1080p vs 8K – Can You Spot the Difference?

We now have consumer cameras capable of shooting in up to 8K. Seriously. The Canon EOS R5 can record in 8K directly to a memory card. Is it simply a gimmick? Most people are still watching most things in Full HD at best, and that’s even if they are watching on a proper screen and not just their phone.

One of the people lucky enough to get their hands on an R5 is Matti Haapoja, and he wanted to test whether most people could even tell the difference between standard Full HD 1080p and 8K video. It shouldn’t be that hard right?

First, you have to set the YouTube video to display in 4K at a minimum. 8K would be nice, but if you don’t have the screen or computing power to handle it it’s just not a fun experience. Then just look closely.

Working for the footage is the fact that Haapoja has a collection of relatively short clips. Without spending a lot of time examining different areas of each shot it gets tough to tell which is which on an average display. Things are a bit different on my 4K TV at home though with detail differences being a bit more noticeable.

Also, Haapoja through in a bigger mix of footage than just Full HD and 8K, there was some 4K and some 720p stuff as well. This would make it tougher as I had some moments on my initial watch where I was thinking the shot was more detailed than Full HD but didn’t quite have an 8K level.

I think that it really depends on the shot. If you are shooting a relatively static and low-detail shot then it’s hard to tell. But every scene where he was close up on himself you could clearly see the extra level of detail in his facial hair.

So why even bother with this test? Basically, it says that for the most part 4K and 8K does have advantages and is in fact more detailed. It is also way harder to deal with.

So, basically use what makes sense for you during shooting. Stuff to throw up on YouTube that might be cut in quickly can get away with only being Full HD 1080. Stuff that is very detailed and might be up for a good bit on a nice display should definitely be shot in the higher resolutions. 

I’m personally just going to stick with 4K for a good long while. It’s still manageable on file sizes and yet still offers much better detail than 1080 does.

[source: Matti Haapoja]

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