4K Video Used 8 Different Ways, Even if your Final Output is HD

Sony PXW-Z100 4K camcorder shooting in a bamboo field.



I'm quite excited about the idea of getting decent stills from my video. The GH4 allows for 4K filming, which ill be getting soon. I do a lot of post processing in videography and photography and I extract images from video using the hdrinstant program. I find though the image quality at 1080p isn't that great. Really excited to finally be able to get decent 4K images from video.


Do we need more pixels, or better sensor performance?

artsmith's picture

I use HD exclusively at present, except for computer generated graphics (I do my own), which I carry out on a 'Super HD' raster of 3840x2160  because that gives me complication-free downscaling and few 'jaggy' pixel artifacts. However, I have toyed with the idea of some-day going to '4K' for the sake of the flexibility it would give me in producing better HD images. But is it really necessary, in view of the extra fire-power needed computer-wise and other disadvantages? Despite the undoubted enthusiasm of your writer, for '4K', I rather doubt it. I receive, weekly, a thought-provoking email magazine intended more for technicians and those actively engaged in the industry, and there has been a strong general concensus, recently, that what we need is not 'more' pixels, as much as we need image-sensors with wider dynamic-range and screen pixels able to take advantage of that factor. In short not 'more', but 'better' pixels, with improved dynamics.


 During the 1950's, Detroit promoted a ridiculous 'horsepower race' in the American automotive industry, putting larger and larger engines into cars of only straight-line performance capabilities, with many becoming dangerously unstable on anything other than the freeways for which they had been designed. The 'Pixel-race' seems to me to be headed in the same direction, with what final outcome I wonder? Well my money is on sensors which will finally feature so many pixels, that the processes will have out-stripped the abilities of the other electronics to get the data off the sensors into storage at realistic frame-rates. On the other hand, there are those 'Moores law' enthusiasts who believe that anything is possible. Personally I think that many 'envelopes' are already being pushed to their limits, (and some beyond them), and that eventually, the laws of physics will have the last laugh. According to Einstein, I believe, only two things are infinite; the universe, and man's stupidity. In the end, only one can prevail.  Which is it to be? It's fascinating to ponder, but I think I will hang onto my 'hard-earned' until I see which way the cat is likely to jump.

More Performance

Ed Merritt's picture

4K is in our future for sure, just because the cost to manufacture them will continue to drop. As with the CRT televisions, try and find a CRT today - very hard to do. Demand dropped, so did manufacturing. 4K will eventually overtake 1080p as the standard.

Your question is more performance or more pixels? I think there's no question performance follows pixel count if engineered correctly. Ten years ago, no one was capturing in 720p, now that's replaced by 1080p resolutions. The better sensors - more pixels - and higher quality internal processing now makes 1080p the standard. 


I wish 1080p cameras had better performing sensors, but it seems the way we're going to get those is with bigger sensors with more pixels crammed onto them. Faster and more accurate internal processing is part of the equation. As a side benefit, everything is getting smaller.