This question addresses the fact that DSLRs have limits on video recording time and provides some speculation as to why the limit exists. It mentions that Canon has a 30 minute limit.

I am recording HD video on a Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS point-and-shoot, and am coming up against a 10 minute limit. This site says that there is a 60 minute limit on standard definition and 10 minute limit on high definition. With 720p a 10 minute video is about 1.5 Gb. I wanted to mention the 10 minute limit explicitly because it seems that many people talk about a 30 minute limit and so this seemed like a somewhat unique case.

My question is whether there is a way to extend the limit from 10 to something like 30 minutes? 10 minutes is just short for my purposes of recording my own judo tournament matches.

I guess it would have to be some kind of patch to the firmware. Does such a thing exist?

  • Try Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki
    – daviesgeek
    Nov 27, 2011 at 23:29
  • @daviesgeek: That is only for certain DSLR cameras.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 29, 2011 at 8:21
  • @Flimzy Oh, I haven't used it much.
    – daviesgeek
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:19
  • @daviesgeek: I've never used it (yet). I do intend to, I have a T3i/600D... and it looks pretty impressive.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:21

4 Answers 4


I believe the limit is due to the file size, not the actual recording length. This forum thread seems to confirm this for the T2i/500D, and Wikipedia agrees for the 5D mkII. Also according to these sources, the limit for both cameras is 4gb.

For the PowerShot cameras, the file size limit is likely much lower. For the S2, it appears to be 1gb.

What all this means is that the time limit isn't a time limit, per se... but a file size limit. So if you are able/willing to reduce the file quality, you may be able to extend the time limit.

If you can shoot in a lower quality video mode (say 480i instead of 720p), that will likely improve your recording time. If you can reduce the frame rate, that may improve your time limit, as well. Of course all of these things will make the video noticibly lower quality, as well.

If you can't get different equipment, you may be best off strategically stopping and starting the video during pauses in the action.

  • 4 gb is indeed the limit for FAT file systems, but the limit I'm running up against of 1.4 to 1.5 Gb does indeed seem to have to do with the camera as the links in the question indicate as the length of the resulting video is exactly 9:59. These kind of limits are apparently common for cameras. But there is very little information available on going around these limits. Nov 21, 2011 at 12:05
  • @LexFridman: I suspect the limits < 4gb have to do with shortcuts made in the camera firmware. Either their FAT support is incomplete, or there is some other arbitrary limitation. You might be able to test the theory that their FAT implementation is incomplete by putiting a 4gb video on the camera card, and see if your camera can play it back.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 21, 2011 at 15:25
  • There is a 2GB file size limit in some circumstances IIRC. Note also that some libraries might have a 2GB limit which has nothing to do with the filesystem (32-bit maxint
    – horatio
    Nov 22, 2011 at 18:51
  • @Flimzy, good idea about testing the camera with a large video file. I'll do that and get back with the results. However, as I said the limit really does not appear to have to do with size of the video but the length of the video (exactly 9:59) unless it's a complete coincidence. I'll run some tests. I wonder if this can be overcome somehow. Nov 22, 2011 at 20:20
  • 1
    @LexFridman: There is software for some PowerShot cameras that allow you to stream video to a computer. One example (although this one doesn't list your specific model.) Perhaps with something like this, you could stream to a laptop, where your laptop doesn't have such a restrictive time limit.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 22, 2011 at 20:44

Well, if a photographic (Digital) camera is capable of recordig video for a longer period, these items will be identified by the customs (of many countries) as "Video Recorders" where a higher tax rates may apply. To prevent this, all camera manufacturers limit their productions to 1 hour (approx.) for lower resolutions and 10 minutes for HD video. May be the 9.59 minutes limit for HD to prevent "10 min or higher" HD recording term by customs.....

If not they would have been manufactured to save files automatically by every 10 minutes and continue video recordings -like in many software and like in multy /continues photo shooting with the digital camera.

THere cannot be any FAT matter as many cameras are capable of handlong SD (less than 2 GB), SD-HC (More than 2 GB), MMC (commonly used by Sony) and SD-XC with higher capacities up to 32 GB. Untl recent past, 32 GB was a Card manufacturing limitation, but not by camers. May be that is why it is mentioned as "up to 32 GB".

It is always better to stay with Class 4 SD HC cards up to 4 GB and Class 10 for higher capacities.

Found this info while searching to find why this 10 min limit on Digital cameras....

Hope this help you all...


I just found out there is a software mod developed called CHDK that will work on this camera and one of the features it opens up is the time limit on recording, and does not permanently alter the camera hardware or software. You can boot it off the SD card. I will be trying this myself soon, mostly for cat videos.

The version for this camera is just an alpha build, but what is working and what isn't is discussed over on the developer's site. It only extends it to the 4gb limit, but it should buy you a little more time.


Canon powershot hs100 and hs 300, at 4Gb apparently shut off due to "tariff" and copyright problems.

It says it right in the manual. "10 minute clips"

At HD 1920 it lasted ten minutes. At 640 it lasted 1 hour.

  • Please share your sources for the tariff and copyright problems. We would love to have more information on this. Apr 6, 2012 at 9:59

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