GoPro 4K vs 1080p
Which Should You Choose in Different Situations

GoPro 4K vs 1080p: Which Should You Choose in Different Situations
By Alisa Updated: December 19, 2018

GoPro 4K vs 1080p, which one to choose when you are in different situations? Talking about video resolution, 1080p is still the dominant but 4K is uprising a lot. GoPro Hero cameras, as the best action cameras, especially GoPro Hero 7 Black, 6 Black and 5 Black, are favored by many extreme sports fans. Owing to its small, portable, waterproof features and many other advantages, people often use it to capture crisp 4K/1080p videos in underwater diving, surfing, skiing, cycling, skydiving, etc.

Newest GoPro Hero 7 Black supports recording videos up to 4K 60fps. So, does higher resolution means better quality? 4K vs 1080p, is 4K UHD better than 1080p? Or which one is better when using GoPro Hero 7/6/5 to record videos in different situations. This post is trying to dig out some answers about GoPro 4K vs 1080p.

Best Fast GoPro Hero (7) 4K/1080p Video Editor/Converter/Compressor

GoPro 4K vs 1080p - Some Facts about Video Quality and File Size

Shooting video in high quality with a small file size is always our top aim. But the balance of video quality and file size is controlled by many parameters, not just by video resolution. Normally:

1. The higher the resolution, the more the pixels, the better the video quality, and the larger file size.
2. The higher the frame rate, the crisper the video and the larger file size.
3. Higher bit rate normally brings better video quality. But there is diminishing marginal utility effect.
4. Higher compression ratio leads to less detail loss, thereby preserving better viewing quality.

Video Frame Rate

Based on these theories, we can get some basic deductions about GoPro Hero 7/6/5 4K vs 1080p. If you use GoPro Hero 7/6/5 to record videos in 4K, you'll get better video quality but a larger file size than 1080p. GoPro 4K 60fps will have better quality and a bigger file size than 4K 30fps. And if you choose HEVC codec to record 4K video with GoPro Hero 7/6/5, you can get half size of using H.264, since HEVC codec is twice compressed than H.264.

Continue to figure out difference between 4K and 1080p, the pros and cons of 4K and 1080p, and in what situations you'd better set 4K resolution to record video, as well as when you should record 1080p instead of 4K with GoPro Hero 7/6/5.

GoPro 4K vs 1080p - Difference Between 4K and 1080p

Resolution refers to the number of pixels an image contains. The larger the resolution, the more detail. High resolution video like 4K/HD can be played on large displays without noticeable defects, while low resolution video may display in poor quality.

Pixels are the thousands of tiny building blocks which are blended to make the image on a screen. If you are fairly close to the screen, you can see these pixels. When we talk about a resolution like 1080p, if refers to the rows and columns of pixels inside a display.

1080p (Full HD) contains 1920 columns multiplied by 1080 rows for a total of 2,073,600 pixels. 1080p has been the industry standard for high-definition displays and most TV shows, movies, and video games are distributed in 1080p.

4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels), as the next level of HD, has four times as many pixels as 1080p and 9 times as many pixels as 720p. 4K resolution has become more and more popular in recent these years and 4K content is sprouting up online. 4K TVs have also become affordable for many consumers. Many devices like GoPro Hero 7/6/5 Black, iPhone XS/XS Max/8 and more can record crisp 4K videos.

GoPro resolution settings: GoPro Hero 7 Black, Hero 6 Black and Hero 5 Black can record 4K, 1080p, 2.7K, 1440p, 720p videos, etc. GoPro 4K resolution can be used for digital zoom in editing for large 4K screens. Recoding videos in 4K gets crisper image but leads to big file size and shorter battery life in shooting. While 1080p can also produce a clear image and it is the most common option.

4K vs 1080p

GoPro 4K vs 1080p - The Pros and Cons of 4K Resolution

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of shooting in 4K over 1080p with GoPro Hero 7/6/5 can be put as following.

1. Compared to 1080p, 4K offers the higher level of fine details and clarity.
2. You can downsize 4K footage to 1080p, and the downscaled 4K video is just sharper than native 1080p footage, especially when one zooms in on a specific area of footage.

4K Downscale to 1080p vs 1080p

3. 4K gives you more flexibility with cropping. Cropping specific area or unwanted areas without losing quality, since you may not want to go back to record again.
4. 4K is better for zooming in without reducing quality. It also adds an increased ability to zoom in on distant objects without drastically reducing image quality. 4K is best for capturing more details in the distant.
5. Grab sharper 4K still images. You can snapshot GoPro 4K video to get clearer 4K pictures for blogs or backgrounds. Besides, 4K still frames are good enough to print.
6. Shooting 4K is better for video stabilization. Shooting in 4K will give you enough pixels to play with so that effects like video stabilization will have no discernible effect on your finished video.
7. 4K can capture detailed, wide-area view with a single camera. Filming in 4K with a single camera can substitute 2 or more 1080p cameras.
8. 4K is better under low illumination. It can capture more light and the image will be clearer than 1080p.
9. There's usually less noise in 4K.

1. To get the full 4K viewing experience, you need a 4K monitor to play the 4K content.
2. 4K video is very large. Editing 4K videos will consume much CPU power and you need a very fast computer better equipped with Nvidia/Intel/AMD hardware acceleration.

GoPro 4K vs 1080p - The Pros and Cons of 1080p Resolution

1. 1080p file size is smaller than 4K. Recording 1080p video with GoPro Hero 7/6/5 consumes less storage and can record more content.
2. It's much easier and faster to edit 1080p video than 4K, especially for low-end computers.
3. 1080p is easier to upload and share onto YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and other sites than 4K, since it's smaller and needs lower bandwidth.

1080p is not as sharp as 4K.

How to Fast Convert GoPro 4K to 1080p with VideoProc

Free download and install VideoProc on Windows 10/8/7 or Mac. Follow the easy steps below to compress GoPro 4K HEVC/H.264 videos to 1080p at superfast speed with VideoProc - the fastest 4K video processing software with Nvidia/Intel/AMD hardware acceleration.

Step 1: Launch VideoProc and click "Video" option on the main UI. Tap "+Video" icon on the tool bar to import source GoPro 4K video footages.
GoPro Video Editor and Converter
Step 2: Choose a preferred output format from the Target Format column. Then click "Codec Option" to open the parameter settings window. Locate resolution option and select 1080p as the target resolution.
Compress GoPro 4K to 1080p
Step 3: Optionally, you can edit the video like cut video clips, crop video frame, merge several clips into one, flip GoPro video upside down, stabilize GoPro video, and more. Finally hit "RUN" to start downscalling GoPro 4K video to 1080p with highest quality.

GoPro 4K vs 1080p - Which Should You Choose in Different Situations

GoPro Hero camera resolution settings can be adjusted according to activities. Shoot in 4K or 1080p with GoPro Hero 7/6/5? Below we list recommended settings for common activities like sunset, cycling, drone, skiing, sport, surfing, underwater, etc.

Activity Resolution Frame Rate (FPS) Field of View (FOV)
Vlog 1080p, 2.7K 30fps Linear
Travel 1080p, 4K 60fps, 30fps Wide
Cycling 1080p, 2.7K 60fps Wide, Superview
Skiing 1080p, 2.7K 120fps, 240fps Wide
Surfing 1080p, 2.7K 120fps, 240fps Wide
Underwater 1080p, 4K 30fps, 60fps Wide
Motorcycle 1080p, 2.7K 120fps Wide
Sports 1080p, 4K 60fps, 120fps Wide
Drone 1080p, 4K 60fps Wide
Sunset 1080p, 4K 30fps Linear


Through briefly analyzing the balance of video quality and file size, difference between 4K and 1080p, the respective advantages and disadvantages of 4K and 1080p resolution, you can freely choose 4K or 1080p to record videos with GoPro Hero 7/6/5 in different situations.

VideoProc, your best (4K/1080p) video processing software mate, enables you to easily convert GoPro 4K to 1080p, flawlessly edit GoPro 4K/1080p videos incl. cut, crop, merge, flip, stabilize, denoise, effect, watermark, subtitle, etc. VideoProc is a powerful combination of video editor, video/music converter, video/music downloader, DVD converter, screen recorder, and webcam recorder.

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Alisa Cassiel

Alisa Cassiel, an English CopyWriter of Digiarty, has 4 years of writing and marketing experience. Love writing and always provide thoughtful how-to guides and tips related to video processing, recent hot topics, new digital devices, hit movies, music, etc. She is a life-enthusiast who is independent, persistent, enthusiastic, energetic, and interested in music, exercise, travel, dance, painting.

Aiming to be the leading digital media company, Digiarty Software, Inc. is dedicated to providing professional and innovative multimedia software for all Windows and Mac users.


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