With the onslaught of 4K video recording over the past year, nearly every camera line has attempted to offer up their own version of what a 4K shooter should be. Despite having the main goal of achieving 4K, these various models can differ quite a bit, so it’s important to take all of the features and minor details into consideration when looking to make the leap with the purchase of the best 4K camera. Check out the following list for five of the best cameras on the market, and find out which one is right for you.
Choosing the Best 4K Camera – Top 5 Options
1. Sony Alpha a7S II
While the Sony Alpha a7S II is perfect for capturing stills, this camera really shines in its capture of video, cementing its status as one of the best 4K cameras. It has superior dynamic range and performs better at higher sensitivities, beating out its competition. The a7S II also has the ability of utilizing the whole sensor width for capturing video and with the built-in image stabilization, the camera is a dream to use.
- 12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor.
- BIONZ X Image Processor.
- Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 Recording.
- 3.0-inch 1,229k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor.
- 0.5-inch 2.36m-Dot XGA OLED True-Finder EVF.
- Auto ISO 100 – 102400 / Extended ISO 50 – 409600.
- 5fps Shooting and 169-Point AF System.
- S-Log 3 Gamma and Display Assist Function.
- 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization.
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC.
The Sony Alpha a7S II is priced at $2,698 for the body-only configuration. Also available is the body with a 24-70mm f/4 lens, priced at $3,896, or a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, priced at $4,896.
2. Nikon D500
One of the cheapest DSLRs to offer 4K on the market, the Nikon D500 easily proves why it is one of the best 4K cameras around – it is perfect for users who want the best possible quality without making the jump to a mirrorless camera. This camera performs particularly well in capturing sports and action but is all-around versatile. Inputs for microphones and headphones are included on the body, which come in handy when needing to monitor sound or ensure that the best possible audio is recorded. The autofocus is superior to many other models, thanks to its advanced 153-point system.
- 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor.
- EXPEED 5 Image Processor.
- 4K UHD Video Recording at 30fps.
- 3.2-inch 2,539k-Dot Tilting LCD Touchscreen.
- Pentaprism Viewfinder with 100% Coverage.
- Auto ISO 100 – 51200 / Extended ISO 50 – 1640000.
- 10fps Shooting and Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF System.
- 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF.
- In-Camera Time Lapse, Up to 9999 Frames.
- Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.
The Nikon D500 is priced at $1,996.95 for the body-only configuration. Also available is the body with a 16-80mm lens, priced at $2,596.95.
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
A mirrorless camera that is packed full of useful features, making it one of the best 4K cameras currently out there, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. With the ability to record in both DCI 4K and UHD 4K, its even more versatile than most of its competition. Options to use zebra patterning and focus peaking are available, and being able to modify the time code for footage makes it perfect for shooting films of any kind. The GH4’s short flange back distance is a feature especially appealing to videographers of all levels.
- 16.05MP Digital Live MOS Sensor.
- UHD 4K 3840 x 2160 at 30p / 24p.
- DCI 4K 4096 x 2160 at 24p.
- Full HD up to 60p.
- 3.0-inch 1,036k-Dot OLED Touchscreen Monitor.
- 2,359k-Dot OLED EVF with 100% Coverage.
- Auto ISO 200 – 35600 / Extended ISO 100 – 25600.
- 40fps Shooting and 49-Point AF System.
- Built-in Wi-Fi Connectivity.
- Magnesium Alloy, Weather-Sealed Body.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 is priced at $1,197.99 for the body-only configuration. Lenses aren’t currently sold in a configuration with the body and will need to be purchased separately.
4. Fujifilm X-T2
With its weather-sealed body, the Fujifilm X-T2 is ready for anything, allowing users to capture video in any number of conditions, particularly useful for videographers shooting independent films on location. The 4K UHD footage is created by oversampling, meaning that it captures more details than required, which results in video that has better clarity and a lower risk of artefacts. Although the X-T2 lacks a touchscreen, that exclusion can be looked past once seeing the quality of both the stills and footage that it is capable of capturing.
- 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor.
- X-Processor Pro Engine.
- Internal UHD 4K Video & F-Log Gamma.
- 3.0-inch 1,040k-Dot 3-Way Tilting LCD Screen.
- 0.5-inch 2,360k-Dot OLED EVF with 100% Coverage.
- Auto ISO 200 – 12800 / Extended ISO 100 – 51200.
- 8fps Shooting and 325-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF System.
- Film Simulation and Grain Effect Modes.
- Built-in Wi-Fi Connectivity.
- Weather-Sealed Body.
The Fujifilm X-T2 comes in at $1,599 for the body-only configuration. Also available is the body with an 18-55mm lens, costing $1,899.
5. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
This higher-end model, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, is another of the best 4K cameras available, not to mention one of the greatest Micro Four Thirds cameras to date. Capture of both DCI 4K and UHD 4K is provided, as well as Olympus’s signature Hybrid AF system, which works well with the Vari-Angle touchscreen to allow for quick and easy subject selection. Image stabilization is superior and a feature that will make anyone who films handheld very happy. Further, the Mark II also has excellent weather-sealing, making it perfect for all travel, sports, and nature videography, and so much more.
- 20.4MP Live MOS Sensor.
- TruePic VIII Dual Quad Core Processor.
- DCI 4K / 24p & UHD 4K / 30p Video Recording.
- 3.0-inch 1,037k-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen.
- 2,360k-Dot LCD EVF with 100% Coverage.
- Auto ISO 200 – 6400 / Extended ISO 64 – 25600.
- 15fps Shooting and 121-Point Dual F.A.S.T. AF System.
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization.
- Built-in Wi-Fi Capability.
- Weather-Sealed Body.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II comes in at $1,999 for the body-only configuration. Also available is the body with a 12-40mm lens, costing $2,948.
The models shown above are the top tools currently on the market, which is why it’s quite easy to pick the best 4K camera from all these options.. Each one is incredibly capable, so the decision largely comes down to which one suits your own personal photography needs, as well as the budget. Perhaps you have the money to put out for the more costly Sony Alpha a7S II, an all-around powerhouse, or instead maybe you would like to get your hands on the more affordable Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, a feature-packed workhorse. The choice is yours but either way you will not be disappointed.