From 4K to 6K, now comes 8K - modern cameras are filming in ever higher resolutions, which not only puts a strain on memory requirements, but also increasingly presents manufacturers with the difficulty of providing sufficient cooling to prevent the devices from overheating. The larger the sensor and the smaller the camera, the more acute the problem, which can of course be effectively solved by active cooling via a fan, for example. But a fan needs space and can be more or less noisy, both of which are again disadvantageous.
Canon R5 without active cooling
Canon R5 C with active cooling
This issue is very clearly demonstrated by the Canon R5, which was the first 8K-capable DSLM to hit the market in 2020. On the one hand, this was a small sensation, but on the other hand, due to a lack of adequate cooling, it became so hot when filming in 8K that initially only shorter clips could be recorded with it. Although some firmware updates improved the behavior, the issue was not resolved until release of the video-optimized R5 C - among other things, it has an active cooling system, which can also be quickly recognized from the outside: it has a side ventilation slot on the housing, which is thus about 2 centimeters deeper than on the R5.
So if Canon is looking for new ways to cool the camera other than heat-dissipating materials and fans, this is not surprising. Judging by a patent application now published in August and spotted by Northlight Images, Canon also seems to be considering an approach using cooling fluid in the process, which to our knowledge has not yet been attempted in cameras.
Sketch from patent application
In the application, sketches show how a conduit circuit runs inside the camera from the sensor area to the handle. The fluid is supposed to be moved by magnetic fields and gravity, absorbing heat from the sensor and carrying it away to be cooled elsewhere.
Water-cooled solutions already exist for PCs, but even in these systems the heat is conducted to the outside at one point, because it has to go somewhere - even in a camera, it won't just dissipate on its own. We also wonder how the power consumption would turn out with such cooling. We are curious to see if this system will actually be implemented.
By the way, here is our field test of the Canon R5 C.