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Sony Cybershot Video 10 minute limit

Sony Cybershot series cameras such as DSC-T2 or DSC-T300 have great capabilities. However Sony has limited their video length to only 10 minutes. After 10 minutes video recording stops. Then you have to press the button again to go on recording. This limit is not written on the box of the camera and it is written inside the manual of T2 and its not even written in the manual of T300. This is very frustrating. I was planning to record my concert with this camera and that day I figured out that the camera is deliberately programmed to stop at 10 minutes while it can record for 50 minutes with its 4GB memory. Even the lowest quality video recording also has 10 minutes limit. So it looks like this is a deliberate limitation that Sony put to its cybershot cameras so that its other video cameras can be sold too. This is against the law because sony cannot prevent the proper use of the camera it sells (and you paid for) just because it wants so. Im going to open a trial for it and request a payback. However I really like the camera and I wish it didnt have this limit, then it would be the camera of my dreams. Is it possible to hack the firmware of those cameras either DSC-T2 or DSC-T300 and remove that single line of code that tells the camera to stop at the 10 th minute?

Tue, 01 Jul 2008 20:38:06 +0000

The limit is very unlikely to be "so that its other video cameras can be sold too". As for taking Sony to court over the video performance of something sold as a "Digital Stills Camera" - well - good luck with that. You might want to get some advice from an expert on stupid lawsuits first, I'd suggest Jack Thompson or Jonathan Lee Riches.

It's much more likely to be down to a combination of internal buffer storage, time taken to encode each frame to MPEG1 without a dedicated hardware compressor, and the speed you can write data to a memory stick.

Sun, 20 Jul 2008 11:43:58 +0000

It may be "much more likely to be down to a combination of internal buffer storage, time taken to encode each frame to MPEG1 without a dedicated hardware compressor, and the speed you can write data to a memory stick", but that is clearly not the case. Versions of Sony cameras such as the DSC-H9 have a 2GB limit on movies which means videos shot at lower resolutions and frame rates end up being longer in duration. The DSC-H50 has set a 10-minute limit on all types of resolutions and frame rates. This makes no sense at all to me unless the first comment is true, or Sony feels people inadvertently leave video recording mode on and this is an attempt to conserve batteries and memory (why do we try to compensate for dumb people?). The real limitations should be the amount of memory and battery life which are physical limitations of the device and the firmware should be able to support file sizes as large as supported memory sizes.

Thu, 31 Jul 2008 02:07:47 +0000

I would also completely agree with the original post.

I own a DSC-V3 which would record 640x489 @ 30FPS up to a 2GB file size. This is right about 20 minutes.
I also own a DSC-T10 which has the same video capabilities and tests have shown the same results: max of 2GB file size.
This is probably a legacy setting because of older systems that can't handle files larger than 2GB, specificly FAT32 file systems and Windows 9x/ME.

I just purchased a Sony DSC-T500 which is one of the few, or only cameras to record at a full 720x1280 @ 30FPS (this is a full HD 720P). Which is more than half the reason for this purchase. This camera will record EXACTLY 9 minutes and 59 seconds of video, then stops and allows you to instantly record another 9 minutes and 59 seconds.
On the T500, it also records the video in the H264 video codec (which looks AWESOME!), and the largest benifit of this new video codec is smaller file sizes. This 9:59 video file ends up being about 701MB in size.

Lets recap:
- old camera, 2GB files, about 20 minutes of video. Limit is probably due to file system limitations.
- new camera, .7GB files, 10 mintues of video, instantly allows additional video to be recorded, 3 years later, newer technology avalible...

I'm convinced that this limitation is by design. I'm all for a class action... or a hack that allows me to fill the stick with video on one click. :)

Fri, 24 Oct 2008 06:02:19 +0000

It is a limitation put in place because of taxes in Europe, or so I've heard. Any camera that takes video over 10 minutes is considered a "video camera" or something that effect.

This limit really bothers me because my Sony T-100 just died (which had NO limit on video size, it would just fill the card) and the new T-70 I got to replace it has that pesky 10 minute limit, as with every other T-series camera they sell now, EVEN the T-500, which has the nice HD video with stereo.

It's clearly not a hardware issue because the older cameras, such as the T-1 and T-100 that I owned didn't have such a limit.

Justin Kenny
Mon, 27 Oct 2008 20:11:52 +0000

I emailed Sony a couple weeks ago and here is there message in confirmation:

Response (Tunga N.) 10/31/2008 10:17 AM

Thank you for contacting Sony Style. In regard to your inquiry, the EU Tariff specifies that any digital still camera with a resolution higher than 800x600 and the duration of video of 30 minutes of more (at 23 fps or higher) must now be classified as a 'video camera recorder'. The record time for a digital camera will vary depend on the memory capacity.

For information on available recording capacity for Memory Sticks, please visit the direct link below. . . .

Please let me know if you have any further questions, I will be more than happy to assist you.

Thank you for choosing Sony and have a great day!

-- Tunga N.
Sony Style Concierge

Customer 10/30/2008 11:06 PM
A camera I previously owned, the DSC-T100 had no 10 minute video limit, which I assume is now imposed on nearly ALL of your current cameras due to the EU tariffs, and I am having difficulty finding a camera without this limit.

Are there any cameras you currently sell without the 10 minute limit on your cameras, and if not, is there anywhere where I can purchase the T100 again?

Justin Kenny
Wed, 05 Nov 2008 00:14:27 +0000

nothing written on the box .always went for sony. convinced their all a bunch of phone records untill the stick is full or the battery goes flat.dont forget north korea is just down the road.

Mon, 20 Jul 2009 17:44:31 +0000

I have two Sony Cybershot cameras, the DSC-S600 which I purchased in early 2006 and the H50 which I purchased before Christmas in 2008.

The S600 can record video for as long as there is memory and battery. The longest contuious recording I have made was 3 hours and then the battery ran out. And that was using an 8G memory card.

The H50 cuts off after exactly 10 minutes, regardless of memory card size and battery remaining. If there's any possible way to modify this limit to match the capabilities of the S600 I would love to know. :)

Fri, 14 Aug 2009 10:27:30 +0000

I have a DSC-T100 and it has a 20 minute limit. "Justin Kenny" above may have been dreaming. I'm definitely not.
"some" T100's have a limit and others don't...? I have my doubts.

Wed, 16 Nov 2011 14:53:06 +0000

My Sony cyber shot dsc w120 has a 10 minute limit when recording.please I beg you'll to help me with this problem please help. Need help now !!!

Tue, 09 May 2023 07:46:46 -0700

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