Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside EU!

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions
Robbster
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Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside EU!
May 1, 2012

To those of us who utilize and value the video capability of our cameras in addition to the still image capabilities, let me know what you think about this issue. (To those who do not care about video, we don't really need to hear from you pontificating on a capability you don't value or use, though I suspect a few of you won't be able to resist :-))

The issue : I've noticed a recent and disturbing trend among manufacturers to limit video record times in some or all modes to less than 30 minutes for models around the globe, not just those sold in the EU . Witness the Oly OMD EM5, the Panasonic FZ-150, the Sony DSC-HX30V and many others I've recently researched.

I use digital cameras both professionally and personally, for both video and stills, and OFTEN need longer record times than 30 minutes. While there are models without this limitation, many of the newer models that I am interested in potentially using are now non-starters because of this limitation.

My message back to the manufacturers is this, please allow US, the camera OWNERS, to decide how long our video should be, based on our personal NEEDS . Limit in the EU for tax reasons, fine (though I sympathize with my EU colleagues and don't wish such a limit on anyone), but to hold the whole rest of the world to the same arbitrary limit is unacceptable. Let us run the battery down and fill the card if we so choose.

Video freedom for all (or at least, for all of us who care about video :-)).

What to other video users think?
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jon404
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Are there any mechanical problems, like overheating the storage chip? If not, then why not?

As a non-video guy, but someone who likes film, could you tell me a situation where you would want to record more than 30 minutes continuously? I thought you guys shot different scenes, at much shorter lengths, and then edited them together...

No reply needed if I'm off-topic here. But I'm curious!

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Robbster
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to jon404, May 1, 2012

Sure, happy to clarify. My professional use is for research, not entertainment. Many research sessions in my case are 1-2 hours in length. We index the video in real time as well with separate software, so timecode breaks need to be avoided to keep the integrity of the index to the recorded video.

On a personal level, it's more rare that I want a longer video segment than 30 minutes, but does occasionally happen.

Regarding genuine technical limitations, I'm fine dealing with these as real limits to recording time for any individual camera, but I don't think that is the problem for MOST cameras today, rather, I believe the EU "limits" are been globally exported by the manufacturers for some reason (perhaps manufacturing simplicity), and just feel it is important to speak out as a customer.

Hope this helps.

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Footski
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to jon404, May 1, 2012

I can only assume that if you want to shoot continuously for that length of time, you are doing some sort of specialist video work. If this is the case, surely a specialist camera is the way to go. For most of us 30 minutes is way too long. I did shoot video professionally for a while back in the 90's...and never needed such a time.

Maybe you can tell us what type of video you use the camera for?

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Robbster
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Footski, May 1, 2012

Research is primary professional video need, as mentioned in previous post.

The issue with pro video gear is cost and complexity. We need to keep the researchers focused on the research, and so the more simple, familiar and reliable the gear is, the better, hence interest in using the video capability of digital cameras vs. pro video gear.

Of course, there are many levels of non-pro video gear as well, and we do of course use these, but research is sometimes done as ethnographic in situ, so low light performance is a requirement, and most modern digicams are way better in low light than comparably priced video cameras. The surge in professional entertainment use of larger sensor digital cameras for video is an example of this advantage, as well as of course depth of field control.

Finally, we do both still and video in our research, and the combined quality of stills + video tends to be much better from digital cameras vs. camcorders of similar prices.

On the personal front, what about the school play, etc.? Who wants these important personal moments limited to 30 minutes or less recording with the hassle of restarting recording and missing the continuity of the event? Not I.

Hope that clarifies a bit.
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jon404
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

You're right -- I just looked up the Nikon D4S and D3200, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. 29.59! Strange! And again, why not? Should be able to record to the limit of the card, and plug in an extra battery if need be.

I would contact Nikon, there is probably a professional-services branch, and tell them you'll buy a shiny new D4S or D800 if they can do a software hack and reset the video time limit to, say, three hours.

If there are any Nikon pros reading this, who do you contact for help with special needs?

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GodSpeaks
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In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Robbster wrote:

What to other video users think?

Add NEX-7 to your list of cameras.

In addition to not limiting video recording times (outside the EU), how about making all video modes available in all cameras (ie: 24/25/30/50/60 i or p as applicable).

AND give us the highest bitrates the camera can handle in all modes too.

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GodSpeaks
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to jon404, May 1, 2012

jon404 wrote:

As a non-video guy, but someone who likes film, could you tell me a situation where you would want to record more than 30 minutes continuously?

Events, meetings, concerts, etc., etc., etc.

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Deleted1929
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Limit in the EU for tax reasons

Tax my backside. It's because corrupt idiots run the EU.

There's no logical reason for that tax except that it suits people with a vested interest in keeping the market structured that way.

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steephill
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File size problem
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Current camera storage cards use the FAT32 file system which limits the maximum file size to 4GB-1byte. You won't get anywhere near 30 minutes using HD resolution as the file size limit will kick in well before that. You would have to lower resolution and increase compression a long way to come up against the time limit rather than the file size limit.

More efficient video formats obviously give greater headroom within this file size limit.

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Bruce Chastain xx
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Agreed. With my Canon S100, I hit the limit pretty quickly. Due to the FAT32 4GB file size limitation at 1080p/24, the camera hits the maximum file size in just 16 minutes.

I can't think of a single reason why Canon doesn't just close the current file and start a new one every 16 minutes. Even if there was a minor gap, it's still better than I can do mashing the record button myself every 16 minutes.

The camera should be able to run until the card is full or the battery dead. In the case of the S100, the battery lasts in the neighborhood of 1 hour of 1080p/24.

Canon can be sure I will be looking for continuous record in my next camera.

Bruce.

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nelsonal
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

The reason is to avoid a fairly high tariff the US places on camcorders (able to record for 30min) vs cameras. The source of your problem isn't the manufacturer, it's Congress.

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Bruce Chastain xx
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to nelsonal, May 1, 2012

The S100 is limited by file size to 16 minutes, not 30.

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DuaneV
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

There are plenty of digital video cameras out there that can shoot longer than 30 minutes. Mine will shoot til the card is full, so depending on the size you can get up to 4 hours of continuous video of 1080p @ 30fps, and thats with a 16g card. I can put a 32 in it.

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Cy Cheze
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Clips > 30 minutes need A/C power and sensor cooling anyway.
In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

A camera that shoots single video clips longer than 30 minutes is called a videocam. Consider the HF G10, TM 900, or NEX VG20. All have A/C current adapters and can shoot extended video without overheating. Files larger than 2GB must be split, though.

Most digicams' batteries poop out in less than 30 minutes when shooting video. Large sensors are apt to overheat. Files above a certain size can't be transferred between drives using older formats.

Very few symphonies last 30 minutes. Most works have breaks or pauses between movements. Sporting events have plenty of time outs. A speech or sermon that lasts 30 minutes will drive most of the audience to sleep or the exit doors.

When it comes time to edit, one has to break up long clips and toss out lots of stuff anyway.

Very little "professional" video of events or performances rely on a single camera that shoots one long clip. If you need an "A" cam that serves the central role, and is always in focus and always has the primary audio, let that be a real videocam. Shoot the fancy or other angle shots, in shorter clips, with other devices. Blend them when editing.

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linuxworks
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to Bruce Chastain xx, May 1, 2012

simple solution to the 'file too big' pseudo-problem.

yes, its not a real problem. why?

auto file rollover.

duh!

as a file nears max size, a new one is open (in buffer space) and used while the old file is closed. file0001.avi followed by file0002.avi. concatenate them and you get the total duration of the two.

anyone who argues this is 'hard' is buying the BS from the camera companies. its not hard and its near trivial in hardware.

they don't do this BECAUSE THERE IS MONEY IN VIDEO CAMS.

don't argue about tech reasons. that's pure bull and can easily be worked around. EASILY.

they stop at a half hour because of money.

period.

good luck changing the minds of the greedy marketing guys.

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tko
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In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

But I doubt that the manufacturers really care what professional researchers who are too poor to buy real equipment need. I'm sure there are dozens of features that would be useful to you, but if it's not mass market, who cares?

So why not buy a real video camera? You toss about words like professional and research w/o telling us what that really entails. A useful post would contain examples, what you are doing, the technical reasons why, something interesting besides a rant.

What research are you doing that requires you to use the wrong tool for the job? And what possible personal video needs to go past 30 minutes non-stop? Even the pros don't go for 30 minutes. Mostly likely much shorter.

The only reason I've even seen posted for a longer than 30 minute video is when someone wanted to put a camera on a tripod and film a kid's soccer match unattended. Okaaaay. So, please tell us why a $500 HD video recorder won't do what you want.

It's hardly a disturbing trend when the bulk of users don't really care or need this feature.

Robbster wrote:

To those of us who utilize and value the video capability of our cameras in addition to the still image capabilities, let me know what you think about this issue. (To those who do not care about video, we don't really need to hear from you pontificating on a capability you don't value or use, though I suspect a few of you won't be able to resist :-))

The issue : I've noticed a recent and disturbing trend among manufacturers to limit video record times in some or all modes to less than 30 minutes for models around the globe, not just those sold in the EU . Witness the Oly OMD EM5, the Panasonic FZ-150, the Sony DSC-HX30V and many others I've recently researched.

I use digital cameras both professionally and personally, for both video and stills, and OFTEN need longer record times than 30 minutes. While there are models without this limitation, many of the newer models that I am interested in potentially using are now non-starters because of this limitation.

My message back to the manufacturers is this, please allow US, the camera OWNERS, to decide how long our video should be, based on our personal NEEDS . Limit in the EU for tax reasons, fine (though I sympathize with my EU colleagues and don't wish such a limit on anyone), but to hold the whole rest of the world to the same arbitrary limit is unacceptable. Let us run the battery down and fill the card if we so choose.

Video freedom for all (or at least, for all of us who care about video :-)).

What to other video users think?
--
Create the future or live someone else's. Choose wisely!

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Joseph S Wisniewski
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In reply to steephill, May 1, 2012

steephill wrote:

Current camera storage cards use the FAT32 file system which limits the maximum file size to 4GB-1byte. You won't get anywhere near 30 minutes using HD resolution as the file size limit will kick in well before that. You would have to lower resolution and increase compression a long way to come up against the time limit rather than the file size limit.

More efficient video formats obviously give greater headroom within this file size limit.

There are cameras that quite happily start a new file when the old file is full, without skipping a frame.

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Joseph S Wisniewski
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In reply to Robbster, May 1, 2012

Robbster wrote:

My message back to the manufacturers is this, please allow US, the camera OWNERS, to decide how long our video should be, based on our personal NEEDS . Limit in the EU for tax reasons, fine (though I sympathize with my EU colleagues and don't wish such a limit on anyone), but to hold the whole rest of the world to the same arbitrary limit is unacceptable. Let us run the battery down and fill the card if we so choose.

Video freedom for all (or at least, for all of us who care about video :-)).

What to other video users think?

I think it's never going to happen, for one simple reason.

Right now, there's nothing, at all, keeping you from installing US firmware on an EU camera, and circumventing the limits. In order to enforce what you describe, there'd have to be a "lockout" system, so cameras loaded with EU firmware could never accept anything other than signed EU firmware, ever again.

There'd have to be additional part numbers, packaging, manuals, etc. for the EU path cameras, too.

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Bruce Chastain xx
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Re: Manufacturers - stop limiting video to < 30 minutes for rest of globe outside
In reply to linuxworks, May 1, 2012

I agree that the 16 minute limit would be trivial for Canon to fix, even if they still decide to arbitrarily limit the total to 30 minutes.

Bruce.

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