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1080 vs cropped 4k

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does anyone have a comparison between what the 1080p footage looks like compared with cropped 4k footage to an equivalent pixel count?

Reason for asking is that I wouldn't normally bother with 4k, as I just don't believe it's worth it (not trolling, just a personal opinion that you need significantly better glass and sensor for 4k to be worth it) - BUT, if the 4k video resolution allows for a reasonable amount of cropping before quality gets too low, then I'm all for it.
 
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Yesterday I tried using 4K video as a source for a 1080 project. The main reason for this was so that I could 'zoom' in down to a 1080 picture and get a closer image than the local aviation rules allow. I was very disappointed. The cropped image was very inferior to the native 1080 on my Inspire 1 with the X3 camera. Has anyone tried doing this with an X5?
 
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Shoot in 4K to capture the best video, most data then edit and format for your audience .. usually in 1080p

(note: writing 1080p output from a 4K source is not a 'crop' in this example)
 
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