8K cameras like the Canon EOS R5 and Fujifilm X-H2 show the future of video capture, but to make the most of it, you really need the best 8K monitor on which to view and edit your footage. Trouble is, even in 2023 speeds, there's still only ONE true 8K monitor you can realistically buy - the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K.
Back in January 2021 ViewSonic teased us with its first 8K monitor offering, but it has so far failed to make it onto the market. Samsung has an 8K gaming monitor in the wings - and if you really have a big Hollywood budget, then there is a professional option from NEC.
What is 8K?
8 is twice as big as 4, right? Well when it comes to 8K video/screen resolution, that's only partly true. 8K resolution most commonly equates to 7,680 by 4,320 pixels, which is twice the horizontal resolution and twice the vertical resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160). But as all you math geniuses may have already calculated, that results in a 4x increase in total pixels. Imagine four 4K screens positioned in a quad arrangement and that's what an 8K image looks like - quite simply, HUGE!
We've already seen a number of 8K TVs come to market, and while these would make for a stunning 8K playback display, actually editing 8K footage on a screen this gargantuan really isn't a practical prospect, unless you position your desk about 20 feet away.
So with only a single 8K monitor to chose from right now, it costing a small fortune, and requiring one of the best desktop computers costing another small fortune to run it, the question is:
Do you really need an 8K monitor?
Well, if you just want to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof yourself, yes, of course you do! But for the rest of it, the answer is: probably not.
Not only are 8K cameras still not commonplace, so too is pre-recorded 8K footage. So actually finding content that will need the full res of an 8K monitor will be tricky. 8K content is also much larger in file size than even high frame rate 4K video, requiring significantly more local storage space, or a mighty fast internet connection to stream, further restricting 8K's practical appeal at the moment.
Given these limitations, settling for a 4K monitor looks a whole lot more appealing. A 4K monitor will still display 99+ per cent of the video content available today, there are plenty of color-accurate panels out there, and even a big 32-inch 4K screen will still have a pixel density tight enough for images/video to look super-crisp at a typical viewing distance. Oh yeah, and there's the small bonus that some of the best monitors for video editing can cost as little as one tenth the price of Dell's 8K monitor.
If you’re after a genuine 8K monitor, then the Dell UP3218K is currently your one and only option, but thankfully it’s a good one that impresses in every area. Its headline 8K (7680 x 4320) screen res gives you unparalleled image sharpness - even on a screen as large as this - as it results in an incredibly fine 0.09mm dot pitch, and a whopping 280 pixels per inch pixel density. Then there’s the almost flawless color fidelity: 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709 and 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage ensures your images or video will displayed with complete accuracy, regardless of the color space you shoot in. Factory color calibration ensures each and every monitor displays Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces to an accuracy of Delta-E less than 2. The 31.5-inch IPS LCD panel is capable of an impressive 400 cd/m2 brightness for displaying HDR content. It’s a pity there’s not Thunderbolt connectivity, but you do get multiple USB ports, and dual DisplayPorts. The latter is necessary though, as you’ll need to use both to enable the full 8K resolution, so make sure you’ve got a might powerful graphics card to connect to this beast.
Although Dell is the only 8K monitor that is easy to buy - albeit at a very high cost - it is untrue to say it is the only 8K monitor. This specialist reference monitor from Sharp NEC offers a hugely-impressive 1000 cd/m² peak brightness. The manufacturers claim that it is "the perfect choice for professional applications and content creators in photography, broadcasting, post production, imaging, medical education, CAD studio, defense, gaming production environments and more that demand supreme color accuracy and image quality". It is listed for sale on AV Partsmaster for £22,692 (that's $28,802).
Lots of manufacturers have introduced 8K monitors at shows, but without them becoming a reality. Samsung introduced this ultra-wide curved screen at CES at the beginning of 2023. Designed with gamers in mind, you can think of this one as two 4K monitors side by side. Samsung boasts that it's "the world’s first DisplayPort 2.1 support, which transfers data approximately twice as fast as the previously used DisplayPort 1.4". Full specification, pricing, and availability remain a mystery, however.
The best monitors for video editing
The best photo editing monitors
The best USB-C monitors
The best ultrawide monitors
The best portable monitors
The best monitor arms
The best monitor calibrators
The best streaming services