Photo of Sony camera is public domain and was found on https://www.maxpixel.net/photo-4835508.
Imagine you’re in your favorite place, a forest, a sporting event, a national park, you name it. You’re taking a video to capture the memory, or maybe your simply shooting a large number of photos per minute. All of a sudden your camera goes black and an error message appears “Camera Overheating. Allow it to cool.” No matter what you click, nothing will make the message go away. After ten seconds your camera shuts down. What caused this error and how can you prevent it?
The camera overheating error happens when your camera’s internal temperature is too high for it to continue functioning. After five to ten seconds upon receiving this error, your camera is forcibly shut off. This can be prevented by simply taking a break from shooting every once in a while, and not storing your camera in direct sunlight.
The number one cause of the camera overheating error is continuous shooting or continuous videoing for long periods of time. According to Sony, most cameras aren’t designed to take non-stop video and will overheat in upwards of 29 minutes and 50 seconds. If you want to record video for long periods of time, get a camera specifically designed for that purpose. Otherwise, the videoing will cause your camera to heat up faster than it can cool down, forcing it to cool down all at once by shutting off. But don’t only be cautious when videoing, the same thing can be said for continuous shooting. To solve this problem, you need to take a break in between videos and photos every once in a while. You may need to take fewer breaks by simply letting your camera overheat, but using this method, you don’t get to choose when the breaks occur. The error could pop while the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen appears and you can’t take a photo of it because you didn’t take any breaks.
Hot Temperature/Direct Sunlight
This is obvious but the ambient temperature will increase the frequency of you experiencing the overheating error. The standard for DSLR temperature ranges is around 0°C to 40°C or 32°F to 104°F. If you live in a hot climate, before you go outside, check the temperature. If on the hotter side, take breaks as mentioned previously more often. If it’s on the cooler side, you may not need to as frequently. You should also never store your camera in direct sunlight, this will heat it up much faster than just using it like normal. Don’t leave it in a car either as this will have the same effect. On a particularly sunny day, make sure to put your camera inside the bag and close it, rather than leaving it open to the sun. You can even use an umbrella, anything works really.
Long Exposure Time and High ISO
According to some sources, a long exposure time and high ISO can also overheat your camera. I don’t think it’s that much of a problem but if it’s a very hot day, I would recommend shooting at lower ISOs and shorter shutter speeds. That’s not to say that this will prevent your camera from overheating, but it may slow the speed at which the overheating occurs. Also, you can supplement the reduction in ISO and shutter speed by using more aperture. If you are new to photography and have only shot on automatic shooting mode up until this point. Don’t worry, on most cameras, you can change your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO by switching into manual mode. This will vary by brand, but once in manual mode, there is a way to set each setting individually without your camera automatically changing the others. In summary, set a lower shutter speed and ISO, compensate with a faster aperture.
In the Sony family of cameras, there is an option called Super SteadyShot. It’s known as image stabilization on a Nikon camera. There is no such option on a Canon camera. So if you have a Canon camera you can skip this step. Essentially, what these options do is reduce motion blur through internal post-processing in the camera. The motion sensors inside the camera detect if your hands shake, then your camera compensates for the expected blur. This is nice when you have a higher shutter speed or videoing as you are susceptible to blur. However, given that we have already reduced our shutter speed in the last step, this is unnecessary for our photos and the option puts an extra strain on our cameras. This extra strain is also a major cause of overheating, so you should keep this option off permanently until you actually need it.
Weak Memory Card or Battery
Sometimes, the case is rooted in a faulty memory card or faulty battery. Each time you get the camera overheating message, check if your battery is the hottest part of your camera, because if so you should get a replacement right away. It’s very unlikely but a faulty battery could start a fire or explosion. So getting a new one will make you safer and fix your overheating problem. An issue with your memory card is not as urgent, if your memory card is slow, it takes longer to load photos onto it, heating it up slightly. You can try a new memory card but this is probably one of the least likely factors when it comes to why your camera is overheating.
Andrew-lazarev.com theorizes that your camera isn’t overheating at all, or it’s overheating on purpose, and they make a pretty good case. The reason Sony would do this is to promote more expensive cameras. On their website, it says that normal cameras aren’t made for nonstop videoing and you must buy a Sony video camera if you want that. However, as mentioned in Andrew Lazarev’s article, objects don’t cool down instantly, and yet if you turn your camera off and on again, the overheating message vanishes for yet another 40 minutes. Also, some of the more expensive cameras have an option deep in the settings called “Do not turn off the camera by overheating.” It does give you a warning about danger, but if the overheating was so urgent that it required your camera to shut down, then they wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) have created this option at all.