The UHD (Ultra high definition) recording is not the future as it was said in the recent past, because we are already seeing some high-end stuff taking advantage of this and it is the 4K video recording which is picking up the pace for now, as there are some best brands making the 4K video recording cameras since 2006. With the 4K Video capture possible in these cameras, imagine how good they would be in taking the pictures of such high dimensions. In the list below, we share the best 4K cameras produced by the various brands which have excelled in the field of photography and videography.
Best Cameras capable of 4K video recording
Sony made a big announcement at CES 2014 by announcing a new Camcorder which comes with 4K Video recording at both 24p & 30p. The best part of this was the pricing which was just $1999 making it the most affordable real 4k camera. Its again on the lines of the HDR-HC1 camera and comes with a 12x optical zoom and 20Mp sensor. Another good thing about the product is that it comes with both NFC & Wifi for easy transfer of data between your devices and the form factor is also pretty small which makes it easy to handle without the need of a tripod all the time.
Sony had already launched another camera few months back ie NEX-FS700 which also supported 4k but is quite bulky and not for prosumers while this is not just affordable but ready for almost anyone who is into video content creation.
Red Scarlet X
The Scarlet X comes from a brand which is quite popular in the segment for high definition content recording, and this camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30 frames per second, as well as 5K resolution images at 12 frames per second. Powered with the S35 CMOS sensor, the same which was in the Red Epic camera, the Scarlet X has the 13.8-megapixel lens, and the videos that can be captured are with the dimensions 4096 x 2160, making it a perfect 4K camera, but in the true sense, experts won't call it a true 4K camera because of the fact that it uses a single debayered CMOS chip, and this doesn't give a photocell for each of the pixels that are put out.
Getting into the details, the Scarlet-X has a 14-megapixel MYSTERIUM-X sensor, and the processing is possible in the following ways:
16-bit RAW Processing : Compression choices of 18:1 to 3:1
1-12 fps 5K FF
1-30 fps 4K HD
1-48 fps 3K HD
1-60 fps 1080p HD
1-120 fps 1K
The maximum resolution at which the Scarlet X can capture photos, is at 5120 x 2700 pixels. There are 2 mic-level/line level 3.5 mm mini jacks for audio inputs. Although the Scarlet had come with the SCARLET MYSTERIUM-X sensor, there is an upgrade available - SCARLET DRAGON, which is a 19-megapixel one with the better raw implementation and these are the outputs with the Redcode 12- and 16-bit RAW:
1-48 fps 5K FF at 5:1 compression
Max fps (2.4:1):
1-60 fps 5K
1-75 fps 4K
1-100 fps 3K
1-150 fps 2K
The raw data for recording counts at around 50MB per second. The camera doesn't come with any lens mount, a cine PL mount or a "smart" Canon EF/EFs mount.
Sony PMW F65
Sony boasts to have one of the best 4K resolution camera, and why shouldn't they? the Sony F65 captures 4K videos with the 4096 x 2160 pixels resolution at 120 fps. It comes with the Sony's Super 35 20-megapixel image sensor and it adheres to the 1.9:1 aspect ratio of the DCI projection standard, for recording the 4K videos.
It provides 14 stops of latitude and the ISO ranges from 800 to 3200, with the noise being too less even on the high ISO setting. It offers 8K video recording, yes, read that again - 8K, although there are limitations to it. There are different recording modes from 220 Mbps high definition to 2.0 Gbps 8K RAW. The mounting is possible only for the PL lenses.
Only the 16-bit linear RAW implementation is possible with the Sony F65 and there are 12-bit SR codec (220 Mbps – 880 Mbps) options for compressed recording. The color management is done by the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), and thus the quality of 4K videos can easily beat the ones from the other cameras, although this isn't the only factor contributing to the quality.
For the quicks, this has an added advantage, with the viewing on Windows OS possible using the Sony's SRV-10 SR File player.
Canon EOS C500 (Buy Now)
The Cinema EOS C500 from Canon is a powerful digital camera capturing 4K videos. It is capable of capturing the videos at the standard resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, and the RAW output would be available with the EF mount as well as the PL mount.
It's the combination of the 35mm, 8.85-megapixel CMOS image sensor along with the DIGIC DV III Image processor with a range of recording and output options for both the 2K and 4K videos, which makes this camera as a good choice over the Red Scarlet X. The HD-SDI ports with the Dual uncompressing supports the external live monitoring, and there is the ACES Compatibility Software available for the Canon EOS C500, just like for the Sony F65.
The 4K recording is possible at 60 fps, and via the dual 3G SDI, the raw implementation is possible with 10-bit log raw. There is a very wide range of ISO, from 320 to 20,000 and the maximum bit rate while recording is 50 MB per second. The camera has two slots for the CF cards for the video storage, while there is an SD card section to save the still images.
It doesn't come with any lens, but the support for both the PL and EF mounts is an advantage.
FOR-A FT-One (Buy Now)
This camera from For A has received a couple awards, i.e. TVB Europe "Best of IBC 2012" and the TV Technology Europe "STAR Award 2012", and it well deserves the title, for being one of the 4K cameras which can capture super slow motion videos with the possibility of up to 900 frames per second on the 4K resolution. Having the FT1-CMOS, a global shutter CMOS color sensor, the FT-One provides a good resolution and sensitivity.
The RAW material is recorded to the internal RAM memory which can hold up to 10 seconds of 4K video at 900 fps, and that can be later transferred to the option internal SSD. The FT1 CMOS sensor is not much different from that of the S35 sensor in size, but the sensitivity is higher in the FT1. The camera can cover the dynamic range of 11 stops, and it has an ISO value of 640. The FT-One supports only the PL mount lens, and the storage capacity with this is two SSd cartridges with the storage of 2TB each.
This heavy camera weighing at 8.5 kg, has the raw implementation of 10-bit RAW DPX. The trichromatic correction is bettered with the 12-axis color correction in this camera, where only the video output shows the difference, but now the RAW file. This will cost you a lot (a lot here is $135,000) though.
JVC GY-HMQ10 (Buy Now)
We can call this a dedicated and standard 4K video recording camera, with the JVC GY-HMQ10 capable of recording the 4K videos at 3840 x 2160 pixels at different frame rates. There's a big suite of controls with the focus, iris, shutter, gamma levels and color matrix with a few others located on the top of the camera.
What does the recording, is the eight-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor which comes with the 10x optical zoom lens, and there is a built-in Optical image stabilization (best part). The frame rate could go up to the good 60 frames per second, and the processing of the content is done with the custom JVC Falconbrid LSI chips for the live 4K video output, and at the same time, the camera does the compression of the video for recording the video into the SSD memory cards. The compression is done to a level where the user can store a video of up to 2 hours within a 32GB SSD card.
The camera comes with the FOCUS ASSIST feature, which is a patented one from JVC, using which the image becomes monochrome with the focused objects with the colored edges, and it works equally in the viewfinder and the LCD panel, when the feature is activated. There's a 3.5-inch 920,000 pixel LCD display with touch, and a 0.24-inch 260,000 pixel viewfinder.
Canon EOS-1D C (Buy Now)
While the Canon EOS C500 was a digital camera specialized for the 4K recording, the EOS-1D C is a hybrid shooter, where this DSLR would do the onboard 4K motion imaging and Full HD motion imaging on CF cards and it is quite compact for what it does. It has an 18.1-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor that comes with the several capturing options such as 4K (4096 x 2160), HD (1920 x 1080); or 18-megapixel (5184 x 3456) still images.
Interestingly, the EOS-1D C does the recording as motion JPEG and the HD is recorded as H.264, and the recording of still images is done as RAW or JPG. Though there is the 4K recording at offer, it is possible at the frame rate of a maximum of 24 frames per second, and it is the Full HD video recording which is possible at 60 fps.
The compression is done to around 3.76 GB per minute, thus a 32GB card would be able to store around 8 minutes of 4K video. If you have known the EOS-1D X from Canon, this is not much different because the change you see is the ability to record the 4K video. The ISO ranges from 100 to 51200 (expandable to 204800), and the support from DIGIC 5+ Image Processors would do the noise reduction at its best to tackle with the sensitivity. It has got the headphone jack as well as the 3.5mm mic jack for the audio support.
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K (Buy Now)
The Production Camera 4K, aptly named for what it does, comes with the Super-35-sized image sensor which can capture both 4K and 1080p Full HD videos. Supporting the multiple frame rates, from 23.98 to 30 frames per second, the Production Camera is capable of capturing up to 12 stops of dynamic range.
They weren't wrong when they called this as the most portable 4K camera in the world, but now the GoPro Hero 3+ is something very handy and small, compared to this. Supporting the 6G-SDI video connection, the Production Camera would enable the live production of videos.
The videos are produced in CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes 422 (HQ) files, and the ProRes recording time would be around 36 minutes for a 240GB SSD. The camera has the EF compatible lens mount. Thanks to this, one can easily take support of the Canon and the Zeiss lenses. A single charge of the battery would last for about 90 minutes of recording, and there is a 11V-30V DC port which would connect to the external battery sources.
Adding to all this, the Production Camera 4K has a 5-inch touchscreen display, which does a lot of assistance in the recording, zooming and metadata entry.
GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition (Buy Now)
The camera under budget, and very much capable of recording the videos of up to 4K resolution, and along with that, the 12-megapixel photos. The video recording at 4K is possible at 15 frames per second for NTSC and 12.5 for PAL.
The actual function of this camera is to record videos in sports, where the ultra wide view of the camera captures motion, but GoPro gave an added advantage by providing the option to record 4K videos. Below this, one can easily record 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps, and the 1080p SuperView at 48 fps.
The still photos can be taken with the maximum of 12-megapixel resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels, and this is again the ultra wide view. There are other options such as burst photo, time lapse and continuous photo but as we talk here about the 4K UHD recording, it's quite a decent one for that, at a price which really does make one wonder whether it really does what it says, but in reality, it does.
Vision Research Phantom 65 Gold
This was one of the earliest cameras in the 4K camera range, as it was launched in the year 2006. The Phantom Gold can record the videos with the aspect ratio 16:9, and the resolution 4096 x 2304 pixels. The best part being, you can record that resolution at 150 fps, and a little larger resolution of 4096 x 2440 pixels at 141 frames per second.
The camera has a 65mm 10-megapixel CMOS digital sensor and the 14-bit RAW implementation is present with the storage options of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB internally. Apart from this, there are Phantom CineMags, the swappable Sold state recorders which come with the storage capacity of 128, 256 and 512 GB each.
Although the company says that the direct sales are discontinued, it is available only on order, and it can cost you around $50,000.
Equipped with the 4K Exmor Super 35 CMOD sensor, the Sony NEX-FS700 is an upgrade from the previous version which was no different but the addition of the 4K video recording is what makes this one of the best in the list. Priced at around $9000, the Sony NEX-FS700 can shoot videos and still pictures of up to 960 frames per second, and it allows the RAW output of the 2K and 4K data to the AXS memory through the 3G-SDI and HXR-IFR5 interface adapter.
The 240 fps is good for the 2K video recording, while the 4K is possible at 60fps, with the different frame rates being 23.98, 25, 30, 50 & 60fps. The camera system can also record 120fps at 4K resolution in 4 second “bursts” that result in 20 second at 24fps.
The camera has a 3.5 inch XtraFine LCD with 921,600 dots and the aspect ratio 16:9. It has the Sony E-Mount with the interchangeable lens system and the component out is HDMI 1.4.