Sony a7rii - Internal 4k Overheating, 'THINGS', Screen Protection and Canon 40mm 2.8 USM

My screen exploded (it didn't).

My screen exploded (it didn't).

Yes the rumours are true, there is an 'issue' concerning overheating with the a7rii. How big an issue you think it is really depends on what you want to use the camera for and in what scenarios you place it in. For me, so far I've only tended to shoot in short bursts of 10 seconds to 2 minutes at a time and have had no issues whatsoever. So it was time for a test:

With the LCD screen open and away from the body (to maximise heat dissipation) I was able to shoot at 4k 25p 100mb/s in Super 35 mode with Zebra, Steadyshot and Peaking all set to on for the full (tax limited) 29 minutes. I then switched to Full Frame mode immediately and repeated the test. Again another full 29 minutes elapsed with no problem. 1 hour continuous record more or less. Great so far.

At this point I changed the battery and switched back into Super 35 mode and at about 10 minutes in I got the dreaded warning message followed by an immediate shut down. No early warning system, just a black screen of death. Ooo err.

So what does this mean? Well to put it into perspective, a lot of far more expensive camera systems have had this exact same problem, so technically this is nothing new. For me it's not something that's going to make me ask for my money back but it is going to have to be something to keep an eye on when shooting. It's also really 'only' an issue when you're recording long takes back to back. For example, interviews would be my main concern at this point. Perhaps I go back to the trusty Canon 5Diii for this?!?! Or just shoot in HD, which is bound to cause less heat. There's always been give and take with film making so for me it's just a hurdle to overcome. 

Update. It seems like using an external recorder may possibly be a solution (will update when I know for sure). Which to be fair if you're shooting takes as long as an hour and 10 minutes with little to no breaks then an external monitor/recorder would be ideal anyway. I just wish there was an early warning signal, even 30 seconds just so you can prepare. On Sonys part it would just be a firmware update to display a warning when the camera is a degree or so below the maximum safe operating temperature... add it to the list!

Screen Protection

An example of a THING

An example of a THING

There are always so many THINGS to buy when you invest in a new camera system, THINGS that you just don't consider until suddenly you realise "I need a thing to...". Screen protection very much falls into that THINGS category. Why manufacturers like Sony or Canon can't include some kind of more robust screen protection from the get-go I don't know but luckily there are great (and cheap) solutions available online.

By way of googling I found Expert Shield, checked out the reviews and was happy to make a purchase at their Amazon store. Installation was easy but I did find one corner to be a bit troublesome and lose adhesiveness. This was completely my fault as I was peeling it on and off like a mad man trying to get rid of dust. (They recommend installing it in a steamy bathroom, away from dust... I just couldn't be bothered to walk upstairs and so paid the price for my laziness!).

A quick email to them and they sent over a replacement no questions asked. Solid product and great customer service. 

Canon 40mm 2.8 USM (Pancake Lens)



On something of a whim I decided to purchase a 40mm pancake lens. My reasoning... I wanted to use the camera more and a small light weight portable lens would help me do that. (Noticing a pattern of laziness here). Not the most financial responsible decision but then again it was 'only' £100. A hundred pound lens on a £3k camera. Doesn't seem right. But onwards...

Well again it's early days with it but i'm liking what I'm getting so far. 40mm is an odd length but with a Super35 punch in you're getting a 60mm if my math is correct (x1.5) which can be helpful in some situations. It's not quite as useful as my Canon 50mm 1.4 but then again it's a lot smaller, lighter, and arguably less intimidating for subjects. One thing that's frustrating me at the moment though is I need another THING. That THING would be an ND for it, for that nice low shutter 1/50th film look we all like. At the moment i'm forced to shoot super high speeds and the results are ok, but not ideal, pretty videoy as you'd expect. So it looks like i'll have to bulk it up a little after all. So much for that cheap price! At least i'm getting more time with the camera.

A plus side is, I've been shooting more photos. Here's an image I shot, making the most of the high shutter speeds and brilliant (and rare) British sun...

ISO: 200 f/3.2 1/4000 Sec / Lee Santer wall ride, Sheerness. Photo: Alex Pasquini

The USM (Ultra Sonic Motor) works a treat, super silent and very slick. Takes a little getting used to in Video mode as it becomes a manual focus using fly-by-wire. Hopefully some example test footage coming soon!