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Old March 28th, 2014, 07:58 AM   #1
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Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

Sorry if this is in the wrong spot. I'll give you a little background. I'm a fairly novice with the video camera. I've been using a Canon XHA1s for a couple years and have sold that camera off, so I will be purchasing a new camera in the next couple months. I had almost completely eliminated the 4k cameras off my list because of several reasons. Mainly their low light performance. Most of my prime time filming comes around dusk and dawn as I work with wildlife. That's the time of day they are the most active, and I really need to squeeze those extra few minutes at dusk and dawn. After having a discussion with someone much more knowledgeable than I, I'm now rethinking this stance. I've been told that a couple of the benefits to 4k would be the fact that I would be able to film at a wider angle then crop and zoom it to 1080 in post. This would improve the low light capabilities of the camera because I wouldn't lose as much light since I would be filming at a much wider angle than I would be with a 1080p camera. Being able to film at a wider angle would also benefit me because filming is only part of what I'm doing so I can't give the camera 100% of my attention most of the time.
Honestly I have no idea how much work this would add to the post production process as I've never edited any 4k video, and only a little bit of HD video. I give my footage to someone else to do most of the editing process.
So basically, I'm just looking for opinions from people that are way more knowledgeable than me. What are your thoughts? Stick with the 1080p or give 4K a try. For reference, I'd say my top end budge for the camera would be no more than $4000. Less if I can get away with it.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

At $4K, I wouldn't worry about 4K. Shop for the camera that best meets your needs and if it happens to do 4K as well, then you have 4K as an option.

Personally, I really like the Sony FS700. (Unfortunately, it's out of your budget.) It looks pretty good, operates like a real video camera, has an S35 sensor with a mount that can handle various lenses, and it has killer slow and fast motion features. It doesn't do 4K out of the box, but it can with an external recorder.

We rented the FS700 last month. The high frame rate features were worth the price of admission. :) And, no, we didn't use a recorder or do 4K.

But it all depends on your primary needs. It sounds like 4K is secondary.
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Old March 29th, 2014, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Robinson View Post
... I've been told that a couple of the benefits to 4k would be the fact that I would be able to film at a wider angle then crop and zoom it to 1080 in post. This would improve the low light capabilities of the camera because I wouldn't lose as much light since I would be filming at a much wider angle than I would be with a 1080p camera. ....
The notion of the lens aperture closing as you zoom in is called ramping. Not all lenses ramp as fast as the A1. And some camera/lens systems are constant aperture and don't change. So it isn't a simple 4K vs 1080p issue as you pose it.

For your needs, you for sure you need to understand what the light performance of a camera/lens system is at the long end. Remember, the smaller the chip, the further an "affordable" lens can zoom. In general as chips increase in size the better the light performance but the more expensive the lens gets.

I suggest you keep learning by researching the many threads of people looking for the "Best" camera for wild life filming and see what they are using and why. Keep in mind the low light performance of cameras has come a long way from A1 days and you will be surprised at the performance of some rather small chips and single chip cameras these days.
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Old March 30th, 2014, 04:54 PM   #4
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

Low light performance depends on two factors - ISO rating (for a given noise level) and f stop. You have to take them together.

ISO rating for a given camera technology is largely influenced by the size of the photosites - the bigger the area of these, the more light they collect, the better the sensitivity. And in turn, photosite size is determined by overall chip size and how many there are on the chip - so increase resolution, and you get more sites, but smaller for a given chip size. I think this is where your concerns about 4K may come in?

But note that if you shoot 4k, then downres to 1080, you also effectively average the noise, which effectively brings the sensitivity back up again.

From all that, then it largely follows that the bigger the chip, the better the native ISO, for a given noise level. But, be careful. It assumes the chip is fully read - and for cameras such as DSLRs (and the AF100) this isn't true. They have to ignore a percentage of the photosites each frame, it's penalty for having a chip designed mainly for still photograph resolutions. That means the sensitivity is lower than may be predicted for the chip size.

And for a given chip size, 3CCD will inevitably have an advantage over single chip. As a rule of thumb, expect the 3CCD factor to equate to a single chip design with area somewhat over twice as big.

So - the expectation is that the bigger the chip, the better the ISO rating, the better the camera will perform in low light, yes?

But, the bigger the chip, the bigger the lens must be for a given f-stop and angle of view - which is what Les is saying above. If you make the chip 8 times the area, the ISO may increase by an equivalent of 3 stops - but if it means you using a f5.6 lens instead of f2, you're back to square one in terms of low light performance.
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Old April 1st, 2014, 11:43 PM   #5
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

I upgrade to a NEX EA50 from my XH-1As.

Here is what I am getting out of it over the XH1As

-It shoots like DSLR (IE has that 35mm DOF look) but handles like a camcorder
-Better Low might performance (No gainy image even at +24 gain!)
-I can buy a 64G SD card for 35 dollars. Now I can shoot for 4-5 hours without changing media...
-Full 1080 res at 60P!
-histogram on LCD/spot manual focus/face detection focus/color focus detection/larger LCD screen/comes with view finder/XRL inputs/HDMI out/6 programable buttons I can go on and on...
-Its lighter because it has no mechanical parts for tape slot
-Upgrade to other lenses including canon lenses..

I honestly think its too early to get a 4k camera. I would give it about 4-7 years for it to start catching on more.

Ohh You like footing wildlife?

Well this dude shot wildlife using that Camera
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Old June 21st, 2014, 03:13 PM   #6
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

High End Laptops and All-In-One Computers are still going 1080p. There are very few exceptions in the market that go above 1080p on screen resolution.

HP Z1 is small example, cause its a workstation. Asus also launched their firt 4K line, but is work in progress.

With that said, pretty much everybody on the net is watching your work in smartphones and 1080p screens. Youtube and Vimeo are not going 4k at least in the next 3 years. And unless you are working for a channel that broadcast in 4K, who's really watching 4k? Nobody. If you're producing for the film industry, then ok, get the best resolution possible.

The real question is: how many people in the world have access to 4K today?
Probably 86 people. 86 people who dont't give s#it about my work. They have 4K screens to pretend not to watch your beautiful images.

Come back to earth.

That was not nice, but it was the truth.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 04:44 PM   #7
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

I agree that was not nice but disagree it was necessarily the whole truth, for unless I am misunderstanding, YouTube is 4k right now, not in 3 years. I own several 4k cameras including the Sony PMW F55, but nevertheless feel the hysteria for 4k is overblown. I am requested much more for 1080p super slo mo than 4k resolution.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 07:45 PM   #8
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Shoot 4K to get superior 1080

A lot of this advice about 4K is misleading. It is based on the premise that 1080 video cameras produce 1080 resolution or use the full sensor to do so. Most do not use the full sensor, which reduces low-light performance, results in artifacts, and low resolution.

The truth is almost no HD camcorders come close to full 1080 resolution. Many also shoot 4:2:0 color sampling, which also loses info. Many have aliasing and other artifacts. Note that someone above said he gets "full" 1080 resolution at 60p with his camcorder, but in fact he does not. 1080 is a category, it is not the actual resolution achieved. There is unfortunately no standard that limits the use of "1080" of "full" HD. DSLRs are the worst offenders, getting around 650 lines, not 1080.

The key point is that 4K downrezzed to 1080 produces 1080 video that is far superior to the 1080 produced by almost all video cameras. Thus, it is irrelevant if no one ever views video on 4K viewing devices. Indeed, forget 4K viewing. It is irrelevant. It may never come, but that does not matter.

Here are the reasons for shooting 4K to view at or produce 1080 video by downrezzing:

1. The resolution will be true 1080, much higher than most HD cameras produce. Visibly higher, stunningly higher. No aliasing artifacts at all.

2. The color sampling will be at least 4:2:2, not 4:2:0.

3. Noise will averaged (as someone said above), and because noise is random, this averaging reduces noise a lot.

4. As someone also advised, as you have approximately 4X the resolution of HD, you can crop a lot with no loss in HD resolution. Cropped and still at least 1080.

All this is not free - you need faster memory cards (class-10 sd will not do) in the camera and more storage and better editing hardware. But there is no dramatic change in workflow, and almost any current computer can play native 4K video easily, however it is viewed.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 09:20 PM   #9
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

Where are you going to store your 4:2:2 ? In youtube, in Vimeo?

We need 400TB of space to store our full uncompressed projects that no one is ever going to see... Either MPEG-2 or H.264 as final print. Your 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 is going to hell.

And again, 8bit 4k youtube videos is not 4k. Is a joke. If i had money for a 4K editing system and a 60floor building full of servers to store all that s#it. I would not be in DVinfo.net. I'll be smoking weed all day in costa rica with a bunch of filmmakers wannabes working for me.

Your 4:4:4 is 3 to 5 years before it hits google severs or satellite TVs.
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Old June 21st, 2014, 09:58 PM   #10
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

I'm noting your point re storage of 4 k
A big event for me might be 20 hours of files which would be 1 x 64gb UHS Speed Class 3 per hour and a half so a dozen or so and they run at least 50 bucks per for the cheapies. or 150.00 for decent.
Nah I'm not going to store anything in 4 k, probabley downrez it to 1280 for long term storage But the bump in quality will be there even in 1280 if shot in 4K right?
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Old June 21st, 2014, 11:43 PM   #11
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

If i go right now to skywalker ranch with any project in 4K, i know they're going to say: Yes, you have 4K. 4K of digital crap.

In reality, there's no way for me to show up with a 4:4:4 documentary project with 96tracks of video and 128tracks of audio at 192khz full of plugins all over the place in complete lossless format. How can i really deliver a project for mastering purposes? And i dont really have money to go RED and make them happy.

I'll keep shooting family home videos.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 01:19 AM   #12
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

You can view 4K on You Tube RIGHT NOW, not in some uncertain future. It looks noticeably better than 1080, so something's "working"! There are a lot of ultra high resolution screens out there already - many in tablets, some in Laptops, and a few TV's here and there.

I sincerely doubt the OP was looking to show up at "Skywalker Ranch" with anything shot on an XHA1, nor will anyone probably show up with something shot on a camera that cost anywhere close to that. Hyperbole to even suggest it.

Maybe one cannot purchase "professional industrial strength" 4K for cheap, but to say it's not doable to produce stunningly "acceptable" quality (that will catch the eye of most viewers) 4K on a budget is simply 100% untrue...

Compression means you're not storing every single pixel of "raw" data... you DON'T need massive storage (at least if you consider that TERABYTE drives are commonly available!!).

Right now one can buy the Sony AX100 for under $2k, it shoots 4K, on class 10 UHS1 cards... 2+ hours on a 64G card no less!! I think similar cards can be had for around $35...

If you've got investment in the GH system, a GH4 body gets you "in" for around the same, and if you can deal with lesser quality (and supposedly the need for faster cards), the FZ1000 will shortly hit the market for under $900...

Yes the Sony is XAVC S format at only 30p and 50 Mbps, but it IS very sharp 4K, can be cropped for sharp HD, and it looks far better than typical "HD".

So yeah, cameras available for half the stated budget (that will likely look a darn sight better than that XHA1!), there ya go, put the rest into a cheap 4K TV for a monitor, and some computer upgrades to better handle 4K clips... STILL well under $4k for the whole kit and kaboodle, IF it's something one wants to do!!

The AX100 is not bad in low light either, even zoomed in. Big sensor, decent glass, good processor... decent low light!

If one approaches the challenges realistically, stepping into 4K is doable on a "consumer" or "amateur" budget. I just did it, and by the time I finish selling off some other perfectly good "HD" capable equipment, may actually come out a bit ahead - the video is great, working on a big 4K screen is great, speed improvements are great.... MANY side benefits on top of being able to work with clips from the AX100... absolutely NO regrets, even with a few "teething pains" getting things dialed in!

Even if one considers "consumer grade" 4K as "inferior" in some way, it STILL looks better than "consumer" and probably quite a bit of "pro" HD, once you get past the initial learning curve.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 07:27 AM   #13
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

4K is already here, maybe not at the most refined level, but that's part of "new" tech. SOME people are working with it and learning what works and what doesn't. 4K capability is available right now, IF one wants to experiment with it. No 60 story building required... and 4:4:4 isn't happening anytime soon anyway (obviously). In many other respects, it's coming along rather quickly, contrary to your statements.
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 07:44 AM   #14
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

@dave
will 4k downrezzed to 1280x720 be clearly superior to natively shot 1280x720
tks
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 08:11 AM   #15
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Re: Camera upgrade. 1080p or 4K

Bruce, that is easy to find out. Ask somebody here with a GH4 to shoot the same scene at 4k and 720p and send the files.. Process the images and do a blind comparison on a 720p Blu-ray.

The only way to truly know is to see it for yourself. I would like to see this myself as if you want to delivery anything on Blu-ray that is NOT 24p, you will be at 720p or 1080i. Kind of takes the sexy out of 4k.
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