Monday, June 8, 2009

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

Did it ever happened to you?

Lately I've been having some issues with the 5D MarkII video recording mode and would like to share with you what I have figure out to solve, at least for now, these kind of problems.

If you're having the same problems read my story and maybe it could bring you some sort of a relieve.

This has been an issue that I tried to replicate before bringing it to the blog but it seems that is very unpredictable when video recording will Freeze or Locks Up that I cannot tell exactly what is going on.

What I can say is that it happens and I have already lost 3 pieces of important film recording that are lost forever. I did some interviews during the weekend for our brandy new HardHeavy TV and while doing a small cut intro the video recording stopped at 40s and a blinking info "Busy" on the Top LCD.

I've waited more than 5 minutes for it to process since a buffer bar was showing at the back LCD but nothing happened. The shutter was still open but nothing happened. The only way to stop it was to remove both batteries from the grip and the shutter will close. Of course that the video was lost and so the recording :(

Well I formatted the card since this was the beginning of the session and I thought maybe there is something with the card, by the way I was using a 8Gb Sandisk UltraIII 30MB/s, I then started to record the interviews and everything seemed OK by that time.

The first interview went sweet with a 3m40s piece over 640x480 resolution. we did not need more resolution so all things were done on 640 format to keep the video files small.

I went around the place and did some photos of the ambiance, arena, group shots, headbangers shots and some small video pieces to fill in cuts and other stuff for post production.

I returned to the backstage for another interview and that when all the problems started. The card was maybe at half full when I started to record another interview. Everything was going smoothly then suddenly at the middle of the interview the same screen appeared and the video stopped recording... man, there was a chill on my bones and I went from red to white in a sec.

I run a simulation at home and obtained the same results. Although the Lock Up/Freeze did not occur as frequently but sometimes it happened and I think this could be disastrous if you are with a client and the camera acts weird and you loose all those important video recordings :(

Here are some of those Lock Up/Freeze photos.

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

The picture of the Frozen/Lock on the back LCD screen. You can still see the buffer on the right but I've waited so long and it never went down :(

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

And the top LCD screen.

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

You can see that the camera is switched off ;) and the screen is still available but frozen :(

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

It only unlocks if you remove the battery, in my case, both batteries from the grip.

Tip: Canon 5D MarkII - Video Locks Up/Freezing (Solution)

I run this test several times and in the end I came to the conclusion that the problem is with the Sandisk Extreme III 8GB/30s card.

I also did a quick Google search and found this thread talking about the same problem and with the same conclusions.

I run a couple of tests with some older cards like the Sandisk Ultra II 2.0GB, Sandisk Extreme III 2.0GB, Sandisk Extreme III 4.0GB and with Transcend 4GB 120x, so far, with no errors, Lock Ups or Freezes and I've continuously recorded 30 minutes with each one.

WARNING SOLUTION: If you are using your 5D MarkII for video pay attention to the Sandisk Extreme III 8GB/30s as they can bring you some ours with no sleep.

So until Canon releases another firmware to correct this for these cards I will keep my eyes on those older cards.

...and YES it has happened with older firmware and now with version 1.1.0.

If you are having these kind of problems report them on comments so people could also share your experiences.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I have the exact same scenerio. I was going to go out and search for faster, newer cards. Havent done my researcg yet.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience while syncing my 5DM2 over USB Cable. After 10 to 25 photos I almost always got the same "busy" error. I used the same 8GB Sandisk Extreme III Card you mentioned. I made a workaround to import photos from a card reader but the report about losing video is concerning. I hope this will be corrected soon. But matter of factly Canon adresses these kind of issues rarely fast enough (take a look at and you know what i mean...).
I will switch to my 4GB Extreme III Card for the moment and I hope I won't encounter any of this problem.
Btw, never got any errow while shooting stills with the same CF card.

Thanks for the well research on this issue!

Andrei said...

I had a similar problem with the same camera/8Gb extreme III card combination then I was taking RAW images, not video. The camera locked with an error code related to the camera/card communication. Half of my images was lost. I used that card on my 1Ds Mk3 for several months without any problem, so I assume it's camera/card compatibility issue.

Telmo Ferreira said...


Eu também tenho o mesmo cartão e nunca me aconteceu nada disso.

Realmente o buffer enche quando uso um Extreme III dos antigos e depois a câmara para de filmar, mas continua perfeitamente funcional.

Ainda agora mesmo experimentei o cartão de 8G: 29min em 480 e 12min em 1080 e não tive problemas.
Bem, a câmara aqueceu um pouco, mas nada que me deixa-se preocupado.

Já experimentaste filmar nas mesmas condições, mas sem o punho!?

Paul said...

I have experienced the problem 3 times with the same combination of gear, twice while taking stills in RAW and once while taking video. In both occasions I lost the data being recorded and had to take both batteries out of the grip to bring the camera back to working order.

pawdidi said...

[ the way I was using a 8Gb Sandisk UltraIII 30MB/s, I then started to record the interviews...] U mean EXTREME III not Ultra III, right?

The Unknown Blogger said...

I have the same problem. I've trace the problem to the Sandisk Extreme III 8GB 30MB/s. I have six different CF cards, and that specific Sandisk card is the only one I experience the locking problem with.

It isn't Canon's problem, it's Sandisk's.

Alexander said...

The reason why you get that crash is due to the
canon records video at 35mbps, the card is rated for
30mbps, so the card can't keep up with the camera basically, thus works fine with stills because the largest
RAW files are 25mb.

The Unknown Blogger said...

Alexander, sorry, but you are wrong. I don't know where you got that figure, but it is well known that the required transfer rate for video on the 5D Mk2 is only about 8 MB/s.

My 5 other CF cards are all rated at 133x and all work fine.

EBM said...

I have a similar problem where it only takes video for 10-14 seconds and then stops. On my Ultra II, I have no problems.

Björnström said...

I can confirm the same problem with my EOS 5D mk2 and 8GB Sandisk Extreme III. Glad to have found your post - it's been driving me crazy.

Buying a new non-Sandisk card today!

Richardharris stars said...

Hi thanks for your useful Blog. I thought I was imagining things back in January but yes this problem happens every time I use my Video facility to record on my Canon Eos 5D Mark2.Sometimes I get ten minutes into recording sometimes fifteen but always crashes just like other users describe.Something will have to be sorted here as a professional user this is not an option. Sandisk Extreme compact flash 30mb/sec 8GB. If Sandisk are reading this perhaps they can aknowledge the problem if it is indeed theirs?

Anonymous said...

I get the same thing. Very annoying.

5dmkII with new firmware and a
SanDisk Extreme III 8GB card.

Ilpo said...

5dmkII with firmware 1.0.7 and a brand new SanDisk Extreme III 16GB card.

After setting "Peripheral illumin. correct" option to "Disable" ALL STARTED WORKING AGAIN!

Peeradon said...

I got the same problem with my Brandnew 5DMkII 1.1.0 with Sandisk ExtremeIII 8GB 30MB/S

it happened both when I shot normal, medium size Jpg, and when I took the video.

Now using slow Kingston 8GB Instead and still found no problem

Nathan Clendenin said...

Dude, I totally have had the same exact issue as you describe, with the same card. Good to know! Thanks for writing such a thorough post!

cactus said...

I have the same problems with video as described.. never attributed it to the memory card. When I start reading about the problems with the SanDisk extreme III 8GB I checked what was in my 5D mk2 - the exact same card!

Just had it freeze during the launch of the Space Shuttle!! Gaaarrhg!

MY FILMS said...

I just had this problem today! But I have the highest card which is the Extreme Pro 90Mb/s So now what? I should buy more sandisk and I just got my 5D 4 days ago..

Anonymous said...

I recently had same problem, numerous times over last few shoots. Using a Delkin 16gb card - 45mb/s transfer rate. So it is not just Sandisk cards. Not sure what to do - but this is very dangerous.

Tor Erling Vassrusten said...

I've got the exact same error three times recently. 5Dmk2 firmware v1.2.4, sandisk extreme III 8Gb. Thanks for writing this post.

sranderson said...

I had the same problem after updating my firmware from 1.0 to 2.08. I was shooting a basketball game at 1920 x 1050. A mix of photos and long video clips. I didn't have this issue until upgrading to the new firmware. I could shoot until the cards were full with no issues until the new upgrade. I was using 8gig Promaster cards. Not sure of the speed, think it was 300x, so I went to my dealer and I was told the new 16gig Promasters were quicker - 420x. He didn't know the translation to mgs per second but mentioned it was the newest. I formatted the card before shooting and I had no problems. A long industrial video shoot along with a game that same night with 2 offloads and I didn't get one white square or lockup. My 2 cents - hope this helps... Scott

PSD_Wiz said...

The transfer rates of many SD card is just not fast enough for very large files this camera produces. Buy the fastest cards you can afford. Don't compromise on your media!
Lexar Professianal 400x works great for me.

Anonymous said...

i shot like 3 test videos, about one minute in total and the SD 8go freezes. My 5dmkII says "Busy" since 30 minutes. I'm starting to freak out. Is my SD card dead forever? ugh that's so annoying....

Anonymous said...

I was using a 32gig Delkin devices cf 700x and had the same problem lost a lot of video. I just reformatted the cards and updated the firmware I will keep you updated probably go shoot tonight!!!