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The Canon EOS R5 overheats when shooting 8K… AND when shooting 4K

The Canon EOS R5 overheats when shooting 8K… AND when shooting 4K
(Image credit: CVP)

We already knew that the new Canon EOS R5 is limited by overheating in its 8K video mode. However, Canon has confirmed that overheating also affects the recording durations when filming 4K video – all the way down to 4K 30p. 

The manufacturer was very up-front about the overheating limits in 8K video, and we know that the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) will record about 20 minutes of 8K before it needs to shut down. 

The limits imposed by overheating were made less clear when it came to other recording modes, however, and they are coming as a bit of a shock to many consumers who were expecting – albeit unrealistically – that things like 4K 120fps would not cause the camera to heat up. 

Professional camera specialist CVP was briefed by Canon on the recording limits of each video mode caused by overheating. This was explained in CVP's detailed breakdown (opens in new tab) of the R5 specs, and Canon followed up by providing further information (opens in new tab) to the company's tech advisor, Jake Ratcliffe. 

The recording limitations are as follows:

Movie recording size / formatMax recording at 23°C (73.4F)
8K RAW 30p20 minutes
8K 30p20 minutes
4K 120p15 minutes
4K 60p (uncropped)35 minutes (29m59s + second 5m video)
4K 60p (cropped) 5.1K oversampling25 minutes
4K 30p high quality 8.2K oversampling30 minutes
4K 30pNot limited by heat

So, what actually happens when the R5 overheats? The camera shuts off and requires a cooldown period before it can resume shooting video. CVP's breakdown detailed the amount of 'recovery time' required once the camera has overheated, and the amount of recording that is possible afterwards:

Movie recording sizeRecording format standby time (power off)Recordable time (max / approx)
8K 30p10 minutes3 minutes
20 minutes8 minutes
4K 60p (uncropped)10 minutes10 minutes

So, to take the top example, if you shoot an 8K 30p video for 20 minutes the camera will overheat and shut down. If you leave the camera turned off for 10 minutes, you will be able to turn it back on and shoot a further 3 minutes of video; obviously, if you leave it turned off for longer (and thus allow the camera to cool more), you will be able to shoot more video.

Some may view these limitations as a bit of a sting in the tail, and some critics are suggesting that Canon mis-sold the R5's capabilities – even going as far as to say that these limitations mean it is not a professional-grade camera.

Of course, Canon was clear from the beginning (opens in new tab) that the EOS R5 is intended to be a secondary camera that would pair in a professional environment with the  Canon EOS C300 Mark III (opens in new tab) cinema camera (opens in new tab). And indeed, as a B camera, these limitations really aren't a deal-breaker; 20-minute takes are rare for primary (A) cameras, and changing set-ups often takes more than 10 or 20 minutes. 

Still, the important thing is that this information is out there and available prior to the camera's actual release – which is more than could be said for other manufacturers, who said nothing of the 4K overheating issues in their own cameras until they were literally shutting down in the hands of reviewers…

Pre-order the Canon EOS R5 from B&H (USA) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Canon EOS R5 from Adorama (USA) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Canon EOS R5 from Park Cameras (UK) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Canon EOS R5 from Wex Photo Video (UK) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Canon EOS R5 from Canon Australia (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Canon EOS R5 review (opens in new tab)
Canon EOS R6 review (opens in new tab)
The best 4K camera (opens in new tab) for filmmaking for photographers, vloggers, pros

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.