Physics apparently still matters. Cameras are getting smaller and smaller but the problem with these compact designs is that they still can’t manage heat as effectively as we would like at the highest resolutions and fastest frame rates.
Seems fairly straightforward since adding a fan is the go-to method for manufacturers to address heat. Let’s see how this one fares.
The Ulanzi fan is incredibly small. It fits exactly in the little area where the camera’s screen folds against the camera.
It attaches through a little adhesive sheet that you attach to the camera.
Then there are tiny suction cups on the fan that allow it to attach to the camera.
Turn the fan on and you have a little screen to see the battery life and mode. You can also see the temperature so you can monitor things.
There are two fan speed modes to choose from. Plus, there is an internal battery that’ll last for over an hour.
Mark does note that after some time those suction cups may not hold on so he does add a little elastic band to keep it on.
On the slower Mode 1 you can’t really hear it but on Mode 2 it might become a touch noticeable depending on your mic setup.
But how does it perform? Working in a 73ºF studio with no airflow he is going to test out how well the Ulanzi fan works to keep your camera running.
This is on a tripod with a monitor connected and USB-C power with the screen open and the internal temp setting set to high.
Without the fan, recording 4K 24p 100 Mb/s with the a6700, he was able to shoot for 2 hours and 10 minutes. Putting on the fan it just ran for hours.
There were no signs even after a long time of it shutting down. Bumping up to 4K 60p he was able to get 40 minutes without the fan. With the fan, he made it to 1 hour 28 minutes. That’s a sizeable jump.
The a6700’s 4K 120p mode is the most challenging and without the fan this is limited to 20 minutes. Even with the fan the camera only made it to 22 minutes.
Streaming is a great use case for the fan and using the USB-C streaming limits the camera to about 27 minutes. With the fan this limit is pretty much eliminated.
Starting the tests again with the ZV-E1 we are getting 55 minutes of 4K 24p recording. Adding the fan allows for essentially unlimited recording.
4K 60p without the fan is 30 minutes and with the fan it also became eliminated. 4K 120p is again the most challenging with only 13 minutes of recording without the fan and a bump to 21 minutes with the fan.
Heading over to streaming the ZV-E1 was limited to 37 minutes without the fan. And, again, the camera was able to operate indefinitely when equipped with the fan.
Since the ZV-E1 seems to be a bit more heat prone this fan might be a lifesaver for some. And it basically becomes unlimited recording with the fan attached in all modes except 4K 120p.
To get the camera to handle overheating best you should follow the following suggestions:
- Set Internal Temp. Warning to High in the menu.
- Open up the screen.
- Put on a tripod where the base of the camera can be more open to airflow.
- Don’t block the back of the camera.
- Don’t use external monitors as the output tends to generate more heat.
These are tiny cameras – that’s the huge advantage with them – so overheating comes with the territory. If adding a tiny fan can make you get even more out of them then it seems like a reasonable trade-off for all the advantages of the Sony cameras.
What do you think about the Ulanzi fan? Would you add something like this to your camera?
[source: Mark Bennett’s Camera Crisis]
- Sony a6700 Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Sony ZV-E1 Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
- Ulanzi Cooling Fan (Amazon)
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