Updated | Qualcomm showcases 8K video recorded with Snapdragon 865-powered phone, quality is iffy
Update: Qualcomm uploaded a cleaner version of the 8K footage (video on top), so now we know all the issues with the first version were due to software-related post-prodcution and video editing problems. This is somewhat understandable since 8K video editing requires quite a hefty build, demonstrating once again that we are not really ready for this resolution jump.
When Qualcomm first unveiled the Snapdragon 865 SoC a few months ago, it also detailed the imaging capabilities of the new Spectra 480 ISP included with the new flagship chip. According to the spec sheet, the improved ISP is able to process up to 2 gigapixels per second, allowing it to shoot 8K videos, capture still images at 200 MP or simultaneously shoot at 4K and capture still images at 64 MP. To prove that the SoC is indeed the first one to enable 8K video recording, Qualcomm recently released a video of various Arizona locations, but the overall quality is not really that great.
Qualcomm specified that the footage was shot in November on a prototype device that paired the Snapdragon 865 with a Sony IMX586 48 MP sensor. The video itself exhibits luminance oscillations along with pixel dithering / increased noise and occasional frame stuttering for objects that are too close to the lens. Now, the dithering and grainy portions could be caused by Youtube’s compression algorithms, but the luminance and frame stuttering issues appear to be hardware-level bugs from the recording device itself, maybe originating in the Sony sensor. Hopefully, these issues have been addressed meanwhile.
The addition of 8K recording capabilities to mobile devices might not come in too handy even for the most demanding users any time soon, since 8K screens are nowhere near mainstream, plus the difference between 4K and 8K on screens of up to 100-inches is barely noticeable. Not to mention that the storage space for such videos will increase exponentially. Still, 8K videos may prove quite useful for the film industry, where they can be downsampled to 4K leading to increased image sharpness. It will be interesting to see if Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra with its 108 MP main camera can overcome the problems exhibited in Qualcomm’s showcase video.