With the uprise of high definition content, standards when it comes to professional and even amateur videography have risen tremendously. However, shooting lifelike videos does come at a cost as high-end 4K camcorders are pricey investments. Nonetheless, they are worth the effort for those who make an art out of filming the most precious moments in their life. In the following, we will rank the best camcorders that shoot in 4K for you to get a glimpse of what products are worth your hard earned cash. Stick with us to not only see what the best products out there have to offer but to learn more about these interesting devices as well.
|1. Sony FDRAX53/B||2. Sony FDRAX33||3. Panasonic HC-WXF991K||4. Sony FDRX3000/W||5. GoPro HERO5|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||2 7/8″ x 3 1/4″ x 6 3/8″||2 7/8″ x 3 1/8″ x 6″||2.7″ x 3.1″ x 6.4″||1 3/16″ x 1 7/8″ x 3 3/8″||1.26″ x 2.44″ x 1.75″|
|Weight||1.18 Lbs||1.32 Lbs||0.89 Lbs||0.25 Lbs||0.26 Lbs|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X||Crystal Engine 4K||BIONZ X||Dual Core Cortex ARM A9 with 4K|
|Battery Type||InfoLITHIUM V Series||InfoLITHIUM V Series||3.6V Lithium Rechargeable||NP-BX1||1220 mAh Rechargeable Lithium-Ion|
|Exposure Modes||Auto, Manual, Flexible Spot||Auto, Manual, Flexible Spot||Auto, Manual||Automatic||Automatic|
|Sensor Type||0.28″ Exmor R CMOS||7.76mm Exmor R CMOS||1/2.3″ BSI MOS||7.20mm Exmor R CMOS||CMOS|
|Effective Pixels – Video||8.29 Megapixels||8.29 Megapixels||8.29 Megapixels, 6.10 Megapixels||8.2 Megapixels||N/A|
|Effective Pixels – Still Image||8.29 Megapixels, 6.22 Megapixels||10.3 Megapixels, 7.74 Megapixels||8.29 Megapixels, 6.22 Megapixels, abbr title=”3:2″> 7.00 Megapixels||8.2 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Video Resolution||3840 x 2160/30p, 24p, 1920 x 1080/60p, 30p, 24p, 1440 x 1080/60i, 1280 x 720 30p||3840 x 2160/30p, 24p, 1920 x 1080/60p, 30p, 24p, 1440 x 1080/60i, 1280 x 720 30p||3840 x 2160p 30/24 fps, 1920 x 1080p 60/24 fps, 1280 x 720p 30 fps, 960 x 540p 30 fps||1920 x 1080 60p/50p, 1920 x 1080 30p/25p, 1280 x 720 30p/25p, 1280 x 720 120p/100p, 800 x 480 240p/200p, 3840 x 2160 30p/25p/24p; 1920 x 1080 120p/100p; 1280 x 720 240p/200p; 1920 x 1080 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p||4K30, 2.7K60, 1440p80, 1080p120, 960p120, 720p240|
|Recording Format – Video||XAVC S, AVCHD 2.0, MP4 format MPEG4-AVC/H.264||XAVC S, AVCHD 2.0, MP4 format MPEG4-AVC/H.264||AVCHD, MP4, iFrame||XAVC S, MP4 format MPEG4-AVC/H.264||MP4, AVI, MJPEG|
|Recording Format – Still Image||JPEG||JPEG||JPEG||DCF 2.0, Exif 2.3, MPF Baseline||RAW, JPEG|
|Audio Recording Format||MPEG-4 Linear PCM 2ch, Dolby Digital 5.1ch, Dolby Digital 5.1Creator, Dolby Digital 2ch Stereo, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2 ch||MPEG-4 Linear PCM 2ch, Dolby Digital 5.1ch, Dolby Digital 5.1Creator, Dolby Digital 2ch Stereo, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2 ch||AAC, Dolby Digital 2ch, Dolby Digital 5.1||MP4/MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch, XAVC S LPCM 2ch||WAV|
|Microphone||Built-in Zoom Microphone||Built-in Zoom Microphone||Built-In Focus and Stereo Microphone||Built-In Stereo Microphone||3 Built-In Stereo Microphone|
|Automatic Wind Noise Reduction|
|Microphone Level Control||31 Steps||31 Steps|
|Type||ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T||ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T||Leica Dicomar||ZEISS Tessar||Focus Free|
|Filter Diameter||55 mm||52 mm||49 mm||N/A||N/A|
|Focal Distance||f=4.4-88 mm||f=3.8-38.0 mm||f=4.08-81.6 mm||f=2.6-32.0 mm||N/A|
|Slow Playback||1/5 Speed, 1/2 Speed||1/5 Speed, 1/2 Speed||N/A|
|Multi/Micro USB Terminal|
|4K Image Quality|
|Smile Shutter||Smile Shutter||Level Shot||Motion Shot LE||10-Second Self-Timer Delay|
|Motion Shot Video||Motion Shot Video||5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S.||Highlight Movie Maker||Waterproof Design|
|My Voice Canceling||My Voice Canceling||HDR Movie||Live-View Remote||2″ Touch Display|
|Dual Video Recording||Dual Video Recording||Cinema-Like Effects||Adjustable Field of View||Voice Control System|
|Highlight Movie Maker||Highlight Movie Maker||Electronic Viewfinder||Burst Shooting||Automatic Image Rotation|
|One-Touch Remote||Twin Camera||Time Code/User Bit||Bluetooth Technology|
|One-Touch Sharing||In-Camera 4K Cropping and Editing||Loop Recording||Wide Dynamic Range Photo Capture|
|Action Cam Movie Creator|
|Product Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
|Telephone Support||201-930-1000||201-930-1000||1-800-405-0652||201-930-1000||(855) 635-3578|
|Online Chat Support|
In order to edit the 4K footage that you shoot with the recorder, it does not suffice to have a PC that can handle processing the video as you also need a specialized video editing software. As luck would have it, there are more than enough video editing suites to choose between. However, there are not many feature filled software out there but rather just a few programs that amateurs and professionals alike will appreciate using due to their usefulness.
The software we recommend you install and use is Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, but you must take many considerations into account before picking the right program to work with as each editing software interacts differently with file formats, so our recommended programs might not be optimal for your needs.
After editing the video you have shot with the 4K camcorder, you might sometimes want to share it with the whole world via the internet. However, it is not as easy as it seems as full-resolution 4K videos are not yet well-supported by all online video hosting services. Among the hosting services available at the moment, YouTube is the best as it allows you to upload as well as stream 4K videos.
After shooting a video with the camcorder, you will most likely end up on the computer, editing the footage. However, it is not as easy as it was with HD and full HD as there are different PC, and display requirements for 4K editing and maneuvering precisely due to the superior recording quality. Basically, the big amount of pixels that 4K comes with translates into more data being pushed around.
First, let us analyze whether or not you should make a PC/laptop upgrade in order to edit and share 4K videos. What is interesting about 4K is this type of video footage does not only require more physical storage space but that it requires more processing power when it comes to editing and handling the resulting footage. When analyzing your PC to figure out if it has what it takes to handle 4K processing, you must take a look at the following specs: RAMs, processor speed, hard drive type and capacity, and graphics card quality.
For stress-free handling of this superior type of footage, the recommended processor is a high-end quad-core, preferably an Intel as these models tend to deliver better quality when it comes to speed. When it comes to random access memory, the PC should have at least 16GB installed to not encounter any hiccups along the way. The hard drive that the laptop or desktop computer must use should be at least 1 TB large and it must boast 7200rpm, or it should feature a large SSD. Also, in terms of graphics card, you need an AMD R5 series model or higher, or an NVIDIA 600 series or higher model.
You should know right from the get-go that it is indeed possible to shoot, edit, and publish the video without viewing it on a 4K monitor. Thus, this is not a mandatory change to make in case you do not own this type of display. However, it is not recommended that you skip on the upgrade as your work and the quality of the resulting footage is greatly enhanced.
If you are willing to make the upgrade, look for the IPS spec as these types of panels deliver superior coloring accuracy regardless of the viewing angle you take up. In case your monitor is color-accurate enough, consider buying a cheaper 4K monitor as a second display to more easily cut footage together and make your work easier overall.
Shopping for a new camcorder but encountering a plethora of terms you are not accustomed to and various options you do not really understand the usability of can be quite confusing, making this a tougher purchase than you initially expected. For this reason, we made it a point to ease your life a little bit by offering some useful insight in terms of what you must look for when buying a 4K camcorder. Read the following lines, and you will know what to expect and what to take into consideration to end up making a successful and satisfying purchase.
The camcorder part that plays the most important role in the quality of the recorded footage is the sensor as footage is actually recorded on it. Thus, sensor size and type play an important role in video quality, so it is understandable why we advise you to look into this feature first when purchasing a camcorder. While most sensor types are qualitative, size is what you should pay attention to as it is easier to establish resulting video quality based on this sole element. Large sensors capture higher resolutions, so you should remember to stick with the camcorder that offers a bigger sized sensor.
Shaky footage is one of the few flaws to irremediably destroy video quality. This is the reason why we recommend you take image stabilization seriously into consideration when purchasing the camcorder as it prevents shakiness, ensuring crisp footage each time you use the recording device. Image stabilization usually comes in one of two forms, electronic or optical, and the type we advise you to go with as it is superior from all points of view is optical image stabilization. The reasoning to our recommendation is that optical image stabilization is more effective as a result of the glass lens movement in the interior of the device, movement that automatically steadies the video you are filming.
In case you plan on shooting footage in low light scenarios often, a feature you must look into is maximum aperture. What is aperture you ask? To put it in simple words, the aperture is the size of the opening in the lens that allows light to protrude. The larger this opening is the better as images recorded under low light conditions will be more qualitative. For low light footage shooting, an aperture of f1.8 like the Sony FDRAX33 and the Panasonic HC-WXF991K offer is perfect.
The capability of the camcorder to zoom in on targets when you are filming is crucial especially if you plan on shooting wildlife and sports videos. However, make sure to check optimal zoom and no other stat as it works by adjusting the lens of the camera, thus providing enhanced quality when recording images you zoom in on. On the other hand, how much zoom you need is debatable as it depends on how you plan on using the camcorder. However, we do recommend you a 20x optical zoom like the Sony FDRAX53/B and the Panasonic HC-WXF991K deliver if you do not want to take chances with recording quality and versatility.
What you must not forget when making the purchase is that video quality is not the only technical spec to put an accent on as audio quality is equally important. After all, the footage is composed of images and sounds, so it goes without saying that you must look into audio specs as well. The best indicator of audio quality in a camcorder is the type of microphone used, and we are glad to tell you that all of the camcorders in our ranking feature quality built-in microphones which make a huge difference in audio quality.
Our last buying tip is for you to look into a camcorder with Wi-Fi as this feature alone completely upgrades versatility in use. What Wi-Fi does is allow you to connect the camcorder to a tablet or smartphone, two devices all modern people own. The importance of this connectivity feature is that it allows remote control over the camcorder, thus giving you the possibility to more conveniently operate it.
It was no easy task ranking the best camcorders that shoot in 4K as there are plenty of options to choose between. Obviously, one of the main elements to heavily impact our decision-making process was the asking price for these devices. If you already checked out our top, you have noticed that none of them exceed $1000 as we made it a point to present you with products that are qualitative without requiring an absurd investment. However, to rank the products, we had to take many elements into consideration, and in the following, we will present the rating process we succumbed all of these camcorders to in order to rank them according to their actual performance, quality, and versatility in use.
Although size and weight are not indicators of a camcorder’s quality, they are indicators of the device’s convenience in use. As we made it a point to take your needs into consideration, we had to rank the devices according to how easy it is to shoot videos with them according to how light and compact they are. Although the GoPro HERO5 is the definite winner design-wise as it weighs only 0.26 pounds and it measures a mere 1.26 inches in width, 2.44 inches in height, and 1.75 inches in depth, all of the other entries in our top followed close behind as they boast similarly exceptional designs.
The capability of the camcorder to zoom in on targets and sceneries comes especially in handy when shooting sports and wildlife videos. We took into consideration your need to surprise beautiful but difficult to record moments in your life by giving the two camcorders with 20x optical zooming a higher rating. These two exceptional camcorders that allow you to zoom in on sceneries from afar are the Sony FDRAX53/B and the Panasonic HC-WXF991K.
Proper exposure when recording is vital as it influences the manner in which differently lit elements in the scene are shot. High-end camcorders feature automatic exposure, tending to change settings appropriately to deliver quality footage where all of the scenes are clear and visible. However, versatility in use is the key to success with these devices, so we had to give the first two ranked Sony camcorders more points as both products deliver automatic, manual, and flexible spot exposure modes for you to choose between, allowing you complete freedom in use from this point of view.
A camcorder might display a certain MP rating, but the spec you should look into to find out the truth when it comes to shooting and still photography quality is effective pixel rating. We broke down the effective pixels delivered by all of our camcorders in video effective pixels and still image effective pixels to better display the capabilities of these devices. As you can see, they all score amazingly when it comes to still image and video shooting pixel rating as none of them goes under 6MP.
Wind noise reduction is crucial to video footage quality as it shows that wind noise on the background will be automatically reduced as you are filming, thus the resulting video not being affected by the annoying background noise. Instead of hearing the wind, you will be able to hear the voice of your loved ones or the humming of birds. When it came down to this feature, the Sony FDRAX53/B, the Sony FDRAX33, and the GoPro HERO5 4k camcorders scored the highest rating as they come with it.
Wireless functions like Wi-Fi, NFC, live streaming, and multi-camera control play a vital role in the quality of the camcorder as these stats indicate the device’s degree of versatility in use. Seeing how the three entries in our top manufactured by Sony feature all of these wonderful wireless functions, allowing you to conveniently shoot videos and manipulate images, we had to rate them better when it came down to this array of features. Obviously, the three winners of this rating category are the Sony FDRAX53/B, the Sony FDRAX33, and the Sony FDRX3000/W.