Thursday, October 01, 2009

Canon 7D problems with overheating?

The Canon 7D has only just started arriving in the hands of users, and already there's a bit of a panic about an overheating issue. Three users on report encountering the temperature warning (a red flashing indicator) during shooting. It appears that the camera initially keeps shooting with the warning, but may shut off.

Canon's manual notes:
* If you continue to shoot movies for a prolonged period, the camera's internal temperature will increase. This can degrade the image quality. While not shooting, turn off the power.
* If you shoot under direct sunlight or high-temperature conditions, the (high internal temperature warning) may appear on the screen. If you keep shooting a movie with the warning icon displayed, the image quality might degrade.
* If the icon is displayed and you keep shooting movies until the camera's internal temperature increases further, the movie shooting will stop automatically.

Now it appears that these users were using the camera for an "extended" period:

  • I shot a time lapse of the 7D aimed at a clock with my EX1 and the results were about 30 minutes before the dreaded 'red thermometer' began flashing.
  • It was quite hot and I was shooting intermittently for about 2 hours all at 720p/60 for slow-mo with my production 7D. I'm sad to say it gave me temperature warnings almost the entire shoot and stopped me shooting at all at least 3 times during the period.
  • I just tried 480p60 indoors, 74 deg. F, got to 25:30 before the temp. warning.

I'm using the word "extended" advisedly; for casual users 20 minutes of video is a lot, for serious shooters, 20 minutes isn't long at all.

Some 5D owners have chimed in that they have hardly ever encountered this warning with their cameras, leading some to believe that the 7D is more susceptible to the problem than the 5D.

Interestingly, I remember when the 5D was first announced, there were questions about how the camera would handle extended shooting, and some thought that the 12 minute limit of a sequence was there because of that concern, though a representative from Canon later denied that.

This all poses a dilemma for budget film makers who liked the 5D, but wanted 24p shooting. The 7D seemed to offer a solution to that, but if it doesn't handle extended use/shooting situations, then it may be a bad choice.


Adventure Refugee said...

I have experienced the overheating issue on my 7D. It happen rather fast and it was hard to get the camera to cool down. If you are serious about shooting video, the 7D does not cut it. I returned mine today. Too bad. I will wait for the fix or the 1D MlV.


BlurBoy said...

I just started shooting with the 7d and after only about 20 or 30 minutes I encountered the temperature warning. The camera was slightly warm on the bottom but not very hot. I was only shooting about 1 min. clips.

Michael Murie said...

Overheating is definitely an issue for some people. It seems to be more susceptible in 720p than 1080. Some users have suggested using a cold-pack on the camera body (though I worry about what effect that might have on the camera's internals.)
I also read where someone suggested using the camera on a tripod or other holder - rather than hand holding – which might help reduce overheating issues.

John said...

I had the overheating issue happen once on a shoot in a hot room. We had it on a tripod. We shut the camera off periodically to out of concern.

Also I had the camera stop working in cold temperatures around -10. This ruined a time lapse I was doing.

Michael Murie said...

Good warning John.

Note that the manual does specify the operating temperature range for the 7D as 0C - 40C / 32F - 104F

Htet said...
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