Best 4K Camcorder

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.

Top 5 4K Camcorders Comparison

1. Sony FDRAX53/B 2. Sony FDRAX33 3. Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4. Sony FDRX3000/W 5. GoPro HERO5
BEST MODEL
OUR CHOICE
BEST PRICE

General Info

Manufacturer Sony Sony Panasonic Sony GoPro
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

Technical Specifications

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
Power Consumption 4.9W 5.6W 7.8W 2.0W 3.8W
Optical Zoom 20x 10x 20x 3x
Shutter Speed 1/8-1/10000 1/8-1/10000 1/24-1/8000 1/30-1/10000 1/30-1/240
Exposure Modes Auto, Manual, Flexible Spot Auto, Manual, Flexible Spot Auto, Manual Automatic Automatic
Metering Modes Multi-Segment/Spot Multi-Segment/Spot Multi-Segment Multi-Segment Multi-Segment
Iris Control F2.0-F11 F1.8-F9.6 N/A N/A N/A
Camera
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
Recording
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
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
Speaker Monaural Monaural Dynamic Monaural Monaural
Automatic Wind Noise Reduction
Microphone Level Control 31 Steps 31 Steps
Lens
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
Aperture F 2.0-3.8 F1.8-F3.4 F1.8-F3.6 F2.8 F2.8
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
Playback
Fast Playback 5x/10x/30x/60x 5x/10x/30x/60x N/A
Slow Playback 1/5 Speed, 1/2 Speed 1/5 Speed, 1/2 Speed N/A
Wireless Functions
WI-FI
NFC
Live Streaming
Multi-Camera Control N/A
Input/Output Connections
HDMI Terminal
Multi/Micro USB Terminal
Microphone Input
Headphone Jack

Features

4K Image Quality
Face Detection
Other Features 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
Underwater Housing GPS
Action Cam Movie Creator

Warranty&Support

Product Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
User Manual
Customer Support
Telephone Support 201-930-1000 201-930-1000 1-800-405-0652 201-930-1000 (855) 635-3578
Online Chat Support

Editing 4K Footage – What Software You Need

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.

  • Sharing 4K videos:

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.

Buying Tips for Camcorders that Shoot in 4K


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.

  • Tip #1 – Sensor Size and Type

  • 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.

  • Tip #2 – Image Stabilization

  • 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.

  • Tip #3 – Aperture

  • 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.

  • Tip #4 – Zooming Capabilities

  • 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.

  • Tip #5 – Audio

  • 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.

  • Tip #6 – Wi-Fi

  • 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.

How We Rated the Top Camcorders


It was no easy task ranking the best 4K camcorders at the moment 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.

  • Design – Size and Weight

  • 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.

  • Optical Zoom

  • 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.

  • Exposure Modes

  • 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.

  • Effective Pixels

  • 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

  • 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 scored the highest rating as they come with it.

  • Wireless Functions

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


?Will filming in 4K and downsizing the video to Full HD give better detail than directly filming in Full HD?
Yes, if you shoot the video in the 4K format and downsize it to 1080p afterward, the image will look cleaner and crisper. This transformation even allows you to zoom in up to 200 percent without images losing their quality when working in 1080p.

?What is the role of image stabilization?
A feature that we have put an accent on in this article, image stabilization plays a decisive role in the quality of the camcorder as it shows the capability of the device to automatically compensate for hand movement and shaking. Basically, it eliminates blurring caused by faulty video shooting.

?My smartphone is 4K video-capable, is there a need for me to purchase a 4K camcorder too?
Although smartphones have indeed come a long way, these devices have not yet managed to surpass cameras of any kind. Despite modern smartphones being capable of recording 4K videos, the small sensors that these devices feature, the lack of zooming capability, and the lack of space make them immensely inferior to camcorders that shoot 4K videos.

Comments are closed.