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4K or 60FPS: Which is More Important?

4K or 60FPS: Which is More Important?

Last week, we talked about how the BlackVue DR750S is still a great camera because it offers Full HD recording at 60fps. In fact, the Thinkware U1000 gives users the option to choose between 4K @30fps or 2K @60fps. Many of you might be wondering if 60fps more important than 4K.

Before we dive into the topic, let’s go over a couple of things:

  1. 30fps and 60fps are frame rates
  2. 4K and Full HD are video resolutions

What is Frame Rate?

Frame rate, or FPS, is the speed at which images are shown. You can think of frame rate like film on a reel or even those little flipbooks where a pad of paper had an image on every page. Each drawing on a piece of paper is a frame. When you flip through the pages quickly, you see all the frames blended and appeared to animate and move. This is essentially how video works.

That in mind, a frame rate of 30fps means that in one second, the camera is capturing 30 individual frames and when played back, it plays 30 frames in a second to make a continuous clip. Similarly, there are 60 images in each second of a 60fps video. In other words, you will have extra frames capturing the same incident.

30fps vs 60fps

Here’s a video of a simple visual demonstration of why frame rates matter.

The main difference between 30fps and 60fps is the number of frames captured per second. Here’s a breakdown of the two frame rates:

Frame Rate

Field of Use

30FPS

30fps is the most common frame rate used by video in news, TV and on the web. A lot of recording apps for smartphones, like Instagram, uses 30fps.

60FPS

The 60fps provides smoother motion and is now widely used in some high-end HDTVs and especially in some games. Typically, a video recorded in 60fps is slowed down to 24fps or 30fps in post-production to create that smooth slow-motion effect.

In general, lower frame rates look choppier and higher frame rates look smoother.

Does a higher frame rate mean higher quality?

A higher FPS does not mean a higher quality video. Remember, when you change the frame rate, you are not changing the file output size. For example, whether you shoot 30fps or 60fps, you can have the same 2K QHD quality output. The difference is simply in the number of frames captured.

But because you have twice the number of frames every second compared to a 30fps video, 60fps will give you smoother video playback, less blurring and stuttering. And by doubling the frames, you are more likely to capture double the underlying data of situations occurring at higher speed, which means you’re more likely to be able to retrieve critical data.

Another benefit, and probably the most important, of 60fps is the ability to slow the video down allowing for smooth slow-motion video playback. Incorporating better slow-mo always makes good visual content especially when you’re capturing something that is too fast for regular viewing, like a racing or drifting event.

Does resolution still matter?

You bet! Even though the image will not appear as smooth as 60fps, 4K still has twice the number of pixels than 2K, resulting in much more detailed video footage. The clarity of the 4K image is perfect for recording in Parking Mode, especially in low-light conditions. The 4K resolution ensures a crystal-clear image which can help to identify a suspicious person around your vehicle.

How do I choose the best resolution and frame rate?

First of all, there is no best frame rate, and different resolutions at different frame rates yield different results. The typical resolution-frame rate combinations found in most high-end dash cams are 4K UHD @30fps or 2K QHD  (or Full HD) @60fps.

Keep in mind that:

  • The higher the resolution, the more the pixels, the better the video quality and the larger the file size
  • The higher the frame rate, the crisper the video and the larger the file size.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Here are some things to consider when making the decision:

1. Details you want to capture

If you are using the dash cam footage primarily for capturing vandals or incidents while away (ie. parking mode), then 4K may be better for you. A 4K resolution will give you better contrast and colour range. 4K will also give you the option to zoom in without losing resolution. But most importantly, 4K is better under low illumination then 60fps.

2. Amount of motion in your video

If you have a lot of motion in your video, you will probably want to capture at a higher frame rate as it ensures a higher level of detail for the amount of motion captured. A higher frame rate also allows for more flexibility when editing. For instance, racing is often recorded at a high frame rate so the video can be slowed down to show replays while still maintaining its crispness and clarity. But do keep in mind that 60fps is weaker at low-lit environments, ie. night time. If you recording footage in low-light environments, 30fps will give you better video quality.

3. Delivery of video/playback

Both resolution and frame rate play an important part in the delivery and viewing experience of a video. But while many smartphone and display screens can handle 4K, not all devices support high frame rates. Let’s take a look at several situations.

a) Sharing/streaming footage on the Internet

Sharing and streaming footage on YouTube is extremely popular. While YouTube allows you to upload files in multiple resolutions (ie. 4K, Full HD), they cap the frame rate at 60fps. Perhaps you have a VIOFO dash cam and you have captured footage in 120fps. You can still upload the video on to YouTube, but it will compress it down to 60fps. Remember that video we shared earlier - the video has 120fps, but YouTube can only show max. 60fps. That explains why the difference between the 60 and 120 fps balls is unnoticeable.

Even if it did display at 120fps, there’d be no point. Most screens can’t display that many frames anyways.

b) Watching the footage on your smartphone/TV/monitor

Typically, a higher frame rate requires a better graphics card and processing speed, suitable screen resolution, refresh rate, etc. At its most basic level, a display screen works by showing you a series of images, or “frames”. To make a video, the display needs to show a series of frames, one after another. This is called refresh rate. A 60Hz display refreshes its image 60 times a second.

This all becomes important when more people are using their smartphone to view videos while phone manufacturers are touting phones with high refresh rates in their screens. The Google Pixel 4 comes with a 90Hz screen, while the newest Samsung goes up to 120Hz.

For the best viewing experience, refresh rates and frame rates need to work in tandem - if the two are out of sync, things can get pretty ugly pretty quickly. Taking the VIOFO as an example again, viewing a 120fps footage video on a standard 60HZ screen might produce a nasty effect called “screen tearing.” Currently, most laptops, smartphones, and tablet screens have 60HZ refresh rate. Of course, gaming laptops and the latest high-end smartphones can go up to blazing-fast 90Hz and even 120Hz.

c) Making HD home videos with recorded footage

To make a home video of your recorded footage files, you’ll need to use a video editor application or software.

Post-Production

4K @30FPS

2K @60FPS

Benefits

The ability to zoom in without losing resolution

The ability to slow-down without losing resolution

Challenges

File editing is not an easy task as you have a much bigger image to tackle

File editing can get tricky as some video editors are not compatible with high frame rate videos

And don’t forget the speed and capacity of SD card

The speed of the SD card is another important consideration when recording in high frame rates. There are different speed classes for SD cards, and the speed determines how fast you can write data to your dash cam. When it comes to high frame rates, a UHS 3 rating is ideal but it is more expensive. Another consideration is the V ratings (ie. V60, V90).

And whether you are going 4K or 60fps, you will need to make sure there’s enough storage space on your microSD card. Both higher resolution and higher frame rates require more storage space. We recommend opting for the max. SD card capacity your dash cam can support. Having a backup SD card is also a good idea.

Up/Downscalable Dash Cams

Thinkware U1000

4K @30fps | 2K @60fps

BlackVue DR900S

4K @30fps | Full HD @60fps

BlackVue DR750S

Full HD @60fps | Full HD @30fps

VIOFO A129 Pro

4K @30fps | 2K @60fps | Full HD @120fps

VIOFO A119 V3

2K @30fps | Full HD @60fps | HD @120fps

In other words,

Both resolution and frame rate play an important part in the viewing experience of your dash cam footage video, and choosing resolution vs. frame rate often means choosing between how crisp you want your video to look and whether or not you plan to implement slow motion or motion blur effects and techniques.

Until next time, Safe Driving!

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Based on 4468 reviews
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I don’t install yet

Less Strain On Car Battery (2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate)

It has been 4 days since the installation of the Cellink NEO Battery, serviced by a fantastic installation team. The NEO gives me an ease of mind knowing that it has added an extra 13-15 hours of running time to my Dual Channel Thinkware U-1000 dash cam system whilst my vehicle is turned off (parking mode). First off, it has been less stressful for me when starting my car because I don't see the "Battery Discharged" warning anymore, knowing that the NEO has put less strain on my car battery. Additionally, with a 40 minute drive-to-charge time frame, it isn't bad at all as my commute to and from work equates to approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, I get a full charge on the NEO that gives me 20-22 hours of run-time on my dash cam. One advice I would give to potential dash-cam buyers in making the jump to buy this battery is: if you haven't gotten a dash cam yet and if you are opting for the installation service, purchase your dash cam and the NEO together and pay for just 1 installation. I made the mistake of having to pay for 2 separate installation services because I decided to buy the battery later on and could have saved $200.

Hi Kevin, thanks for leaving a review. Great advice! Hope you're loving your Cellink NEO. Come back anytime if you have any other questions.
Fits 2020 Rav4 XSE hybrid

I installed this on the small space right hand forward of the spare tire. The thickness of the Cell link Neo is just perfect. It it was a little bit thicker the rear cover will not be flush with the floor. Negative connection was done directly to the vehicle 12V accessory battery as it is mounted at the right rear tail. ACC input was connected to the accessory rear 12V outlet. Cell link Neo powers 2 Garmin dash cam minis.

I wish the Cell link Neo have an option to change the name in the app. I have another Neo battery on another vehicle and it is hard to remember the serial numbers. But overall it works great.

Hi there, thanks for leaving a detailed review. Glad to hear that the Cellink NEO is everything you're looking for :) let us know if you have any questions in the future.
Easy installation

Works as described

Hi Vinh, thanks for leaving a review!

Great service

Thanks for leaving a review, William!
Product and shipping

Shipping and blackboxmycar are great.

Product is expensive and 3m tape will not fit properly. For an expensive product from thinkware i would assume products would come with vehicle specific or general items to install properly. Other options than the 3m tape.

Keep in mind to take measurements for placing the main unit. It may not fit or able to be placed under your seat.

I have spent more money on a front stand and bolted the camera. The rear camera ive made brackets and bolted it.

Hi Blkhze, thanks for leaving a review! Sorry to hear that, but glad to see that you found a solution. If you have any future questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.
A pricey dash cam

Very pricey, yet not quite the "jump" in video quality I expected for the huge pricetag.
When the vehicle is not in motion, then video quality is very crisp and clear. However, as soon as your vehicle is in motion (driving...) the video becomes extremely "contrasted" almost like it is over-correcting for image quality, and in-turn making it worse. I had a rexing V1 (1080p) for 3 years, and saved me through 2 hit & runs... simple, good quality, cheap. I expected the jump to 4k to be huge... The video is "brighter" at best, but my Rexing V1 was definitely smoother while driving. Hopefully this is something a firmware update can fix. I have messed with the 2K @ 60fps, but the video quality drops noticeably... to worse than my 1080P Rexing V1. (Doesnt add up)
I have had my eyes on this camera since before it came out, but I am still hoping it can pull through...

Hi Kyle, thank you for leaving a review. We will definitely relay this feedback back to Thinkware. They're constantly working on new firmware for their models, especially the U1000, so we do expect it to get even better over time. That said, have you updated your dash cam to the latest firmware? If you need help, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. We're here to help!
BlackboxMyCar is Excellent!

Incredibly fast service! Excellent price! Perfectly packaged! Thank you.

Hi Theo, thanks for leaving a review. We try our best! ;)
Excellent item

Bought this filter for my sister and my brother in law they both love it

Hi Michael, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to see that your sister and brother-in-law loves it.
Convenient

I purchased a spare ScanDisk SD card for my BlackVue. Not much to say.. Good quality and value.

Hi DJ, thanks for leaving a review!

[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

Thanks for leaving the review, Pavlo!
Service

The best in customer service and advice.

Thanks for leaving a review, Alan. We try our best ;)
Awesome Product and Support

BackBoxMyCar helped me make figure out which Dash Cam system was best for my 2015 Lexus RX350. Their live chat team is great to work with and they made figuring out the best dash cam for me very easy. After having it installed I am very impressed with the reliability and capability of this product. Also it was shipped out to me in less then 3 business days, which I found really impressive. Going forward I will continue to purchase from BlackBox due to this wonderful experience.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Excellent Purchase and Service from BlackBoxMyCar

This radar module was a great addition to my Thinkware U1000 dash cam system. The setup was very straight forward and this accessory is a must for passive parking mode. BlackBoxMyCar helped me with decision to make this smart purchase through the help with one of there representatives on live chat. Their customer support team is world class and very helpful.

Hi Ben, thanks for leaving a review! We try our best to help our customers, so we're glad to hear that you had a great time with us! Come back anytime.
Fast shipping and great communication

I found this website after looking at youtube videos with vortexradar after searching for dash cameras. I have a 4 year old a119 that I have tried for hours and hours over the years to update the firmware on with no luck. It also isnt 4k and it doesn't have wifi. I find it a pain in the butt to take the memory card out and have to use the computer to download files. Now I can do it via wifi with my phone. Wifi is working fine for me with their app. I liked the a119 wedge shape and this is essentially the exact shape. The mounts are not compatible but not a big deal. This a129 pro has a much more substantial feel to it but isn't any bigger than the old model. I kind of wish I had ordered the rear camera bundle at the same time but I can always order the rear camera later. Everybody needs a dash camera to avoid the he said/she said bs that happens when there is an accident.

These guys ship fast. I am in Washington and ordered on a Monday. Camera arrived 2 days later on Wednesday. I had several texts and emails during that time keeping me updated on the progress of my order. I was so impressed that I am thinking about buying my next radar detector from them, the 360c. I am not sure if I am getting that one but that is the only one they carry.

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review. We hope you're staying safe out in Washington! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO and it's everything you need. Do reach out anytime if you have any other questions. One more thing, if you're interested in any other models of radar detectors, do reach out and ask. We may be able to source it for you at a great price. Thanks!

[LOW QUANTITY] VIOFO A119 V3 QHD+ Dash Cam

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[$50 OFF] Thinkware U1000 4K UHD Dual-Channel Cloud Dash Cam

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The complete package!

I recently purchased a thinkware F800 front and rear camera combo for my M4. After researching, I heard that BMWs are sensitive to voltage drops when the camera is in parking mode.

I purchased the battery and searched youtube for a camera install video. Ironically the video I watched was a video blackbox my car made specifically for the BMW M4! Great products provided and great tutorials that helped me get it installed, thanks again Blackboxmycar!!

Thanks for leaving a review, and an image as well! We're glad to see that you had a great experience with us, Rob. If you have any questions, come back anytime!
A nice dash cam with GPS capabilities

I am very satisfied with the Viofo A119 V3 camera after using it for a week or so. It takes great video and is simple to operate. With the included GPS base I can select the speed and/or location to be recorded on the video. I just installed the optional wiring harness but have not experimented with the parking mode as of yet. Overall I am very satisfied with the build quality. The menu is easy to maneuver through and the buttons on the front are easy to use even when driving. I would definitely purchase this again!

Hi David, thanks for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that you're loving your VIOFO as much as we do.
Excellent cam

Good rear view cam with great picture. Awesome thank you!

Hi Raymond, thanks for leaving a review!
So far so good.

Good tracking notice. I’ve only had it for a short time so I’m still playing with it to get it figured out. Video is very good quality (I’ve only used it in daylight so I can speak for nighttime). Instructions are minimal but I was able to get it figured out since it is pretty simplistic (I had to search the internet to get the time zone properly set). As it stands now I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good and simple dash cam.

Hi Jeff, thank you for purchasing at BlackboxMyCar, and thank you for leaving a review! We're glad to hear that the VIOFO was everything you were looking for. That said, if you have questions in the future, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team. We are always here to help!
Viofo 3 Hardwire Kit

Installation seamless and easy. Made for cleaner setup. Highly recommended over using the provided cigarette lighter/USB.

Hi Mark, thanks for leaving a review!
Alex

I wrote one over a week ago didn’t you bother to read it?

Let me know if you lost it!

Hi Jim, we definitely read it and responded to it ;) We have let our Marketing team know to adjust the amount of review requests that get sent out. Thank you for leaving another review regardless!
courteous and prompt communication, item shipped promptly

I ordered dash cams and accessories from blackboxmycar and have been very happy with their services. I had to communicate with them several times regarding my order, including talking to them over the phone and emailing them. Every single time I received very courteous response and satisfactory answers. The items were shipped promptly and I had them professionally installed. Overall, I am very satisfied. Thank you.

Hi Chin, thank you for shopping at BlackboxMyCar, and for visiting our office! Glad that our team was able to help you with everything that you needed.
Easy to install, easy to use!

BlackBoxMyCar sent everything I needed to install my Viofo A119 V3. A quick YouTube search gave me the easy steps for burying the wires and finding my fuse box for my F-150. And I was off and running! Thanks a bunch!

Hi Adam, thanks for leaving a review! Glad to hear that it all worked out for you :)