It has been almost two decades since the emergence of the first 4K cameras. There has been a lot of talk about whether or not the 4K format is the future of television and cinema, but no one has been able to deny the amazing image quality 4K format produces. Since 2014, industry's leading companies have released multiple models that allow their users to produce a video of the highest quality at affordable price, and now almost every major camera manufacture has launched 4k video shooting cameras. However, too many 4K cameras makes it harder for people to choose the best one based on their needs.
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After 42 hours of research and comparison, we picked out 15 best DSLR, Mirrorless and action cameras that can shoot in 4K on the market. Read on to check their specs, features, pros and cons.
Leave your comments at the end of the article if you have any question or recommendation, and we'll keep it in mind.
You may also like: Except for a good camera, you also need a video editing software to give your 4k video a film-look. Check the top 10 best 4k video editors we selected for you.
Top 15 Best 4K Videos Cameras/Camcorders
Besides the price of 4K cameras, what else should be considered? Well, we have also compared the low light performance, image sensor, image stabilization ability, and frame rate. Normally, a 4K camera with a larger sensor will have a better light gathering ability, then will provides a better low light capability. Some 4k camera features a 1-inch imaging sensor which allows you to shoot better depth of field and dynamic range videos even in low light.
Some of the 4K cameras has the built-in digital image stabilization feature which reduces the blurry in a video that you shoot when walking, riding or using a zoom lens.
Normally people shoot video at 30 frames per second, but some 4K camera can shoot at 60FPS which makes the video silky smooth.
We have summarized the related information about the factors that you should consider when choosing a 4K video camera in the below table, hope it helps you to pick up the best 4k camera.
There is no doubt that Panasonic HC-X1 4K UHD Camcorder will help you take your video productions to another level. It can create footage in DCI and UHD quality and you can capture scenes in MOV, MP4, and AVCHD file formats. The camera has 1"-Type MOS Sensor which creates the background blur that is a trademark of professional film cameras. However, HC-X1 is a camcorder and for those who are used to interchangeable lens cameras, it may not be the right choice. On the other hand, its features guarantee that you will be able to produce footage of the highest standard.
This is a camera that can be used to shoot full-feature or indie films. One of its many advantages over the cameras with similar capabilities is its size. The combinations of size and the EF lens mount that allows you to use a large number of different lenses enables you to shoot a wide range of different cinematic styles with this camera. Super-35mm CMOS Sensor, Compressed Raw Recording, and a maximum video resolution of 4608 x 2592 are just a few reasons why this camera is a great choice, but its downsides include the below average performance in low light conditions and no ND filters.
Nikon fans may argue that Nikon D500 is one of the best cameras for less than perfect conditions. Camera's weather sealed body along with the maximum ISO value at 1640000 speak volumes about what it can do in difficult light and weather conditions. Needless to say, Nikon D500 supports 4K UHD video recording at 30, 25 and 24 FPS frame rates. Perhaps the biggest flaw of this camera is its price because at $1,996.95 it is one of the most expensive APS-C DSLR cameras on the market. On the other hand, it is one of the most feature-packed DSLRs and it is most certainly worth investing in.
Over the years Canon cameras have been the best choice a photographer can make when buying a new camera. EOS 5D Mark IV isn't just an excellent choice for photographers, but for videographers as well. The video options are enhanced by the addition of Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF that help shooter control focus with ease. The camera can shoot 4K videos at 30FPS and it can capture still frames at an amazing 8.8MP. The biggest downside of this model is that HDMI output is limited to 1080p, which can hardly be counted as a flaw, considering the possibilities this camera provides.
Sony PXW-Z100 is a perfect choice for someone who wants to shoot a documentary style video in 4K. The camcorder creates true 4K footage at up to 60FPS or 50FPS and it has a maximum resolution of 4096X2160 pixels. The 1/2.3" Exmore R CMOS Sensor and XAVC 4:2:2 10-bit Intra Frame Codec vouch that this is indeed one of the best pieces of equipment on the current market. The G Lens with 20X optical zoom is optimized for shooting in 4K and it provides a 30mm wide angle view. For those used to using more than just one lens, this is probably PXW-Z100's greatest flaw.
The successor of the iconic Lumix GH4 that has revolutionized the video production industry, Panasonic Lumix GH5 has been long anticipated. This majestic camera has hit the market on March 20th and its features have taken the world by storm. It contains a state of the art 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine Image Processor as well as a 5 Axis Sensor Stabilization. It can create 4K videos at up to 60 FPS and its ISO values can go as high as 25600. Aside from being a bit costly, you can hardly go wrong if you are thinking about purchasing this camera.
Sony has been at the forefront of the revolution caused by digital images. Their models have set the image quality standards and moved the boundaries for decades. Sony A7r II is the latest model from Sony's highly praised A7 series that offers a wide range of possibilities to photographers and videographers alike. It features a 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X™ image processing engine that place it among the best cameras on the market at the moment. It produces 4K video in (3840 x 2160) resolution at up to 30FPS. Since it is relatively recent this camera has yet to prove itself worthy of its cost, but its features certainly do promise the highest standard of performance.
Whether you are looking to shoot still or moving images, this is the camera you can rely on. The biggest improvement from the much praised A6000 model has been the autofocus system. The 4K video mode is up to Sony's standards with the highest resolution at (3840×2160) and up to 30FPS. This is more than an affordable camera that offers excellent image quality in all sorts of conditions, however, if you are looking to shoot at outdoor locations this camera might not be the best choice because it doesn't have an image stabilization technology which makes capturing motion rather difficult.
Panasonic G85 is a mid-range mirrorless camera that can meet the demands of both professionals and hobbyists. Depending on the market it is also known as G80, G81 or G8. While it offers the possibility to shoot Ultra HD 4K the maximum image quality is limited by its 16 MP Live MOS sensor. The ISO values can go as high as 25600, which allow the users of this camera to shoot in poor light conditions. The battery life is estimated at 320 shots, but it is probably a good idea to get a battery grip to ensure that your camera is working if you need to shoot video with over a longer period of time.
This camera cannot be praised highly enough. Since its release in early September 2016, the X-T2 model has established itself as one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market. The X-Processor Pro Engine, 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor, and the dual SD card slots enable the users to create breathtaking material almost effortlessly. The camera produces 4K footage at 30 FPS with a maximum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. It is hard to find a downside to this camera, and if there is one it is the absence of a touch screen. Fuji X-T2 will delight both amateurs and professionals as it is easy to operate and it provides the high-end performance.
Yi 4k Plus is a very powerful, high quality 4K action camera. It features a resilient, high standard 12 MP Sony IMX377 sensor. On top of that, the unit comes with voice control and it integrates a dedicated 2.2” Gorilla Glass touch display.
If you want to acquire 60FPS at the 4K resolution, this is the product you want. It really helps you get that perfect value you want, and it's extremely fast. At around $339, it delivers an incredible value and it even has professional image stabilization. The only downside is that image stabilization works only up to 4K 30 FPS.
GoPro's first built in waterproof camera with highly user-friendly interface, delivers a crunchy competitive 4K footage. It has lower frame rate (4k/30 ftp) than Yi 4k Plus and relevantly costly. Yet, for most of the people around the world, GoPro Hero5 black is still the best 4K action camera. It also has top class voice control and image stabilization. It is a perfect camera to be used under water.
Looking at the competitor's high end 4K cameras, Garmin came up with an amazing Virb Ultra 30. It can shoot 4K video up to 30 frames per second. Users can use the touchscreen with the case on, which is waterproof to 133 feet. Its audio control feature is just perfect. Additionally, a special mic port is designed to ensure high quality audio for the waterproof case.
The Sony FDR X3000 is specially designed for users that are more concerned about the video quality. It provides effective stability and enhanced video quality. Its highly advanced Optical SteadyShot technology allows users to capture super-steady pictures and 4K POV movies. Its durability and rugged shielding proves that it is designed for real world conditions. With the PlayMemories application, you can edit the footage quickly.
Olympus TG Tracker is a tiny compact action style camera with a very solid and stylish design. It can be used up to 30 meters under water without any external waterproofing cover. With a 204 degree field view, it has a flip out LCD which is not a common in all the 4K action cameras. It has an illumination lamp which can be handy for close-up shots or its utility in darkness.
What makes it stand out among all its competitor 4K cams, is its data reporting and tracking capability as suggested by its name. The range of sensors that are incorporated in this HD cam makes it capable of recording acceleration, altitude, location, temperature, orientation, & water depth. This tracking feature can be used even if a user is not recording any view.
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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