Nikon D5100 Video Beta Testers Wanted

The Nikon Hackers team would like to announce the release of the first hack for the D5100 (also D3100 & D7000): Removing time limit restrictions on video recording.

The web-browser cross platform patch tool

To use:

  1. Download the D5100/D3100/D7000 firmware
  2. Use Web Tool above
  3. Copy the resulting output to your SD card and remove the “.patched” extension
  4. Upgrade firmware from D5100 menu, as per the normal Nikon instructions

This should not brick your camera, but if it does I and the other Nikon Hacker team members will not have/take responsibility for any damages or liability. I have this firmware on my camera, and have taken a 25 minute video with it, but result may vary. Also damages that may occur due to camera operation times longer than specified by original manufacturer are your responsibility.

The Nikon Hacker forums is the place for discussing this patch, future patchs, or just to get involved.

We would like to invite any interested developers to help progress the firmware decoding process.

Soon we will be releasing the same patch for D3100 and D7000 camera’s but we have not tested these patches at all, so we are looking for VERY KEEN Alpha testers to try it out these changes. Contact me directly ( if you are interested and don’t mind possibly bricking your camera. If you don’t know what bricking means, don’t apply. All three tested and released.

[update] If you apply the patch please report results here or On this Nikon Hackers Forum  post

[Update 31/3] v1.1 has been released with support for D3100 camera’s
[Update 2/4] v1.2 has been released with support for D7000 camera’s


Interested in more, come join the us at Nikon Hacker, or use the Online Patch Tool (Help)

108 thoughts on “Nikon D5100 Video Beta Testers Wanted”

  1. wow so if D5100 custom firmware is a reality, then how about we start fixing manual exposure in video mode?

  2. Easy Tigger! This was low hanging fruit, aka easy to find and alter, it’s not the flood gate event. Just proof that valuable changes can be made.

  3. This is great, I don’t have a D5100, I do have a D7000, it’s just great to see the hacks coming, Hopefully at some point we can get to the level of custom firmware that is available for some Canons.

  4. This will damage the sensor of the D5100! The time limit for filming is there to prevent the sensor for overheating.

  5. This is very possibly true.

    However people asked for it, personally I have no interesting in really long video shots.

  6. The firmware already checks for free space, and then calculates the time of recording available at worst case data rates for your video recording mode. It then checks if this time is greater than the time limit, and if so, caps it.

    Later in the code is checks to see if it has recorded for the max time limit and if so stops the recording.

    Thus the hack skips both the time based checks.

  7. So when it hits the 4GB single file limit for FAT32 it stops instead of spanning across multiple files?

  8. The existing file limit seems to be closer to 3.5GB (based off my tests), but yes, no file spanning.

  9. This is not true – do your homework before you post!

    You can leave the camera on in live view mode for an hour or more – battery life is more an issue than anything else. The recording limit is for market protection – they want you to buy a video camera for anything beyond cute 2 minute videos of your kid.

  10. I’ll be surprised if nikon hasn’t put protection so it shut’s down the camera if there’s any signs of overheating, because you can keep the camera in live view for the duration of the battery life.

    Be nice to see manual control over iso settings in video mode in your next hack, but i guess you gotta walk before you can run ;)

    Great work ;)

  11. Completely agreed, otherwise how does 10 or 20 minutes in Arizona/Australia compare to Alaska? relying solely on time to avoid heat damage is brain dead.

  12. Thanks for bringing unlimited record to the D3100, looking forward to future development from you dedicated guys. ;)

  13. I just want to tell that you guys are doing an amazing job. Since Nikon is finally going into some video, it’s great to see support like this. I would love to help, but I have no clue at all in coding or anything related to that.
    Anyway, best wishes in the project. Let’s hope it bears fruit. I can tell you that a lot of my friends are looking at the progress.


  14. Not true though, videos cameras are cameras able to take videos longer than 30 minutes. Video cameras have extra tax that’s why they limit them at 29:59. I don’t think the companies will be worried about the hack destroying the video market, but instead they would be happier with this hack – ability to shoot more than 30 minutes without needing to pay extra taxes.

  15. BD- I’m not an expert, and I certainly have not done my homework, but I doubt LiveView puts the same strain on the sensor/camera as video recording – apart from actual capture/encode/record to memory.

    But I’ll have to agree with you on “market protection”. The newly announced D4/D800 also employ a recording limit when recording to memory card(s). This limit is lifted when to recording to an external recorder via HDMI output. So the limit seems to be for processing power, buffer capacity, and as you pointed out, battery life.

  16. There should be no overheating problem with longer recording time. Why? Think about this: I can shoot a max. length video, stop recording, then continue immediately with my next video recording, stop at the limit, then again shoot the next clip, and so on. There is no limitation to this, with just a few seconds in between for to press the record button, and/or change my SD card. I don’t think this few seconds of standby are enough to “cool down” the sensor. Does this sound logical? Greetings from Greece, Stelios

  17. This is what I picked up concerning video recording limits: in fact it seems to be a protection issue: if a camera is able to record more than 30 minutes (this is the boundary, I think) than it is in some regions on earth (especially in Europe!) considered by government regulations as a video cam. Therefore it is liable for additional charges/tax (in the same way a DVD RECORDER, not a player is). The manufacturers want to avoid this in order to keep the price tag competitive.

    Some manufacturers (sorry, I forgot specific examples, but it’s big players perhaps like panasonic, sony, …) did and do indeed differentiate their camera models per continents (let’s say Europe=29min. 59sec., Asia only limited by the memory card). You can read this quite often in product reviews.

  18. Amazing work ! Congrats for the first step to make more betters nikons dslrs .
    I’m dreaming about having the AF fine tune on my d5100 .

    Keep up the good work !

  19. I wouldn’t say “unlimited” as it’s still space, and max file size constrained. This just removes the artificial time restriction.

  20. D7000 owners, I have a patch ready that applies the same fix (to firmware 1.03), just awaiting an alpha tester to try it. Email me directly

  21. Any chance of exposure simulation in live view for d7000? Or the ability to fire the AF assist light, even if it’s not on dead center focus? Modifying the uses of the control dials? I don’t need green box or any of the scene modes :o :o

    I’d pledge my undying allegiance to you if this was to happen! :)

  22. Thanx Simeon for the awesome work… any possibility of adding Kelvin settings to D5100? May be copy over the code from D7000? I have no idea of how difficult it wud be… just asking :)

  23. Hi guys,
    with very great tension I expected something. No matter what, only to get to know if it’s possible to hack anything based on the original firmware of the D7000. I followed some hints in some forums months-long. And now this blog let my heart leap for joy. On the one hand the repeal of the recording time restriction is the first big highlight I waited for. On the other hand the 30fps in 1080p would be the dream I had since I bought the D7000. But no hard feelings. Maybe the second one will come sometime.
    I downloaded the patch and applied it to the newest Nik 1.03 firmware for the D7000. And actually the time restriction shifted some minutes away from the 20:00. With an empty 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro there are 24:18min available now. Of course I will test the real recording time limit the next days. But for now it’s great to get an visible result.
    Thank you very much for that hard piece of work!
    I hope there won’t occur any errors in the firmware. So I trust you. I think I will report about the new firmware in the next days and if there’s any kinda trouble.
    So far, greetz from Germany.

  24. Great job guys !
    I really like your job. I’m a d5100 user and i’m in love with it ! only the manual control of ISO/shutter speed is annoying, I will be grateful if there’s a solution for it :)
    good luck !

  25. Hi there,
    I couldn’t wait no more and tried it out. I didn’t shot any photos since yesterday, only video. The real recording time for my D7000 was set to the already mentioned 24:18 minutes. But I don’t have an explanation for exactly this time limit.
    The filesize which may vary a bit amounts about 3,51GB. That isn’t the 4GB limit of the FAT32 file system. Maybe someone can give an explanation for this. And believe me. The limit isn’t my SD card because it’s empty. Thus far I don’t have any erros in my cam.
    Here’s a pic of it

  26. Is it possible to remove the AF locking of the shutter button (the thing that does not allow you to shoot pictures while the AF system thinks that the image is out of focus)?

  27. Use EXFAT format like on the SDXC cards this is why they exist :getting more than 4go files!!!!!!!! use same format on ssd!!!!!!!

  28. If you look, that article was from 2010, so it may not apply to newer cameras.

    I’ve shot continuous video with my D7000 for an hour and a half (stopping the video just long enough to start a new recording). I haven’t experienced any adverse affects from that or other hour long events I have recorded. Then again, I don’t exactly do pro video, so maybe other people would have seen something I didn’t.

  29. Actually live view and recording are exactly the same thing there is no second live view CCD chip in the camera. The only difference is that the data is also saved to the card when you record. Welcome to the fact that Digital imaging devices are pretty much the same thing when they are acting as a vid cam or a still cam, there really isnt any difference.

    This is why canon was at one point selling the same camera for different prices. one version the ore expensive one could shoot raw the cheaper one could only shoot JPG.

    Think about it and how weird its gonna get in the next 5 years as the camera makers struggle with the question what is a camera and how do we squeeze you for more money.

  30. At this point of time Nikon would need to release a firmware update. You could dump the firmware using a destructive process, but I’m not junking my gear for the cause.

  31. DONT equate One camera with all cameras, also how old is the camera in the article.

    Now that manufacturers like canon and Nikon are seriously aiming at the video market the cooling problem isnt an issue either due to improvements in heat dissipation in the camera body design or just better sensors. In either case as has been mentioned here by people talking about how many videos they shoot in a row and there seems to be no sign of any form of heat sensor in place in the nikon bodies.

  32. Any chances to see your precious hacks on the glorious D90?
    Many of us are hoping and waiting…

  33. If you’re using a D5100, D7000 and over, yup. Dunno about the D3100. You need to select Release Priority instead of Focus Priority (Custom Option A1 in the D5100). It only works on AF-C, though. If you’re using AF-S, you’re out of luck.

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