Why is 4K important?

Aug 7, 2018
Everyone says 4K "not important." TV only 1080p. No need for 4K. Too much data. Too hard to process. And nobody makes video, everyone just make photos.

For every birthday party for my children, I video the whole "happy birthday" song and cake thing. I do it with my phone and my phone does 4K. You can say that the most important videos I make are all done in 4K and using a camera - not expensive Canon equipment (good argument why have it if it is never used for important things!) If Canon make DSLR do 4K and have good IS lens, then I do 4K video of birthday with Canon camera. But not now. สมัครufabet

In 15-20 years time, as my kids get older and we have parties where "remember when", I'll have videos to share of those moments. "Oh but my photos are 1893MP!" The difference between photos and videos of parties is "Oh, that's a nice photo" and "listen to them laughing!" / "look at what they're doing!". Back to those future parties. At that point in time, TVs are either going to be 4K "standard" ("Gee dad, why didn't you have good video back then?") or maybe even 6K/8K ("Wow, dad, when I was a baby that was the best video available?!") 1080p might be "ok" now but it will age and it will not age well. Just look at the recent promo's for the upcoming re-release of Terminator 2. Cinemas will be 3D but a 4K UHD edition is being done and it looks sweeet.

Nobody buys a 24MP camera so that they can keep 2MP images (ok, maybe 4MP if you've got a UHD screen), everyone buys 24MP cameras to keep 24MP pictures. Even if they only ever get downres'd for monitors, by keeping the original raw/jpeg, you can re-render it for bigger screens in the future. Same with video.


Canon 6DII
Feb 16, 2017
Vancouver, BC
A couple of things. I occasionally take videos with my phone too, a Samsung Galaxy S8. Although it is able to record 4k videos, I have never done so for the reasons you've cited above: they're ridiculously large to upload/share, they're very difficult to work with, and it's just too much data. Frankly, the 1080p videos are excellent, and for all of the casual videos, they capture everything I want to capture, in amazing quality.

At the end of the day, to improve the video, what I really need isn't a better camera, it's a better set with better lighting, better director, and multiple camera angles that I can use for the cut. It's a whole ton of work that isn't worthwhile for casual videos, and I don't have any interest in being a professional videographer.
For cameras, as we get to 40-50 megapixel cameras, there are a lot of cases where the extra resolution is simply scarded (the image is sized way, way down for any sort of commercial purpose). However, we're talking about 100MB files, which might be awkward, but bearable, not files that are gigabytes, which just exceed the ability of current systems to easily transfer.

At some point in the future, we will have little devices that are a billion times faster than current PCs, and wireless networks that can transmit a hundred terabytes in a snap of a finger. But we live in the a world where we make decisions based on what we have now, and as it is, I'm just unwilling to work with a 100 gb recording for a birthday party, and more importantly, nobody who sees it will ever appreciate the difference :)


Apr 3, 2013
Isle of Wight
Hi Jeremy.
I think the issue is with your self critique, nobody watching is going to be analysing the quality, but laughing their socks off at the content, for example old comedy shot for tv using 427 scan lines is still funny!

Cheers, Graham.
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Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
Hi Jeremy.
I think the issue is with your self critique, nobody watching is going to be analysing the quality, but laughing their socks off at the content, for example old comedy shot for tv using 427 scan lines is still funny!

Cheers, Graham.
This. I doubt if your kids will look back at the videos 20 years from now and criticize them for the resolution. More likely: I can't believe we thought those clothes looked good...wow, Dad, you used to have hair...Mom, you still have that same hairstyle.
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Jul 6, 2017
Davidson, NC
I always use 4K on the rare occasions when I shoot video on my iPhone. It doesn't have a zoom lens, so I use the extra resolution to zoom in when editing. Nothing is Gone with the Wind length, so the file is not so humungous. My almost-4-year-old 5K iMac has plenty of oomph to edit and process 4K video in FCP X (though the work files can eat up most of the spare 1/2 GB on the internal SSD before it's over). I use Compressor to output the result to 1080p or 720p (or both, it's pretty quick on this machine). I don't plan to be viewing them 20 years from now, when perhaps the TV will occupy a whole wall or maybe just project into the middle of the room. If I had grandchildren, things might be different.

I am aware of how technology marches on. Right now I'm working on a project as my gift to a neighbor for her 90th birthday of taking 78 rpm recordings of her singing opera, etc., made by the University of Illinois in 1949, and digitizing them to make CDs for her and her children. The results are not so great, but considering that some of the records look like they have acne, it's a wonder I can get them to track at all, much less get rid of a lot of the noise.


Feb 12, 2014
4K is important because it records more detail. That is not so important when recording things like people because the objects the viewer is watching are large and consequently relatively insensitive to detail. A common mistake naysayers make is to look at such videos and then claim that it is proof that you can't see the difference as if this is the only type of subject matter. But if your scene is full of small detail (landscapes with lots of vegetation in the background, or animals fur/scales, for example) then it most definitely does make a difference. You will only see it on larger screen 4K TVs though (65" and above). The basic idea is the same as Apple's retina screens, to get a truly immersive image you need resolution below the pixel resolution the eye can see and you need a screen that can substantially cover the main field of view (ie a large panel, 65" or more in a typical living room). The transition from HD to 4K is a subtle thing, but is definitely there.

The other reason for shooting in 4K rather than HD is that it gives you more information to work with in post, even if you are delivering a HD product. In addition, it also reduces a lot of the artifacts that come from trying to extract an HD image from a lot larger sensor (moire, jaggies, stuff like that). Even in cameras that do full sensor reads you generally get fewer artifacts in the 4K mode. Assuming that the processor can handle 4K properly of course - many cannot, so they have to make compromises to shoot 4K and it adversely impacts 4K quality.