The current standard is 4K cameras. The video mode has been an increasingly popular feature for photographers ever since the Nikon D90 added video to interchangeable lens cameras back in 2008. And these days, a new flagship camera will boast the 4K video chops on most phones and compact cameras.
With consumers calling for more recording, the video capabilities of a camera can no longer be overlooked. Formerly derided, one of the key specs on which photographers judge a camera has rapidly become the video mode. The once-revolutionary HD video format has been brushed aside over the past few years by the proliferation of cameras capable of generating 4K resolution footage.
Here we have rounded up what we consider are the best 4K cameras to capture high quality footage on the market. We should be explicit now: in this tutorial, we have omitted competent, dedicated video cameras such as the Canon Cinema EOS or Sony FS series. For those photographers crossed over into video or who may find themselves being asked to take more video footage for consumers, we concentrate exclusively on the best 4K cameras.
Following are the Best 4k Cameras for Film-making in 2021
1. Sony A7S III
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full Frame | Megapixels: 12.1MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 1.44m-dot articulating screen | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K at 120fps | User level: Enthusiast / Professional
- 12.1MP1 Exmor R sensor, optimized for 4K, sensitivity and speed
- New BIONZ XR processing engine delivers 8x more processing power2
- Low noise images w/ ISO up to 409,6003 and 15+stop dynamic range4
- Up to 4K 120p5 10-bit 4:2:2 and full pixel readout in all rec. modes
Check Out: Best lenses For Sony Alpha 7S III
Almost certainly, the Sony A7S III is the best hybrid camera you can currently buy. It keeps the resolution low and limits the production at 4K (as opposed to some other models’ 6K/8K capabilities), with the intention of being the best 4K camera you can find.
There’s also a host of other highlights on offer here, as well as spectacular performance, up to 120fps shooting for super-smooth capture. The power to record 16-bit raw over HDMI (plus a full-size HDMI port), a stunningly high-resolution viewfinder, and an upgraded touch-interface completely articulated display.
Other connectors, such as a headset and microphone jack, compliant with Sony’s XLR-K3M hot-shoe accessory, can also be used by videographers for up to four audio inputs.
This is a pricey camera, make no mistake, but if you want something that does the job extremely well – we don’t think you can get better than this.
2. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: MFT | Megapixels: 12 MP| Lens mount: Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount | Screen: 5″ Touchscreen Display | Continuous shooting speed: | Max video resolution: 4K at 60fps | User level: Professional
- Full-size 4/3 sensor/ 4096x2160 resolution
- 4K DKI video recording at 60 fps / 13 stop Dynamic Range
- Carbon fiber composite build / Black magic operating system
- 5" touchscreen LCD / 4 built-in microphones
If you want to take 4K videos with an inexpensive camera, then this is as good as it gets right now. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K from Blackmagic is meant for filmmakers over and over—just don’t get one if you also want to take stills.
It boasts an immense 5.0-inch touchscreen, head and shoulders above other MFT shooters from a video-centric operating point of view, based on a Micro Four Thirds sensor and lens frame. The number of on-board connections is also class-leading, and the fact that there is a dual card slot trumps far more costly cameras, such as the EOS R.
That’s not forgetting strong on-board audio recording capability and, of course, a DaVinci Resolve Studio certificate, the sweetener to the tune of $299 worth of tech, it’s just a present that keeps on giving.
Finally, and most notably, because of its dual native ISOs, the simple efficiency of the 4K footage takes on far more expensive cameras and, when you know how to operate it, treats noise better than other full frame sensors too.
3. Fujifilm X-T4
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 26.1MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X | Screen: 3in articulating touchscreen, 1,620k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 30/15fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast / Professional
- Putting stability in your hands: A huge part of creating great photos or videos is making sure you are in the right...
- Performance you can rely on: For any serious image maker, having a tool that can be relied upon to perform flawlessly...
- Find the best angle for your story: When chasing the perfect image, versatility is key, so the last thing you want is to...
- When your story needs movement: The modern image maker is blurring the lines between photography and videography, and...
Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T4
Right now, the interest of the world appears to be concentrated on full-frame cameras, but the X-T4 is a much cheaper proposal while still boasting very advanced 4K video capabilities. These provide the ability to capture 4K footage with a seamless 2x slow-motion effect at up to 60p. Not just that, the somewhat larger Cinema 4K format can be filmed at the same speeds as well. More are there. Most 4K cameras internally capture 8-bit video on sd cards, but the X-T4 can internally capture better-resolution 10-bit video, and it can save the video at a higher 4:2:2 color sampling quality when you connect an external recorder. However, the latest in-body stabilization is the major step forward with the X-T4, which can minimize or remove the need for a gimbal, especially when used alongside the digital image stabilization system. The X-T4 is hard to beat for its all-around scale, efficiency, power, and price.
4. Canon EOS R5
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 45 MP | Lens mount: Canon RF | Screen: 3.15-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 2,100k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps mechanical shutter, 20fps electronic | Max video resolution: 8K | User level: Enthusiast / Professional
- High Image Quality featuring a New 45 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor.
- DIGIC X Image Processor with an ISO range of 100-51200; Expandable to 102400x1.
- High-speed continuous shooting of up to 12 fps with Mechanical Shutter and up to 20 fps electronic (silent) shutter.
- Dual pixel CMOS AF covering approx. 100% area with 1,053 AF areas.
5. Panasonic Lumix S5
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.2M | Lens mount: L-mount | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.84m dots | Continuous shooting speed: 7 fps | Max video resolution: 4K/60p 10-Bit 4:2:0, FHD 180 fps S&Q mode | User level: Enthusiast / Professional
- A LIGHTWEIGHT, POWERFUL HYBRID CAMERA FOR VIBRANT STILL PHOTOGRAPHY AND CINEMATIC VIDEO: Realize your creative vision...
- DETAILED PHOTO AND VIDEO THAT WILL DELIGHT ENTHUSIASTS AND EXPERTS ALIKE: Capture content in impressive high quality...
- IMPROVED, HIGH-PRECISION AUTOFOCUS AND POWERFUL IMAGE STABILIZATION: Improved autofocus includes detection of the head...
- EXPANDED FEATURES OFFER NEW LEVELS OF CREATIVITY: Use Live View Composite mode to instantly create a stunning image out...
The Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the Lumix S1, despite its compact size, but with enhanced autofocus. It also has a tough, weather-resistant body and provides compatible lenses with up to 6.5 stops of image stabilization. Class-leading dynamic range and 4K video recording, as well as 96MP high-resolution RAW+JPEG capture, are its standout features. In this category, it’s tough to beat, and if you had your eye on the Lumix S1H (or the Lumix S1), you’d have to look at it first. Panasonic has produced the camera of a brilliant content creator at an affordable cost and in a portable package. Bravo!-Bravo! The autofocus technology of Panasonic is not quite at the same level as other brands, especially Sony and Canon, but that’s not the only factor in choosing a 4K video camera.
6. Nikon Z6 II
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 24.5MP | Lens mount: Nikon Z-Mount | Screen: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2100k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 14fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p (60p via update) | User level: Enthusiast / Professional
- Large, full frame Z mount for Revolutionary optical performance
- Nikon-designed 24. 5MP backside illuminated image sensor
- 273-Point on-sensor Phase detect AF system
- Up to 12 fps; 4K Ultra-HD video; 6K time-lapse; 1080P/120Fps slow motion
With a second memory card and processor, the Nikon Z6 II is a light refresh of the original Z6, bringing a bump to burst shooting, now up to 14fps, and promising 4K 60p video via an update. 60p video, however, will be cropped (and not here until February 2021), and the camera still lacks an articulated screen, limiting its video and vlogging appeal. Existing Z6 owners won’t see a need to upgrade, but at a pretty good price, new buyers will get a very capable camera. The dual card slots are a definite plus point, the stabilisation of Nikon’s in-body is very good, and the list of Nikkor Z lenses is steadily growing.
7. Sony A7C
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full Frame | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E mount | Screen: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps, 115 raw, 223 JPEG | Max video resolution: 4K 30p | User level: Enthusiast
- World’s smallest and lightest1 full-frame camera with world's smallest and lightest full-frame standard zoom lens
- Advanced 24.2MP2 Back-Illuminated 35mm Full-frame Image Sensor
- 4K Movie3 w/ full pixel readout, no pixel binning or crop and HDR4
- 15-stop5 dynamic range, 14-bit uncompressed RAW, ISO6 50 to 204,800
Check Out: Best Lenses For Sony A7C
The specs of the Sony A7C are, to say the least, unambitious, particularly in terms of its video capabilities, but its realistic efficiency makes it efficient enough as a camera, from its handy variable-angle screen to its excellent AF system. We’re going to leave it to you to determine if the two-tone style is attractive, but it doesn’t have the ‘feel’ consistency of the other A7 models for us. Does this camera need the Sony collection and the full-frame mirrorless camera market, though? It’s not inexpensive, it’s not pretty, and it’s not even quite advanced technically. It’s more portable, though, with the recent 38-60mm retracting lens. For video shooters, the key thing is the very handy vari-angle panel, the stabilization of the in-body, and the excellent autofocus system of Sony.
8. Canon EOS C70
Sensor size: 26.2 x 13.8 mm (Super35) | Sensor resolution: 4096 x 2160 (8.85 MP) | Card slots: SDXC x 2 | Lens mount: RF | Max shooting resolution: 4K | Display size: 3.5-inch | EVF: No
- Dual SD Card Slots / Multiple Recording Options
- High Frame Rate; 4K 120p and 2K Crop 180p
- RC-V100 Support and LANC Compatible
- EIS with Coordinated Control
The Canon EOS C70 is identical to a remixed version of the Canon C300 Mark III movie camera and a very powerful video RF mount camera. Canon’s Super35 sensor, Dual Gain Output, 16 dynamic range stops, and 4K 120fps / 2K 180fps resolution are crammed into a lightweight form factor, much like a standard still camera. It also contains a touchscreen for Cinema EOS cameras that alters the game, with touch control making it so much easier to keep focus. The C70 features the iTR AFX system from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III for lone shooters, with head recognition and spookily fine autofocus. It opens up a world of cutting-edge optics as the first cinema camera to use the Canon RF mount, and not only can you still use EF lenses, but a new Canon speed booster helps you to use them with an extra f-stop and a full-frame viewing angle! It does not record in RAW, however, and there is no option for using PL lenses-you would need to move up to the C300 for that.
9. Sony Alpha A6400
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Sony E mount | Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 921k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast
- Next Gen speed: experience the world’s fastest 0. 02 sec AF with real-time AF and object tracking
- Enhanced subject capture: wide 425 Phase/ 425 contrast detection points over 84% of the sensor
- Fast & accurate: up to 11Fps continuous shooting at 24. 2MP raw with crisp, clear natural colors
- Multiple movie functions: make time lapse movies or slow/quick motion videos without post processing
Check Out: Best Lenses for Sony Alpha a6400
When it comes to video capture, the A6400‘s lack of in-body stabilization and headphone jack can make it seem under-equipped. But its outstanding picture quality (smooth movement, amazing detail levels), rugged construction of magnesium alloy, inexpensive price tag, and, most notably, it’s excellent, technologically advanced autofocus configuration go a long way to make it a candidate for the most open 4K camera round.
The autofocus, which requires excellent real-life eye and face monitoring, takes a great deal of the work out of both video and still work, particularly whether you shot other people or yourself regularly. The step-up variant in the series, the Sony A6600, retains much of the specifications and features of the A6400, but adds in-body stability, a headphone jack and longer battery life. But right now, when you think value for money, the A6400 is our Sony pick.
10. Sony A7 III
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 24.2Mp | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3-inch 921,600-dot tilting touchscreen | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps with full AF and metering | Max video resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160) | User level: Enthusiast
- Advanced 24.2MP BSI full frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speed
- 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800. Compatible with Sony E mount lenses. Can be connected...
- Up to 10fps silent or mechanical shutter with AE/AF tracking. Battery life (Still Images): Approx. 610 shots...
- 693 phase detection / 425 contrast AF points w/ 93 percent image coverage. Focus sensor: Exmor R CMOS sensor
Check Out: Best Lenses for Sony A7 III
The A7 III will capture 4K (3840 x 2160) video at 30p/25p and 60Mbps or 100Mbsp to a memory card. For capturing flat footage ready for grading, there are also S-Log2 and S-Log3 available, and a Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) image profile is given for viewing video directly from the camera on compatible HDR (HLG) televisions.
When the camera is designed to capture 4K video, full pixel reading without pixel binning is used. This suggests that for 4K movies it captures about 2.4x as much information as is required. To create 4K video with greater depth and dynamic range, it then over-samples the images.
11. Panasonic Lumix G9
Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k pivot touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 3,680k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (6k 30fps, 4k 60fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Professional/Enthusiast
- Professional photo and video performance 20 3-Megapixel (Plus 80-megapixel high-resolution Jpeg/raw in-camera image)...
- Rugged splash/freeze proof design Durable magnesium alloy body withstands heavy use out in the field and is freeze proof...
- Class-leading dual image stabilization 5-axis Dual image stabilization corrects all lenses including classic lenses not...
- 4K 60P video 4 2 2 10bit & slow-motion effects silky-smooth 4K 60P recording (QFHD 4K 3840 x 2160/MP4) in 4 2 2 10bit...
Check Out: Best Lenses For Panasonic Lumix G9
We would not have paused at one stage to suggest the more pricey Lumix GH5 as the best Panasonic Lumix G 4K camera. A series of firmware updates, though, has taken the cheaper Lumix G9 to the point that it more or less equals the video features of the GH5, but creates a somewhat better still camera (not least because of its pixel-shift high-res mode, for example). With super-fast autofocus and a fast 12fps continuous drive rate, the Lumix G9 incorporates a 20.3MP image sensor.
It was originally released as a stills focused camera, but its video capabilities are amazing, and with a v2.0 firmware upgrade in November 2019 that introduced enhanced autofocus and 10-bit internal video recording, it was made even better. The G9 features the outstanding 6.5-stop dual stabilization system from Panasonic (in-body and lens-based, where available). Although it may be a little overwhelming for novices, it’s a very powerful proposal for serious filmmakers and photographers. Better still, recent declines in rates have rendered it an excellent value.
12. Nikon D850
Type: Full-frame (FX) | Sensor: full-frame | Megapixels: 45.7Mp | Lens mount: Nikon F | Screen: Tilting, touch-sensitive 3.2-inch TFT LCD with 2,359,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional
- Nikon designed back side illuminated (BSI) full frame image sensor with no optical low pass filter
- 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of moiré
- Up to 9 fps1 continuous shooting at full resolution with full AF performance
- 8k6 and 4k time lapse movies with new levels of sharpness and detail; file system : DCF 2.0, exif 2.31, Pict bridge
Check Out: Best Lenses For Nikon D850
The D850 is able to produce 4K/UHD (3,840 x 2160) video at 30, 25, or 24p with no cropping to gain from Nikon’s wide-angle lenses. Max HD (1920 x 1080) footage can be shot at 60, 50, 30, 25 or 24p as an option. In addition, there is a 4x / 5x Full HD video slow-motion option.
It is possible to capture uncompressed 4:2:2 8-bit 4K files simultaneously on an external drive with an HDMI link, in addition to recording video to a card in the camera. It is possible to save videos in MP4 or MOV format. The use of an intervalometer helps the in-camera production of 4K time lapse films. Furthermore, to make 8K time lapse movies, stills can be taken, but the film must be produced using a computer rather than an in-camera camera.
For Live View and Video mode, Nikon has stuck with a contrast detection autofocus scheme. Wide-area, Pin-point, Face Detection and Subject tracking AF modes are available in addition to Normal-area AF (single point).