I’ve seen some forum and blog postings about the Sony NEX-5n having an overheating issue. As you can see in the above “Overheating Test” video, it records for over 23 minutes before shutting down.
Those large CMOS sensors generate a lot of heat. And while they are great for producing bokeh-filled cinematic shots, they can’t quite replace the endless recording times of camcorders. But camcorders can’t give you the awesome bokeh you get out of the NEX-5n and its ilk (of course there are APS-C format camcorders, but they start at around $2000 and go way up from there).
I say that the overheating issue isn’t really an issue because we’re accustomed to dealing with recording time limitations on APS-C and full frame cameras that record video.
Given that Canon’s DSLRs will only record for 12 minutes due to file-size limitations, a 23 minute recording timeframe doesn’t sound too bad. If the DSLRs would record longer than 12 minutes, I suspect that the 23 minute “heat shutdown window” would be a challenge as well. I’ve also had Canon DSLRs shut down on several occasions due to overheating because of the sheer volume of shooting over a short period of time.
The Sony NEX-5n costs $700 with a lens and can record 1080p video on a Super35mm-sized image sensor. Three years ago, this was unheard of – until the Nikon D90 was introduced with 720p HD video capture and the Canon 5D Mark II brought limited 1080p video capture. Again, both faced recording time limitations.
Camera manufacturers will develop solutions for overheating on these massive CMOS image sensors in the future. However, the vast majority of people using the NEX-5n won’t be capturing 23 minutes of continuous footage with the camera anyway. There will be plenty of people who continue to complain about the overheating “problems” of the camera – and then there will be those who never think twice about it and shoot some great videos with it. Be the latter.