Last year, we welcomed several new cameras equipped with advanced 4K video recordings, and now almost every major camera manufacturer has implemented 4K recordings somewhere in its line. Some will be more successful than others. But perhaps the most impressive, the technology has been successfully stretched over models of all invoices. So whether you have just a few hundred pounds or dollars to spend or are willing to extend to a handsome sum of four figures, you can probably afford one of the Best 4K Cameras.
Just because the cameras have a 4K recording does not mean that they are the same. The use of different sensors and different recording methods, together with variations in output options, means that two 4K cameras can behave differently. Even something as simple as whether the camera uses the full width of the sensor or applies a crop factor is of vital importance to consider, as this has a significant effect on your effective viewing angle.
Best 4K Cameras
For people with little or no background knowledge regarding 4K cameras and their technology, it can be a challenging task to choose the Best 4K Cameras. However, if you are familiar with cameras and all of their necessary information, you should still think about a few things before making a decision that you have just read above. In short, all we can say is that 4K technology has given us a whole new perspective for taking photos and recording videos, and this technology is sure to leave its mark here.
Panasonic Lumix G85
Significant features squeezed into a small body
Before we look at expensive and best 4K cameras, we wanted to emphasize a slightly more affordable alternative. It may not be a drip of features, but Panasonic’s Lumix G85 (known as the Lumix G80 in the UK) is still a competent and cost-effective option for people looking for a budget 4K camera. There is 4K video recording up to 30p (with a bit rate up to 100 Mbps) and a special microphone connection. The focus is fast, while the touchscreen with varying angles, the frame material friendly and easy to make. The G85 is also weatherproof to protect it from the elements.
- Excellent EVF
- Strong AF performance
- Relatively poor battery life
- Over-complicated controls
Panasonic Lumix GH5S
This is one uncompromising video tool
Although it is quite quiet to take pictures (although with a reasonably limited resolution of 10.2 MP), this should first and foremost be seen as a video camera – if you want to do both, you have the Lumix GH5 (below) to fill that gap. Although the absence of built-in image stabilization may be a disappointment for some, the issue is unbelievably impressive in addition to video capabilities. If you want to record professional-quality images without having to retake your home to buy a professional video camera, you will not find a better video-focused camera right now.
- Multi-aspect sensor design
- Brilliant video spec
- The absence of IS not for everyone
- Battery life could be better
Panasonic Lumix GH5
The Lumix GH5 is a feature-laden 4K workhorse
Until the arrival of the Lumix GH5S, the GH5 was the choice for anyone who wants to make a video. Quite cheaper than the newer GH5S, the GH5 is a bit more versatile for those who want to make both still images and video. The video specification is still very impressive, allowing you to record Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 60p with a bitrate of 150 Mbps, while Full HD video can be recorded up to 180 fps. That is not all, because the GH5 offers a color subsampling on 4: 2: 2 and a color depth of 10-bit, which provides more color information and richer gradations. The GH5 also offers live output to external recorders such as Apple ProRes via HDMI, as well as simultaneous internal recording. Overall, this is one of the best 4K cameras that you can buy right now.
- DCI 4K and UHD 4K
- An excellent fully articulating screen
- Limited ISO range
- Bulky for a mirrorless camera
Sony Alpha A7S II
Excellent footage, substantial dynamic range, and a compact size
One of the main selling points of Sony Alpha A7S II is its internal recording of 4K footage. Many others have since matched it, but it is the modest number of pixels of its sensor that it splits from its rivals. We found that the dynamic range was very high and consistently better than that of competitors with higher sensitivities, while noise was also lower than cameras with more populated chips. It also has the advantage that the entire sensor width is used for recording video and can be recorded on the memory card. At the same time, 4: 2: 2 footage is output to an HDMI recorder, but also allows itself to take pictures. Autofocus is generally fast, and built-in image stabilization is a huge bonus, while the body is also firmer than its predecessor. Overall, this is one of the best 4K cameras on the market.
- Superb dynamic range and low noise
- Useful Log options included
- Only 4K UHD (no 4K DCI)
- 8-bit rather than ten or 12-bit video
Sony Alpha A6500
Sony’s 4K-enabled APS-C model is a smasher
The previous APS-C-based Alpha A6300 was a big hit with enthusiastic users, and the Alpha A6500 builds on its success in many ways and is one of the best 4K cameras that you can buy. The camera records 6K recordings that are downsampled to 4K quality and use the efficient XAVC S codec with a speed of 100 Mbps. This is accompanied by log-gamma modes, 120 fps HD recording (also at 100 Mbps), and improved zebra patterns to monitor the exposure.
You also benefit from a 425-phase detection point focus system for fast focus and a 2.36 million pixel OLED viewfinder, along with 11 fps burst full-resolution images, all in a dust and moisture-proof housing. That is not to mention the welcome addition of Sony’s 5-axis image stabilization system in the body. Now that the price is starting to fall, it would also be the right choice as an upgrade compared to previous APS-C-based Sony models.
- S-Log gamma settings included
- Superb autofocusing system
- Touchscreen a bit slow
- No headphone jack
High resolution meets high speed
The long-awaited successor to the D810 arrived earlier this year, and Nikon certainly did not stop with the specifications. With a new 45.4 MP full-frame sensor, a highly advanced 153-point AF system and 7 fps shots, supported by features such as a tiltable touch screen and a range of connectivity options, the D850 is the most advanced DSLR we have seen. As far as video is concerned, there is plenty to keep. The camera can capture 4K UHD with 30p/25p/24p, and that uses the entire sensor – no unwanted cropping here, so you can take full advantage of your lenses. Other video features include ports for both microphone and headphone jacks, as well as a flat image profile, zebra pattern, and Power Aperture Control. You can also record at 120 fps in Full HD quality. A brilliant DSLR that is also great in recording videos and is one of the best 4K cameras.
- Superb AF system
- No crop-factor at 4K
- SnapBridge clunky to use
- Live View focusing speed
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Top-end OM-D model impresses across stills and video alike
The best Micro Four Thirds camera so far was what we concluded from our Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II timing, and video is one of the areas where Olympus has made significant improvements over previous models. Not only gets 4K capture in both DCI and UHD flavors, but you also get a clean output via HDMI at 4: 2: 2, a headphone port for audio monitoring. The advantages of a Fast Hybrid AF system from Olympus, which works in combination with the touch screen for even more natural subject selection. Whether you’re taking photos or videos, you’ll also get one of the most effective image stabilization systems we have seen so far, which will please those who expect to use the camera handheld. Why the camera walked away with a full five stars are the excellent weathering seal, lifelike EVF, and the ability to shoot at 18 fps with continuous AF and AE tracking. Overall, this is one of the best 4K cameras you can buy.
- Both DCI 4K and UHD 4K capture
- A fantastic image stabilization system
- Dense menus
Fujifilm ramps up the video specs from the already capable X-T2
Fujifilm did a great deal of effort to revitalize many aspects of the X-T2 spec sheet to make the X-T3, and improvements in video recordings were more important than usually is the case for such a model. The main changes include the option to capture 10-bit video internally at 4: 2: 0, along with a much denser phase-detection AF array that provides a more refined view of the subject. There is also a Hybrid-Log Gamma option available on top of the F-Log setting that can be used for internally recorded images that are included as standard. The camera also has the bonus that no cropping is applied when recording 4K footage with 30p, and only a minimal crop of 1.18x when recording to 60p recordings, in DCI 4K or UHD 4K modes, while both microphone- as headphone jacks now both are included in the body. Overall, this is one of the best 4K cameras on the market.
- Log shooting as standard
- Detailed footage
- Viewfinder showing some fringing
- Some physical controls a little fiddly
Strong video specs matched by equally impressive performance makes the Z7 shine
Nikon’s joint first full-frame mirrorless camera is the most serious attack on the video market to date. Although the D850 is an excellent choice for DSLR users who want to capture video next to their images, the Z7 has a handful of essential benefits for the videographer looking for one of the best 4K cameras. Perhaps the most crucial, the presence of both sensor-based and electronic VR, means that the camera does just fine to keep things steady, regardless of the lens you’re using. In contrast, 435 sensor-based phase-detect AF points are available during video recording and are doing well to keep everything focused and transitions nice and smooth. The 10-bit N-Log recording option, which is also absent on the D850, offers you a better starting point for assessing footage, and it’s great to see how 4K recordings are recorded with the full width of the sensor.
- Effective VR systems for video
- Detailed electronic viewfinder
- No 4K at 60p
- Single XQD card slot
Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV
A cracking travel camera with excellent video – but it comes at a price
If you are looking for a powerful all-in-one camera, you will not go far wrong with Sony’s magnificent RX10 IV. With a long and fast 24-600mm f/2.4-4 zoom lens along with a stacked 1-inch type 20.2MP sensor and fast 315-point phase-detection AF system, it is an incredibly versatile camera. It also does not disappoint when it comes to video, where 4K UHD footage is captured with 1.7x more information than is needed without pixel binning, before being downsampled to 4K for quality.
This happens with a maximum bit rate of 100 Mbps, and you can also boost the camera to 960 fps for slow-motion images. All this is supported by a clean HDMI output, zebra patterns, and both microphone and headphone ports. You will also get an S-Log2 gameplay profile next to the image profiles (which you can customize) and Gamma Display Assist mode from Sony to give you a better idea of how sorted images would look. It is not cheap, but it surely is one of the best 4K cameras.
- Excellent lens
- Wide choice of frame rates
- No built-in ND filter
Best 4K Cameras Comparison Table
|Best 4K Cameras|
|Camera Name||Megapixels||Max Video Resolution|
|Panasonic Lumix G85||16.0MP||4K|
|Panasonic Lumix GH5S||10.2MP||4K|
|Panasonic Lumix GH5||20.3MP||4K|
|Sony Alpha A7S II||12.2MP||4K|
|Sony Alpha A6500||24.2MP||4K|
|Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II||20.4MP||4K|
|Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV||20.2MP||4K|