The Canon EOS R5 is already being shipped. If you haven't been to the moon, you may have heard of the overheating and recovery time between camera shutdowns. With his latest Firmware updateCanon is committed to tackling this phenomenon, but is it enough or a good thing in a real world production scenario? I took the EOS R5 and simulated a very simple documentary day. Read on if you're interested in my findings.
The Canon EOS R5 puzzle
I think the Canon EOS R5 is an interesting camera. On the one hand, it is a film tool that many would like to work with, but which at the same time creates a certain fear and uncertainty, especially when it comes to "overheating" and "recording times". Two things are certain. First, it's an amazing engineering marvel. A camera that can easily be viewed as a real game changer film device.
Canon EOS R5 – A powerful camera, also for filmmakers, but with limitations. Image: CineD
Second, there was a terrible bug in the camera's debut. Originally, the overheating problem and especially the recovery time in which the camera can get back to work were very disappointing to say the least. This situation caused quite a stir in our little swamp, and in my opinion, the (sometimes emotional) conversation on this topic will only fade if users get answers that fit their logic. That's why we reached out to Canon to find out more and how the manufacturer sees and treats the current status. Did Canon intentionally limit the EOS R5 to longer recording times? Can the sensor or the inner camera parts really be damaged by extending the recording times, especially with 8k RAW? To find out, please join us in our conversation with Katsuyuki Nagai-san, Product Management Director, Image Communications Business at Canon Europe.
In any case, this is the era of "discovery" and as such it took very little time for some adventure pioneers to devise workarounds that allow longer recording times without hacking the camera.
Canon EOS R5 – Overheating issue needs to be fixed. Image credit: CineD
Canon EOS R5 and firmware 1.1.0 update
Canon obviously understood that there was a problem here and hurried to develop a new firmware update that promises longer recording time and shorter recovery between settings. Will it please everyone? Certainly not. Is it a big improvement over the previous situation? Absolutely yes. After working with the camera that comes with the updated firmware, I can safely say that the Canon EOS R5 is slowly but surely becoming an amazing work tool. (Please note that Canon has released FW version 1.1.1 since I did my test. This version behaves the same way in the fight against the overheating problem.)
Canon EOS R5 With the supplied lens. Image credit: CineD
Canon EOS R5 – Flexible film tool for non-flexible shooting scenarios
Well, a bit of a bombastic title here that can also serve as an end to this review, but please allow me to explain. While the camera is extremely flexible in choosing resolution / frame rates / codecs, it is important to consider the theme of your filming. Not that we don't anyway, but given the nature of this camera and its ability to film in 8K RAW, this thing needs special attention for the following reasons:
- Overheating – With the new firmware, the camera can record 20 minutes at a time. The recovery time is 10 minutes. You can then record for another 10 minutes. This “pick up / stop” dance can go on for quite a long time, with different pick up / stop times occurring in each circle. In reality, this is not as bad as it sounds as we are pausing the recording during filming anyway and these recording times relate to a single long shot. Two major issues have been addressed with the latest firmware. First, the camera does not start the clock and calculate the recording time immediately after it is turned on. On the other hand, the camera can now “capture” its surroundings and, unlike in the past, an external fan, for example, can help reduce heat if necessary.
- CFexpress cards – These also generate heat and affect the general internal temperature of the camera. In my tests, Angelbird CFexpress cards did the best! It seems like these get less warm than the ones I compared to (Sony Tough and SanDisk cards). The appearance of the overheating symbol has been suppressed when filming with Angelbird CFexpress cards.
- Card capacity – We have said it before and I will write it again. Filming in RAW (or Canon RAW) can bring benefits and flexibility during post production BUT the tradeoff is to capture very large video files while filming. I was equipped with four Angelbird CFexpress cards, 2 TB, 1 TB, 512 GB, 256 GB, and still had to be extra careful not to have full cards. So if you want to shoot in 8K RAW either bring enough cards with you or use the camera downtime to copy your footage. (Personally, I prefer NOT to bother with copying / erasing cards while filming to avoid mistakes, but in this case it can be if the cards are still expensive.) Oh, and if you make up your mind have to copy cards on site, do yourself a great favor and use USB-C SSDs for the task or you may be sleeping in your filming location waiting for the task to be done.
Canon EOS R5 – In the field
So yes, overheating is still there and needs to be considered. And yes, that flashing red overheating warning icon isn't for the faint of heart out there, but overall this camera is a marvel. Dual pixel autofocus works great and if you are filming at 8K it may be used more often. The In Body Stabilization System (IBIS) works like a treat and allows the operator to stand / walk / follow a subject relatively freely.
Well, last but not least. Many years ago, when working with DSLR cameras, I made the mistake of trying to adapt the “large ENG camera shooting style” (which means building it so that it sits on the shoulder and has lots of accessories along the way ). These days, I'm on the bare minimum, enjoying the freedom and intimacy these wonderful little but capable mirrorless movie cameras bring to the movie set. And in that regard (compactness), the EOS R5 not only feels the same, it goes a step further by allowing internal RAW recording without the need for an external device. Definitely something to consider if you are traveling or want to be humble with devices that can still produce high-end images …
About the video above
I would like to thank Annamaria Kowalsky for participating in this video. She is a talented musician and artist from Vienna, Austria. You can listen to some of their original scores by clicking here or explore their art by visiting their website. The video above was recorded in 8K / 25p DCI RAW on the Canon EOS R5. C-Log, ISO settings: 400 (native) to 4000. All handhelds except for the main interview and the slider recordings. I used autofocus mostly on this piece. Color LUT from Lutify.me. Music courtesy of epidemicsound.
Canon EOS R5 – Many resolutions and frame rates to choose from. Image credit: CineD
Almost two years before the date, I took the then-new Canon EOS R on a trip to India to film an Indian wedding. Fast forward for today, and the EOS R5 has come a very long way since the "R-Line" was introduced. It's not perfect. Remarkable, yes it is. Knowing what you are filming ahead of time can make this camera a very useful tool. The question now is, "How can Canon do it better?" The answer is simple. Please do not limit the functions. Those who need or want to take photos with larger cameras will continue to be there to purchase Canon's cinema line. But for filmmakers like me who advocate working with smaller tools, this might be the perfect solution. As previously announced by Canon, the next EOS R5 firmware will make the RAW data rate choice and I can only assume that filming at a lower data rate will allow for longer recording times, and this can certainly be an elegant way to add camera functionality to improve .
Man at work filming in 8K RAW with the Canon EOOS R5. Photo credit: Annamaria Kowalsky
What do you think of the Canon EOS R5? Do you own one and have you had the opportunity to work with it? Aside from overheating, have you noticed any other problems with filming? Please let us know your results in the comment section below.