You Need To Know About 4k Photo (And Here’s Why)

panasonic 4k photo dolphin gibraltar

You’ve heard this line before. People are always telling you about things you “need”. But 4k photo could genuinely change your life… or at least the way you capture it on camera.

But what is 4k photo? Ever since I started my partnership with Panasonic Lumix and began posting images tagged #4kPhoto on my social media, I’ve had many of you ask that question. So let me answer it once and for all…

What is 4k photo?

panasonic 4k photo baby monkey gibraltar

You’ve probably heard of 4k video – a step above HD and a new league of unprecedented quality. It’s so advanced that many devices can’t even display it properly yet!

But 4k photography is a different concept altogether. It lets you extract frames from 4k video – and not just any frames. Beautiful high-quality still images, like the ones in this post all of which I’ve taken during my travels using this method.

Why? On the 4k photo setting, the camera captures video at 30 frames per second as it would with any 4k video with almost no motion blur. In practice it means that if you shoot for 5 seconds, you will have 150 different frames to choose from. That’s 150 different photos! This means getting much more than just blurry screenshots – lovely 8 megapixel images.

What is 4k photo good for?

panasonic 4k photo town hall pilsen

In a nutshell, 4k photo is ideal for documenting any kind of motion. Things falling, spilling, exploding or being squished… you’ll never miss the moment. No more group shots with half the people blinking! Below are just a few examples of the things you can capture:

  • your dog playing with a frisbee
  • a child blowing soap bubbles
  • an athlete crossing the finish line
  • a butterfly circling around a flower
  • hair blowing in the wind
  • those pesky group jumping shots

How to take a 4k photo

Taking a 4k photo is very simple – all you need is a camera with that function. Unfortunately, not all of them do. Panasonic Lumix is spearheading the movement with some of their cameras like the GH4, G7 or tiny CM1 – you can find more info here. Don’t forget an SD card that can handle 4k photo, ideally UHS Speed Class 3.

This short tutorial will teach you how to take a 4k photo with my Lumix DMC-LX100, but the process is similar for other Panasonic Lumix cameras:

1. Go to Menu, select Motion Picture, then choose 4k Photo and say Yes.

2. Once it’s set up, just aim the camera at your desired object and press the shutter. Pressing the shutter will start a video recording, which you can end by pressing the shutter again, as you would with a photo.

3. Set your aperture, shutter speed and aspect ratio. If you’re photographing a moving object, it’s recommended to set [Shutter-Priority] Mode and the shutter speed to at least 1/1000 seconds (1/2000 for quick movement) to minimize subject blur.

panasonic 4k photo football

4. Go to your gallery and play the video back. You can either see it frame by frame (good for shorter videos) or watch at normal speed and just press the arrow up to pause at any point. You can also extract frames on your computer using programmes like Lightroom or Photoshop.

5. To save a frame you like as a photo, press the middle button and… that’s it! You can save as many frames from one video as you’d like and go back to it whenever you please.

Note: While filming, you can press the Fn2 button. This adds a marker to the video which will allow you to quickly find that specific point – you can do this up to 40 times in one take.

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That’s it for my introduction to 4k! If you’d like to see more examples of 4k photography, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter where I’ll be posting lots more in the coming months.

Do you have any questions? Just let me know what they are in the comments below
and I’ll get 
to them in my next photo-related post – or just answer them here.

  • yishyene

    Thanks for this! Now I feel like my camera is crap, haha

    PS Hi from smallcrazy.com 🙂 x

    • Hahah sorry! I’m sure your camera isn’t crap 😛 But this little new functionality is pretty genius, especially for travel bloggers 🙂

  • This is the first I’ve heard of 4K, but I definitely want to be on board! What an ingenious idea. Now I need a panasonic camera! Ha. Thanks for sharing.

    • Haha I know what you mean! 😀 Luckily Panasonic cameras are pretty great – I haven’t had my Lumix LX100 for too long but am pretty in love with it. 4k photo is great, definitely try it on someone else’s Panasonic Lumix camera if you get a chance!

  • I hadn’t heard about 4K until now, but I’m very impressed with the results! Thanks for all the info!

    Alix

    • Thanks Alix, so glad you enjoyed the post!! 4k photo is pretty awesome – definitely try it out yourself if you get a chance 🙂

      • I will keep my eyes out for opportunities! Perhaps that’s the next camera on my wish list 🙂

  • First time I’m hearing of 4K. Definitely intrigued. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Liz!! 🙂 4k photo is pretty awesome, a new concept but one that could really take off I think.

  • Rebecca Sharp

    The big downside about shooting only 4k means that it eats into your memory a lot faster, right? I totally get it if the subject you’re shooting would benefit from shooting 4k but I’m not sure its worth the extra memory? I’m not sure, I work in post production so I’m always over thinking these things!

    • Great point Rebecca!! Yeah, it eats into your memory. But at the same time, if you have a look at the monkey shot above for example – there’s no way I would have been able to actually capture that moment with traditional photo. Those monkeys are damn fast 🙂 So for instances when the subject is constantly moving and is hard to snap otherwise, I’d say it’s worth the extra memory.

      But yeah – I definitely wouldn’t recommend using 4k photo for still shots or unmoving birthday cakes etc. (sorry, I’m hungry haha)… That would be needless and a waste of memory card space!

  • This is such a brilliant idea! I/m pretty sure my gopro shoots in 4k so will need to try it out.. will be gutted if it doesn’t!
    Terry | http://www.beachcow.co.uk