I have a Canon Powershot SX40 HS and am having problems with recording.

I start to record and it only lets me for a short period of time. Then it stops recording by itself.

It seems to stop every time at 1:44 into the recording. Another weird thing is that during the short time it is recording, these little squares appear in a row on the right side of the screen, and one by one the squares turn to a dark color, and then the last square turns to red and right when it does is when the recording stops.

It is a very strange situation, and I've reset the settings on the camera but it still didn't stop. HELP! And thank you!


The squares in a row on the right represent the buffer memory of your camera.
When you are recording video the data goes roughly as follows:

Sensor -> Buffer memory -> Memory card

When the last square turns red it means the buffer is full. This is caused by the fact that the buffer memory could not move it's contents to the memory card fast enough. A faster memory card would allow the buffer to load it's contents in time and you shouldn't see the red square anymore.

Baseline is: get a faster memory card.

  • 1
    The manual should contain information about what speed of card is needed for what quality level. Also, it is worth noting that other issues can also occur. Cameras can also be limited when recording due to either the sensor overheating (though this is normally not at a fixed interval) and can also hit a 29 minute 59 second recording limit that you can thank the EU for. They charge a tax on any "video camera" where a video camera is defined as anything that can record 30 minutes or more, so everyone made their still cameras only record 29 minutes 59 seconds.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jan 23 '13 at 15:18

The reasons for an automatic stop are either reaching the 30 minute limit (thank you European Union video camera tax that ends up impacting what's available to most of the rest of the world), hitting the 4gb file limit (file system limit for the OS on the camera), the sensor is overheating (high usage + temperature) or the buffer is being used up (memory card is too slow).

I'd first try getting a faster card and if that doesn't work, I'd make sure you are using the camera in a cool area and see if that gives a longer run time. It's also possible there could be something wrong with the camera that is complicating things, but a slow memory card is most likely the problem.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.