The 8K prosumer camera is coming — and it’s coming from a tech company that doesn’t specialize in consumer cameras. Sharp, a company known for TVs, displays, and electronics, is currently displaying a prototype of an 8K prosumer camera at CES 2019 — a camera that could be one of the first 8K cameras, with a prosumer price under $5,000.
The prototype camera doesn’t yet have a full name or specifications, though those details are expected during the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in April. The camera that’s on display at CES uses an Olympus lens, suggesting a Micro Four Thirds sensor inside. The camera is also said to include image stabilization.
Sharp says the camera can shoot 8K at 30 fps, but that the company is aiming to reach 60 fps. The camera also uses the H.265 codec and has an SD card slot, and HDMI and USB connections, along with headphone, microphone, and mini XLR ports.
The design feels equal parts familiar and odd. There’s a selection of function buttons and the shape of a traditional mirrorless camera. But the screen at the back is larger than most, physical controls are minimal, and there’s no viewfinder.
The unnamed camera isn’t the first to hit 8K resolution, but Sharp is suggesting a lower price point than the high-end 8K options offered by cinema-grade companies like Red and Blackmagic. Red’s DSMC2 Helium 8K S35, for example, lists for $24,500 — and that’s just the “brain” of the cinema-grade camera.
Sharp, a company with a current product lineup that includes TVs and displays, appliances, and business products, hasn’t launched a camera in the consumer market for years (check out this 2002 4-megapixel digital camera). Bu, the 8K camera fits in with the company’s 8K displays at CES. Without widely available 8K content, selling 8K displays is tough — but convincing creators to use pricier cameras when the displays aren’t widely used is a similar conundrum. Perhaps by launching a (more) affordable 8K camera, the company is hoping to boost the rest of its 8K space as well.
As a prototype camera, the design, specs, and price point could still change. Sharp suggests that additional information and details will be available during NAB 2019, a trade show focusing on video and broadcast, later this year.