T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

Started May 11, 2010 | Discussions
k425 New Member • Posts: 8
T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

I am considering purchasing my first DSLR, the T2i, and I wanted some opinions from those that have used DSLRs for video. Is the T2i's 12 minute maximum video recording length a limitation that would warrant waiting for the T3i next year. Would a Canpn firmware upgrade possibly eliminate this limitation or is it hardware contrained?

I am on a "electronics" budget and can't upgrade every year or 2 so this purchase ($900) would be a rather substantial investment for me. I would mainly be using the T2i for family photos and videos. The reason I want to upgrade to a DSLR is that I am unable to reliably get indoor photos, kid photos, in focus with a variety of P&S cameras that I've had (Fuji E550, Panasonic TZ5, Panasonic ZS3, etc.) The ZS3 very good video at 720P and has only the card size as a recording length limitation.

Does the 12 minute limit impact the usefulness of the T2i in real life situations? I will mainly be shooting plays, recitals, baseball and football games as well as vacation video.


MOD Olga Johnson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,128
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

The 12 minute limit is only with 4GB cards. A 16GB card would give you 49 minutes.

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Alamarian Regular Member • Posts: 110
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

Twelve minutes is just the quoted limit for a 4gb card. There is no hard-coded limit, AFAIK. With a 16gb card, you can record 49 minutes of video on average, according to my 550D manual.

dfw1417 Forum Member • Posts: 80
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

No matter what SIZE card you have You ARE LIMTED to 4GB video size per shoot. In other words you can have a 16GB card and take 4 - 4GB video shoots. You however CANNOT EVER exceed 4GB on one take or shoot. Nature of the beast.

YM DOES NOT VARY - This is FACT for T2i ...

Alamarian Regular Member • Posts: 110

Yep, you're right. Rechecked the manual, the size is limited to 4gbs or 29:59 minutes. It's obviously not a practical limitation for me, given that I've never reached it.

OP k425 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?


Thanks for clarifying. That's what I thought though the responses in this forum tend to confirm my thought that there is a lot of confusion out there on this subject.

Thanks, K425

p.s. Still not sure if this limitation presents a real world use inconvenience.

Legion5 Senior Member • Posts: 1,047
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

well you could switch to a lower resolution and do 30 minutes of video, this would be good for essentially any realistic purpose.

Deleted-pending Senior Member • Posts: 2,665
12 minutes sequence

is extreeeeeemly long ! even stanley Kubrick would not shoot so long !!!

Clintwest Contributing Member • Posts: 511
Re: 12 minutes sequence

anyone shoot video know that each take, in many situations, isn't longer than few minutes and often also less than 1 minute.

And i have to say that if you want make videos of childrens or pets or weddings it's a lot better to use a camcorder, wich let you record 60 conntinous minutes with tapes or hours with cards, if you have a xxxl battery.

I'm used to edit all my video footage and each take is not longer than 30 seconds, so it's not a problem the "limit" of the 550D video.

The real limit is, for ordinary use, to haven't a tilting screen, or a dedicated quick video button, or a good working continous focus.

But you will be happy and you will learn something about video (another world comparing to pictures), if you use 550D with various lenses, on a tripod, focusing manually (not easy), panning slowly and not recording continously a 90 minutes football world cup competition

Pete4 Contributing Member • Posts: 747
Re: 12 minutes sequence

Yeah, I have hard time imaging shooting for more than 12 min of non stop video, could become boring like hell and all you have to do is stop and then start recording again. The problem is FAT 32 file system used on SD cards can address maximum of 4 GB of memory, Canon would have to switch to NTFS or some newer file system to fix that limitation. I also agree other problems are much more difficult to overcome, like no viewfinder, fixed LCD, difficult focusing (pretty much need to prefocus before starting the video) etc.

Weth Senior Member • Posts: 1,291
Anyone try if format exfat > 4GB?

I think I read the 550D/T2i is capable of reading cards formatted in exFAT in addition to FAT32. Now FAT32 is limited to 4GB, but exFAT is not. It would be interesting if the 4GB still applies if the card is exFAT formatted. Anyone try?

marc40 Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: 12 minutes sequence

Well.. I frequently film performances of showbands. While I agree that video captures should not be long, I do appreciate an uninterrupted sound track.

bobland Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

Actually, the 4GB limitation is a result of the EU imposing a hefty tax on camcorders which they define as anything that records over 30 minutes. Since virtually all DSLRs are produced in non EU countries, the EU wants their "(fare) share."

gblansten Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

Couldn't they just do a firmware change for cameras with video capability sold in EU countries and leave the rest of us alone?

Socos Senior Member • Posts: 1,023
T2I has 29:59 Recording limit

Looks like many here are still stuck on the 12 minute deal. The limit is 29:59 for a video file, not 12 minutes.

Alamarian Regular Member • Posts: 110

The 29:59 limit is effectively a twelve minute limit when shooting HD. Only the 640x480 mode will get you more video than that, about twenty-four minutes, according to the manual.

So, it's technically incorrect to say the T2i is limited to 12 minutes. It is basically limited to that in HD though.

Doodlehupf New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Anyone try if format exfat > 4GB?

Sorry for necroing the thread. Still, I'd like to know that, too... I can confirm that my 550D can read from and write to exFAT cards, but I only bought two 4GB cards as a start, so I can't really try whether or not the cam will write larger files to such cards. Does anybody else have any information on that?

Potemkin_Photo Senior Member • Posts: 1,919
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

All the reason more for those CHDK folks to get cracking on decrippling the T1i and T2i. I'm sure it's just a single line of code. Snip that sucka out of there and we'll be golden. But Canon doesn't want us to be golden, they want us to be silver so they can entice us with next year's almost-golden upgrade.

KatManDEW Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: T2i 12 Minute Video Recording Length Limitation?

If you're an old retro computer fart, you recognize that "magical" 4 gig number.... It's 2^32, and it's the max that a 32 bit computer and operating system can address natively. So I'm guessing the CPU in the camera is 32 bit, and thus there is a functional reason for the 4 gig video limit. Yes, there are ways around the limitation, but not without jumping through hoops. So irregardless, there is a functional reason for a 4 gig limit, versus some other obscure reason.

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