[Firmware download links at the end of this post]
Today, Sony has quietly released new firmware updates for their flagship mirrorless cameras, the Sony a7R II and Sony a7S II. The updates seem to solve the overheating issues that many users have experienced when recording 4K video internally. We also reported this issue in our indepth review of the a7R II.
Sony did not openly state what the improvement was however. They statement in the release the pertains to the over heating issue is-
Improves 4K movie recording time when using the vertical grip (VG-C2EM) or when the APS-C/Super35mm mode is activated
Sony chose not to address the the overheating issue directly by simply stating “Improves 4K movie recording time”. That has lead to a certain amount of confusion in certain camps as many users have interpreted it as Sony extending the 29min 59sec recording limit. This is however the case, as the 29min 59sec limit is put on DSLR’s (and mirrorless cameras) to distinguish them from video cameras which attract a much higher taxation due to this.
Additionally, another statement that has caused some confusion is Sony stating that the new firmware ” improves picture quality “. It is not yet clear what this means and whether it pertains to still or video image capabilities.
YouTube user Jonathan Fuentes uploaded the following two video to demonstrate how the 4K overheating issue seems to be resolved after the firmware update.
As seen in the two videos, Jonathan was able to recored over an hour without the camera shutting down or prompting an overheating warning after updating the firmware.
It is not yet clear as to how Sony has managed to rectify the issue. In my conversations with the engineers from Sony Tokyo at the launch of this camera in New Delhi couple of months back, they told me that the cooling system of the a7R II works by providing extra space (air gap) between the inner body components of the camera and the main outer shell of the body itself, so I am very curious as to how this firmware actually works. Also, how this camera would behave with this firmware in hotter climate is yet to be seen. In the mean time however, if Sony has found a solution to this problem, full marks to them! We plan to get a a7RII body for specifically testing out this issue soon. So stay tuned for more!
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