4K video recording being tested for the BlackBerry Passport

By Bla1ze on 29 Aug 2014 10:34 pm EDT
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When it comes to the full specs of the BlackBerry Passport, from everything we know thus far BlackBerry loaded the device up. When it finally gets released, it will have better specs than any previous BlackBerry released. With that in mind though, it seems BlackBerry may have held back just a tiny bit for now when it comes to the video recording capabilities of the device.

According to a new image from @DHabkirk, BlackBerry is currently looking at adding 4K video recording but it won't be present when the device is fully announced in September. Instead, if it passes the testing it will be added upon the arrival of BlackBerry 10.3.1 to the Passport. In case you forgot or missed them, here are the current rumored specs for the camera at launch:

  • 13MP Auto-Focus
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
  • 5-element f2.0 lens
  • Back Side Illumination
  • LED Flash
  • 1080p HD video recording at 60fps
  • 6DOF video stabilization
  • 5x digital zoom, Continuous & touch to focus, image stabilization

Looking at it all, it's not really a surprise 4K would be added. The camera module on the BlackBerry Passport was pegged as having the ability to support 4K long ago and BlackBerry notably mentioned they were definitely looking into adding 4K on their ICanMakeItBetter site pretty much four months ago but that was all based on speculation.

There's an argument to be made about whether or not 4K recording on smartphone is even really needed but it's becoming the norm, so it's nice to see BlackBerry is playing around with adding it. Does 4K recording mean much to you? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, you can check out the video recording capabilities of the BlackBerry Passport in 1080p right now, if you're wondering how it performs at that level.

Reader comments

4K video recording being tested for the BlackBerry Passport

145 Comments

Foe all the "I have the best specs" kind of guys, it will be better. For me, it won't change a thing.

Posted using the fabulous 10.3.0.1052 on my Z10

True same here personally I don't care but you don't want any weak points in their new flagship especially for our android friends since everything with them is specs this specs that....

Posted via CB10

Measurebaters will always want to beat their Joneses. : - P I just want to see this thing on all the carriers ASAP and w/o any hate-PR fueling hiccups.

Posted via CB10

Best not release it in USA until objective nations have it first.

Let the world get it, and share how great it is before the UShaters try to kill it.

I am in the USA and proud of my BlackBerry. I do understand and acknowledge how bad the USA is with not recognizing a good device. Media deems to rule the masses here and I can't stand it.

Posted via CB10

Hmmm....I'm starting to like the passport. 13mp camera is nice. I take a lot of photos for my business and personally.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  Z30 (STA100-5), son! The Thor's Hammer of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! #longestsignatureever

Will have to experience the picture quality. Else the MPS will be just on paper like q and z series

Posted from my Black Beast Q10

Trance....that video looked pretty good on my Z30, but then again, everything does....Peace.

Founding Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile

It did! The focus between light and dark and auto focus was a bit sluggish but over all the video was great. I agree though that most videos look awesome on the Z30.

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  Z30 (STA100-5), son! The Thor's Hammer of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! #longestsignatureever

Woah.. nice one after our current 720 at 60fps

With due diligence from my Astro on Z30STA100-2/10.3.0.1052

The Z30s you and I own record in 1080p. (The front camera is only 720p.)

Not sure on all BB10 devices, but I believe Z10 & Q10 are the same.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

I totally forgot about that. Gotta have 60 fps!

Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  )  Z30 (STA100-5), son! The Thor's Hammer of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! #longestsignatureever

Although the 4k video thing may not make a whole lot of sense, BlackBerry is leaving absolutely nowhere that this hardware can look weak

Posted via CB10

Apart from the physical keyboard, lack of a fourth row of keys and the oddly shaped screen? Hoping it does well, but I will be staying far away from this 'beast'

Posted via CB10

He's talking spec-wise, not about the form factor which you apparently don't hold that much appreciation for... :-)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

I'm in the same boat.

Raise ya a battery that can not be removed, no charge dock, and a space bar where the Victor Bravo belong.

Cool beast, but too weird for me.

The only thing I van see that is a bit of a drawback with the 30 fps is that the fluorescent lighting in the store front seems to flicker. There may be another reason for this but I do not remember seeing this same. Aberration when filming at a higher frame rate. Since lights tend to flicker at 30 to 60 htz ( or cycles per second) I van only blame the camera.

Posted via CB10

Light flicker? That's suck. I wish i can use blackberry to capture radiology result. But with my Z10 it's always flicker. And it will be the same problem with Passport?

Posted via CB10

It's the fault of the camera that it can record /faster/ than the frequency of lights? Have you ever used a high-end DSLR and taken a photo a screen with a fast shutter speed? Check out the result and blame that on the camera.

Hhhmmm??? Well I hope they don't wait too long to include it, iOS and Android are both coming out with new phones and they might just include 4K and BlackBerry will end up behind again and continue playing catch up!!!

Posted via CB10

This is actually false. Magnetic-ballasted fluorescent lamps will cycle on and off 120 times per second on 60Hz power, and 100 times per second on 50Hz power. To make matters worse, NTSC video recording framerates are standardized at 29.97fps, which means there is a beat pattern, and this is why video tends to show a slow pulsing in brightness. Digital camera systems have to compensate for this by detecting the flicker pattern and slowly correcting the exposure over time.
Electronic-ballasted fluorescent lamps run at a much higher frequency (30KHz or so), so the effect is almost un-noticeable. Similarly, incandescent lamps also flicker at a 100 or 120Hz rate, however since they are producing light via thermal means, they time it takes them to cool to "off" is much longer than the flicker period, so they pulse much more softly.

/The more you know!

(fyi, you can see the math behind the flicker stuff here: http://www.smallpony.ca/hmi1 - scroll down to the "not continuous light sources" section)

The video on the Passport, as is, is very good indeed. I guess 4K video might be icing on the cake for some people.

Everyone's hating on the passport for getting up to date specs... I'm only halfway through a 3 year contract on my Z10. Maybe if it had up to date specs when launched it would still hold up a year from now but sadly it wont.

Posted via CrackBerry App

I can see the 4k being used in certain industrial and medical applications. Bring it on.

" I do not think that word means what you think it means. "

Just consider the data throughput at that fps rate.
Can your SDcard keep up? :-)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

On an Snapdragon 801 the processor is going to be working crazy hard to keep at it. Probably only able to record in bursts and can't even play back due to the GPU unit not being able to fully drive the 4K resolution (not to mention the lack of pixels to play the full resolution).

Posted from my TARDIS!

Works for class 10 MicroSD's for Xperia Z2 and a few other smartphones so I see no issue here.

 BlackBerry Z30  If it Don't Make Dollars, It don't Make Sense 

Would be cool, I have no way to use my 4K TV at its full potential for now. Hopefully the HDMI output will support it as well.

Still, most micro SD cards don't support speed to record 4K, so it will probably be with internal memory only, which also means short clips.

Posted via CB10 on my Q5SQR100-1/10.2.1.3247

If you're worried about fluorescent flicker buy some electronic ballasts. They operate in the 40khz range. No flicker there and you will save money on your electric bill

Posted via CB10

Don't need it as it will just eat up memory but good to have the option.

Posted via CB10

Not a big deal for, use wise.

But hey, BlackBerry should continue to make their devices with the best possible specs.

Posted via CB10

This would make more sense if the display on the phone was 4K. Manufacturers are jumping the gun again just like they did with 3D. We don't even have 1080p live television yet... It will be a while before 4K goes mainstream.

Couldn't hurt to have it though I guess.

Posted via CB10

Considering 4k tv's won't become mainstream for a good while (yrs) if that. Current tv's go for $8,000 and up. By the time they come down to a reasonable price blackberry will be on their 4th passport (maybe), so it isn't necessary now and having that function will only serve to run up the cost of the phone...if they follow through with this then i expect the passport to be around $700-800 bucks... no thanks. plus, it's still big and ugly so definitely, no thanks.

Posted via CB10

Sweet, great hardware and great software support. Nice to see BlackBerry ahead of the curve and the rest pulling up the rear and making excuses

Posted via CB10

Not sure where you are.... but 4k TVs are a lot less than $8,000 these days...
Closer to half that.

Posted via CB10

A dollar per pixel?

Like SSDs, but now they're cheaper and cheaper...

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

First off, I don't see this making a difference to the price. This is a change on the software side. It's already got a 13MP camera and a 4K image frame is about 8MP.

Next, those prices were last year. Of 37 4K TVs on Best Buy Canada, 22 are less than $8000 and 7 are even less than $3000. Samsung and LG each have a 50" 4K for $1699.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/category/televisions/21344.aspx?type=product...

(Sorry for long link... hope it works.)
Prices are still high, yes, but they're coming down to Earth faster than most expected.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

The Best Buy ad either this week or last week had a 55" LG or Toshiba Ultra HD (4K) for approx $1800. Regardless of the tv tech, the broadcast tech is nowhere close as I don't think most even have 1080p feeds much less 1080i feeds.

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

You're a bit behind on this. Sony is selling a 54" (inch) 4K tv for around $1,800 right now, and Sony is notorious for high priced sets. They are also selling an 84" for $25,000. Around Black Friday I expect even more in that $1,500 to $2,000 price range this year.

Bla1ze, the whole argument of whether something is needed or not ('good enough') in terms of hardware is one of the core reasons BlackBerry got to the point they are in now.

If they want to be taken serious as an alternative to Android and ios, they have to constantly push the envelope with their hardware, despite whether they think the use will need it or not.

I'm happy they bumped the storage to 32gb, thought the good enough crowd would have left that as is.

Posted via CB10

Running low on my Z10, and constantly get the message "Storage almost full"...

Still, some of the ~1GB games I'd rather leave on there...

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

Ditto on all counts.

I complained on Twitter to BlackBerry & Michael Clewley about the obnoxiously frequent low memory alerts. Someone else replied that they thought 10.3 would improve that.

I'm very much looking forward to a BB with 32GB storage.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

It would be a nice touch and added "show off" point, but the current camera specs look amazing man!!! Best camera module on a blackberry device EVER

Posted via CB10

This isn't just a spec war issue IMO.
In this case it's a matter of future proofing.

What do people record on their cell phones? Plenty of answers, but I bet their kids and special occasions are high on the list for most. Want to play that in a decade or two? If it's not high res, it's just not going to look great.

On the flip side, a 4K video will be relatively gigantic compared to your average cell phone video. Hopefully BBRY includes some text on what minimum write speed for sd cards is required to take full advantage.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

I couldn't agree more

Love my Z10 looking for its successor or go for Z30 when the price is right for me

Even though it's great to brag to all your friends and say "I can record 4K resolution If I want to" but the fact is... you probably never will.

A 4K video will use about 1GB of space per 1 Minute of recording. This means your storage on the Passport will be eaten very quickly.

About 90%+ TV & Lpatops out there don't support 4K video recording. And even if you try to play your 4K video on your 1080p laptop, the graphics card might not support it.

All in all, I do think it's a great thing to have. This is showing that BlackBerry can be "cool" and is able to keep up with the "kardashians" but I don't think I will be using 4K video recording any time soon :)

Sticking to 720p at 60fps for the moment :)

BlackBerry 10 Wallpapers (BBM Channel)

A 64gb SD card capable of writing that fast will give you over an hour of footage. People manage to make movies with 9 minutes of film per reel.

Not something to upload to dropbox though :D

Posted via CB10

4k offers the best video quality and YES it does matter! Why should BlackBerry users settle for less? It is not about specs, but what your device enables you to do and if it means having the option to shoot videos at best possible quality and have the best business tool in one device, then that is what we should expect. I do not think that BlackBerry fans keeping low expectations will help BlackBerry in any way.

With that said, I will buy the Passport regardless. But expect BlackBerry to offer the best damn devices they possibly can. Now and in the future!

I personally don't need the 4K feature at this point. But as how the industry is moving I would say it would not be a bad option to have.

 Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

HW specs mean nothing to me. I want a stable, fast, intelligent, light footprint OS that allows me to get things done. I doubt I will ever use a 4K cam. The file sizes will be too big for nothing.

How come a bunch of people around the world already have Passports? Who are these people? BB employees? Did BB lose a crate of Passports, or something?

It will be really nice but there can be a problem as in some Sony xperia phones the system got overheated by using 4k. I hope there won't be any problem in passport. If not than use 4k...

Posted via CB10

That video example looked stunning.

Anyone know if it has the option to take snaps while recording? That's a feature that would work well.

Posted from my Z30 on CB10

"Anyone know if it has the option to take snaps while recording? That's a feature that would work well. "

Yes, you can already do this on 10.3.0
Just press the blue button while the video is recording.

Posted via CB10

No matter what BlackBerry does. And how enhanced the device, they won't make a come back without solving the apps problem.

Until you start seeing the 'Available for iOS, Android AND BlackBerry' under each app or billboard sign, there's no use.

Posted via CB10 from my BlackBerry Q10

The app problem is being solved with the Amazon deal..
Now BlackBerry can concentrate on developing productive and business or office apps, while Amazon is making the games for the leisure time! :)

Good, Better, BlackBerry Z30

That's really a workaround. We want native apps as well. Games, office apps, etc.

I definitely would like to see a 'Get it at BlackBerry World' banner next to the ones for Android and iOS some day.

Posted via CB10

FYI: 4K is just the WIDTH, not the height. The height is 2178, which makes it essentially widescreen HD 2178p. Marketing has it's stupids. XD

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

As 4k is becoming the new standard it's always good to upgrade. And who knows, maybe in the next year's flagship device there will be 41MP front camera added..!? ;)

Good, Better, BlackBerry Z30

Incredible news if this makes it to the production build, especially on all released regional devices of the Passport.

 BlackBerry Z30  If it Don't Make Dollars, It don't Make Sense 

Frys electronics just had a tax free sale on all 4k TVs till the end of August and, I just couldn't love the TV...no content and I don't think the human eye would really enjoy the quality of the picture vs the content of the movie or such...
I tried to like it including the curvy ones, I just couldn't. The curvy ones are even worse, not only is everything distorted (very lightly) but you also get a lot more glare...reflections are now stretched out.

I honestly think this phone will take off, at my current work place they have the new Microsoft phone 935 it is a nice however you cannot add an SD card you just have 32GIG one of the joys with my z10 is the removable battery and storage, now most business users love their keyboard, and they love BB10 functionality in the business world, I am seeing the Passport as a true business phone but hopefully Blackberry has an aggressive marketing strategy this is the make it or break time I believe for Blackberry, as for me I am warming up to the Passport but my z10 does it all for me.

From reading some of the responses here it seems that if the passport does have 4 k the "new" iPhone will NOT have 4k? Let's see if I am right.

Posted via CB10

Needs to there to satisfy the spec geeks but not really a useful feature for most. A niche feature for sure.

I had a friend use his ip5s to shoot 120fps and then play back at 69fps. That is something I didn't understand the benefit until shown. I didn't see this capability in the passport and would be one of my nice to haves but not a deal breaker but really see how this is a good feature to have.

Posted via CB10

Megapixel shmegapixel... if I wanted some sort of wicked camera smartphone I wouldn't have a Q10 in my hands right now anyways! I guess it's nice to have the latest & greatest but I've been satisfied with 5 & 8 mp phones thus far... the pics are still great!

Posted via CB10

The more options the better. If u don't want 4k then drop it down a notch.. nobody should say no to this

Posted via CB10

Given that the life cycle of a cell phone is two to three years for those that buy on contract and less for those that don't. I do not see a need here in the near term for this except in a few industry specific applications.

As a consumer feature it makes no sense except on a Porsche BlackBerry because those owners are the only people who have eight thousand dollars worth of loose change rolling around in their pockets to drop on a screen able to view the output from the phone.

For everyone else it just a mine is bigger than yours spitting contest with the Android fan boys.

How about the ability to record in lower resolutions or the ability to convert a high bit rate video to low bit rate to share Videos via BBM and/or email. 4k video is kind of useless if you can't send it from the device to someone else without a third party service.

Posted with a BlackBerry Z10

Well, whether we like it or not, it's an iPhone world, and the specs on the iPhone 6 will be the benchmark for new phones.

Posted via CB10

As a father having memories in 4k video is priceless even if I can't view them now 10 years do the line they will be worth it

Posted via CB10

if u gonna charge premium price for this new device , this must be one of the extra features. Might be useful in the medical imaging field and future proof for next 5 years

Think of it this way. What harm does it do if they include this capability? So what if it eats up a lot of memory. That's why they have 64 GB Micro SD cards that are cheap now. We're talking $40 cheap. With USB OTG, you basically have TBs worth of disk space now.
With the iPhone, you're limited to the amount of onboard memory. Most consumers do not have the 64 GB edition, so the iPhone will not have 4K recording any time soon. What BlackBerry has to do is include something that not only leapfrogs the competition, but something that brings attention to the product. The Passport is getting some attention, but unless it's something unique (such as 4K recording), AND a feature that everyone uses, then the majority of users won't care.
Let's put it this way, Passport has revolutionary keyboard, large screen, etc... Most consumers out there who aren't BlackBerry users will not care. But if you include something which everyone uses (video), then they'll all take notice. Panoramic pic mode, sure there were apps that can do it. But once Apple included it as a camera mode, look how many people paid attention to that feature.

Having the ability to record in 4k will be very important for those that use videos in presentations. Having the option is key, for those that don't need it won't notice it.

Posted using my amazing and intelligent Z10

It's about time! That BlackBerry has 4K for the first time on the new blackberry Passport and on the new BlackBerry classic Congratulations BlackBerry nice work guys I will be purchasing one soon I can't wait to pick up the new software and the hardware On the camera features and the music player. Awesome work. This is going to be a killer phone

Posted via CB10

I'm no "Photoshop" or Video guru, but the quality looks awesome... IMHO!
I've been very "hesitant" about the "Passport" since it's launch, purely from a visual aspect, but it really has grown on me. For now, I will keep my humble Z10, and wait until the "Passport" has passed and ironed out it's initial "Consumer Quality Control" H/Bumps... nice job BB!

I still love my Z10 it's fabulous and I have proven it have better loudspeaker quality compare to XiaoMi and can support HDMI. But the video quality of the passport looks awesome and stable. Good work BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

4k is cool, but seriously it's not gonna be used a lot. But it's good for the spec wars going on now. We need higher specs to level the playing field.

Posted via my trusty argumented Z10 4500mah battery, running 10.3.0.1052 . C0048B0F9.

I have been waiting for that video stabilization from when instagram was talking about there's. I think it's a must have on all phones! seeing how everyone likes to pull out there phone as soon as they see something they have to catch on video.

Posted via CB10

I have a z10 which I like . OS10 is great. The major failings were a hopeless battery , and yet again the inability to upgrade OS without ridiculous leak processes. Oh and yes the pricing is absurd beyond belief ... Always pitched just below the iphone and always destined for abject failure .
The passport looks a great device but I can guarantee it will be too expensive .

I do not see any sense in this or any reason to do so, there is no smartphone on the world, that has a good camera included: way to small sensor, simple optics, no optical zoom etc.

Including 4K-video, will only result in much bigger low quality videos - as on all other smartphones.

So please BlackBerry, don't waste your time and resources, make high quality devices with perfectly working business functions, but taking 4K-videos or watching them, for sure is not a really needed "business feature"!

That does not mean that taking/watching video or playing games should not be possible on BB-devices, but they should not put much work in this or even "optimize" their devices for being able to do this, like Apple, Google, Samsung etc. are doing for their mobile games console, like iPhone, iPad, Galaxy S4/S5 etc.

If the camera is capable of 4K recording and it can be added in the 10.3.1 software update then why not have it? Its a great feature and selling point for the phone. Even if most people don't really use it or have the screen to view it on. I am looking at getting a 4K tv in the next couple years, whenever 4K games or blu-rays start to appear and prices drop abit. Its a nice option.

Sent from my Z10. Or was it my Q10? Either way, it was sent from an awesome phone.

Most mobile users would prefer to carry a single device for business and personal use. Judging from the number of parents I watch whipping out iPhones to photo/video their kids' events it would behoove BlackBerry to include the highest quality and most user friendly photo/video capability on all of their devices as this is a core mobile device function.

I'm an indie film maker in Canada, and being able to shoot 4K and then downsample to 2K or 1080P is a HUGE benefit. i shoot right now with the panasonic gh4 for that very reason, but to have a 4k option in the amazing form factor of a mobile phone... WOW! That's exciting.

When Blackberry launched the BB10 platform and phones, they enlisted three artists to showcase their excellent story maker software. To now offer 4K to us storytellers is so helpful, useful, and TIMELY! I just watched Apple drop the ball AGAIN, ignoring us artists even while parading U2 on stage. Sorry, that company has gotten too fat and high on themselves, and has forgotten the real artists.

Come on, AT&T. My wife could use this to record Thanksgiving in 4K! It's not like we're going to get any other 4K (Blu-Ray, Broadcast, Satellite) content besides Netflix for the next 12 months.