Although there are more popular cameras in the Sony Alpha range these days, the Sony a5100 still has an absolutely huge user base and although many of its users are predominantly photographers, there are people who like to use the camera for their videography work too. Due to this, we constantly see large numbers of people reaching out and asking a number of questions based around how they are able to unlock the 30 minute Sony a5100 recording limit.
We know that this can be a total pain for anyone who is trying to do any serious videography work and with the camera having no default option to disable to recording limit, we doubt the number of people asking for help is going to decline anytime soon. Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you are able to do remove the video recording limit on your camera and we will be covering what we feel is the easiest below.
You Have To Take Steps To Prevent Overheating!
The Sony a5100 is essentially a stills camera that has been predominantly designed for use as a photography camera and then had some additional videography functionality tacked on at the end. This means that the camera can be prone to overheating and if you have tried recording in higher resolutions or with a higher frame rate, chances are, you have already had the camera over heat in less than 30 minutes anyway.
This will only get worse if you choose to unlock the video recording limit so it is essential that you take some steps to ensure that your a5100 will not overheat. In our opinion, the best and most effective method is to make your own mini cooling rig out of some decent, cheap Raspberry Pi fans. Although this may sound hard, it is actually easier than most people think and there are plenty of supporting tutorials on YouTube to help you.
Another popular method for dealing with overheating in the Sony a5100 is to apply some thermal paste to the areas of the camera that are prone to overheating. Although this is a popular method that many people try, it can be hit or miss and often do nothing to reduce the overheating in the camera. On top of this, you usually have to remove some of the plates of the camera to apply the paste to the areas where it is required most meaning you can potentially end up voiding your warranty.
How To Get Around The Sony a5100 Recording Limit!
With that out of the way, lets get onto the various options that you have available to remove the recording limit on your camera. Although there are ways that you are able to remove the limit using either hardware modifications or software installs, we always recommend that you take the software route. The tutorials on YouTube of how to modify the hardware in the camera require professional tools and definitely void the warranty of your a5100.
Thankfully, there are a number of third-party apps available for the Sony camera range that are quick and easy to install while also allowing you to disable your video recording limit. We would always recommend that our readers take this option and is used by a huge number of videographers who use Sony Alpha camera bodies.
Although there are a number of different apps on the market that allow you to remove the video limit on the a5100, we feel that the best one is the Open Memories app. This is because it is totally free, easy to install, easy to use, has a great development team, and also has an excellent reputation amongst the videography community who use Sony cameras.
If you have not installed a third-party app onto your camera before, the process can be a little daunting but it is quick and easy so there is no need to worry! On top of this, we have our full guide below on how you are able to install Open Memories to your camera and the full process should only take you between five and ten minutes.
How To Install Open Memories On Your Sony a5100 To Remove The Recording Limit
As you can probably guess, the very first step in removing the Sony a5100 recording limit on your camera is to download the Open Memories app from the Sony App store and install it onto your computer. Be sure to download the correct version of the app for your computers operating system is it is available for both Mac and Windows and the versions are not interchangeable with each other.
Once the Open Memories app has been installed on your computer, we would highly recommend that you temporarily remove the memory card from your Sony a5100. Although this is just a precautionary measure and is far from essential, there did used to be a bug in an older firmware build from Sony that cause the cameras to wipe their memory cards when installing a third party app. As we don’t have a way to know the firmware build you are running on your camera, we feel that it is just safer to remove the memory card than risk it being wiped.
At this stage, power on your camera and let it boot up, open your camera settings option and then navigate to the tab on the right hand side of the options menu. This is your USB connection tab and will usually be set to the default option of auto. Switch this over to the MTP setting and then press ok as the auto mode will not allow you to install a third-party app.
Once your USB connection setting has been set to MTP, turn your camera off and plug it into your computer using a USB cable and then turn it back on and let the camera boot back up as normal. Once your a5100 is powered up, open the Open Memories app on your computer and click the button that says “Get Camera Info”. This can take around thirty seconds to complete its initial diagnostic and confirm that your a5100 is connected and setup correctly.
Once you get the information box confirming that everything is good to go, select the actions tab in the open memories app on your computer and you will see the “Install Open Memories Tweak” button, press it and let it run, this can take as long as a minute to complete. If you don’t have any other third-party apps installed on your a5100 then this may only take a few seconds.
Once you get the information box on the Open Memories app on your computer letting you know that the app has installed on your Sony a5100, unplug the USB from your computer and then re-open your camera settings. Again, navigate to the USB connection tab on the right hand side of the settings on your a5100 and set it back to auto as you don’t need the MPT functionality anymore.
While still in your camera settings, open up your apps tab, the fourth tab from the left. If you have a number of other third-party apps installed on your a5100 then you may have to scroll down a little but if this is your first app you should see the Open Memories Tweak icon at the top. Select it and open it, go to the video tab in the Open Memories Tweak app on your camera, the second tab from the left, and then switch the “Disable Video Recording Limit” option at the top to on.
This completes the process and you are now good to go. You can put your memory card back into your a5100 and do a test recording to make sure that you are now able to record videos for longer than 30 minutes on your camera. We would highly recommend that you do this as there are two common problems that may prevent this process from working that we cover below.
The most common problem that we often see people reporting is that they are still not able to record video for longer than 30 minutes even though they have disabled the recording restriction in Open memories. This is almost always due to the camera overheating prior to getting to the thirty-minute mark.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, this is common due to a lack of overheating protection on the a5100 and usually means that the app actually worked, you just need to deal with the heat build-up. You can switch your a5100 to record at a lower resolution and lower frame rate to reduce the heat creation if needed. Ideally though, making your own cooling rig from Raspberry Pi fans is the better option as it allows you to keep your camera cool while getting the best possible image quality out of it too.
The second most common reason is that you are not running the 3.2.1 firmware update on your Sony a5100. Older versions of the firmware do have bugs and ideally, you should be keeping your firmware updated just for optimal performance from your camera anyway. Thankfully, Sony allow you to download their firmware updates for free from their site so you can easily download the latest release and go through the process again.