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Most Cameras Will Not Fill Coming 8K Displays

Apple has had 5K (5120 X 2880) over 4 years ago. How long before Apple has an iMac 6K or 8K? An iMac 6K would require a 24-megapixel image, and 8K would make even the Nikon D810 inadequate to fill the screen.

By “nearly all”, I speak both to camera unit volume as well as models.

Five years from now when looking at a commonplace 8K display, will you enjoy your images at their finest, or instead view a blurred image stretched to fit? For those personal moments that bring back memories I might not care that much: looking back I am glad to have the photos I took in 2001, but more detail would be very nice to have and even lens weakness is disappointing in many of them. But what if every image looks not quite sharp because it is stretched to fit?

It’s not a theoretical issue: the existing 2017 iMac 5K and prior 5K models have a display with 14.7 million pixels (5120 X 2880). Thus a 12-megapixel Sony A7S II image (4240 X 2832) won’t fill the screen, though it comes close vertically, shown below.

Similarly, when 8K displays go mainstream they will be 7680 X 4320 = 33 megapixels, which raises the issue of which cameras can fill an 8K display. Consider a sampler of what various camera resolutions will deliver on an 8K display:

X 24-megapixel cameras @ 6000 X 4000 = 24 megapixels: 72% fill; letterboxed both directions (or stretched to fit)

- Nikon D810 @ 7360 X 4912 = 36.2 megapixels: black-boxed horizontally, fills vertically

Nikon D850 @ 8256 X 5504 = 45.4 megapixels: fills screen in both directions

Sony A7R III @ 7952 X 5304 = 42.2 megapixels: fills screen in both directions

I want the images I take to fill an 8K display. So I have nil interest in 24-megapixel cameras: it takes the same photographic effort to shoot 12/24/36 megapixel camera as it does to shoot a 45 megapixel camera.

I’ve been disappointed in not seeing 8K go mainstream yet, but it is available with special graphics cards on PCs . Mainstream computers will get there soon enough now and one can hope (not much) for an iMac 6K or iMac 8K or at least Multi Stream Transport with the current 2018 MacBook Pro and/or with a future iMac 5K.

As shown below, shooting a camera that cannot fill the screen is not desirable is less than fully desirable.

Sony A7S II image at actual pixels on Apple iMac 5K
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