Numerous action cameras are labelled “4K camera.” Simply put, they sell more when sporting this emblem. Even though the output video resolution is 4K, it may not be true 4K. Learn the distinction between real and faux 4k:

What is 4K?

Is 4K a Scam? Ultra HD Blu-rays

4K encompasses two distinct resolutions, which adds to the confusion. 4K DCI refers to video with a resolution of 4096 x 2160. It is the standard for 4K movie projectors and features an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. 4K UHD or Ultra HD refers to video with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. It is the standard for Ultra HD televisions and features an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

Many Hollywood projects are still completed at a 2K resolution (2048 x 858 for “Scope” and 1998 x 1080 for “Flat”) and then upscaled to 4K Ultra HD for home entertainment purposes despite the proliferation of 4K theatre projectors and 4K TV sales.

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What is Real 4K?

Real 4K or native 4K is easily explained: the resolution of the original source (sensor output) is 4K.

What is Fake 4K?

As stated in the introduction, “4K cameras” sell better. The original source with a lower resolution is therefore upscaled to create a 4K output file. Upscaling estimates unknown intermediate pixel values based on known pixel values. This method “guesses” or “interpolates” values based on a weighted average of nearby pixels with known values. In other words, the output of the sensor has a lower resolution than 4K, and the image is then interpolated to a higher resolution.

There is an additional trick. If the sensor or processor is incapable of producing 4K at a suitable frame rate, the frames are doubled for a more impressive figure.

So How Can You Check if It Is a Real, Native 4 K Camera?

Frame Rate

Consider the Frame Rate that The Camera Can Achieve in 4 K. if The Frame Rate Is Less than 24fps, the Video Will Be Less Fluid and More Likely to Be Stop-Motion. Here Is an Example of A 4 K Movie Captured at 10fps with An Eken H9 and An Early Firmware:

As Previously Noted, There Is Another Trick: Duplicating Frames. Each Frame Is Recorded at 15 Frames per Second Then Multiplied. the Output File Currently Displays 30fps, but It Appears to Be 15 Fps. You Can’t Know from Specs when Perusing Them; You Can only Tell by Seeing Your Footage Frame-By-Frame. when There Should Be Motion, yet Two Frames Depict the Same Image, the Frame Is Duplicated.

Sensor Size

4 K Resolution Consists of 4096 X 2160 Pixels and Is Not 16:9. the 3840 X 2160 Pixel Format Is Known as Uhdtv (ultra Hd). However, if You Multiply the Pixels, You Get Around 8.8 Mp (4 K) or 8.29 Megapixels (uhdtv). Therefore, if The Sensor Is Less than 8 Mp, You Cannot Create a 4 K Movie. for Example, the Eken H9 Contains a 4 Mp Sensor (omnivision 4689) yet Is Marketed as A 4 K Camera. the Same Holds True with The Aptina on Ar0330 Sensor.

Be Aware that Frequently Claimed 12-Megapixel Cameras Refer only To the Maximum Photo Size. the Eken H9 Is Occasionally Touted as A 12-Megapixel Camera, but Its Maximum Output Resolution Is only 12 Megapixels. as Described Previously, the 4 Mp Sensor Also Resizes the Image! Consequently, Examine the Sensor Type.

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Why are there 12MP Sensors? It’s More than Needed fro 4K?

Most Sensors Have a 4:3 Resolution. if You Reduce the Top and Bottom of A 12 Mp Sensor to Achieve a 16:9 Aspect Ratio, the Resulting 4 K Resolution Will Be 8 Mp. Larger Sensor Cameras Will Benefit from A Higher Photo Resolution. So, What Occurs There? Take the Canon 5 D Dslr as An Example: With Its First Hd Recording Version, the Mk Ii, the Sensor Output Was Binned (downscaled). Their Most Recent Iteration, Mk Iv, Crops the Output Source, Simulating a Close-Up Zoom.

Sensor Type

Even Though the Sensor Has More than 8 Megapixels, It May Not Support 4 K Resolution. a Common Example Is the 16-Megapixel Sony Imx206 Sensor Found in The Git2, Yi Action Camera 1, and Sjcam M20. when Reviewing the Sensor’s Data Sheet, It Is Evident that 4 K Output Is Not Indicated.

At This Time, Kudos to Git up And Sjcam for Incorporating a 4 K Option Into Their Cameras, but Not Marketing Them as 4 K Cameras; Also, 4 K Quality Is Interpolated.

Sensors can’t do native 4K:

  • Omnivision OV4689  – 4MP (found in EKEN H9, Elephone ELE Explorer, Amkov AMK7000S…)
  • Aptina AR0330 – 3MP (found in SJ4000,…)
  • Sony IMX078 – 12MP (found in EKEN H8, Elephone Elite,…)
  • Sony IMX206 – 16 MP (found in Xiaomi Yi, Git2, SJCAM M20, Yi Lite,…)

Processor / Chip

Not only Must the Sensor but Also the Processor Support 4 K Video Resolution. the Well-Known Novatek 96660 Chip Included in Numerous Action Cameras (sj5000x Elite, Firefly 6s, and Elephone Explorer) Is Unable of Achieving True 4 K Resolution. the Maximum Resolution Is 2880 X 2160 at 24 Frames per Second. Sunplus 6350 (10fps) and Allwinner V3 (15fps) Are Similarly Incapable of 4 K Resolution at A Reasonable Frame Rate.

Processors that can’t do 4K at a decent frame rate:

  • Novatek 96660
  • Sunplus 6350
  • Allwinner V3

1080p 120 fps

This Method Is Not Reliable, but The Majority of Action Cameras that Deliver Native 4 K at 30fps Also Offer 1080p at 120fps. Action Cameras that Offer False, Interpolated 4 Often only Give 1080p at 60 Frames per Second. Also Investigate the Camera’s 1080p Hd Resolution.

Also Read: Insta360 X3 Review: A 360 And Action Camera in One!


Contrary to Popular Belief, “fake 4 K Cameras” Are Not Terrible Cameras. in Fact, Many of Them Provide Excellent Hd Results and Are Reliable Cameras. I only Wished to Highlight the Distinction Between Genuine and Fraudulent 4 K. if Hd Resolution Is Acceptable, You Can Choose Any of These Cameras. if You Insist on 4 K Resolution, You Should Be Sure to Choose a Genuine 4 K Camera. in 4 K Resolution, the Results of Fake 4 K Cameras Are Inferior to Recoding in Hd and Upscaling the Footage on A Computer.

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