A hacker has managed to bypass the artificial 30-minute video recording limit across the Sony Alpha series.
According to a recent report by Sony Alpha Rumors, the hacker (known on GitHub as ma1co) is no stranger to hacking Sony products, and claims that in addition to circumventing the 30-minute recording limit, the language menu has also been unlocked. This means that users who bought cameras in Japan will be able to switch the camera to English, even if they didn’t purchase the international version of their camera.
Ma1co claims that the hack runs on all A-series cameras that can run the PlayMemories app, including the a7 line, the a5100, a6000 and newly-released a6300. According to reddit commenters, this is because the cameras are running a modified version of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which ma1co has modified to enhance the capabilities of the hardware.Installing hacked firmware will almost certainly void your warranty, and increased recording times could cause overheating or other issues.
The 30-minute recording limit was imposed by Sony to avoid higher taxes in Europe, which has different tax brackets for still cameras and video cameras. According to EU law, a device capable of more than 30 minutes of continuous video recording classes the device as a ‘video camera’, placing it into the higher bracket.
Of course, firmware hacks are not uncommon on cameras, and can be used to great effect when utilised properly, but they also carry an inherent risk. Installing hacked firmware will almost certainly void your warranty, and increased recording times could cause overheating or other issues. Needless to say, this firmware has obviously not been tested or approved by Sony. We have reached out to Sony for comment on this story, and are awaiting a response.
However, if you’re feeling risky, you can head over to GitHub to download the source code, which can then be installed via USB.