Sony Should Not Go 8K – At Least, Not Yet!

There’s a widespread belief that Canon’s suddenly leapfrogged Sony by a couple of generations just because they offer what they’re calling 8K video in their R5; that squeezing more and smaller pixels onto the surface of the sensor magically makes it better: and some think Sony has to respond with their own 8K mirrorless camera. Setting aside for a moment the fact that (1) 8K is all but useless for paid work; (2) that media and storage costs are tremendous (and remember, you’re also making backups of all those files!); (3) that most computers can’t read the files without dropped frames; (4) that 8K displays are scarce and that for many, 8K is all but unplayable on YouTube; (5) that because 8K H.265 files entail an increase in storage and time spent editing, you’ve got to pass the cost along to the client, becoming less competitive; (6) that the actual resolution of the files is closer to 5.65K; (7) and that the primary reason for shooting 8K is flexibility in post, not for delivering 8K content – there’s a very simple reason why Sony shouldn’t release an 8K camera just because Canon has. Marketing has managed to convince not only consumers, but also studios and clients that somehow the more Ks the better; that it translates directly into the perception of image quality by the viewer. Steve Yedlin’s video disproves the notion that higher resolution necessarily translates into the perception of sharpness and clarity of the image, and that there are many other variables that come into play.

My own opinion is that being able to shoot images in pitch darkness at 4K 120p is magical, and offers more creative possibilities than headline-grabbing pixel counts. And concerning image quality, 8K is trivial beside HDR, which, along with full frame video, is the biggest change in the industry since the talkies.

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