Nikon Hack Removes Arbitrary Tax-Dodging Video-Clip Time Limit

Sawn Off Camera-2

Warning: Hacking can endanger your camera. Photo: Charlie Sorrel

If you have a Nikon DSLR, then you can now shoot long takes of more than 30 minutes each, thanks to the tireless work of the Nikon Hackers team. This might be of limited interest even to our camera-loving readers, but what is interesting is the reason Nikon added the 30 minute limit in the first place.

Did you know that import duties are higher for camcorders than for regular cameras? Apparently so. And a camcorder seems to be defined as a machine which can shoot long shots of video, presumably to let your Uncle Pete add the maximum boringness to his endless vacation videos.

To avoid the higher customs charges, and therefore either higher selling prices or lower profits, companies like Nikon use firmware to limit the length of a single video shot.

Not that it really matters: who would ever need to shot more than a minute or two at a time? Edited clips are measured in seconds, not minutes after all.

Should you decide that you want to do this, perhaps in order to torture your own nieces and nephews just like Uncle Pete tortured you, then all you need to do is grab the firmware for your D5100/D3100/D7000 camera, run it through the Nikon Hackers’ patch tool (warning: Silverlight) and load it onto your camera via SD card.

Other handy extras include the ability to use non-branded batteries, and the option to switch off RAW compression on the D5100. What are you waiting for?

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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