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Nikon releases a so-so solution for the D5's paltry 4K recording times

While Nikon’s announcement of the D5 earlier in January was eagerly anticipated, there was one big sticking point — the headlining 4K feature could only record in three-minute clips. But that’s changing with a new firmware update Nikon announced earlier today.

With the 1.10 firmware update, Nikon D5 users can get up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds of 4K video recording, a big step up from the previous three-minute limit. The Canon 1D X Mark II, by comparison, can only record a ten-minute 4K video at the highest frame rate, though it has had that capability since the beginning.

Related: Did Nikon falsely advertise the D500’s Wi-Fi capabilities?

The firmware update is a big improvement for video — but there is a catch. That 30-minute video is divided into as many as eight separate files, of up to 4 GB each, which can be merged using Nikon’s included software, ViewNX-Movie. Essentially, Nikon D5 users still have only three-minute clips to work with, but won’t have to restart the camera and can stitch the files together without the gaps that would arise from starting a new recording. Whether or not that makes the D5 more viable for video is up for debate, with questions remaining as to whether the stitching is truly seamless and how long merging those large files will take.

Along with the increase in video recording, the firmware update also includes flicker reduction, fixing uneven exposure under some fluorescent lights that some early users were experiencing. The D5’s 153-point autofocus also now has a nine-point option for focusing on a smaller region. The update also introduces electronic image stabilization for video, though that mode will limit the angle of view and isn’t available with the 1080p resolution.

The update also adds more options to the shooting screen, including a silent shutter-release mode and a display for the time remaining in continuous shooting. The option for exposure compensation now also reaches three on both ends. The firmware also fixes some minor bugs, Nikon says, including some Wi-Fi connection issues.

The firmware update is available from Nikon’s download center.