- Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
- Canon XC-10
- Sony DS-RX100 IV
If you want to take videos that are better than the average smartphone and are moving into the area of professional quality, then looking at a 4k camera is the way to go. This camera type offers a better, sharper image and reduces the chance of color banding. Its display works with at least 8 million active pixels providing a high resolution that will give your videos great clarity and a much sharper look.
The camera over samples each pixel by a factor of 4 giving your videos a focus not found in other video shooting options.
You can buy 4k video cameras that are at a professional level. But, what do you do if you just want a high-quality one for personal use or to create your own little masterpieces?
This list below will highlight eight 4k video cameras that are not considered professional but are great for those who are looking to create something more than a smartphone video.
1 Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Camera
This is a great camera that doesn’t hit the cost of professional cameras but is definitely on the higher end both quality and price-wise. This camera can boast high-end output even though it is small. It has interchangeable lenses, 15.3 stops offering an amazing range and an ISO from 50 going up to 409,600 sensitivity.
What does this mean? It means this camera is going to give you high-quality video and stills. The detail and color offering, even in the night, is amazingly strong for a small camera.
The resolution of the video goes up to 3840×2160 pixels with microphones to get quality audio at the same time. It offers a Full Pixel Readout without pixel binning to produce better 4K videos and movies.
What the Reviews Say?
Reviews of this pricy camera are really solid, especially when it comes to low light shooting. Although it is not deemed as a professional camera, many reviewers are camera aficionados and praise it for the quality it offers. But, considering it is not top of the line and is classified as an amateur camera.
While this camera requires an additional recorder for video, the quality you get is excellent. Reviewers comment that battery life is an issue, and in response Sony offers two with this particular purchase. The other complaint was its lower megapixels.
At 12 MP, it is merely borderline for a camera of this price. 12-megapixels can’t offer the detail that the rest of the camera has to offer.
- Low light specialty
- Improved video
- Interchangeable lenses
- External microphones
- 12.2MP sensor optimized for 4K – low light
- XAVC S Recording format
- Output 4K video at QFHD (3840×2160) in 4:2:2
- BIONZ X processing engine
2 Blackmagic Deign Production Camera
This is a user-friendly camera that offers great versatility and design. Its 4k quality comes in a compact form with a comfortable handheld style. It provides three different mounts for multiple lens choices depending on your shoot.
It has a touchscreen and sensor that is Super 35mm. This sensor makes sure your colors are deep and that you have great depth-of-field (DoF). This camera has a removable SSD slot, and since it has a built-in SSD recorder, it films 4K in ProRes 422 and CinemaDNG files. It records in formats that are already compatible with editing software, so there is no need to convert them before use.
What the Reviews Say
Reviewers have good things to say about this camera and its filming abilities. They complement its build, style, and regular firmware updates. It has a solid display, lots of settings, and a Global shutter that impressed.
On the downside, people were concerned with possible overheating and battery life. It has an internal battery but can be set up with an external which helps with both problems. Many also felt it was not the best option if you are often shooting in low light. However, generally, people thought it was a great camera for the price.
- Multiple shooting resolutions
- Mounts for multiple lenses
- Built-in SSD recorder
- Records in current format
- Super 35 sensor
- 12 stops
- CinemaDNG RAW & Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) file recording
- 6G-SDI output
3 GoPro Hero6
GoPro’s are well known for their exceptional ability to film sports and activities in a high-quality fashion, but some of the higher-end GoPro’s are also able to shoot 4K video as well.
This isn’t for people who are looking for the state of the art video cameras for regular use. But, if you want to create clips that are from the user’s perspective, this is the way to go. The video camera creates high-quality video and has fantastic night vision options as well.
The fact that its waterproof opens another area of filming as well. A new option that this GoPro comes with is the control/view/sharing functions that you have through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It allows others to view what you are filming on their own device with an app orsends the video to your phone where the app makes a QuikStory.
This GoPro Hero also has mounts and adapters for many uses. It has great stabilization ability, whether the camera is mounted or handheld.
What the Reviews Say?
Generally, reviewers love this GoPro Hero. They point out that those that don’t often buy this video camera without understanding the way it works, both in filming and postproduction.
They highlight the improvements over older models saying that the low light filming, stabilization, and battery life are generally much better than in the past. One of the negatives that seem to crop up is some glitchiness around the screen, but others suggest this could be due the using the wrong memory card.
There are some issues around electronics in general, but it doesn’t seem to be a consistent problem that plagues all buyers.
- Top image quality
- Good stabilization
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth link
- Records and sends simultaneously
- 4K60 and 1080p240 video
- 12MP with SuperPhoto
- G1 Chip
- 5 GHz Wi-Fi
4 Sony DS-RX100 IV (Best Value)
This Sony pick is a great, small but quality 4K video camera. It is perfect If you travel a lot as it offers not only great video but photos as well. It has a popup viewfinder which is different for a 4K camera, but the lens offers good image quality, and the viewfinder works well to see what’s ahead of you.
Due to its size and lower cost, it doesn’t have a touchscreen or extensive zoom. But, it’s excellent for those who want good quality at an affordable price. It also comes in handy when you want easy portability on the go.
What the Reviews Say?
Reviewers acknowledge the small size of the video camera is somewhat limiting but know it is to be expected for both the size and price. The videos it produces are quality items, and the fact that it is 4K is great.
The main limitation pointed out by reviewers is that it can only take a 5min video at a time. Thus, lengthy movie type videos will have to be broken down into smaller bits. This is due to its small size and the chance of overheating. The time limit is not a defect as much as a limitation. The 4K videos it produces are good but have to be limited unless edited.
- Compact & portable
- Quality video
- Play Memories camera App
- Autofocusing system
- Exmor RS CMOS sensor
- F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens – 24-70mm zoom
- Anti-distortion shutter
- shutter speed of up to 1/32000
5 Canon XC-10 (Premium Pick)
This Canon video camera is listed as professional, but the price says otherwise being at the cheaper end of the spectrum. It has lots going for it beyond its price. It’s a lightweight camera that offers great HD 4K resolution.
The XC-10 has a good 10x wide-angle lens along with solid stabilization. This Canon has Wi-Fi, an LCD monitor, and a touch panel that add to its quality. Some sellers have good deals on packages that include extras such as bags, cables, and batteries so it won’t hurt to look at that as well.
The camera can record fast or slow video with multiple recording modes allowing a professional look to everything you produce.
What the Reviews Say?
Reviewers of this Canon are pleased with this professional-grade camera at a good price, although some thought it was still a little high. They felt video was of good quality with about an hour of battery time during use.
Reviewers suggested that buyers do their reading and understand the cables, outputs hand lens before finalizing their decision. There was nothing wrong with any of it, but if you do not understand what it offers, then you won’t get the optimum video out of it. The one complaint was that the lens is fixed and not removable.
That being said, reviewers found a lens online that would attach to the one on the camera to allow broader video capabilities.
- Quality resolution
- Good wide-angle lens
- Multiple recording modes
- 10x f/2.8 to 5.6 SLR-style manual zoom lens
- 1″ CMOS sensor
- DIGIC DV 5 image processor.
6 Lecia D-Lux
Lecia offers a good video camera that is compact yet completely reliable. Its image stabilization is good and can go up to 40fps when filming. It has Wi-fi so you can upload and share clips you have done or need to edit.
Its size is a great benefit if you’re traveling, and its easy use makes recording video simple. Like any camera, it takes a little research to make sure you understand all the ins and outs of its workings. But, overall, it is a great purchase for those who want to step up their video work.
What the Reviews Say?
Reviewers like this video camera for what it is. It’s a compact, efficient quality way to take 4K video with easy transfer later. They found the viewfinder helpful as well as the lens cap. However, there is some mention of the lens cap being glitchy at times.
The software for moving video from the camera to your computer or other devices can be a little finicky, but once you have figured it out, it becomes less of a problem. Overall people were pleased with the device and what it can do as a 4K video camera.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy-adjust functions
- Quality video
- Easy access with wi-fi
- Leica DC Vario-Summilux 10.9–34 mm f/1.7–2.8/ASPH lens
- 2. 8 MP OLED EVF
- Range to ISO 25600
7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 (Best Overall)
Panasonic has built this great, practical camera that lets you customize your videos. It has a 16MP sensor, is great in low light, and has ISO range to 25600. It is not compact like some of the other travel cameras, but it has a good 4K video output, as well as high-quality stills.
You can take out great still from the videos you capture as well. It has a high-resolution viewfinder, an LCD, and ports that will meet all audio and video transfer needs.
What the Reviews Say?
People are happy with this Panasonic product saying that the performance, price, and weight all intersect at the right spot and offer this camera. Its 4K video capabilities are great, and the functions are simple to learn and use.
The DMC-G7 allows you to create time-lapse videos with ease and offers a good outcome. The fact that you can easily get still photos from the video is a plus as well. The main concern reviewers had was the body stability as much of it is plastic.
There are also a few comments that the autofocus is sluggish at times, but most felt for the price it was a great purchase.
- Creation of time-lapse video
- Understandable functions
- Good file transfer
- Adaptable lens
- 6-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor
- 4K QFHD video recording
- ISO 25,600
- Resolution up to QFHD 3840 x 2160p, 30 fps, 100Mbit/s.
8 Sony FDR-AX53/B
While many worthwhile video cameras can do both video and stills, this Sony camera is perfect for those who really want video alone. It is an affordable recorder that is easy to take on the road while offering great 4K video.
The AX53/B has an Exmor R CMOS sensor, quick auto-focus, an internal microphone combined with a quality viewfinder. It has a good wide-angle lens and great optical stability, so you’ll get great videos.
TheWi-Fi on the device lets you connect, backup, and share videos as well as work the Play Memories app.
What the Reviews Say?
Reviews of this Sony product are solid. They praise the 4K quality and many highlights how good the image stabilizer is. Some pointed out you could take a picture while continuing to videotape as a plus.
The main complaints were with the stabilizer when it was on a tripod and the lack of manual controls. However, both those things should be controllable if you read up on the camera itself and learn how to work through or get rid of the “bugs”.
There are lots of people praising this video camera and offering ways to work around issues some may be having.
- Good quality audio
- Great stabilization
- Clear video and stills
- Time-lapse video works well
- 4K XAVC-S with 16.6MP, Exmor R sensor B.O.SS
- BOSS stabilization
- ZEISS lens(26.8mm) 20x optical zoom in 4K
- Zoom microphone
Features to Look For in 4K Video Cameras
Features that you want in a 4K camera are fairly straightforward when you are looking for quality no matter what the price. You want to make sure you have the right frames per second (FPS) for your level of use.
This can range from 25-60 for most. File storage is important as well so look for a camera with an SD card slot. You will also need Wi-Fi connectivity for easy file transfer along with image stabilization and easy functional controls. All will make shooting 4K videos a great and easy experience.
Differences in 4K Video Cameras
Before deciding on a 4K video camera, you need to assess what you are using it for. Are you doing professional events where a certain level of quality is needed and post-production editing? Is it for sports, weddings or travel? All these things play into your decision.
4K cameras vary in size, portability, accessories, speed, and lenses. All these items vary upon the reason you need them. If your traveling you don’t want to lug a big video camera worth thousand with you. Nor do you want to use one when you are trying to capture a bike ride down a mountain.
In contrast, you won’t want a GoPro to video a wedding that you’ve been hired for. Research the best choice for your job or event. That will allow you to weed out the differences and focus on what suits you best.
FAQS When Buying a 4K Video Camera
Are 4K cameras that shoot both stills and video good?
Most of the time, the answer is yes. While a camera may look simply like an SLR, many actually can shoot very high-quality video as well. However, these smaller cameras will not be able to run as long as they tend to overheat due to their size.
Do I need a tripod if I’m shooting with a 4K video camera?
Early camcorders often did better with a tripod, but as technology improves and video needs have expanded, they are less critical.
If you are going to purchase a good 4K video camera, it should have stabilization in the camera itself to lessen the chance of wiggle. Cameras such as GoPro’s have mounts but are usually anchored for proper stabilization in active situations.
Do good 4K cameras need a lot of accessories and gear?
Again, this depends on what you are using it for. Battery life tends to be shorter with video, so having a backup charger and battery is important. Cases and lens cover keep your camera safe. Beyond that, it depends if you feel you need more lenses, a tripod, and memory cards.
There is also the need for cords and adapters. Each camera will be different, and your needs will vary depending on use.