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An introduction to 4K photography

Photography has come a long way since the advent of the digital camera, the commerical origins of which date back to the late 1980s, and now it looks set to make further advances still, with the growth of 4K photography. Having collaborated with Lumix UK, I’m going to give you a brief insight into how it looks set to revolutionise photography.

But before I do, let’s set the scene by delving briefly into the history of photography. Incredibly, the first pinhole camera dates back to the 11th Century but back then all that could be done was to draw over the image that was projected on to the page. It wasn’t until 1816 that the first partially successful photograph was produced. Between these two points in time, though, something even more significant to our lives today actually happened, and it has nothing to do with photography. It was the signing of the Magna Carta by King John in 1215.

This was hugely significant – not just back then but also to our lives today – because it is widely considered to be one of the first steps towards establishing democracy. Its relevance isn’t just confined to England but it has world significance, having been influential in the likes of the American Bill of Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It also brings me back round nicely to 4K photography. “Why?” you might well ask. Well, because I went to Cartmel Priory last weekend to attend their 800th anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Magna Carta – and to try the camera out.

Cartmel Priory

So what is 4K photography?

In layman’s terms, 4K photography (also known as Ultra HD photography) allows you to capture the exact frame that you want. I am using the Panasonic Lumix GX8 and, when set to 4K mode, it will shoot video at the rate of 30 frames per second in high photographic quality, leaving me to then pick out the precise moment (or moments) I want to keep as photographs, all of which can be done within the camera.

Let’s take an example from the Magna Carta celebration at the weekend, of two knights engaged in battle at a living history Medieval Encampment, Tournèe and Fayre. Here’s a sequence of shots, all of which represent less than half a second in time.

swordfight1

The knight wields his sword and gets ready to attack…

swordfight2

The sword edges a little closer…

swordfight3

But the other knight brings his sword across to defend himself…

swordfight4

The attacker exhales as he comes down with the force of the sword…

swordfight5

swordfight6

swordfight7

The two swords clash!

swordfight8

The sword bounces back off after the collision…

swordfight9

Notice at this point how the deflected sword just briefly catches the reflection of the sun as the blade turns ever so slightly…

swordfight10

The attacker’s head turns slightly, too, as the sword is deflected…

swordfight11

The other knight survives (for now, at least!) to face another onslaught…

swordfight12

…and the attacker doesn’t look best pleased!

swordfight13

swordfight14

I’ll talk about this more in later posts, as I get more to grips with the camera myself (I’ve not had it long!), but hopefully this gives you a brief insight into the kinds of things 4K photography allows you to do. In the meantime, I leave you with a few shots from one of the evening shows outside Cartmel Priory of the magical Son et Lumière that also formed part of the Magna Carta celebrations.

Son et Lumieres 1 Son et Lumieres 2 Son et Lumieres 3 Son et Lumieres 4 Son et Lumieres 5 Son et Lumieres 6

For now, just imagine the possibilities that 4K photography opens up… that safari where you just didn’t time that perfect moment quite so perfectly… that family shot where everyone was smiling wonderfully but Uncle Fred blinked at the precise moment you pressed the shutter… and so on.

What would you use 4K photography for? I’d love to hear your ideas!

About the author

Scott Kefalas

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