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My Encounter with Eurocracy, and Why Digital Cameras Have a 30 Minute Video Recording Limit

The British and others have much basis in fact for wishing to leave the EU and its nonsensical Eurocrats.

This post explains a trivial matter by comparison, but by scaling up this example it becomes easier understand their anger and frustration.

My Canon DSLR cameras shoot video that is of sufficient quality to use in major motion pictures. The quality is extremely high. Many filmmakers use the Canon Mark III 5d.

I use the same model for interviews and other situations to capture maximum details. I just used this camera in 11 countries during ‘comfort women’ research.

Often, my use of the camera to create video requires keeping it still, usually on a tripod, ideally shooting video until the battery dies. But the camera will only shoot for 29 minutes 59 seconds. Why?

This time limit often has been problematic. The reason for the time limit is not technical. It has nothing to do with sensor overheating or memory issues. The limit is caused by Eurocrats overheating and their insatiable compulsion to control any and all mundane minutiae within their grasp, such as how much cinnamon should be permitted on a Danish pastry.

For whatever reason, Eurocrats decided that significant tariffs should be charged for video cameras, but first they needed to define what is a video camera and what is not.

During that quest, Eurocrats set an arbitrary time limit for continuous video. They created law stating that cameras capable of shooting 30 minutes or more of continuous video would be considered video cameras, and thus subject to significant tariffs that could cost hundreds of dollars more per camera, or for top end models, even thousands more per camera.

From 2007: “The EU trade experts decided last Friday that to be classified as a digital camera, equipment must not be able to record at least 30 minutes of a single sequence of video in a quality of 800 x 600 pixels or higher at 23 frames per second or higher.”

So manufacturers like Canon programed their DSLR cameras to stop making video at 29’59”. Cannot make up this stuff. Well, Eurocrats can.

This cost me headaches. It would have been worth the price to pay a few hundred more dollars to have the hardware fully enabled, unfettered by arbitrary firmware specifications contrived in Brussels, over breakfast consisting of reduced-cinnamon Danish pastries.

Canon’s global shipments contain this firmware. There was no option to buy an ‘unlocked’ model.

There is an easy workaround: spend thousands more dollars on a high quality video camera and invest a great deal of time learning to use it, when there is a perfectly great camera already in my hands that could do the job, a camera already paid for. Eurocrats sabotaged my expensive tool.

There are other workarounds such as firmware hacks. Paper covers rock, and hacking voids the warranty.

Years ago, I tried the Magic Lantern hack on a Canon G-10. I had specific application trying to catch firefights and car bombs the moment they began, by leaving the camera pointing in the direction of probable action and waiting, like a trail camera.

I never deployed it to Afghanistan but did check that it might work. The hack also has security applications such as motion detection.

The hack appears to be fantastic, but there are no guarantees the camera will function that moment you need it, and again, hacking voids the warranty.

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