.

July 14, 2020 at 6:39PM

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"Are filmmakers rolling for 20 minutes straight? Sure. See David Fincher. But Fincher's budget is going to be different than yours. He's going to have multiple cameras on set that are exchanged out immediately. "

David Fincher? Please ....

Documentary makers, interviews, corporate events, weddings, etc do roll for "20 minutes straight" or more in 4K and would not want their camera to overheat...

July 14, 2020 at 10:58PM

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So buy a video camera? This is a stills camera...It's like complaining that a Mustang isn't practical as a camper vehicle.

July 16, 2020 at 5:51AM

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That would be a good point Ameer, except that there are loads of hybrid cameras on the market without an overheating issue. You don't need to buy a video only camera to shoot more than 20 minutes.

July 16, 2020 at 7:44AM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
502

There really aren't, as the Canon will do 4k/30 indefinitely so you can only consider cameras that perform above that. So no Sonys (well, for a week-or-two), some Panasonics, and maybe you're done... Good luck with the Panasonic AF. (I use a GH5, BTW...)

July 16, 2020 at 1:39PM

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This is a stills camera, really? If it were a stills camera it wouldn't have an 8K video recording mode lol. Geez...

July 17, 2020 at 1:02PM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1138

I expect 3rd solutions to try to manage heat better will hit the market.

July 15, 2020 at 2:29PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9981

You can poor some cold water as it's water sealed.
OR use a SLFA-R5 to fix Canon R5 Overheating issue

July 16, 2020 at 5:26AM

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visionrouge.com
DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.
616

Until the competition can ACTUALLY out-do Canon, I'm giving props to the R5 and R6.

If I want to film long takes for interviews/documentaries, I have a camera for that. It's called the Blackmagic Pocket 4K.

The use case for the Canon R5 is a stills camera that can also shoot cinematic style video. I'll be using this for hybrid travel work mostly.

If you thought this would be the camera to shoot a documentary on then sorry for your disappointment. Get a tool fit for purpose. £4000 will get you a Pocket 6K and a few decent lenses and battery options so you can shoot the hours of 6K that you supposedly have enough media for.

Who the heck was expecting to shoot entire interviews in 8K? You'll get 35 minutes MAX on a $1000 CFExpress card. Do you actually have the editing space for that? If you do, then you have enough money to invest in a C200 to get the jobs done properly.

Also wedding videographers are talking nonsense. If you want to roll for more than 30 minutes, use an actual cinema/video camera.

Don't tell me you thought the R5 would be a great 'hybrid'. If you're shooting hybrid then you'll constantly be switching between stills and video mode, which means you won't be shooting more than 10 minutes per clip (MAX) anyway.

Everyone always has to complain. They've given us 4K120p 4:2:2 10 Bit, INTERNALLY. With amazing autofocus and IBIS.

This is LITERALLY the dream hybrid camera.

July 16, 2020 at 5:49AM, Edited July 16, 5:49AM

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Years ago I owned a Sony Nex5n - which had an overheating problem. It made it feel like a crippled camera. I could never fully trust it. My next camera was a GH2. That thing was solid as a rock. Such a better experience.

Over the years I've owned many cameras - and the thing that trumps everything is reliability. They all produce pretty pictures... but I hate the feeling of not trusting a camera to simply work.

I hope people find reliable shooting modes in this cam to make it enjoyable.

July 16, 2020 at 7:42AM

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You voted '+1'.
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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
502

"As of July 14, 2020, No Film School doesn't know of anyone, either with press or content creators online, that have a production model of the Canon R5 or R6. If you do have one, let us know in the comments below."

Matti Haapoja made a video 3 days ago (as of this comment on July 26th) with tests done on the overheating issues the different shooting modes are supposed to have. I am not sure I can posts links but the video is called "Canon R5 Overheating & IBIS Wobbles" and he tests 8K ALL-I, 4K 120FPS, 4K HQ, and normal 4K.

Hopefully more creators will be making similar videos soon and we will have some real world tests to look at instead of stat sheets.

July 26, 2020 at 7:00PM

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Nick Straub
Videographer
1033