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Hacked: time limit during video recording now removed for the Nikon D3100/D5100/D7000

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In addition to the Nikon D3100 and D5100, the Nikon Hacker team was able to remove the time limit restriction during video recording also for the D7000. The new firmware was tested and is now released - it allows for 25-30 minutes uninterrupted video files (up to 4GB in file size). For instruction and download links, check this post. Please note that this is not an official firmware update from Nikon - use at your own risk.

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  • ian

    Isnt the point of this limit so you dont overheat / damage your sensor?

    • Don Pope

      Not always. Some time limits are there purely for licensing reasons.
      (But I don’t know if this is the case with these models.)

      • ben

        The EU defines a video camera as one that will take video clips of 30 minutes or more. If such a camera is not manufactured in Europe (I doubt whether any still are) it is subject to a 12% import duty (and regular vat on top of that).
        To avoid this tax manufacturers built in a limit of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

    • Alvin Ega

      I guess it has something to do with regulations.

      • Royster

        In the EU if you can record more than 30mins of video it is classed as a video camera and there is more tax to pay on it

        • Steve

          I bought my D5100 in Hong Kong. It’ll do 20 min videos – not that I’d ever want to – and no hack necessary. I can’t see any reason to use hacked firmware just to add five mins I don’t need.

          Am I missing something ? Or is this hack just proof it can be done ?

          • Alvin Ega

            Me too, I guess it’s for those who want too record live performances, seminars, or etc; or for those who are too lazy to press stop and then start again. I’m regular consumer recording family clips and I never have clips more than 5 minutes.

    • http://www.almondbutterscotch.com/home Almond Butterscotch

      Wait- so how is shooting a 10min video different from shooting a 10min long exposure in terms of sensor heating up?

      • tengris

        During a longtime expore the sensor is just illuminated and will not do much more than be on and gathering light. During liveview and video you have continuous readout at a high pixel rate.

  • James

    What is the technical name for the box on the rear of the camera that appears to be covering the LCD? I’m guessing it snaps on replacing the BM-11 screen protector?

    • JD

      Looks like a Zacuto Z-finder or a cheap clone of the Z-finder. There’s quite a few alternatives…

      • James

        Thanks!

        • Mark V

          Yeah you can see the Zacuto nameplate on the side of finder.

  • I_received_my_d800!!

    In europe anything that records continuously longer than 29min59s is considered a video camera and are charged more taxes. but even with the heck you can’t record that long…. guess it was there for sensor overheat protection??

    • wublili

      I don’t think it’s because of the overheating. It’s simply because of the 4GB limit with FAT32 file format that is used for the memory card.

      To overcome that, the video needs to be split in to multiple files, which again needs a lot more hacking than simply removing the time limit. Whole new function needs to be written to split longer video records in multiple max 4GB files. Current Nikon models does not have such function built in.

      It’s not very complicated thing to do but as in current state of the hacking the firmware, it’s still months in the future… No custom fuction has written so far.

      The maximum file size is exactly 4,294,967,295 bytes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAT32

      • wublili

        Another way would be to write a new file format support for the Nikons.

        Most of the modern file formats don’t have the 4GB limit so they would allow virtually unlimited video length

        I say “virtually”, since there is limits in every file format. But it can be even exabytes or even more… literally billions of times longer videos.

      • http://www.almondbutterscotch.com/home Almond Butterscotch

        Heh- that’s 1 byte less than a full 4 gigabytes.

        • tengris

          Exactly. A 4 gigabyte file can have exactly 2^32 different sizes to be stored in a 32bit number.

          In binary system that’s
          000000000000000000000000000000 = 0
          000000000000000000000000000001 = 1
          000000000000000000000000000010 = 2
          000000000000000000000000000011 =3
          up to
          11111111111111111111111111111111 = 4294967295

          4 gigabyte = 2^32 = 4294967296 decimal = 10000000000000000000000 binary, that’s one bit too long for a 32bit number.

  • Funduro

    Over heat the sensor, damage the performance of it in ways no one can predict.This is for what, another 10 minutes of continuous video on a DSLR? Try submitting a camera for warranty work and the factory repair tech finds a illegal SW hacking evidence buh bye warranty. Then the hacker sells the DSLR with damaged sensor to someone who will not know the history of the prior owners obsessive hacking affliction.

    • vertigo

      According to the manual, the camera will automatically shut down when it gets too hot.

      • iamlucky13

        Automatic shutdowns don’t always work.

        However, I’d be willing to be the reason for the time limit is because sensors produce more noise as they heat up, sometimes quite a bit more noise (there’s several easy ways to demonstrate this at home), so they put a time limit in to keep the temperature rise modest so people wouldn’t start spreading rumors about how much noise the cameras have in video mode.

  • http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com Ron Scubadiver

    Recording 25 minutes of continuous video is a great way to get 23 minutes of crap.

    • Paul

      Unless you’re shooting your kid’s play or concert.

      • Scout

        I have needs for up to an hour or better sometimes with catholic weddings or corporate meetings. Would love to be able to dump the video cameras and use my Nikons. I shoot a whole wedding day with the Nikon except the ceremony and the difference is really noticeable. I haven’t tried yet but I do not want to mess around with swapping dslr bodies around every 15 minutes. Either way this hack does not appeal to me, not worth the risk.

      • Mock Kenwell

        You’re just proving his point.

        • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

          +1

        • derWalter

          frustrated single?

          • AM

            Or frustrated married.

        • sirin

          LOL

  • Martijn

    this is awesome! not the 10 minute increase, but the fact that they got it hacked. Now give me more FPS or more bracketing (bracketing is surely limited in firmware, and not hardware)

  • jeff

    Hey, can someone hack the D3, D3s, D4 firmware to allow larger autobracketing steps? I’ve been asking for that for years (since the D2x) but nobody listens.

    In short, I’d like the increment to be 2 stops. So instead of needing 5 exposures to get what I want, I can do it in 3. For instance +2, 0, -2 instead of needing to shoot +2, +1, 0, -1, -2. This is very useful for HDR, especially when you want to minimize potential motion (either of the camera or objects in the frame).

    This always seemed like a trivial firmware change but nobody at Nikon seems to think it worth bothering with!

    • Greg

      +1

    • http://www.alldigi.com/ Geoff

      Agreed, should be easy to implement.

    • Luis

      +1000000 – been whining about this for YEARS

    • Ace Ventura

      +1

    • Rob

      The d4 does 3,5,7,9 exposures. At 9 you can only do 1 exposure step +-. As you move down in less exposures you can increase the steps like I think you can even do 5 at +- 3

  • R!

    Besides the end of your waranty ,the problem with hacked firmwares is that you wont be able to upgrade firmware anymore,like lumix this is better to hacked your firmware when the model is remplace by a new one and won’t be upgrade anymore,that’s what I did with my gh1 and will probably do it with my D7000 when it will be remplace and finalized with the last firmware update.
    But the sensor will suffer anyway of overheating and you might damage it unreversably znd get a lot of noise on all your next pictures that you will be taking later.
    So I suggest to not hacked your firmware If you own only one DSLR ,you must hack it only If you can loose it and wont cry about it!!!!

    • R!

      …but this is great news!!!!!

    • R!

      If you do it,you must install EXFAT format on your cards and hard disks ,specially ssds, so you can get bigger files than 4G.

      • Tom Christiansen

        No, you don’t want EXFAT. You don’t want FAT32 either, of course. You want nothing that requires the assinine Microsoft tax.

    • Steven Georges

      When the hackers add Angry Birds, let me know.

    • Steven Georges

      Aside from the heating issue, you won’t be able to go back and install any future Nikon updates if you install this?
      I don’t plan on installing hacks on any of my camera’s, I’m just curious.

    • Greg

      It’s “lose” not “loose”.

      • R!

        I know my english is not that good since I’m french,so escuse my french!!!
        But I gess youtre an English teacher or what?
        This forum is free and sometimes it’s cursin n trollin so much that I don’t know If you can handle it…

        • Funduro

          Ignore the grammar police.

          • SkintBrit

            No, ask them to reply correctly in French! This forum is supported by people from all over the world, they don’t need their efforts to reply in English scrutinised, nor do English speaking contributors who may not have achieved an “A*” for their grammar at school.

            • Thegregferris

              Spelling police. Grammar police is a different division…

    • Jim

      I doubt that running hacked FW will stop you from being able to run any official FW. Can you point to anything documenting this?

      Typically, FW updates replace everything except some non-volatile storage for settings. Unless you change the data stored there to be incompatible with the factory FW, then it should be reversible without issue.

      • R!

        the fimware must be folowing e right numbers of upgrade,like 1.0 1.1 1.2 etc…
        It’s this way for lumix I dont know actually for Nikons since its new,you can check the hacked firmware pages ,find It yourself!!!!

        • http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/ Simeon Pilgrim

          So without any knowledge, or doing any reading, your guessing something can’t be done, based on different and non-related products. And when asked to justify your opinion, your tell others to “do the work them selves”.

        • Soap

          At least read the bloody release notes before spouting bullshit. The Nikon cameras take the modified firmware w/o changes to the version number, official upgrades are expected to works seamlessly.

    • http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/ Simeon Pilgrim

      On what grounds do you “guess” you will not be able to update to the newer firmware?

      The reason I ask is the current firmware lets to overwrite the with the same or older versions. Seems it’s the current firmware that preforms the upgrade, they can’t shut the gate. You can always roll back to an older firmware and go from there.

      What may happen is the next firmware might not allow rolling back (very easy to test for, just try rolling back), if it doesn’t find the offending code, and remove it, installer “incremental release number”, to get “controlled firmware on the device” and then you at step one again.

      • http://micahmedia.com Micah

        Thank you for an informative response to the stupid comments here!

  • http://www.michaelkormos.com/_bellies Michael Kormos

    Isn’t the time-limit in place in order to avoid the sensor from overheating? This hacked firmware will void your camera’s warranty, and may potentially damage your sensor.

    • http://micahmedia.com Micah

      …if it’s irreversible, yeah, it might void your warranty. If it’s reversible, they’ll never know.

      More to the point, there are sensors in the sensor to stop live view if it overheats. The reasons they lock out more than X amount of video have to do with whatever the current tariffs are on video gear. Video gear is taxed differently than still gear in the EU. Unfortunately, it’s cheaper for them to make the gear all the same for every market and the lowest common denominator is the EU market with those stupid taxes that Nikon and all the others want to avoid.

      • D400

        Yes, my D7000 has a over heat cutoff, which is independant of the time limit.

    • IML

      I’m fairly sure the temperature of the sensor is protected by a thermal cut out. Can’t seem to shoot video for more than a few minutes at a time when the camera has been exposed to direct sunlight for long periods in very hot countries like Sri Lanka. Maybe the time limit is there for other reasons such as product licensing or product classification.

      • ffaabb

        sometimes I can stay in live view mode, filming in 20mins bits, until the battery runs of, like for 3h continuous.. never had my d7000 stopping when doing that

    • Jim

      It’s not a technical limit (I read it was due to MPEG LA codec licensing / import tariffs).

      The camera does have a built in thermal protection mechanism to prevent issues from overheating.

      “if you shoot long movies in hot ambient temperature, the camera may stop the recording with a message saying the camera is running too hot. Basically, you’ll have the same issue if you shoot multiple 20minute segments one after the other. ”

      http://nikonhacker.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=71&hilit=over+heat&start=40#p877

      • http://micahmedia.com Micah

        Yeah, I ran into it once shooting this past summer. Makes you wait, but waiting short term is probably better than having it broken forever.

        That said, this is totally safe, and may even be reversible. It’s software people!

  • amien

    Cool !!! I am waiting really hard on a manual mode hack on the D5100, this will avoid me switching to the next consumer model. I hate the fact that Nikon crippled the video mode to suit Sony…

  • http://www.im-press.com.tw Ian Liu

    I just need up to upgrade to 30fps, do not need more than 20 minutes

  • Jabs

    If you hack you Nikon firmware, you are going to hell! You will go blind and grow hair on your palms. I will report you to the police!

    • Brock Kentwell

      I wouldn’t be surprised if hacked cameras transmit encrypted GPS coordinates to Sendai alerting Nikon’s Intellegence Service of your exact location either.

      • John Richardson

        Will they send Japanese School Girls in their little Uniforms like Sailor Moon to spank me?
        If so … then I’m in!!!!!!!!!

  • AM

    When are we going to get 8 fps of continuous shooting and more than 3 bracketed exposures on the D7000?

    • D400

      +1

  • Pellevin

    It would be cool with an open code camera. Then you could really do some cool customizations…

  • derWalter

    what happens when the cam reaches 4gig?

    and what about those wificard, which trasmit the data live over wlan to a device, like a laptop, is there the possibillity of infinite recordingtime?

    can someone measure the temp of the sensor? shouldnt be that hard, since it everything is open all the time anyway.

    pls, thx

    ps.: btw, pls compare the temps between liveview und recording :)!

    • R!

      I dont comprend was ist you saying!!!!!!!!! ,lol just kiding,but you speaking a lot of languages just try not to do it at the same time the’re are some English teachers round here!!!!!

    • http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/ Simeon Pilgrim

      The firmware actually check for free space, then limits the space to ~3.5GB, it then does a division based on average compression rate of the mode you are shooting in, and comes up with a time value (that used to then get limited) it then records for this amount of time.

      • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

        thanks for the explanation

    • Soap

      This is a quick-and-dirty hack of simply the time checks. It does not touch the filesystem drivers. Therefore any existing filesize safety protections implemented at the driver level will still be in place.

  • Scott

    All the comments about the limit, especially the 10 minute one on the 3100 obviously haven’t used the cameras. If the official firmware will let me record multiple 10 (or 20) minute clips right in a row without ever leaving live view, its surely not a heat issue.

    • Zeke

      Exactly. If it was an open-loop hack to prevent overheating, Nikon would also have to impose a cool-down period between videos to keep the duty cycle low.

      If you can record for 20 minutes, wait half a second, and record another 20 minutes, that’s not a thermal protection scheme.

      • http://micahmedia.com Micah

        Reasonable comments are not appreciated around these parts! ; )

  • Tard

    Finally! The canon retards have been doing hacks for so long and finally Nikon gets the same thing. Bout time!

    • vertigo

      I almost think these hacks were supported by the manufacturer to get around silly patent violations. Software patents like One Click Shopping are stupid. Sony probably patented focus peaking.

      I want focus peeking and focus assist tools. I guess we’ll never get them, especially not on the older cameras. I know we’d never get it if it were up to Nikon. They’re greedy and stingy with software features.

      • http://simeonpilgrim.com/blog/ Simeon Pilgrim

        I would so love it if this was supported. I’d accept any glass costing >1K, and bodies released say, this year. But alas and a-lack, it is not true. Actually, source code would be nice too, oh, with decent comments in English.

  • http://photos.teomorabito.com Teo

    Hi,
    What about longer shutter speed for my new D800 ?
    Like 45 – 1min – 10min…
    But without the extra remote triggers (just use the self timer)
    Thanks :)

  • Spock

    Damn….Hack the BKT limitation on the D7000 already!….someting we actually need!

    • http://micahmedia.com Micah

      Need? Really? What for?

  • cam

    Surely if you want the camera to shoot longer than 30 mins you buy a camcorder not a still camera that can also take video clips. In my 25 years as a BBC cameraman I can probably count on one hand the need to record for longer than 30 mins, and even then we are restricted to tape or card lengths. In any event recording there is always a break to stop and start recording to change recording mediums. The DSLR will over heat and will damage the sensor if used for a prolonged length of time. On professional large format cameras there are heat sinks and fans that have to kick in to dissipate the heat, on the DSL there isn’t anything. The tax issues is probably a correct one as is the fat 32 issue, but the sensor over heating is a killer.

    • thanks

      thanks for this answer. it has been very helpful for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Nopirate1 Bryan Keller

      I respect your time as a videographer as I have about the same amount of collective time doing likewise. However, what you say about sensor overheating is a non-issue, atleast in my Panasonic Lumix GF2 WHICH is a small pocket m4/3 version of their more expensive GH line…In fact, the only reason I’m selling/SOLD the GF-2 is because it doesn’t have an external mic jack..Only the older G2 (limited to 720p) and the GH line have external mic jacks. That being said, I have shot movie after movie, nothing really worth posting, with the Ptool Hack and have been VERY satisfied. Used a C-mount tv lens on it (kept the adapter) and a few prime Olympus and Tamron OM mounts too..The DSLR’s have come A VERY LONG way…AND as much as I love the Lumix line, I have had a chance to play with a Nikon D5100 in the mean time. Yea, it’s got a cheaper body than their more expensive models BUT the sensor equals the D7000….AND it has the external mic jack.

      It has come down to bang for the buck and IF the prices were more equal, I’d still probably get the Nikon D5100 OR 7000…Prices for the GH2 and the new 3 are crazy right now, and it boils down to the D5100 and the number of AF and older F-series lens out there..

      BTW, I do have a big rig, a Panny AJ-D910 WAP that I dearly love BUT it’s just too damn heavy to do some of the stuff I could with a DSLR and after working with a Panny HVX-200, I still prefer my DSLR “hybrid” for video..

  • Chuck N. Reese

    good hack.. but it would’ve been better if they found a way to reprogram one of the front buttons to record video on the D5100. That tiny record button right next to the shutter button is in a terrible place. Also would be nice if they can make the ML-L3 remote activate video recording.

    • ben

      +1

      and single push for a group of bracketed shots.

  • nigel Thompson

    Ok
    somebody wake me up when they hack the 7000 and

    1. remove the red focus square thing from live view so i can record externally
    2. increase the megabit rate
    3. do like that guy said and send us Japanese chicks in school uniforms

    In the mean time ill be fishing/sleeping

  • a4

    Rather than this, unlimited long exposure… pleeease (tweaking still photographic functions isn’t cool anymore, i guess…?).

    • Luis

      Doesn’t bulb with a locking shutter release provide that?

      • a4

        30 minutes max…

  • http://www.musaeumartiste.com Dexter

    sorry, this might be off from the main topic. but if for examlple, my current shutter count is 500, and then used the video recording for 10 minutes. will it add up to the 500 current shutter count, and to what gravity in equivalent?

  • LIMom

    Any hope of removing the 30 min limit on a D7100?

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