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4k vs 8k Video Cameras: Is 8k really worth it?

Like Full HD 1080p, 4k and 8k measure the resolution of a video in recording and playback. 4k has a higher resolution than 1080p while 8k is better than 4k. A higher resolution means your recordings generally have more detail and greater clarity.

You can find these resolution specifications on any recording device, including televisions, drones, video cameras, and photography cameras

4k has been around for a while and is now the new standard resolution. But the newer 8k recording capabilities are even more powerful and could change the face of filmmaking and photography.

video shoot with camera pointed at woman in chair

So in the 4k vs 8k race, which is coming out on top for now? Read on to find out which option is best for you. 

What are 4k and 8k video capabilities?

Video resolution is measured by the number of pixels in 16:9, the standard aspect ratio for TV and computer monitors. The figures 4k and 8k describe the number of pixels there are in the width of each frame. 

8k has almost 8,000 pixels horizontally, about 4 times the number of horizontal pixels for 4k (with almost 4,000 pixels horizontally). 

What is the 4k video resolution?

The exact resolution of 4k, also called Ultra High Definition (UHD), is 3840 pixels x 2160 pixels. This popular resolution produces incredible colour definition and detail, along with exceptionally high contrast. 

4k is currently the standard resolution of new Hollywood films. Even streaming services have 4k viewing options. 

A side view of the Sony 4k video camera

What is the 8k video resolution?

8k, also called Super Hi-Vision, is a step up from 4k. International broadcast standards measure 8k resolution as 7680 pixels x 4320 pixels, giving your recording device the option to capture 4 times more detail than 4k recording. 

The Canon EOS R5, the Sony A1, and the Z CAM cinematic camera can already record 8k video.

Is there a big difference between 4k and 8k?

In payback, the level of difference all depends on the device you’re watching from. You’re hardly going to notice a big difference between 4k and 8k if you’re watching a video on your phone. 

And if you’re viewing on a TV or computer, you’ll only truly appreciate the fine 8k details if you’re close to the screen. 

But 8k brings a whole new level to filmmaking and photography. Take the example of footage cropping or zooming.

If you zoom in on a Full HD 1080p video, you’re likely to see only blurred shapes. With 4k, the scene is drastically sharper with distinguishable details, especially if you’re watching on a 1080p device.

Filmmakers commonly use 4k cameras rather than having a dedicated close-up camera because you can zoom in up to 4 times without losing any resolution on an HD screen. 

Imagine what that means for 8k video, which has 4 times the resolution of 4k! The difference is dramatic once again. An even closer crop still reveals sharp details.

This also makes a difference if you’re taking a still from footage. A 4k still capture could produce an 8.29MP image while an 8k still produces an incredible 33.17MP image. 

Is 8k worth it: who’s it for?

Those who would benefit the most from an 8k camera are filmmakers. Recording in 8k resolution means they can crop and zoom their footage without losing any noticeable detail. With 8k, they can zoom in twice as much and still have a 4k image. 

A filmmaker holding a professional camera

Filming in 8k, even if the video will only be shown in 4k, still has its advantages. It gives filmmakers and editors more creative control in post-production, thanks to the greater detail captured.

But it’s not just filmmakers that will quickly fall in love with 8k. Fast action photography, such as wildlife photography and sports photography, will be transformed by 8k film.

Instead of using burst shooting to capture movement, action photographers can simply film the moving subject in 8k and select 33MP still frames afterwards. 

Will 8k replace 4k in cameras?

For now, 4k is the standard resolution for most televisions and computer monitors, which is enough to satisfy most people.

But that doesn’t mean 8k won’t grow in popularity. YouTube and Vimeo both already support 8k and 8k televisions are expected to come to the market within the next few years.

8k does have some shortcomings—for now. The technology is still in development, meaning 8k cameras can usually only record up to 30fps in 8k. Most 4k cameras can capture at least 60fps, with some even able to capture 4k at 120fps.  

On top of that, recording in 8k—especially at higher frames per second—demands a lot more processing power than 4k, which few devices can handle yet.

But have no doubt. 8k will dramatically change the way videos are made and packaged. And for that reason, it will continue to grow in popularity. 

Do you need a camera with 8k recording capabilities? If it’s a camera you plan to use for many years to come, it may help to get on board with the tech now so you can future-proof your investment. 

Visit us at your nearest Camera House store to talk to an expert about the benefits of 4k vs 8k. Or shop our selection online today to upgrade your camera to the latest tech. 

Get the latest video cameras and expert advice at Camera House!

Whether you need a video camera for recreational use or looking to invest as a professional, the team at Camera House are your local experts when it comes to finding the best video camera for you.

Visit the Camera House team in store and visit our blog to get the latest articles and tips:

Is 4k Really Better than 1080p?

The 5 Best Nikon Cameras for Video

The Essential Equipment You Need for Live Video Streaming

Our 5 Favourite Sony Cameras for Video

How to Make a Video [for Beginners]

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