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Sony Alpha a7s: Full HD Recording in XAVC and 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI.


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Old October 24th, 2015, 01:00 PM   #1
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A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Yes, I LOVE this A7s-II. This is NOT a slam on this wonderful camera......but!

I started heat testing the other day. So far, I have discovered some a VERY consistent and odd results across all my tests. I'm not sure yet what to think about this and I really hope others can run these same tests on their A7s-II's

Conditions:
Internal UHD recording at 30p, 100Mbp/s
Steadyshot ON
Using S-LOG3
Indoor air conditioned studio
Camera on tripod with no movement.
MONITOR EXTENDED AWAY FROM BODY


Results:

TEST 1
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
immediate re-start
Recording 2 04:05 (fail)

TEST 2
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
immediate re-start
Recording 2 04:05 (fail)

TEST 3
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
immediate re-start
Recording 2 04:05 (fail)

TEST 4
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
10min idle "pause" (camera still powered on)
Recording 2 04:05 (fail)

TEST 5
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
Battery swap = 12 seconds powered down and camera restart
Recording 2 4:05 (fail)

Dozens upon dozens of temperature readings from an infrared scan of the back camera body behind the screen read 107-112 degrees Fahrenheit. (This location is reasonably close to the sensor inside) These same readings were taken at the start, during and the end of every recording. The temp was very consistent at all stages of recording,...even at the moment of camera shutdown. (107-112 degrees)

Do you see what I see? My A7s-II is producing a VERY curious record+shutdown pattern. The first 29minute file ALWAYS completes perfectly. The subsequent second recording ALWAYS shuts down EXACTLY at the 4 min and 5 second mark. (this is literally to the EXACT same second on all the failed recordings) This happens even though the temperature is the SAME as it was in all of the successful first 29:50 min recordings !!!!!

Conspiracy theory?
God, I hate to go here with this and I'm sure this will upset many people on this forum. But here goes.....

DID THESE RECORDINGS FAIL BECAUSE OF A TRUE "HEAT" PROBLEM. OR, DID THEY FAIL BECAUSE THEY REACHED A "TIME" CODED SOFTWARE "STOP" COMMAND?

There,...I said it. I'm sure people will scream out "You are crazy,..that's impossible...Sony would NEVER do that!"

I don't know!!! Test results are test results and not my opinion.

I need your HELP! If you have an A7s-II. Can you please try several similar recording tests? Just write down the stop times and let's see if your camera does what mine is doing. The second file 4:05 number is the crucial one. "IF" everybody's second file is shutting down at EXACTLY 4:05 than this is CERTAINLY NOT a "heat" problem.

We can point fingers only after we get more results! (I'm NOT saying anything until we see more numbers come in on other A7s-II owners)

Something weird is going on! Very interesting folks!

New Data:

I did 3 more tests. Rather than place the camera on "pause". I did a 60 second power down. This seems to reset the cameras "stop timer". Restarting another 29:50 minute recording worked fine after that. Temp readings were no different than any other successful or other failed recordings.

It seems that Sony is demanding a full shut down in between recordings regardless of the camera's actual temperature.

Given what I have seen so far with my camera? I'm really starting to believe that this is not a "heat problem" at all. It's looks to me like a Sony imposed and programmed "time" limitation.

Last edited by Cliff Totten; October 24th, 2015 at 03:04 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2015, 03:24 PM   #2
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Based on your tests, I'd say it's a "bug" of some sort. Strange one at that! I don't have an A7SII (wish I did though!), but I ran heat tests similar to yours on my RX10II, and it kept recording no problems through multiple clips (running to auto stop, immediately resuming recording).

As my coding wizard son would say, "someone left a semicolon laying about" or something similar! Probably a very simple firmware fix, once reported. Good idea to confirm it with multiple users, that would probably help them put it higher on the 1.0x or 2.0 release priority.



My first thought is to also test with another memory card or two (shouldn't be the problem, but better to eliminate it - I've seen some VERY odd malfunctions with sketchy memory cards...), second thought is to try switching between modes and seeing if that resets the "bug". Those of us that need the ability to shoot longer format programs need that stop/restart capability to work!

One other idea, just for giggles, try stopping clip #1 just a bit before it auto stops, and restart to see if it will repeat that 4:05 glitch (if it was a 4:20 glitch, I'd make a joke about the programmers smoking something!). I'm guessing that if you manually restart before the auto shutoff from clip #1, it may sail right through a subsequent clip?

Other than that, wishing I had one to test/confirm for ya! I've got enough experience with all sorts of malfunctioning "toys" that at least I can suggest a couple things to try!

I'd rank this as a bug or glitch, seriously doubt that it's a "feature", intended or otherwise!
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Old October 24th, 2015, 03:27 PM   #3
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

What happens after your second restart when it shuts down 04:05 and if you re-start again? Does it then continue to go the full 29 minutes again?
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Old October 26th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Cliff,

Thx for the test. I just got mine. I am going to test it out. I will report back with my findings.
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Old October 26th, 2015, 08:19 PM   #5
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Conditions:
4k XAVCS at 23.98fps (100Mbps)
Steadyshot ON and OFF
Mixture of: Tripod and hand held
Picture Profile: Off
Indoor, ~70F

1st test:
Recording 1 29:50 (success)
Battery swap, powered down and camera restart
Recording 2 29:50 (success)
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Old October 27th, 2015, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Keep us all posted on this one - I'm thinking of selling my A7s for A7sII but not if it does this - for weddings mine pretty much is on all day and records over one hour ceremony and over one hour speeches with just the briefest stop/start halfway through - never had an issue but if the mark 2 has overheating issues it would be too risky a purchase and I would setter clear
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Old October 27th, 2015, 07:36 AM   #7
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
never had an issue but if the mark 2 has overheating issues it would be too risky a purchase and I would setter clear
You are recording long wedding takes in 4K with the A7S Mark I?
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Old October 27th, 2015, 08:19 AM   #8
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

While recording 1080P120 with a battery change every 29 minutes I got about 1 hour 15 minutes before shut down for over heating.
While charging thru the USB port I only got about 40 minutes before overheating.
While shooting 4k to an external recorder and using a dummy battery I got over 1 hour and 20 minutes without over heating.

More testing next Friday, I expect to go over 3 hours continuous like I do with my A7s, because the dummy battery runs cooler and external recording uses less processing than internal thus generating less heat.
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Old October 27th, 2015, 12:03 PM   #9
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Huff View Post
You are recording long wedding takes in 4K with the A7S Mark I?
No - 1080 50p internal battery
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Old October 29th, 2015, 04:01 AM   #10
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Martin View Post
While recording 1080P120 with a battery change every 29 minutes I got about 1 hour 15 minutes before shut down for over heating.
While charging thru the USB port I only got about 40 minutes before overheating.
While shooting 4k to an external recorder and using a dummy battery I got over 1 hour and 20 minutes without over heating.

More testing next Friday, I expect to go over 3 hours continuous like I do with my A7s, because the dummy battery runs cooler and external recording uses less processing than internal thus generating less heat.
So what you are saying, is that there is NO WAY of keeping an A7sII powered on in 4K mode for over 1 hour 20 minutes, regardless of whether you are recording or not? :-\

I just discovered while doing a live TV broadcast that the A7sII LCD and EVF TURN OFF when you press record when using HDMI out.......that is fun to have happen during alive shot!

Paul
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Old October 29th, 2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Anderegg View Post
I just discovered while doing a live TV broadcast that the A7sII LCD and EVF TURN OFF when you press record when using HDMI out.......that is fun to have happen during alive shot!

Paul
Welcome to the world of DSLRs, where there are tons of artificial limits put in for no reason.

For a live streaming ENG setup, I'd recommend an Alphatron EVF inbetween your A7S and the Teradek Cube if this is the case.
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Old November 4th, 2015, 02:13 PM   #12
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

My A7S II does not do this. Just checked it, could record internally 3 x 29:50min PAL 100MBit/sec. in a row at 18-19C indoors, without turning off cam or battery change. Just record to 29:50 and immediatly press record again. I had lots and early overheating issues with A7R II. The A7S II behaves much, much better regarding that.

At former tests I experienced this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by A7s_user View Post
I did an overheating test - and to make it short: it succeeded. The cam felt exactly as warm at the back as the A7R II while 4K recording, but it did not shut down. I could record more than 3 hours in a row, so 6x times recording 29:50 (thought it would be 29:59, but it's not) and +15 minutes after, and it did not shut down. It even did not show me a temp warning at any time.

The only things I did to prevent overheating:
  • fold LCD fully open
  • turn off cam after every 29:50, immediatly change battery to a fresh one, turn camera on again. This took less than 1 minute

I was indoors, room temperature 18C at the beginning, 20C at the end. Cam was on tripod.
Cams back was at the end 35C warm, but not hot. Closing LCD did increase temp. immediatly. I would assume, that 2-3 more degrees could shut cam down soon. But is much better than my A7RII with early FW. Probably they just increased the temp limits in FW ;)

Settings were:
  • IBIS 8mm on
  • noise reduction low
  • 4K 25p 100Mbit
  • PP Cine on
  • manual video mode, 1/50
  • foreign lense, so no AF or similar
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Old November 7th, 2015, 02:50 AM   #13
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

I would like to add that I got my A7s-II yesterday and was kind of distressed to hear about the possible overheating problems as I intend to use this for interviews and such were I'm on continuously. I remember the Canon 7D days and really don't want to go back to that.

So today I ran a test, here are the results:

I aimed the A7s-II at a Macbook Pro with a complex animated screensaver to tax the codec. Had a Commlite EF-E adapter with Canon 24-105 with IS and autofocus on and IBIS on 4K, room temp 68 degrees, LCD closed, strategy was to immediately restart after 27-30 minutes of recording

Run 1 - OK
Run 2 - OK - noticed unit was warm
Run 3 - -OK Changed battery at start - noticed unit warm- run until it shut off at 30min
Run 4 - Rested a couple minutes, then ran until 28 minutes - was not there to stop it before it turned off at 30 min but looked at the footage later and seemed ok, running to 30 min or so
Run 5 - Had to take a break so after cooling off for 1 hour, new battery -OK (29 min)
Run 6 - OK but ran out of card memory at 11 min
Run 7 - OK after shutting off after 30 min
Run 8 - OK after 30 min

So I have to say that I really taxed it and never got it to overheat. Not to say under some conditions it wouldn't overheat, I may set up a test where I put it on a vibrating platform and also point a hairdryer on it and wrap it in insulation.... but - I'm actually quite relieved that my particular unit seems to be ok for now.

I'll be discussion my A7s-II as well as a multitude of other things on my podcast called TechMove, TechMove is the Podcast all about Digital Filmmaking, Gear, Mac Computers, and iOS Devices from a Unique Perspective!, please check it out!

Regards,

-Keith

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Old November 8th, 2015, 04:05 PM   #14
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Were you in 4K?

I just did 4 back to back 30 min recordings with no power down in between files. (only "stop" and "start")

This was in 1080, not in 4k. Sony seems to be OK with you doing this in 1080 but they don't allow this to happen in 4K without a full power down and boot up in between files.

in 4k and on USB power, I need to always separate the 30 min files with a full shut down, 1 minute wait and boot up again to get a second or third successful 30min recording.

If you are using an external recorder via HDMI, you of course can do long continuous event recordings with no issues.
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Old November 8th, 2015, 04:32 PM   #15
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Re: A7s-II Overheating "PATTERNS"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus Klatt View Post
My A7S II does not do this. Just checked it, could record internally 3 x 29:50min PAL 100MBit/sec. in a row at 18-19C indoors, without turning off cam or battery change. Just record to 29:50 and immediatly press record again. I had lots and early overheating issues with A7R II. The A7S II behaves much, much better regarding that.
I was in 4K/100Mbit and could record 3 times in a row, without shutdown and/or battery change..
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