The Best 4K Camcorders

The Best 4K Camcorders

What a great time to be an amateur cinematographer! As more and more advanced tools and equipment are becoming accessible to the average consumer, the demand for high-definition quality has become a standard. In the profession of videography, 4K-quality recording has made a breakthrough in the last few months, bringing futuristic recording technology to today!

While HD cameras are sufficient for some users, others who are passionate about videography are constantly looking for better cameras and gear to boost their videography game and to achieve the purest, crystal-clear results.

If you’re someone who is looking for the latest and best professional camcorders available in the market today, then take a look at our top selected 4K Camcorders that you can buy from Amazon.

Sony FDR-AX100/B

As one of the first Handycam-style 4K camcorders within budget, Sony’s FDR-AX100 is a true game changer and a phenomenal camcorder for expert-quality 4K shooting. It includes a 1 inch backlight-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, which is a much bigger sensor than what one would ordinarily expect in an entry-level camera like this.

This sensor doubles light sensitivity and reduces noise by half by combining with Sony’s Column A/D Conversion, resulting in excellent performance in low light.  Its remarkable Ultra HD resolution uses Sony’s latest XAVC S format for recording; 60 Mbps into SDXC memory cards, and the AX100 also records normal HD in AVCHD. The best part is that it can dual-record in both 4K quality and the compressible MP4 file size for direct streaming to the web.

Another outstanding feature of this camera is its BIONZ X image processor, which enables high-speed 120p recording and 720p for slow motion, while the FDR-AX100 records 14MP resolution video. All of this is shot with optical image stabilization. The battery time for recording videos is about 3 hours.

For an entry-level 4K camcorder packed with fantastic features, the Sony FDR-AX100 is estimated at $1700. But if you buy it with the extra gear and equipment, Amazon offers great bundle deals!

Pros:

  • Incredibly sharp picture
  • Competitive pricing
  • Built-in ND filter
  • 1 cm OLED electronic view-finder
  • 14MP resolution video and 20MP still image capture
  • Built-in adjustable viewfinder
  • Excellent feel/build quality

Cons:

  • Image stabilization needs improvement
  • Lacks 60p in 4K
  • Lens could be wider

Whether you want to capture precious moments in the sharpest colors to keep them as vivid as possible, or plan on making short films and documentaries, Sony’s FDR-AX100 will not disappoint!

Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K with EF Mount

After a troubling entry into the cinematography world, Blackmagic now has a foothold in the market and actually offers some of the best cameras. What makes the Blackmagic Production Camera so irresistible is its super-size 35 sensor which enables it to take shots that are comparable to higher-end cameras that cost 3 times as much.

Videos are recorded either in the UltraHD ProRes422 codec at 880 Mbps or in 4K at a staggering 1Gbps in CinemaDNG RAW format. The RAW format is ideal for filming in quality, but will require a minimum of 240GB SSD for longer footage. Alternatively, ProRes will downsize the image to full HD, which is optimum. Blackmagic makes direct recording to SSD easy, ensuring you get the highest-quality output possible.

As far as the camera’s appearance goes, the Black Magic Production Camera weighs around 3 pounds without a lens, and is extremely minimal. Ergonomically-speaking in any case, its shape can be challenging.  However, this is effortlessly overcome with a mount or tripod. Another plus feature is that all models of the BMPC come with DaVinci Resolve 11, a software which allows easy editing of RAW format video.

With many satisfied customers, the Blackmagic Design Production Camera is approximated at $2900. It is a videography enthusiast’s dream and an absolute must-have!

Pros:

  • Super 35 mm lens For wide-angle shots
  • 13 stop high dynamic range
  • CinemaDNG RAW gives sharpness
  • Global shutter
  • Built-in SSD recorder

Cons:

  • Non-removable battery
  • Features 1/4 inch jacks instead Of XLR ports
  • No HDMI out
  • Difficult to handle without a mount

For smaller productions that can handle the workflow, this camera will be a great asset. The 4K Blackmagic has essentially zero competition at this price.  It also comes with world-class color grading and editing software. You can shoot, edit and grade a feature straightaway with just this one camera.

Panasonic HC-VX870K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

One of Panasonic’s best-quality releases for 2015 was the HC-VX870, their first Ultra HD Camcorder. This quality originates from the cameras’ 8.29M back-lit up sensor (BSI), which uses a noteworthy Crystal Engine 4K processor. Its fitted with a premium 30.8 mm wide edge Leica Dicomar Lens, which utilizes four independent lens groups to accomplish an amazing 20x optical zoom or a digitally-enhanced 25x smart zoom.

The camera is equipped for shooting in any lighting conditions, even night-mode. Rather than using graduated ND channels like other cameras, the HC-VX870 uses HDR (High Dynamic Range) innovation which catches video at two distinctive exposure times to enhance shots for any lighting conditions. Slow motion is also a feature, with regular slow motion recording at 120p. The Crystal Engine can also use Intelligent Frame Creation to incline slow-mo up to 240p.

As far as its body goes, these camcorders have a Multi Manual dial for focus, a white balance mode, shutter speed, ISO, saturation and brightness, giving a variety of control functions. The stabilization system has a feature that automatically corrects blurred images. It uses HYBRID O.I.S + to assist in correcting blurriness or tilting.

Considering that this is one of Panasonic’s finest cameras and contains no less than any of its competitors in terms of features, the HC-VX870 is a bargain at only around $890.

Pros:

  • High dynamic range shooting
  • 5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S. + reduces blur and tilt
  • Powerful 20x optical zoom

Cons:

  • Controls are somewhat cluttered
  • Lacks 60p in 4K
  • Not up to professional 35 mm lens size

Panasonic is a well-established brand in the technology market. The HC-VX870 is guaranteed to leave long-term users satisfied, as well as videographers who are looking to expand what they can currently do with their cameras.

Conclusion

All of the camcorders reviewed here are brimming with features and the possibilities are endless. However, in terms of affordability, quality and standard, Sony’s FDR-AX100/B is the best option for bringing your memories to life on film or for creating small productions.