What is 4K?

October 25, 2016

What's up with 4K?

It appears more and more on advertising for today’s cameras and televisions. Don’t panic! 4K video is just the latest iteration of technology that is moving into the marketplace.

When a manufacturer says that its camera has 4K video, they are referring to the resolution of video. The current standard resolution for video cameras is 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels and is typically called 1080p, 2K, or Full HD. 4K video, also called UHD or Ultra-HD video, has twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of 1080p video. A single frame of 4K video measures 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels.

Why 4K? Well, 4K allows for more pixels per frame of video, which can help adding detail and clarity. Because of this increased resolution, if you wanted to pull still images from your 4K video, you would get 8 megapixel images. (Still images from 1080p video would be 2.1 megapixels.)


Check out a video of what the OM-D E-M1 Mark II can do with 4K!


Most software packages will allow you to master your 4K videos down to 1080p. So, if you shoot your video at 4K but don’t have a monitor or screen to display the full resolution, you can reduce the resolution of the 4K videos down to the resolution you need. Also, if you set your video software’s project settings for 1080p video and then bring in your 4K video files, you can also adjust the framing of your 4K video without losing quality because 4K video is a higher resolution.

Just because 4K is a new feature in cameras, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily found just on advanced cameras and camcorders. While the Nikon D5 and D500 have 4K video, mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A6300 and Panasonic’s GH4, GX8, G7, and GX85 also have 4K video. It is also a feature of many of Panasonic’s point-and-shoot cameras, including the ZS60, ZS100, FZ300, FZ1000, and LX100. This makes 4K accessible for professional videographers as well as anyone who wants to take advantage of the newer technology at a reasonable price.

-Ian Blaylock, Crestwood Location