With the passage of time and with the start of New Year, a number of stories about the new camera models are starting to come out. It has been quite a few years since the release of the movie “Guardians of Galaxy,” which was the first-ever movie that was made with an 8k camera, but still, there are not many manufacturers that have to release their 8k models. Famous brands like Sharp, RED, and Ikegami do have their 8k camera models, but the prices are so high that no every person can afford it. Now let’s have a look at some of the best 8k cameras available in the market and what kind of features they offer.
What’s so different about 8K Cameras?
To understand this, we need to know about the basics of the camera. Let’s start from the resolution, what is the resolution? Resolution is something that defines the capability of a camera to capture pictures. The 8K camera is capable of capturing 7680 x 8192 pixels on the longer side and 2160 x 8192 pixels on a shorter side subject to the aspect ratio of the video. In general, an 8K camera having an aspect ratio of 16:9 is capable of recording 33.9 million pixels or, in other words, 7680 x 4320 pixels.
It is important to note here that still, images have different resolutions compared to videos. Technically speaking, any camera having a resolution of more than 25 MP can take pictures at 7680 x 3200 pixels. Hence models like Hasselblad X1 II 50C and Canon EOS 5DS R can perform similar to any 8K Camera by recording similar kinds of pictures, but having said that, they still can’t record videos similar to 8K camera.
8K cameras use a lens and its sensor to capture as well as record the pictures on its memory, so we can say that its working principle isn’t much different from what we get in 4K or Full HD cameras. One of the biggest drawbacks of an 8K camera is the unusually big size of the videos recorded through it. For example, a 40-minute video can be as big as two terabytes.
The photos captured through an 8k camera can not only be utilized in cinemas but also can be displayed in live broadcasts and 8K TV sets. Although at the moment 4K and Full HD Cameras are widely used as industry standards, you never know what could be the next change.
What’s the price range of an 8k Camera?
Currently, even the least expensive models range from $24,000 to $50,000, so only a select group of people can afford this. The technology isn’t common as well; the difference of 4K videos and 8K videos can only be detected through 8K video compatible TV sets and monitors.
What parameters to be considered for an 8K Camera?
There is a number of different things that you need to consider during the process of buying an 8K Camera, such as the kind of sensor it has, its storage capacity, maximum frame rate and etc. Almost every 8K model is capable of recording video at 60fps, obviously different bit rates for different models, ultimately affecting their respective data transfer rate. In addition, you should also pay close attention to the type of camera lens, which probably is one of the most vital features for a camera.
If you are a broadcaster, then the most important factor for you to consider should be its data transfer rate. Similarly, for a person who needs to record movies, the most vital feature would be the shutter speed of the camera, maximum frame rate, and maximum storage capacity.
Best 8K Cameras to buy in 2020
Although 8K camera technology is available since the last decade so it isn’t a new technology, but still there are only a few companies who have been able to introduce their models in this range. And how can we not mention their prices? Currently, the 8K cameras are so expensive that not everybody can afford it. So now, let’s discuss the most suitable 8K cameras that are available or expected to hit the market in the near future.
1. Canon 8K Camera
Although rumors have been circulating in the market from the beginning of 2019 about the possible launch of a new 8K Camera from canon so far, we haven’t seen any official news from the manufacturer itself. If we are to believe in the rumors, then the canon would be coming up with a full-frame camera with a CMOS sensor very similar to a super 35mm sensor. It will be supporting 8K footage at the rate of 60fps and 4k footage at the rate of 120fps. But the exact specifications will only be confirmed after the actual launch of the product.
At the moment, canon is already producing the cameras with 50 Megapixels cameras capable of taking pictures with the frame size of 8712 x 5813 and record 4k footage at the rate of 60 fps.
Even the smartphone models like EOS R and EOS 5DS are capable of taking still pictures with the resolutions that you would normally get with 8k Cameras. So we are still waiting for an official release date of 8k camera from canon.
2. Nikon 8K Camera
Although Nikon is one of the front runners when it comes to camera manufacturing so far, even Nikon doesn’t have any 8k camera in its range. There were lots of rumors after Apple’s official WWDC event about the possible release of Nikon’s 8K camera, but this was very dismissed.
Currently, in Nikon’s available range, model D850 is probably the closest to the 8K camera. That is because of its 47.5 Megapixel camera which, when combined with other D850 models, can even record time-lapses in 8k resolution. This D850 model cannot only continuously shoot at the rate of 7fps but also can record 4K ultra HD videos at the rate of 24, 25, and 30 fps. It comes up with an inbuilt CMOS sensor which is perfectly capable of taking pictures with a frame size of 8256 x 5504. Not to forget its ISO sensitivity, which ranges from ISO 64 to ISO 25.6K.
This camera model can easily be adapted with lens types G, E, D, DX, and AI-P, which makes it extremely versatile to record almost anything you desire.
Although Nikon is one of the leading camera manufacturing brands in the world, we are yet to see any official news about their possible 8K Camera model in the coming years.
3. Sharp 8K Camera
Although it has been a few years now since Sharp introduced its 8C-B60A camera model, which was the first-ever 8k Camcorder in the world, still after this much time, we only have the only handful of cameras models which comes close to the sharp 8k 8C-B60A camcorder. Some of its unique features are
- Come up with a CMOS sensor, which is very similar to a 35 mm equivalent single plate sensor and has approximately 35 Million pixels.
- It has an output of Quad link 12G-SDI that can easily take pictures and broadcast live footage even during the live recording session.
- It can record 8K 10-bit videos at the rate of 60fps. There are options for recording even at the rate of 24, 30, and 50 fps if you want.
- Its Camcorder comes with 2TB SSD memory space, which can easily save as long as 40 minutes 8k video. In addition, there is also a possibility of using an SDHC card to extend the memory.
- It comes with Grass valley HQX codec that can compress the video files the compression rate of 6Gbps.
- It comes with 2 Audio IN XLR 3 Pins along with a single MIC IN XLR type 5 pin.
- The Camcorder is directly run through a DC output AC/DC adaptor XLR 4-pin as it doesn’t come with batteries.
So, all in all, it’s a very powerful 8K Camera.
4. Sony 8K Camera
Sony needs no introduction when it comes to electronics and especially camera technology. It has been the leading runner in this market for many decades now, and its user population is one of the biggest in the world. Sony introduced its first 8K Camera known as F65 CineAlta back in 2016, but still, after these many years, it is one of the best available 8k Cameras in the market, which gives you a brief idea about the features it must be having. Now let’s discuss its features.
- It comes up with a 24.7 mm x 13.1 mm CMOS sensor with 1-chip 20 Megapixels, which is very much similar to a super 35 mm CMOS sensor.
- The PL lens mount of this camera is very much standard, so you don’t have to worry about if you, for some reason, have to change its lens.
- This camera has exposure latitude with standardized 14 stops and utilizes the S-Log3/S-Gamut3 gamma curve to ensure the color quality of video files.
- This Sony 8K Camera can get hold of 275,000 billion color variations, even capturing pictures at the rate of 60 fps.
Looking at these features, there should not be a big surprise of its price tag of above 60K $. So we can say that this particular machine is specifically made for professionals in this field.
5. Ikegami 8K Camera
Ikegami is a big name in the field of professional camera manufacturers, and to its credit, this Japanese based electronics manufacturer was the first one to develop and introduce a handheld 8K ultra HD TV camera system. Now let’s have a look at its features.
- Ikegami model SHK-810 super high vision camera comes with a Super 35mm 33 Mio Pixel CMOS sensor, which enables it to capture highly refined pictures.
- This camera comes with such a highly flexible back focus mechanism enabled PL lens that makes it easier to operate for a camera operator especially in an environment with continuous movement without compromising on picture quality
- Its signal output features are extremely impressive as there are multiple choices to choose from HD SMPTE 292M, SHV Dual green SDI interface, and 4k SMPTE 424M (3G-SDI).
- There are multiple options available for signal types so you can choose
- 2K channel x 4k and 4 channel HD return signal
- Trail level sync
- VBS external sync signals
- It comes with a kind of bulky structure with the weight in the range of 9-10 kg, which makes it very difficult to use without a tripod stand.
Most of the bigger TV networks prefer this camera model instead of filmmakers.
6. RED 8K Camera
The name RED doesn’t need any introduction, especially for people who regularly watch TV shows and movies. There are so many numbers of movies that have been shot with the RED 8K cameras like “Helium 8K S35 Monochrome“, “Monstro 8K VV” and “Helium 8K S35“. These are all different models of DSMC2 Camera series with 35.4 Mega Pixel CMOS sensors common in all the models. Now let’s have a look at its features.
- All the 8k models feature 35.4 MP CMOS sensor with sensor size varying in different models.
- All of the 8K models can write data at the speed of 300 MB/s and have a very impressive dynamic range.
- And all of the 8K models can make 8K videos at the rate of 60fps.
- Videos in the range of 4K-8K can also be captured at different rates.
- All of the 8K models come up with an inbuilt Apple Prores codec, which ensures the image and video quality.
The price of RED 8K Cameras ranges from 24k$ to 50K$.
So far, we have covered all the available 8K camera models available in the market, but we have to accept that this market is still not developed. There are only a handful of brands that are offering this technology, and we only have to select amongst the above-listed options. But you never know what lies ahead, we may see a breakthrough in this market with other brands also introducing their 8K Cameras.