Does the Sony a7s II Overheat? I Put the Camera to the Test

November 1, 201510 Comments

When the a7r II came out News Shooter Editor Dan Chung took the camera out to shoot a mini-doc and during the production the camera overheated. Since then we all wondered if the a7s II would as well so I did a little test to see if it does and here is the results.

a7s II heat test_thermomitor_

It was warm day and in the shade it was 89 degrees but dry. No humidity really. Set up the Sony a7s II on a tripod and started to record . The camera got warm to the touch but not uncomfortably so.

I was able to record for the full 29:59 before the camera stopped recording due to the record length restriction. I then started a new recording right after.

a7s II heat test_Overheat Warning temp_

After twelve minutes the little temp icon came on and five minutes later…..

a7s II heat test_Overheat Warning

The a7s II overheated and shut down. I got forty five minutes total before it overheated. I turned the camera off then back on and tried to continue to record but after only 10 minutes the camera shutdown again. Just for kicks I repeated and again the same results. 10 minutes in the camera shutdown.

a7s II heat test_LCD lifted from body

I let the camera cool down for about 30 minutes and tried the same tests with the LCD pulled away from the body and got the same overheating results as before. For me pulling the LCD away from the body didn’t really make a difference.

What does this mean and does this make the a7s II a deal breaker? For my style of shooting it doesn’t effect me. Not really. I shoot in short bursts not long 29 minute clips. Even if I was interviewing someone It wouldn’t be for thirty minutes. I think the overheating wouldn’t get in my way. For people that do have longer takes and shoot in hot environments this could become an issue and you should consider the options like a external recorder. This was a simple test just to see if it does overheat and I didn’t test different shooting modes like turning off IBIS to see if that helps, or shooting handheld that could make the body warmer.

Finally I decided to test the original a7s for overheating and it doesn’t. I ran it until the battery gave out. Okay that doesn’t really sound like a long time 😀

Next up… Color Tests

Last week I spent a lot of very boring  time chart shooting to see if I could get the most accurate profile possible. Thats coming next but here’s a few test shots with Slog3 so you can see whats cooking. Notice the push in on Buddha? Could that be continuos AF?

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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (10)

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  1. Jared says:

    I own a Sony NEX-7 which preceded the a7s and it brothers. I actually like the image the camera gives and the lens’ I had for it are beautiful (my prime lens is anyway), but the overheating was the biggest pain in the butt. 45mins would have been a dream, 17mins was the longest I ever got (mostly about 12mins) before the thing would shut down. I was mainly shooting overseas with it and doing lots of interviews and it was a nightmare……”Sorry to stop you there, but I need to wait till the camera cools down”. So unprofessional. I vowed never to get another Sony again after that. It’s all good to say that you do short form shooting, but so did I. The problem was that it accumulative, so even if I shot for 30 seconds here or 2mins there. It would still eventually overheat and right when I needed it. So if you are shooting all day with it and leave it switched on for long periods, it will eventually overheat.

    I still have the camera and I use it as my b-camera and for b-roll as it gives me a great image. But the GH4 is miles ahead in terms of it. Never overheats, battery is amazing and it has a proper flip out screen (also a pain with the NEX-7 and the A7SII and it’s siblings have the same stupid tilt screen). The take away for me is that the overheating is an issue and while 45mins is better, it’s not good enough and seeing as in my country we don’t have the 29min restrictions of other countries, I am glad I made the switch and haven’t looked back.

  2. Tomasz says:

    Did you shoot A7s II at HD or 4K?

  3. Nigel says:

    Having used both cameras, do you think the A7sii is ANY less likely to overheat than the A7rii or do you think they are likely same in this regard?

    Thanks for the test!

  4. Sam says:

    Hi Erik,

    Thanks for doing this. Do you mind repeating the same test in Full HD and see if it overheats also? My long form recordings will be in Full HD only, not 4k so I’d like to know if it’ll work for me.


  5. marklondon says:

    Just back from shooting for 2 weeks in VERY hot countries and never had an issue with my A7sII.
    Because I only recorded in HD. In 4K it eats batteries and overheats.
    Also in 1080 you can use the little 18-105 F4 lens which is brilliant but again, only in HD.
    Having not had enough time to fully test the camera I used it as B cam only, shooting S-Log 3 in AWB.
    With the autofocus on i was able to essentially have a ‘2nd camera operator’ on all the interviews I shot (over 25 in 4 countries) that I could literally fire and forget.

    So my current verdict is that it’s a part-time internally-recording 4K camera using it as you and I use it, and a full-time HD one. And a STELLAR stills camera. I’m 60/40 on keeping it.

    I also agree with the the first commentator that the GH4, with V-LOG white balanced properly and LOTS of light, eats this camera alive in colour rendition and ease of use. Just destroys it. If Panasonic made an APS-C GH5 for $3k that was useful up to 1000iso that would be the category killer.
    While I own video cameras that cost 15-20x as much, my clients LOVE my work with the GH4.
    Money talks, you know the rest. 🙂

    • VanWeddings says:

      GH4 punches above its weight. if you know what you are doing, you can get the colors close to the highly regarded “canon look”, and in bright outdoor situations it is much superior.

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