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The Vast Majority of Today’s Cameras Will Not Fill an 8K Display

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 don’t/won’t care that much: looking back I am glad to have the photos I took in 2001. And even scaled photos can look pretty good—just not entirely crisp. Thing is, it takes the same photographic effort to shoot a 12/24/36 megapixel camera as it does to shoot a 45 megapixel camera.

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 which various camera resolutions will deliver a full 8K experience:

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 my images I take to fill an 8K display. Accordingly, I have nil interest in 24-megapixel cameras. I understand that sports and wildlife shooters and so on might have other priorities, obviously my discussion excludes cases where those priorities dominate.

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.


The existing 2017 iMac 5K and prior 5K models have a display with 14.7 million pixels (5120 X 2880).

Below, the 2464 X 1632 4.0-megapixel Nikon D2H fills only 27% of a 5K display. It would fill only 12% of an 8K display. I really wish I had at least 24 megapixels on this and the other eagle shots.

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

Below the 5.9 megapixel Nikon D1X images fill only about 40% of the iMac 5K display. It would fill only 18% of an 8K display

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

Below, a 12-megapixel Sony A7S II image (4240 X 2832) image at actual pixels on Apple iMac 5K—letterboxed at the sides.

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