09 Nov 2017

Why has Sharp just announced an 8K camcorder?

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The 8C-B60A is could make you rethink how quickly 8K will catch on The 8C-B60A is could make you rethink how quickly 8K will catch on Sharp


New professional camcorder from Sharp could make us reconsider how quickly 8K will become commonplace.

No sooner have we started to accept that 4K is pretty much becoming par for the course these days than Sharp enters the fray with a resolution bomb in the form of the 8C-B60A. A 60p 8K camcorder that looks set to cause some waves.

The astute among you will most probably be asking what is so special about an 8K camera release? After all, companies such as RED embraced the 8K format a good while ago, while Sony, too, has it’s own offerings. But there are a few things that make this new announcement different. For one thing it was totally unexpected. Secondly, the 8C-B60A is clearly designed with much more in the way of EFP/ENG sensibilities.

It uses a S35mm chip, and it is adorned by a PL mount. So far, so cinema. But the body has been designed with built in ND filters, an integrated top handle with viewfinder attachment, audio in XLR jacks, an LCD side display for audio levels etc, an SD card slot for recording proxy files, HLG gamma capability, and an optional shoulder pad with VCT-14 tripod plate compatibility.

This, then, is a camcorder that is very clearly aimed at location broadcast shooting. Whether that’s for documentary, or event filming. But what of storage? Surely it needs to be tethered to a truck? Not so. The camcorder utilises an SSD slot for drives, to which it can then record 4:2:2 10-bit 8K images using the Grass Valley HQX codec, allowing for 40 minutes of footage to be laid down onto a 2TB SSD pack. Footage can be output simultaneously to internal recording, uncompressed, via a quad-link 12G-SDI output.

The 8C-B60A weighs in at a pretty hefty 5kg for the body and draws 80W when not recording. This is falling into the Arri Alexa style weight range and power consumption category. That Easyrig you bought will be making its money back for years to come.

Okay, so the question on many peoples lips will be ‘why?’ Not withstanding the fact that Sharp already make 8K displays, undoubtedly something that has influenced its progression, it is also an unavoidable fact that we are heading towards 8K and possibly beyond anyway. Each time we have had a resolution bump the same questions get asked and same arguments ensue. But eventually we realise that oversampling is a good thing. 4K is great for HD output, and so 8K is wonderful for 4K output. Rinse and repeat. So any debate about why we need resolution increases is really a moot one. Just like stills, video is heading ever upwards. And this camcorder is the proof.

Sharp’s press release follows on the next page. But don't empty your wallets just yet. At $70,000 for the body alone it isn't exactly a small scale purchase.

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Simon Wyndham

Simon Wyndham is Deputy Editor of RedShark News, a professional cameraman and video producer of 20 odd years. With a background in indy feature making, he has been writing camera reviews and tech articles for as long as he can remember. When he isn't producing bread and butter corporate videos he can be found hucking the gnar on rivers whitewater kayaking and adventure sports filming.

Website: www.5ep.co.uk

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