Back in the day, the ability to record your own videos was something that would typically cost a small fortune and therefore was accessible by only a lucky few. Nowadays, things are completely different. Thanks to modern technology, the ability to record high-quality videos is something that is accessible to virtually everyone.
When it comes to quality video capturing, 4K is currently the best available option that you can opt for. To help you imagine the quality of a 4K video, we’ll just say that it’s 4x that of an HD video. This isn’t just a “for show” number. By having the ability to record videos with such an eye-popping clarity, you can save memories that’ll, later on, become priceless. From your child’s first steps to important family events and travels, there are just so memories that should be preserved. You might also be interested in our articles about the best 4K projectors and the best camera cleaning kits.
Now, when it comes to buying a 4K camcorder/camera (what’s the difference between them? You’ll know in a few lines) there are so many numbers and specs that leave most of us really confused. Which is the best 4K camcorder/camera to buy? It really depends on your use. The best 4K camera is simply the one that works best for you.
To help you make an enlightened choice, these are the top things that you need to keep in mind to get the 4K camcorder/camera that’s right for you.
1. Understand the difference between a camcorder and a camera
This is something that usually causes lots of confusion, despite being really simple. We’ll spare you all the historic differences which you definitely don’t need to know and get to what really matters: what this means at the present time.
In layman terms, a camcorder is a type of camera that is designed with video as a first priority. It might be able to take still pictures even excellent ones however, video capturing is its primary function. This function is clear from the camcorders distinct form which makes capturing videos a smoother process.
On the other hand, normal cameras with video capabilities –sometimes referred to as video cameras- are the exact opposite. They are mainly designed to take still pictures but are also capable of capturing videos with impressive quality. So, which one is better? It totally depends on you.
If capturing videos is your number one priority then you should definitely opt for a camcorder as they are designed specifically with that in mind. If your priority is taking pictures with your cameras and record some videos occasionally, then a standard camera format will definitely work best for you. Knowing your camera priorities is the first step in making a right purchase decision.
2. Have a budget in mind
When it comes to 4K cameras and camcorders, the prices can vary significantly. You can pay $200 or $2,000 for your new camera. The reason behind this variation in prices is quite simple: there are too many features and none is free.
When you’re buying a new camera or camcorder, any feature simply translates into money. The more features and capabilities that your new camera has the more you’ll have to pay for it. The question here is, do you really need those capabilities?
Let’s be honest here, most of us don’t need a ton of professional-grade options for tweaking the camera’s settings. Something that can be pointed at the subject and records video with decent quality when the button is pressed is more than enough for most people. If you’re a casual user and won’t be using any of the super-advanced features that some cameras on the market might have, you’re probably better off without them.
If you’re planning to become a professional videographer though, having some of those advanced features can be really useful though. Knowing what you need from your 4K camera/camcorder will automatically translate into a budget, which will narrow your options into a realistic number of choices.
3. Choose a camera that fits your lifestyle
Your lifestyle is something that can greatly influence your camera choice. A great camera/camcorder that doesn’t fit your lifestyle can become totally useless. The first thing to ask yourself is what/how do you plan on using your camera?
Do you plan on carrying your camera around with you all the time? If yes, then portability is something that you should pay great attention to. You don’t a camera that’s a burden to carry around as it can totally ruin your experience.
Are you expecting your camera to shoot underwater videos? Operate in some harsh conditions? Before you buy your camera, try to run the different use scenarios in your mind and see if it has what it takes.
Best 4K Camcorder
When it comes to quality video equipment, Sony is definitely one of the top brands that are available on the market. Such a great reputation wasn’t built overnight though, being one of the pioneering company in digital photography solution have helped Sony establish its well-earned reputation in this field.
If you’re looking for a top-tier camcorder and don’t mind paying top dollar for the quality that you’ll get, the Sony FDR-AX100 has so much to offer. Despite not being a “professional” grade camcorder, this model has many features that are only exclusive to professional grade cameras, which makes it a really good value for money.
Asides from capturing some stunning 4K quality videos, this camcorder is capable of capturing still images with a whopping 20MP resolution. This high megapixel number translates into images that are super-sharp and clear to the tiniest detail.
The all-new Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* lens that comes pre-equipped on this camera has a 12x optical zoom capability. This relatively-high zooming power that comes with this camera means that capturing razor-sharp videos from a distance is very easy, which makes this camera perfect for things ranging from filming your child’s soccer game to wildlife videography.
To make using this camcorder even more convenient, it can be controlled from a mobile device using an app. Once the app is installed and the devices are paired, transferring files as well as using the Smart Remote control feature is a really simple task.
If you’re looking for a quality camcorder that’ll last for many years and create some unforgettable memories, this is definitely one of the best available options that the market has to offer.
- 12x optical zoom
- 20MP still image resolution
- Can be controlled from a smartphone
- Excellent LCD screen
The company that invented the Video Home System (VHS) definitely knows a thing or two about video recording technologies. This model isn’t a hobbyist camcorder, it’s a professional-grade one that is capable of producing results that are just that, professional.
The best thing about this camera is the fact that it has a budget-friendly price tag that is considered really cheap for a professional-grade camcorder. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly professional camera, this is an option that is definitely worth checking out.
The output quality is excellent. It’s capable of capturing detail-rich 4K Ultra HD videos, which are created in the Quicktime (.MOV) format. As you’d expect from a professional-grade camcorder, it supports external microphones, which allows for exceptional audio quality. You can either use the JVC microphone that comes with this model or you can swap it for another one if you feel like it.
Another great thing about this bundle is the fact that it comes with some useful stuff. In addition to the camera and the external microphone, the bundle includes a 64GB memory card, SD/MicroSD to USB 3.0 reader and a lens cleaning kit, which makes the overall package even more attractive. However, these components vary from seller to seller. So make your own research before.
If you’re looking for a camcorder with professional grade capabilities that doesn’t break the bank, you’ll definitely love this model.
- Professional-grade capabilities
- Comes with many useful freebies
- Great value for money
Best 4K Mirrorless Camera
Mirrorless cameras are well-known for striking the perfect balance between portability and high-quality output. By ditching the mechanical mirrors that are found in the bulkier, DSLR models, mirrorless cameras are capable of delivering outstanding results with a compact body.
The Alpha a6300s is a mirrorless digital camera from Sony that combines portability with an impressive array of features to make taking pictures or shooting videos much easier. The ergonomic design and sturdy build quality is the first thing that we noticed about this camera. As the mirrorless technology allows for a much more compact frame, holding this camera feels much more comfortable than holding a full-sized DSLR camera. This model is also dust and moist proof, which makes it capable of taking pictures in some of the harshest conditions without having to worry about damaging it.
Once you start taking pictures with this camera, you’ll notice how fast the autofocus is. Thanks to the 4D FOCUS technology that is used in this model, it is capable of focusing on an object in as fast as 0.05 seconds, which is almost instant. Such feature can mean the difference between a spontaneous moment that is successfully captured on camera and another one that’s forever lost.
With 4K video capabilities and a whopping 24.2MP still image resolutions, this camera is capable of taking great pictures and videos. However, what’s really cool about this camera is the slow-motion mode. Using this mode, you’ll be able to capture 4K videos that are up to 5x slower with FullHD quality. This feature alone allows for capturing some really fun moments and creating some creative videos.
- Compact body
- Slow motion recording
- Super-fast focus
- 24.2MP pictures and 4K video
This camcorder from Panasonic is among the best available 4K camcorders for plenty of reasons. First of all, the camera’s has some cutting-edge parts that result in an overall great experience.
The Leica lens along with the camera’s sensor provides exceptional results for both videos and images. In addition to providing exceptional video and image quality, this Leica lens has a 20x optical zoom, which makes it great for shooting 4K videos from a distance. As optical zoom doesn’t affect the quality of the images or videos produces, this camcorder is great in many situations that require zooming. This Panasonic camcorder also has a 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization system which makes the quality of the images and videos even better.
Asides from the stunning image and video quality, what makes this camera really stand out is the HDR movie function, which can be used to produce some cinema-like movie effects when shooting videos. It is worth mentioning though that this feature isn’t available in 4K quality, but only in HD. To make this “cinema production” experience complete, this camcorder offers the option to edit the captured video right from the camera, which includes cropping and adding many effects.
If you’re into video production and looking for a camcorder that is capable of creating some professional quality videos, this Panasonic camera is definitely worth checking out.
- Great Leica lens
- 20x optical zoom
- HDR movie function
- Video editing capabilities
- Excellent image and video quality
If you’re looking for a personal camcorder with some professional level features, this camcorder won’t leave you disappointed. When it comes to camcorders, they are usually divided into amateur and professional. Camcorders that strike the perfect balance between both worlds to create an item with exceptional value are really not that common, that’s what makes this Sony camcorder really stand out from the crowd.
As you’d typically expect from a Sony 4K camcorder, the FDRAX53 records videos of exceptional quality. Considering the fact that this camcorder has a 26.8mm ZEISS lens, the video, and image quality it produces is not really a surprise. This camcorder also has 20x optical zooming capabilities, which makes it excellent for long-range video shooting.
One of the pro features that are available in this model is the manual control ring. Just like in professional-level cameras, the manual control rings allows you to adjust things like zoom, focus and shutter speed. Being controlled manually allows for a better and more intuitive control while you’re shooting, which is definitely good to have on an average consumer level camcorder. The high-contrast 3-inch screen of this camcorder is very useful for seeing the finest details, even when shooting in a dim place or outdoors where there is sun is just too bright.
Overall, this is a solid performance camera that offers some features that are only found in professional level camcorders, which makes it an exceptional value for money.
- 26.8mm ZEISS lens
- Excellent LCD screen
- Manual control ring
- Great value for money
The Panasonic AG-DVX-200 is a full-fledged professional camera. It isn’t a personal camcorder with a couple of professional features, it’s meant for serious video shooting.
This fixed-lens camcorder combines great form with exceptional video shooting quality, which is always a recipe for a successful product. The combination of the textured black and red carbon fiber gives this professional camcorder a really outstanding look and a strong character of its own.
Asides from the superficial features, this fixed lens camera’s performance is just on point. The images quality of this camcorder was simply superb, even in low-light conditions, the noise was at a minimal level. As for the resolution, this camcorder is capable of capturing video quality up to DCI 4K. Considering the fact that this is a handheld camcorder, this is some exceptionally-good output quality.
The Leica lens on this Panasonic camera has F2.8-F4.5 (12.8-167mm) which is a pretty decent range in addition to a x10 optical zoom capabilities.
One feature that we really loved about this camera is the eye sensor. Once you put your eye close to the EVF, the camera automatically turns off your LCD screen –since you’re not using it, which is a great feature for battery saving. Since turning off the LCD manually every time you use the EVF isn’t really that practical, that’s a really helpful feature.
If you’re looking for a professional-grade, handheld camcorder, this is one of the best available options on the market in this price range.
- Beautiful design
- F2.8-F4.5 (12.8-167mm) Leica lens
- Video quality up to DCI 4K
- Great LCD screen
Best 4K Action Camera
There are many cameras out there that can capture 4K videos. However, not all of them are suitable for the daring adventurers. Whether you plan on using this camera or capturing your ski adventure, water surfing session or even an off-road bike ride, this is a 4K action camera that is designed to be able to keep up.
To make this camera able of keeping up with water adventure lovers, it has an IP68-certified housing for the internal parts. Thanks to that level of water resistance, it is suitable for use when diving up to 30m.
Another feature that we loved about this 4K action camera is the fact that it can be paired with Android or iOS device using an app. Once you pair the camera with your phone, you can transfer pictures and control the camera with ease. This camera also comes with a wireless remote control which can be worn on the wrist, which allows for spectacular and creative pictures that can be taken without requiring help from another person.
The battery life of this 4K action camera is also pretty decent. It comes with 2 rechargeable batteries that support up to 90 minutes of continuous video recording. In addition to recording 4K videos, this camera is also capable of taking images with 12MP resolution. 12MP might not be that impressive, however, the resulting pictures were of a very decent quality.
If you’re looking for a 4K action camera at a fair price that you can take with you wherever you go, this one is definitely worth checking out.
- IP68 water resistance
- Compact size
- Can be controlled with an app or a remote device
- Great image and video quality
- Decent battery life
- Great value for money
If you like the Sony FDR-AX100 but are looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, this camera is definitely worth checking out.
One of the things that make this camera such a steal is the fact that it has the same fast processor that is used on some of the more expensive Sony models. Thanks to this fast processor, the video quality remains consistent, even when you’re shooting a moving object. This model also comes with Sony’s Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system, which can greatly reduce shaking when taking videos or even still shots.
The image and video quality that this camcorder produces is superb, thanks to the top-tier ZEISS lens. This lens allows for 10x optical zoom, which is good considering the budget price of this camera. It might be true that many other models have 20x optical zoom however, they cost way more plus a 10x optical zoom is more than enough for most people’s use.
We were surprised that this model supports the manual ring control, which is a feature that is almost always exclusive to camera models that belong to a higher price bracket.
As this model has WiFi and NFC connection capabilities, transferring photos and videos from the camera to another device is really easy. In addition to transferring files to other devices, this camcorder is capable of doing live broadcasting when its connected to the internet, which is a very useful feature.
- Good value for money
- 10x optical zoom
- WiFi/NFC capabilities
- Can broadcast live videos
- Optical image stabilization
- Fast processor
This camcorder is one of Sony’s professional-level offering. Just like all the other camcorders in this category, this camera targets two kinds of people: those who capture videos for a living and those who don’t but are very serious about their videos.
In this model, Sony has kept the same form of the NX-100 –which is really popular- and upgraded the internal parts and the camera’s codec instead. The camera’s overall image and video quality are pretty decent and what you’d typically expect from a professional camera in this price range.
However, it is worth mentioning that this camera doesn’t shoot 60fps 4K but instead, it does at 24.8 fps. This is not an issue for most people but it is something that had to be highlighted for a professional-level camera. When shooting in normal HD quality, this camcorder is capable of capturing up to 120 fps, which is really impressive.
Despite not capturing 4K videos at 60fps, the overall image and video quality of this camcorder were extremely sharp and clear even at low light conditions, which makes this one of the best professional handheld cameras that are available on the market.
- Super-sharp image quality
- Captures 4K video at 24.8 fps
- Captures HD videos up to 120 fps
- Has the same awesome form of the NX100
If you’re looking for a premium-quality mirrorless digital camera and don’t mind shelling out some extra money in exchange for quality, the Sony Alpha a6300 is hands down one of the best options available.
There first thing that you’ll notice when you pick up this camera is the great build quality and how solid it feels. Thanks to the weather-sealed body that is made from a magnesium alloy, this camera is extremely durable.. Another exterior feature of the a6300 that we really liked is the 2.95-inch LCD screen, which can be tilted upwards to make capturing images easier regardless of the angle or the subject’s position.
Asides from the external features, this camera packs lots of cutting-edge technologies. The image and video quality that this camera produces are some of the best that you’ll find in any other camera in this price range or even on some of the pricier models. The 4K video quality that this camera is capable of capturing is very lifelike and produces some eye-popping colors. Things like slow-motion video capturing, super-fast focus are also available in this model.
With an amazing build quality, great videos and pictures and a wide array of features in such a compact body, this is one of the best available mirrorless cameras available.
- Compact size
- Amazing build quality
- Magnesium alloy body
- 10 customizable buttons
- Super-fast focus
- Adjustable LCD screen