I am using a 32GB SD card with my Vixia HF R500. I'm trying to capture a nest of birds outside one of my windows so I mounted the camcorder on a tripod and left it to record whatever it sees. However, I see that the recording always stops around the 22 min mark, so I have to go back and restart the recording. What is the limiting factor for this duration? Is it the size of the file (around 2.7GB, I think) or is it something else? Where is this mentioned in the manual or in the specs? I couldn't find this mentioned anywhere officially.
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The camera should be able to record for longer, depending on the memory card and settings you're using. Check to make sure that AUTO POWER OFF in the menu is disabled and then try doing additional tests.
If problems persist, try doing tests with different memory cards. The camera can reach data speeds of 24 Mbps or faster, so you make sure your memory card can sustain that.
Sometimes a card might be able to reach a certain maximum write speed, but it can't sustain that data rate for long. That's why some card makers have started to add Video Speed Class to their cards. For example, a V10 card should be able to sustain the data rate needed to shoot HD footage at 1080p.