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Canon EOS R5: a new teardown video calls the nature of its recording-time limitations into question

A Canon EOS R5 with thermal paste. (Source: Baidu)
A Canon EOS R5 with thermal paste. (Source: Baidu)
The EOS R5 is a recently-released, near-US$4000 Canon full-frame mirrorless camera that can shoot 8K RAW - but for only about 20 minutes straight. This, according to the OEM, is due to the need to protect its processor from overheating. However, a teardown documented on Baidu has found that this same silicon may have been underserved in the way of thermal protection.

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The Canon EOS R5 is a high-end full-frame mirrorless camera with a launch price of US$3900. It can record in up to 8K RAW at 30fps - but is only rated to do so for 20 minutes at a time, whereas its rival the Sony a7s III is not. In fact, some photography vloggers claim this window can drop as low as 15 minutes in non-optimal conditions, which may include taking it into conditions where the temperature exceeds 23 degrees Celsius.

This may be due to the camera equivalent of thermal throttling: the EOS R5 packs the latest DIGIC X image processor, after all. Accordingly, a user of the social media site Baidu decided to investigate their unit for signs of a cooling system, and to see if it could be upgraded in order to alleviate this recording-time issue.

The ensuing teardown (also shown in a video hosted on a different site) resulted in findings that the R5's internals did in fact boast thermal pads - two of them, in fact. However, neither overlaid the CPU directly, but covered 4 RAM slots (evenly distributed above and below this processor) instead, in a way that left about a third of the chipset exposed to the metal shield located immediately above this arrangement.

The underside of this silicon was also occluded by a PCB. The next layer down of the Canon camera's internals comprised another metallic sheet. This one did exhibit a gray square approximately underneath the CPU, although it is not completely clear whether it was another thermal pad or just a piece of foam. In any case, the Baidu user decided to apply some thermal paste around this square before re-assembling the camera.

This modification may have resulted in a corresponding cooler zone as detected using thermal imaging equipment on the intact R5. However, it also allegedly failed to result in any change in the camera's recording longevity. This has led to speculation that the "limit" is in fact firmware-mandated, and put in place by Canon in order to segregate this variant from its upcoming Cinema EOS siblings and their capabilities.

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The R5's CPU and RAM modules with... (Source: Baidu)
The R5's CPU and RAM modules with... (Source: Baidu)
...and without the 2 thermal pads in place. (Source: Baidu)
...and without the 2 thermal pads in place. (Source: Baidu)
The underside of the EOS R5's CPU is blocked from view. (Source: Baidu)
The underside of the EOS R5's CPU is blocked from view. (Source: Baidu)
The metal plate found under the EOS' CPU... (Source: Baidu)
The metal plate found under the EOS' CPU... (Source: Baidu)
The same plate with thermal compound applied. (Source: Baidu)
The same plate with thermal compound applied. (Source: Baidu)
The remainder of the disassembled Canon full-frame unit. (Source: Baidu)
The remainder of the disassembled Canon full-frame unit. (Source: Baidu)
The R5's temperature is measured following its thermal paste treatment. (Source: Baidu)
The R5's temperature is measured following its thermal paste treatment. (Source: Baidu)
 

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 4198 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 08 > Canon EOS R5: a new teardown video calls the nature of its recording-time limitations into question
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-08-14 (Update: 2020-08-15)