4GB file limit on SDHC cards

Started Mar 12, 2010 | Discussions thread
podman32 Regular Member • Posts: 105
Re: 4GB file limit on SDHC cards

dmikester1 wrote:

We just got a Canon SX20 and absolutely love it. Especially the huge zoom and HD video recording. But the 4GB file size limit on SDHC cards is really annoying. It sounds like actual video cameras will not stop recording but will break the file up into 4GB chunks while its still recording. Anyone know of a fix for this on the SX20?
Thanks
Mike

Well, there is no fix at the moment, but there are a couple of issues here.

1. As mentioned there is a file size limit imposed by the file system on SDHC cards. It uses FAT32 which has a max file size of 4 GB.

2. The second issue is the max recording time limit imposed by Canon of 29 minutes and 59 seconds per clip. So even if you could record files over 4 GB the camera would stop recording after 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

The first issue could be fixed by Canon in one of two ways. First is to use a new file system (for example the newer SDXC cards supported on the latest generation of cameras not only support cards larger than 32 GB they use a different file system called exFAT which removes the 4 GB file size limit). The second way is to have the camera record video using mulitiple files. So when it reaches 4 GB, the camera starts recording to a second file seemlessly. This is the approach Panasonic takes on some of their cameras like the FZ35.

HOWEVER, the second issue/problem is the bigger one. I think the recording time limit of 29 minutes and 59 seconds is a legal issue of some sort. I mentioned before that Panasonic allows unlimited recording time on the FZ35. HOWEVER, Panasonic doesn't sell the FZ35 in Europe, but rather sells the nearly identical FZ38. The only difference is that the FZ38 doesn't have unlimited recording time but limits the max recording time to 29 minutes and 59 seconds like the Canons! My guess is that there is some sort of legal issue or restriction in Europe and posssibly elsewhere that doesn't allow longer recording times for HD on digital cameras. Canon unlike Panasonic just limits all their cameras rather than making two models, with one for Europe and one for the rest of the world. So if this is the case, it is unlikely that Canon will ever produce a PowerShot model capable of recording HD video clips longer than 30 minutes.

So in short, there is no fix to these limits on the SX20 and it is unlikely to change with future Canon PowerShot models. Of course this is just my opinion. Hopefully, Canon will offer something better in the future.

-Chris

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