Sharp may not be the most obvious consumer camera brand, but this may change if their 8K video camera hits the mark. This latest creation was shown off at the NAB Show, Las Vegas in early 2019 with positive feedback. And although still in the prototype stage, it does give a glimpse of the possible next big thing.
An 8K camera may seem overkill at this point, especially when many YouTubers aren’t even uploading at 4k. But, with Sharp’s background in TV and with 8K TVs probably following suit, all this could be an exciting look into the near future.
Showing off an 8K camera at this stage of the game is a brave move by Sharp. This means that as the camera is still in its early stages, features will change by the release date and what we’re seeing now isn’t the full rounded package. However, this mini-preview will at least give you some insight into the Sharp 8K video camera.
Design of the Sharp 8K Video Camera
Before catching a glimpse of the Sharp 8K Video Camera, we initially thought this would be some huge, TV production thing. Large and heavy and only applicable to high-end productions. However, the camera is roughly the dimensions of a healthy-sized smartphone, with a fully tiltable screen. Bonus points there for its compact size.
The rear touchscreen is fully articulating and should have the same functionality as a modern smartphone. Swiping and scrolling for all the functionality is a given these days and while the menu system hasn’t been fully implemented, it should be simple and intuitive to use.
The whole package is wrapped around a 33MP Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor. This in itself, breaks the previous barrier of 20.4MP for the Micro Four Thirds platform with an all-new sensor.
The sensor itself is made by Taiwanese company Socle and is said to be a true 8K sensor, without the need to extrapolate up. This is great news in itself, knowing that the sensor is built from the ground up with 8K in mind.
Being obviously very video orientated, the sensor is built to the 16:9 format. This is a change from the usual 4:3 format as seen on most Micro Four Third cameras, being a ratio better fitted to video. Battery life at this point could be between 45 minutes and an hour of continuous shooting, using the tried and tested Canon LP-E6 batteries.
The camera obviously has to have a decent array of outputs to get the footage to the outside world. Which at this point consists of a USB-C port, XLR jack, Mini HDMI port, 3.5mm microphone input, and small headphone jack. The Mini HDMI port being replaced by a full-sized version on release.
At this stage, there are no signs of the camera body having built-in stabilization, but that doesn’t count out this facility on lenses in the future. Most likely, this feature will be left out of the camera bodies due to the extra power needed. Especially, with a large five inch rear screen which will be used for all the camera’s menu systems and functionality.
As for basic video specs., the current model is only provided with overview information but will contain far more features when it hits the shelves. The 8K format should be available at 30, 25 and 24FPS, with the 4K and 1080p versions at 60FPS. A super-high frame rate, like 120FPS for slow-motion video doesn’t look like it will be included, but this could change on release.
As for output, the camera will use the older H.265 format, along with 200 megabits per second MP4, but may be 422 10-bit in the future. Additional codecs and the ability to record to an external hard drive should also be implemented. Other advanced in-camera video facilities are yet to be announced.
There’s also the caveat that at the time of writing, the camera doesn’t have a fully rounded autofocus system implemented, only manual mode. But this doesn’t mean the camera isn’t going to feature the latest and greatest system.
Most likely there will be an autofocus system with continuous AF and tracking. It’s also more than likely that touchscreen AF will be implemented to bring the camera in-line with the current market.
But, what about the actual footage itself? Dealing with 8K processing and display is an obvious first hindrance, but initial reports on footage say that the color rendition and ISO performance are on a par with the likes of the Sony a6300. Some have pointed out that rolling shutter can be a big issue with 8K footage, but any previews at this stage have to be taken with a pinch of salt until production results come in.
This means that a true evaluation can’t really be met until a production version is out in the wild. But, at this stage of the game, the Sharp 8K video camera at least seems to be bringing the future that bit nearer. Even if editing and display are going to be a massive pain at this point.
How Does It Compare?
It’s going to be hard at this stage comparing the Sharp 8k video camera to anything else out there. It’s aimed at being a compact solution and although it’s going to hit the shelves at a good few thousand dollars, it still going to be more consumer-orientated. And 8K cameras in any form are far from the norm. This means we can’t bring you the usual comparison table.
This means that if you want the current highest quality video footage which can be easily edited in your favorite editing program, then 4K looks like the most accessible format for some time. Even if the camera comes out being the best thing since sliced bread, the rest of the workflow has to catch up. Which means the current 4K offerings are still the best solutions.
The Sharp 8K video camera looks to be a solution for the far-flung future and in the short term seems to be more of a solution for those who want 4K footage with lots of cropping leeway. This could bring higher quality close-ups and more editing scope for certain scenarios.
The large rear screen on the camera could also remove the need for an external monitor and the Micro Four Thirds format will make the solution more affordable, at least compared to a full broadcast rig. Obviously, you will need the horsepower to process huge 8K files, which means for some, upgrading the rest of the workflow.
So, 8K video may be some time off being the norm., but in the right circumstance, this camera could be a great solution. It’s already showing potential in this arena, so we cannot wait to get our grubby mitts on the Sharp 8k video camera when an eventual production model makes the light of day.