Canon firmware update fails to meaningfully change EOS R5 timer – For honour, Canon must come clean

I find myself in the unusual position as a professional customer, of begging the company to use the full capabilities of my $4000 camera.

Not much is on the line really. It’s only Canon’s future in mirrorless. Their reputation. R5 and R6 reliability. Relationships with retailers and rental shops. Customer goodwill. Honour and honesty.

But I can absolutely see why Canon would want to make ABSOLUTELY sure they up-sell pros to the C200!

It’s not as if customers won’t be returning the EOS R5 and R6 when they discover the hard way usability isn’t as advertised. I am sure customers won’t be asking store staff why a “professional” mirrorless camera features timer limitations that you need a PhD in internet research to figure out.

Alas today the PR pushback begins in earnest with, well… not very much really.

A small handful of YouTube personalities in an attempt to steal the overheating agenda and put a positive PR spin on it.

The new firmware does not seem to fix the so-called overheating timer, but it might make the EOS R5 a better actor!

Apparently it might even now bother monitoring the EXIF temperature and slow down the cripple clock in colder environments like a fridge!

However all this is conjecture because Canon hasn’t seen fit to release any timing data for the new firmware update.

While actual paying customers like me did the research previously for our $4000 privilege, it appears YouTuber’s like Jordan Drake have been secretly testing the new firmware under embargo, and today is the day they all release their suspiciously positive hype pieces in unison to show the EOSHD crowd they are wrong! But oh dear there’s a problem. The firmware doesn’t really alter much!

Meanwhile the shops are hanging about waiting for shipments, like those allegedly turned around under cover of darkness so that Canon could perhaps re-flash the firmware that doesn’t really fix anything. I am sure the stores are absolutely not annoyed about this. It is not as if they have got the pressure of a long list of pre-orders waiting since last month wondering where the camera is!

I am sure customers won’t be waiting until January for their camera that they never intended to use for video anyway, just so Canon could save a bit of face.

To listen to the YouTube sales force, apparently this is the “fix” we’ve been waiting for though.

Well I never!

During the past 2 weeks of discoveries, I had no idea Canon had the solution out already!

Why didn’t they tell us about it? Could have saved themselves the agro!

Could it be because the new firmware pays total lip service to serious video users?

With 8K you might get an extra 5 minutes or might not

In 4K HQ there is a ‘dramatic impact’.

(You get an extra 10 minutes if you’re feeling lucky)

Ah oh, gotcha!

Only 10 minutes after 1 hour of photos. Quick, give it a DPReview gold medal like the R6!

Same bullshit! Slightly different numbers.

The firmware update became available for download today. I’ve not installed it. I am going to check my legal rights as a customer first. It might actually be fraud. You cannot mislead somebody into spending $4000 in this manner, ignore all their emails, do nothing to help and not compensate for the lost functionality. The only way I could feel this could get any more dishonourable is if the next firmware swaps the flashing overheating icon for a middle finger emoticon.

But who needs insulting emoticons when you have Jordan Drake?

“This update dramatically impacts the overheating” he says in the video description.


So why doesn’t it then? You stated the timings in your video and they are not dramatic at all. 5 minutes here. 10 minutes there.

Who the fuck do these social media salesmen think they are? Doling out Canon’s PR line like Marie Antoinette – “Let them eat cake!”

If you wait 1 hour with the camera you just paid 4 grand for – Marie Canon will throw you 15 minutes of further run-time instead of 10 minutes, but only if you don’t do any stills first!

Thankfully even Jordan’s own audience sees through it. One of the top liked comments on the DPReview article:

Canon is making it worse for themselves. Exactly 5 min of additional recording time, screams an artificial timed limitations put there to segment their product.  Canon may never regain the trust of many enthusiasts and influencers. This should have been the product of decade, but it’s getting mired in marketing and segmentation quagmire.

He’s right isn’t he? Not only does the extra 5 minutes via firmware prove the existence of the timer – it shows the extent of Canon’s mean spirited generosity as well.

“Excuse me bride and groom! Please can we delay the wedding to give us an extra few minutes for the ceremony!”

“I shot 60 photos of you preparing for the most important day of your life and now I have this middle finger flashing at me on the LCD”!

But it gets worse…

We now feel quadruple insulted.

First insulted by the cheeky marketing hype for a professional mirrorless 8K camera that promises the earth without a crop, comfortable on a professional video shoot.

Double insulted by the official “overheating” data released months after the initial press releases and video specs. These timings were bad enough to begin with.

Thrice dishonoured! By the discoveries of all sorts of smoking guns which reveal an artificial timer. 51 minutes of 8K recording within the space of 1 hour and not even hot to the touch.

As if 3 insults aren’t enough we get 4 insults for $4K. A camera industry first. Canon’s “let them eat cake” firmware update and limp social media offensive in attempt to sway the agenda, devoid of any apology or accompanying explanation.

They couldn’t even be bothered releasing any revised official timing data, instead letting social media influencers test it with wildly varying results that none of them can agree a consensus on. How are pros meant to make any sense of it?

Canon and their reviewer friends are still making claims about temperature. That’s all you need to know here.

EOSHD test of the new firmware

I really do have to think carefully about this.

I said earlier that we get 4 insults for our $4K but it’s actually 5. The firmware file encryption has been changed to make it extra difficult for Magic Lantern to take a peek inside.

So unless I can confirm that it’s possible to roll back to the old firmware if necessary, I won’t be touching it with a barge poll.

Why I think this is bad business

Nobody seems to be listening to stores or rental. I have spoken to quite a lot, some of them experienced people in their sector. Aside from ongoing stock shortages and a lack of shipments, they worry the appeal of this camera has been reduced significantly for pros interested in the video features and to what exact degree this will impact sales and rentals in the future we don’t know – but even more troubling is the question mark it casts over Canon’s ability to deliver reliability – it is being questioned by everybody, even stills shooters.

Photographers in fact hold the key to Canon overturning this and doing the honourable thing.

They are the majority audience for this camera and if they realise that dishonourable behaviour going on at Canon, it tarnishes the brand. They may also question why they are paying $4K for the R5 and another $4K on new lenses when all the fancy added video features Canon use to justify the high price don’t actually work properly.

Retailers and rental houses are the ones who will have to deal directly with disgruntled customers. If somebody rents an EOS R5 expecting to use it like a normal camera for mixed stills and video work after paying a day rate for it, and the camera lets them down because they had selected the best video quality settings – who do you think is going to have to be the one handing out refunds? Not Canon.

If a customer buys the camera based on it being a “power house” on the specs sheet, but realises it has a dirty little secret – who does Canon think will be the one offering the refund? Who will be the one picking up the tab on overheads such as warranty issues and customer support?

(It is worth reading the small print of your EOS R5 warranty. Does the faulty video behaviour count as a reason to send it back to Canon under warranty?)

The unintended consequences of market segmentation

When a customer gets confused as to why the 8K and 4K HQ video modes don’t work after just 60 stills or an hour of up-time in live-view, who does Canon think will be the ones first in line to support that customer?

If there remains a lack of official fix, will enterprising users be tempted to use risky workarounds that might damage the camera, to unlock better run-times?

Will support staff even be able to suggest a workaround if it involves jamming a screw in the battery door sensor and corrupting the previous video clip?

Call it the “unintended consequences of market segmentation”.

Call it what you will. Lesson one – if you are going to do market segmentation, do it honourably. Don’t lie. Don’t trump up an overheating issue and make it the scapegoat for an artificial timer.

Lesson two. I am sure in Japan at Canon there are people much cleverer than I, who have worked out all the figures and sales projections (even during a global pandemic), as far as the benefit this bullshit brings to the sales of Cinema EOS camcorders, past, present or future. All I can say, is it better be worth it.

Cinema EOS is the pet project of those at the very top of Canon USA. They even paid for Scorsese at the launch. There is such pride in it, a massive vanity project if it wasn’t so successful. But it’s still a comparative niche.

Coppola with Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese in New York

Does Canon really want to risk throwing EOS mirrorless and DSLRs under the bus for the sake of a few extra RF mount C100 sales in 2021?

What gives the Cinema EOS division such clout is that their products have such high margins and an impact on EF lens sales (and soon they hope RF). A new market has opened up for the company in filmmaking and TV production with Cinema EOS.

But they must be completely blinkered by it to think that kneecapping the EOS R5 makes sense.

It is so dubious and wrong-headed! Anybody can see that. Why are they even bothering to market the EOS R5 as a B-cam on a C300 Mark III shoot when it isn’t even fit for the purpose? Numerous C200 and C300 users were looking to get one to compliment the larger cameras. Not any more!

Having a highly capable EOS R5 doesn’t reduce a filmmaker’s appetite for the upcoming RF mount pro camcorders from Canon. In fact the EOS R and EOS R5 are their gateway into buying the lenses in the first place.

We interrupt this message.

There is a claim from a man who calls himself a trusted journalist.

A very trusted journalist, who has spent the best part of 2 weeks refusing to acknowledge anybody else’s EOS R5 research. After all the hard work from early adopters and developers, the cheek of it is that these so-called social media “influencers” are still pushing the concept of “overheating” at all. After all we know about timers, battery card door sensors, 1 hour of 8K recording, Android apps, inhibitor alerts, even 60 photos in a fridge and these cretins have the temerity not to acknowledge any of it and trot out a Canon “overheating” PR line…

How’s that overheating PR line working for you by the way, Canon? Going well?

Wouldn’t it had just been better to call it market segmentation?!

I believe that ARM based processors (DIGIC X in EOS R5) have built in thermal throttling and protection, but the fact that my camera runs 1 hour and counting in 8K almost non-stop with the Magic Screw shows what nonsense we’re being sold by the firmware.

So apparently a PC fan is the solution Gordon recommends to bolt onto the back of your camera during a professional shoot?

Give me a break.

Call it the Tilta Cage Bolt-on Work-around Firmware-update? What is going on here I just can’t even begin to comprehend. Are Tilta the new Atomos?

“Dear firmware team, we have a very important request! A well know Chinese cage manufacturer wants to add a fan to the back of our faulty overheating camera. Please accommodate their requests!”

Maybe now, if you have a Tilta fan or a bag of ice handy on a shoot, the camera might do a more convincing job of acting cooler.


With Magic Lantern blocked by new encryption (again), recovery times that are still extremely long and photography shooting or even idling in live view still counting against the ticking clock on a critical shoot – using the EOS R5 feels needlessly unpredictable and stressful, and borderline unethical.

The biggest problem are not the continuous running timers but the recovery timers. They expect you to down tools for 1 hour just to go an extra 5 minutes?

That’s how tough this upsell is.

Buy the $11,000 C300 Mark III or we will make it absolutely sure you won’t get through a professional video shoot with your $4000 camera.

It’s almost as if Canon are updating the firmware to reduce the chance that a class action lawsuit will succeed. It’s possible a lower temperature might now reset or pause the timer. If only Magic Lantern could take a look at both firmwares and compare what’s changed.

I feel Canon have made the wrong call and continue to do so.

Those responsible are covered in dishonour.

None of them have apologised or owned up to whatever their plan is for this camera.