How the government broke my digital camera

Once upon a time, the government decided break my digital camera. Like the mean kid who throws your favorite toy down the stairs, the government succeeded in making all DSLR cameras worse for no reason.

The consequence is that today, my DSLR camera cannot record videos longer than 29 minutes.

Sure, that may not seem like a big deal, but if you work with video, this gets annoying fast!

Let’s say I want to record an hour long speech — I have to stop the recording half way through and re-start it, just so I can get the entire thing. When I watch my final video, I have a big black pause right in the middle of my video.

Some may think the 29 minute limitation is because of a technical glitch, or to prevent from overheating, but the real reason involves international tax law.

According to tax laws for some EU countries, any camera that records video for more than 29 minutes is classified as a “video camera” and subject to much higher taxes of 5 to 14 percent. So in order to get around it, DSLR cameras simply record less than 29 minutes at a time.

But all is not lost. Sure, the government may have taken my camera and thrown it into traffic, but there’s a way to “fix” it!

Hackers have come to the rescue across the internet by providing ways to correct the problem. Now you can record video for as long as you want — in exchange for voiding your warranty.

Still, the fix may be worth it! Now I can set up a few tripods and record longer interviews, without worrying about whether or not the camera is still recording.

But the strange camera quirk is just another example of how we live our lives crawling underneath the tax code. Keep in mind that even digital video cameras that record more than 30 minutes are made worse because of the 5% to 14% higher prices in certain countries.

The best solution is to get rid of the tax code entirely! Then my camera could record long video AND keep the warranty.