back to article Sony brings 4K shooting to the masses in weeks

Las Vegas is about 5,200 miles (c. 8,400km) from Blighty’s capital, which makes CES a bit of schlep for all but the terminally keen. Knowing this, Sony UK showcased its finest for 2014 to the UK press this week, from 4K camcorders to er, 4K tellies... with some laptop goodness in between. Most of the laptops we'd all seen …


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  1. LarsG

    One of those products with a huge appeal but a limited market place until the costs come down.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Giving a very high end DSLR to a monkey will not produce quality composition.

      Giving a 4K video cam to a monkey will still not produce quality composition.

      Giving a pencil to a monkey will definately not produce quality composition. ( Hypothetically they can write Shakespearean tradegies but that's only hypothetical).

      I agree that there is a "very" limited niche market who could actually put these to good use but that is and will always remain a very niche market.

      There is no real mass market appeal in these cams at all, they are just the next marketing gimmick.

      Within the question Do I want "Available Internet Bandwidth or Higher quality cat Videos " ?, I know which I prefer because we all know how these cams will end up being used....when the price drops to proloteriat levels.

      1. rh587

        Actually, 4K is just about large enough that if you gave one of these to a monkey you could crop it out to a semi-stable HD video at the end, following the principle of "shoot everything and we'll pick the wheat out from the big pile of chaff", although it is far cheaper to buy an HD camera and learn to use it properly.

        Have to say though, 4K 60p (on the semi-pro big brother) for £4k is impressive.

        1. CoffeePoweredRobot

          Lens distortion ahoy if you try

          Unfortunately not that simple: cameras' lens distortion towards the outer frame means you can't just take an HD clip from the edge of a 4K frame and fit it in with other shot HD footage: you might get the subject in there but it ends up jarring with the rest of the stuff you've shot (curved edges not lining up all the way round, increased size of natural noise, etc).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There is no real mass market appeal in these cams

        Sure there is, and El Reg has even covered it recently, albeit tangentially: HD selfie Pr0n. After all, it paved the way for VHS tape, why not the 4K market?

  2. MJI Silver badge

    The prices

    Are not that bad if you compare to the prices paid in the 1980s.

    I paid £400 for a second hand camera and recorder, which were new a £1000 in early 80s, that is the equivalent of £1100 / £2800 in todays money and for that I had a video camera of good picture quality and low number of features (no auto focus), and a heavyish recorder known to be quite light.

    I could have spent more if I had the money, a better camera like the JVC GX-N70 with the essential and most popular accessory of 14pin K adaptor, but the recorder was just the best.

    Actually the mix and match was good, Sony as an example made the best portable VCR on the UK market by a huge margin SL-F1UB, but their cameras were bare on features (even the HVC4000P 6 x zoom no, AF, no remote control beyond pause), JVC made an excellent camera (GX-N70) but their portable was shite.(cannot remember the model) Same with Panasonic, the NV180 was not fit to be mentioned in the same sentence as the SLF1, but their late model video camera was really good. The cheap cameras from JVC tended to go green, their VCRs could not handle multi generation editing.

    In my experience of videoing in the late 80s was that editing on all Sony kit in the domestic market automatically gave you an extra generation to your tapes, basically a Sony master edit tape was better than a JVC or Panasonic camera tape and the duplication copy from a Sony master was better than the edit master from the other two companies.

    Part of this was due to the sync pulse handling within Sony kit and part of this was due to the higher resolution of Betamax. I edited onto a SL-HF950, Pro-X tapes all round.

  3. EddieD


    My Hero HD 3+ Black is a 4k camera you can hold in one hand (between two fingers in fact) so thhpppt! And it only cost 350 notes.

    Okay, it may not have all the bells and whistles, but it works underwater...

    1. rh587

      Re: Hmm

      "My Hero HD 3+ Black is a 4k camera you can hold in one hand (between two fingers in fact) so thhpppt! And it only cost 350 notes.

      Okay, it may not have all the bells and whistles, but it works underwater..."

      By bells and whistles you mean a functional framerate? It only shoots at 15fps in 4K mode. Good for timelapses, or something you intend to speed up, not so much for slo-mo action shots (the Hero's normal stomping ground) or even just normal video.

      Great bit of kit but the 4K functionality is a bit gimmicky at the moment..

      Now 60fps 1080p you can get your teeth into, which the Hero does very well, or 30fps at 1440p to give you a bit of crop room as you hurtle down a mountain.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >naturally we’re all going to buy 4K tellies instead

    Speak for yourself.

    I hope it goes the way of 3D.

    1. Wyrdness

      > I hope it goes the way of 3D.

      To be honest, I think that it's even less appealing than 3D. The law of diminishing returns kicks in and you won't notice any real difference in quality over 1080p for moving video. If you've got really good eyesight, you might notice a tiny difference for still images at normal TV viewing distance. At best, it's a slight incremental improvement at the expense of a huge increase in bandwidth.

      At least 3D does provide some new functionality, even if it's not always that impressive.

      4K really does seem to be a solution looking for a problem. The only possible real benefit to us is if results in affordable 4K monitors for our computers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The law of diminishing returns kicks in and you won't notice any real difference in quality over 1080p for moving video.

        I have mediocre eyesight, but could see an improvement on 4K content standing about 4m from a 150cm screen. 4K may be overkill on high-speed, high-action footage, but on still-images to moderately-panned footage, there is a difference.

        That said, I am not going to rush out and replace my working HDTV with 4K. I would, however, get a 4K TV once my current kit fails.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But hardly anyone is going to sit only 4 metres from a 60" TV - unless they live in a bedsit - in which case owning one seems unlikely...

        2. Obvious Robert

          I have mediocre eyesight, but could see an improvement on 4K content standing about 4m from a 150cm screen.

          I wonder if you'd care to explain how that's possible, given that for a screen of 150cm (about 60") you'd have to be less than 8ft away before a human eye with 20/20 vision could discern ANY difference between 4k and 1080p?

          Maybe the 4k content was being compared to SD content, not 1080p HD? In which case, yes you'd see an improvement, but it wouldn't be any better than if they'd showed you 1080p (or even 720p) at that distance. It's simply not biologically possible.

          Or do you think you may have imagined it?

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Speak for yourself.

      You need to get your sarcasm detector repaired.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just because something can output at 1080p or 4k doesn't make it any good or actually capable of using those pixels effectively. Go Pros shoot 1080p but as a pro shooter who uses them for certain tasks I can tell you that while the Go Pro technically outputs 1080p, it doesn't have the same detail or picture quality as my other 1080p cameras.

    It's the same with the domestic 1080p camcorders we use. Put the footage side by side with a professional camera, examine it and you realise the camcorder is missing all sorts of fine detail, the colours are less subtle and the image more compressed. Let alone any optical issues with the lens.

    So chances are if you are spending that kind of money on a "camcorder" your cash would be better spent on a high spec, if lower resolution 1080p camera.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: 4K?

      I moved to HDV, pretty good for what it is

  6. Piro

    I think people would be better served with a "2K" 48fps camera instead

    2048x1080 @ 48fps would probably be better on the screens most people actually have, give you the correct digital cinema ratio, and allow it to simply drop half the frames to give you 24fps when desired.

    Then instead of spending all the money on a bigger/higher res sensor, they can spend the money on build quality and good optics.

  7. Jim Wilkinson

    4K will be available real soon now.....

    As I've posted before, 4K is about the same resolution of the eye. For large screens it really does makes a difference. D-Cinema wrote 4K resolution into their standards (but 24Fps only, not 48Fps and so no stereo-3D - hurrah!). It's not new. I suspect there are 4K D-Cinema systems in use already.

    Engineers have been talking about 4K and beyond for years. NHK even demo-ed 8K at IBC some years ago. As with all new tech developments, the prices will fall to levels that will sell - to those with fat wallets first, but with trickle down over the years to the more cost-conscious. Optical discs first at a guess (Violet-Ray?). Then maybe sat channels. Freeview bandwidth is somewhat limited so that'll probably be last. But it will happen IMO.

    To "Piro" - optics and quality is a given. There's no point in doing this unless you can see the difference.

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