The results are in, and things are looking much better for the Canon EOS R5’s overheating issue after the 1.1.0 firmware update – as long as you’re indoors. This ‘overheatgate’ has proven to be a real snafu for Canon, marring the reputation of what would have been one of the most sought-after video cameras since the release of the original 5D Mark II, which was the camera that set the modern video revolution in motion in 2008.
Some early testers say the limitations aren’t an issue, some companies have already designed cooling devices, and some independent testing has yielded irrefutable proof that this whole overheating issue is nothing but a baked-in software limitation to protect Canon’s high-end market and ultimately their bottom line. Fellow Philadelphian, Jared Polin, of FroKnowsPhoto is here to deliver us hopeful Canon fans the hard numbers.
To begin, I really like Jared’s reviews. Who doesn’t? He has 1.25 million subscribers. I’ve rarely ever purchased new gear without first hearing his take on it. Weirdly enough, Jared and I live in the same part of Philadelphia.
I don’t know him at all, but I see him all over the place in passing. I have even been behind him in line at the grocery store more than once. I have no reason to introduce myself, really, and I don’t know why I’m even bringing this up – but he is a tough guy to miss with that hair.
Firmware Update 1.1.0
Jared inquired with Canon as to whether the 1.1.0 firmware update fixed the overheating issue, and got a mixed response from Canon.
The new firmware essentially does increase the camera’s recording time, but only indoors. When you’re outside, in the heat, there is essentially no difference between firmware version 1.0.0 and version 1.1.0.
What you do get with this update is a nearly 50% increase in recording time across all modes, a 100% increase when filming in 8K RAW, and an increase in record time from turning the camera off to allow it to cool.
All of this is really good news! Let’s look at the numbers.
10-Bit 4:2:2 4k HQ All-I 24FPS @ 74° F
Users can expect to be able to record for an additional 15 minutes with the 1.1.0 firmware for 45 minutes of runtime.
10-Bit 4:2:2 8K All-I 24FPS @ 74° F
Users can expect to be able to record for an additional 19 minutes longer than the original firmware.
12-Bit 8K RAW 24FPS @ 74° F
This is the BIG NEWS we’ve all been waiting for! The tests proved that users could expect an additional 16 minutes of raw recording with firmware 1.1.0 for a total of 32 minutes and 33 seconds!
10-Bit 4:2:2 4K All-I 120FPS @ 76° F
Unfortunately, the new firmware only yields about an additional 3 minutes of record time for a total of 17:28. As Jared points out, very few people will ever need to record for over 17 minutes at 120p in 4K.
And honestly, unless you’re filming long interviews or events in 8K RAW, you’re probably fine. A 33-minute limitation might go completely unnoticed on an independent film with short scenes, but the lack of any knowledge of how or when the camera will turn back on again makes it extremely difficult for me to see this as a professional filmmaking tool.
A Timely Release
Canon’s release of firmware version 1.1.0 for the EOS R5 before the camera even finds its way into most people’s hands is rather surprising. It shows they really know that this overheating issue is really going to affect their sales for this absolutely amazing powerhouse of a stills camera.
For contrast, it took months after the Canon 5D Mark II was released before firmware version 1.1.0 was available for that camera. What did that firmware version address? The camera’s inability to shoot video in manual exposure modes. That’s right! Prior to that you could only shoot video in auto-exposure on the 5D2. 11 years ago I’m pretty sure it was claimed to be a hardware limitation as well.
They also claimed my Canon C200 couldn’t shoot compressed 10-Bit 4k because of a hardware limitation – even though it can shoot 12-Bit RAW! I am still waiting for that feature to be implemented in a firmware release.
Canon has a pattern of intentionally limiting the features of their cameras, not giving their customers 100% of the hardware’s capabilities to protect their flagship offerings and drive upgrades. When hacks are released that proved the 5D Mark III could actually shoot in uncompressed 16-bit RAW 1080p (anyone remember MagicLantern?), it isn’t hard to see how a ‘conspiracy’ could develop online about ‘overhategate’.
Andrew Reed, of EOSHD, dropped a bombshell a few weeks ago when he broke a story about how independent testing had ostensibly proven the overheating issue was purely firmware based. Infrared thermometers showed that even though the camera stated it was overheating, the internal temperature never actually changed.
Opening the camera up, they found only small heatsinks were used to disperse heat. And on top of that, removing the camera’s internal battery completely resets the clock on overheating limitations.
All of this means that the camera is not actually testing the internal temperature to see if a shutdown is warranted, a timer starts running the minute you hit record. Whether or not this was intended to protect the camera, or Canon’s flagship video cameras, it isn’t something that should be brushed away simply as a conspiracy theory when you’re spending $3,899 just on the camera body.
Regardless of the purpose, this limitation was intentional and the surprising increase in runtimes we’re seeing from this latest firmware is clear proof of that fact.
This means no amount of refrigerator breaks will improve your runtimes.
There are future firmware updates planned for the Canon EOS R5 that will add some pretty great, useful features but there is no official schedule for their release.
Future Firmware Updates:
- Add Canon Log 3 option
- Adding lower bit rate option for 8K RAW video recording
- Adding lower bit rate option for all IPB video recording modes
- Adding 119.88 fps option for Full HD (1080P) recording
If you’re a fan of the overwhelming colorful, crisp, clear images that Canon cameras produce, you’re going to love the images you are able to capture with the Canon EOS R5. Just be sure to understand your equipment’s limitations so you don’t find yourself running to the nearest fridge between takes.
[source: Jared Polin]
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