Sony’s next smartphone is rumored to be 4K, but where are the 4K digicams?
posted Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM EDT
Sony smartphone site XperiaBlog has managed to obtain leaked screenshots from an upcoming piece of hardware that points to yet another smartphone getting 4K video. With this flagship device pegged for super high resolution video, we're left scratching our heads, and wondering where the 4K digicams are?
The images are for the Sony Xperia D6503, running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and they show off manual photography modes, timeshift slow motion, and 4K ultra high definition (alongside a suite of other, less photographic features). And it's not the first smartphone we've seen with the ability to record 4K video either, the Acer Liquid S2 promised the same feat. We've also seen an explosion in 4K monitors, and 4K video cameras, but where are the standard digital cameras that can offer the same performance?
At CES, Panasonic had a prototype GH-series camera that the company promised would handle 4K, but the rest of the camera world seems still stuck in at 1080p. Nikon even still has some budget digicams that will only shoot 720p. So why aren't we seeing the same offerings of ultra high resolution video for cameras that we are with smartphones?
One argument is that a smartphone might have a much more powerful processing chip on board, which could be better at handling the high bit-rate video feed. That's entirely debatable, but if you think about some of the performance benchmarks that smartphones are put through, they're pretty far removed from the engine driving most cameras — but they're also an entirely different type of beast.
The other argument is that this is just another facet of the megapixel war, and that's a war that digital cameras have mostly quit fighting. You won't see many digital cameras battling over megapixel count anymore, but smartphones are still struggling to differentiate themselves from competition, and 4K video is a feature that does that.
It's also not a feature that people seem to be clamoring for just yet. Maybe once 4K monitors become more widespread it will be, but for now most people don't seem to be want to shoot super high resolution on a pocket sized camera. But in the next year or two, that could all change, and 4K video could be the norm.
And with the specter of 8K video on the horizon, the whole argument may end up being argued over again in the very near future.