The big image is a miserable 629Kb, not 33MB native 8K resolution, but you get the picture.

Video surveillance applications have been nudging into 4K resolutions (3840 x 2160 pixels) for some years now, but in more recent times there’s been talk of 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) in the consumer market, which poses the question whether or not this technology is ready for security consumption.

There’s no question that 8K could offer typical CCTV applications extra grunt but that would come with certain issues. For a start, the 8K association has proposed specifications around the technology – 7680 x 4320 pixels of resolution, 600 nits brightness, H.265 and more importantly, H.266 (yes, there are hardware caveats) Versatile Video Coding encoding and support for HDMI 2.1.

According to Vlado Damjanovski of VidiLabs, it’s interesting that most in the photographic/videographer world these days are talking about 8K resolution. It’s this market that steers technology, thanks to its hunger for improved performance.

“8K is a very good middle ground for both photography and videography,” Damjanovski explains. “That’s because 33MP is sufficiently good for both still images and for high resolution video. In this instance though, the sensors are typically full frame (36 x 24mm), with pixels of around 4.6 microns.”

What Damjanovski highlights here is vitally important for the possible future of 8K CCTV. Should CCTV camera sensor sizes stay at their present size of around 1/3rd of an inch, with smaller pixels of around 2 microns, 8K performance is going to be seriously hampered in low light conditions. There will also be issues with lensing – low quality plastic lenses are not going to be fine enough to support 8K resolutions.

Other issues to consider include monitor resolutions. Even 4K monitors would be insufficient to display the full glory of 8K, though digital zooming would be far superior given the additional pixels at the mouse wheel.

So, is 8K the mid-term future of quality video surveillance cameras? It could be, if users are prepared to pay extra for big sensor cameras required to adequately support it. On current trends does the market have that willingness? We’d say not…