Which one is for me? Well, With a crisp horizontal display resolution of around 4,000 pixels, the 4K format is now the new gold standard when it comes to excellent video resolution. Footage shot in this format is very clear.They offer vivid image quality and helps recreate that lifelike look that customers are now clamoring for. Finding the device that supports these capabilities is important. Finding the right mix of built in options from sound, memory, functions and wireless connections. Knowing what you want will make it easier to find what top choice fits you best. Our rough buying guide for 2021.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bigger, Better Lens Size
- 2 Longer Record Time
- 3 Slow-Motion
- 4 More Power, Longer Battery Life
- 5 OUR TOP 10 PICKS!
- 6 1. Sony FDRAX53/B Camcorder
- 7 2. Sony FDR-AX700 4K Camcorder
- 8 3. Panasonic HC-V180K Camcorder
- 9 4. Sony 4K FDRAX33 Camcorder
- 10 5. Rraycom 4K Video Camera
- 11 6. Sony FDR-AX100/B 4K Video Camera
- 12 7. Sony 4K FDRX3000/W Camcorder
- 13 8. Kenuo 4K Camcorder
- 14 9. Ablue 4K Camcorder
- 15 10. Panasonic HC-WXF991K
- 16 Frequently Asked Questions:
- 17 Final Conclusion
You might be asking yourself why people would still want 4K when all phones and computers have 1080p cameras enabled and in your pocket. The answer is actually simple – there are areas that a smartphone can’t compete with the image quality or create that stunning photo. It is quite obvious when you start to get into production and quality material for videos! Everything has a cost. Today we are usually buying the technology, and there are a few key built in or external options to help make sure you end up capturing that stunning shot you had in mind.
Bigger, Better Lens Size
This is one of the commonly overlooked areas that offers a lot of dynamic.The actual lens itself, from size, shape, Autofocus, Aperture and F stop, it can be confusing so, we have sorted out which cameras fit into which categories for shooting. Since camcorders are bigger, they are equipped with bigger lenses which translates to higher quality images and videos as well as higher optical zooming capabilities. You might not think of it, but the lens is basically like your cornea in your eye. The higher the quality the glass, the clearer the image. All of the top photographers will have a toolkit of lenses, knowing what style of shot you want here makes a huge difference as well. Do they have image stabilization, these are all also important thoughts when considering your style of shooting.Your choice here can also drastically effect the image quality and low light performance. When looking for higher quality gear, it's important to keep this in mind. Our goal is to group our top picks from these built in feature and share why their offering is important to each niche.
Longer Record Time
Dedicated video cameras have a longer record time compared to cell phones and point and click devices, mainly due to tariff considerations. The best 4k Camcorders and their manufacturers usually limit their product’s maximum record time to under 30 minutes since these cameras will be considered video recorders if they go beyond that limit and will be charged with the corresponding tariffs. This is noticeable in the other Canon and Lumix or Panasonic models as well. This also depends on your memory card.
This is a question we get asked often, how do I capture that slow-motion effect. This is a difficult and rather expensive idea to solve, although, in post production on applications such as Final cut pro or Adobe Premiere, you can slow down the video while you are editing your footage, the cleanest image quality, you must acquire a device with built in slow-motion. These top cameras all come with a higher frame per second capture, but at a much higher price tag. This means that if your device is capable of 60fps shutter speed or even better 120fps ( frames per second ) you capture that buttery, smooth and emotion filled slow mo sequences we are all after. From 1080p to some of crazy 6k resolutions there are a few ways to achieve this slow-mo effect.
More Power, Longer Battery Life
Battery life is also a major consideration to include, why a dedicated cam choice remains most popular. Video Cameras usually have an “open back” design that offers you the ability to a more powerful battery pack, a feature you won’t find in smartphones and regular cameras. For lengthy events such as weddings, video cameras still reign supreme. This is very important, remembering that if you miss that one moment or that special shot, it's over. You missed it, missing it due to your devices battery-pack is never an easy one. Pack extras!
OUR TOP 10 PICKS!
Rated by: Julia
The Sony FDRAX53/B gives you up to 20x optical zoom capability, meaning it focuses on a particular target by recalibrating the camera’s lens, resulting to clearer zoomed shots. This feature alone puts the gadget at an advantage when compared to cameras with digital zoom only capability.
And while some professional photographers may not be so happy with the specs of this camcorder, especially if they’re looking for something more high-end, this particular product still boasts great elements.
One of the great features is the Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization w/ Intelligent Active Mode, which reduces unwanted shakes to a minimum, resulting to clearer videos and photos.
If you’re eyeing for this camcorder, you might as well want to know that some people are bothered with its photo button position. Of course, not a really big deal because we have this thing called adjustment period and learning curve. This makes a great quality camcorder with an effective zoom feature.
Davis Foulger – “I am blown away by the resolution I got from this camera.”
Tammy M – “As a video student, I have used it for several video projects, and people have commented on how great the quality is. It is also much cheaper than industry standard video cameras, and does a great job.”
Rated by: Julia
As an industry leader in the business for decades, these guys know their niche like the back of its hand and has the perfect product for every price levels. If money is not an issue for you and you only want the best features in your gadget, then the Sony FDR-AX700 4K HDR Camcorder might be what you are looking for.
Of course, this similar pro level video quality comes at a price as the gadget currently sells near the $1900 level. As such, this product might not suit everyone as this price could seriously put a dent in anyone’s budget. Don't let the price tag shy you away from this video camera, it is truly worth every penny!
This is a true High Dynamic Range (HDR) camcorder so it has the ability to produce studio-level quality videos with its 4K High Dynamic Range2 feature. Yet, despite its professional level video capabilities, the gadget is surprisingly compact and easy to carry around at just 2.06 pounds that it’s basically taking the whole production team with you wherever you go. Includes Software for importing all your videos and images.Having SD card slots in all cameras is standard now a days.
Jeffrey Powers @Geekazine - “I used this at CES and NAMM. It's a little bigger than the previous camera I've owned, but it performed above expectations. If you are doing live streaming, the HDMI will not show any overlays in the display. You can then look at the LCD screen to see what's in focus while you are streaming the video. The ND filter allows you to go inside to out without putting on a lens.
Rated by: Julia
Panasonic is a well-known global brand in consumer electronics, which makes it rather surprising that the brand offers a very affordable cam priced under $250. In fact, this combination of low price and high quality is probably the reason why it is tagged as Amazon’s Choice for its niche.
Despite is affordable price, the camcorder is packed with impressive features usually found in more expensive gadgets. For instance, it has a very impressive 50X Stabilized Optical Zoom capability and up to 90X intelligent zoom, which ensures that taking footages of faraway subjects won’t be a problem.
Equally impressive is its 5-axis Hybrid Optical Image Stabilization for ultra-stable video outputs. But one issue some buyers pointed out is that it lacks manual controls, which could be a downside for users who want to customize their camcorder’s settings. Some owners also complained that video quality declines when used in low-lit environments so an external light source might be needed.
Brian & Samantha - “I LOVE this camera. The zoom is amazing. I read reviews and watched YouTube's of it and realized the clarity in the dark was poor. So i got a universal LED camcorder light to attatch to it. A small one. It works PERFECT. completely fixes that problem. It recently snowed at around 3am here in texas (rarely happens), i took the kids put with it and turned on the light, PERFECT shot and beautiful video to show the kids when they are older. I couldnt be happier! And the stability is incredible! It also allows you to take pics while recording! Too cool!”
Rated by: Julia
The older model Sony FDRAX33 Handycam is priced significantly lower than the newer FDRAX53 which makes it very attractive to buyers looking for the best value for their money. Surprisingly, this cheaper-priced model is also packed with top-of-the-line features such as a 10x optical zoom capability as well as image stabilization feature to ensure stable videos and photos.
Some owners say that there are rare instances where colors get oversaturated in video outputs. But generally speaking, colors in both videos and photos are vivid and lifelike thanks to its high quality sensor and ZEISS Vario-Sonnar lens. The lens that is included on this makes for a great cinematic feel.
If you’re serious in getting this gadget, you need to know that some owners complain that video quality declines in dimly-lit backgrounds. However, this is just a minor inconvenience that can be solved by proper lighting. This minor lighting issue is a small price to pay for 4K quality that supports XAVC S3, AVCHD and MP4 codecs and packed with high-end features such as optical zoom and stabilization feature.
Jeri Zerr – “I like standardization and consistency in my life, particularly since I was a road warrior for most of a decade. They brought back the most important key features in this model by including a microphone jack and returning to the full size SD card slot (as opposed to the micro SD cards.)
The perfect handycam, records in all common formats, allows for stills and much much more. Now with 4K video format.”
Rated by: Julia
If you are looking for an entry-level video recorder and are willing to forgo some of the features found in high-end models, then the Rraycom 4K Video Camcorder could be perfect for you. It delivers decent videos and photos which should be perfect as long as you don’t plan on using it for professional photography or filming.
This camcorder is packed with impressive features and specs such as a 16x digital zoom, WiFi connectivity, remote control feature as well as decent video and audio quality. Unfortunately, it lacks an image stabilization feature - which is probably to be expected from a gadget priced under $250 – so you’ll need to have steady hands or a tripod to get the best photos and videos.
If you are keen on getting looking for something more affordable, please note that some buyers say that the remote control feature do not seem to work when filming 4K videos, which is probably not much of an issue for most users anyway. In addition, the Amazon does not ship this item to some locations such as the Philippines.
Rated by: Julia
The Sony FDR-AX100/B 4K Video Camera with 3.5-Inch LCD is perfect for beginner-level videographers who want to explore the 4K niche. While this gadget is not the most affordable offering, it is relatively cheaper compared to some more high-end models currently available on the market which makes it attractive for amateurs who are shopping for video equipment on a limited budget.
This pick also comes with specs and features that would satisfy most videographers. You can capture 4K videos with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (QFHD) at 30p or opt for a lower resolution output but higher frame rate of 120p.
In addition, it has a 1-inch Exmore CMOS sensor which gives it the impressive capability of high quality videos and photos even in low-light situations. It is versatile and gives you multiple options when it comes to formats as it supports XAVC-S, AVCHD and MP4 codecs.
Of course, it has some minor issues. Some users say that using the viewfinder menu is tricky especially when you go to the submenus where the buttons get smaller. However, the speed issue can only be considered a minor flaw and can be overcome the more you use the product since some smartphones even have smaller on-screen keypads. Overall, this product is perfect for anyone just starting out on their road to filming. This has affected it a little bit.
Andreas Hohl - “Considering that we get this option for less than 2K is awesome. Love the lens designed by Zeiss for Sony. Love the fact that you can go almost 100% manual with settings. Love the fact that it has a 3 level ND filter system built in. Have shot some pretty interesting goodies with this from tight macro shots to night shots (infra red) - as well as night shots of the moon. Unbelievable detail in the imagery. But I must forward you, you need to learn the manual settings to achieve such greatness. All autofocus isn't bad, but for those special shots, learn the manual settings. This camera produces way beyond consumer level and is definitely "pro-sumer" class.”
Rated by: Julia
Watersports or action enthusiasts need equipment that is that is rugged enough to handle the demands of their lifestyle, portable and durable, such as the Sony FDRX3000/W Underwater Camcorder 4K. Specifically designed for use in the water, this camcorder has a durable, splash-proof body with a housing that is waterproof up to 197 feet.
It is also slimmer than its land use-only cousins which makes it super easy to carry around while swimming. Unfortunately, some users complain that the housing tends to affect its audio sensitivity but it’s a good enough tradeoff for its capability to film underwater.
For those who plan to get this product, be warned that some owners say that the remote feature is unreliable at times. But with top-of-the-line specs and features such as ZEISS Tessar lens, Exmor R CMOS image sensor camera, BIONZ X processor, and Balanced Optical SteadyShot that give it the ability to film crystal clear and stable video footages underwater, most owners won’t probably mind an unresponsive remote feature.
Jennifer Arrington - “Got this camera as a GoPro replacement, and I'm super happy. It took a few minutes to figure out the menu and etc, but once I got it set up I really like the footage I've recorded with this camera. I really like the one touch on/record option. The image stabilization is really remarkable. The colors are super clear and vibrant. And, I'm no longer married to the GoPro connection products. A simple tripod mount works great. Thanks Sony for a great product! I 100% recommend this product.”
Rated by: Julia
This brand is known for its affordably-priced products and this family member of the Kenuo line is no exception, with its price tag of less than $250. But aside from being affordable, this gadget set itself apart with its capability to connect to your mobile devices via a downloadable app.
Just download the NovaCam" app and you can use your smart phone or tablet as a real-time remote control for the camcorder. This gadget is also packed with cool features such as 16x digital zoom, 13 MP CMOS image sensor which can be enhanced to 48 megapixels via interpolation, IR night vision, additional storage and a screen that can be turned 270 degrees for ease of use.
Of course, you can’t expect a camcorder at this price level to have all the high-end features. For instance, this product lacks images stabilization and customization options. While it may not impress professionals, the Kenuo handheld cam is certainly perfect for casual users as well as beginner level photographers.
Peter Larson – “I usually don't write reviews on Amazon. My friend referred me to this product. I bought the latest one with the upgraded screen. The product is just like it is described. The screen looks better compared to my friend's. I no longer worry about dying batteries because it came with two! Awesome! The detachable microphone and lens makes the audio and screen quality even better. Looking forward to using it on my coming trip!”
Rated by: Julia
Not all buyers have the same requirements when it comes to their choices of gear. For casual users who just want to shoot videos are not too particular about professional-level specs and features, then the Ablue 4K Video Camcorder will be a good choice.
Aside from its affordability, it has all the features a casual user would need. It has a 13-megapixels CMOS image sensor, 16x digital zoom, IR night vision, Wi-Fi connectivity and good battery life. It is also very easy to use so it’s perfect even for amateurs who want to start their own vlog.
At such price level, you can expect some issues with the gadget. It lacks image stabilization feature which could be a problem for those who want to film without using a tripod. In addition, image and video quality deteriorates in low-lit areas.
Rated by: Julia
The Panasonic HC-WXF991K Cam, sports a 3.5-inch LCD is perfect for the advancing cinematographers that are looking to expand their toolkit. With its unique dual camera features for the aspiring vloggers, up your creative edge and see if this model suits your needs! Comes with built-in wi-fi.
One of the great things about this camera is its ability to drop into a video recording mode of around that shoots 60FPS ( frames per second). This function acts as the perfect in body control for that crisp slow mo style everyone is looking for. This is a huge advantage and personally, I won't shoot video on a camera unless it does 120fps now a days.
This is a huge advantage and personally, I won't shoot video on a camera unless it does 120fps now a days. Its one of the cheaper action cameras you can purchase. This is a perfect entry level idea for the advancing enthusiast who does not want to break the bank.
Shelby Truit - “I never had much of a "camcoders style" background but I had always seen the Panasonic brand around.I was at best, average. So, here it goes. The picture in picture style is great, it has a larger more powerful batter than most of the other options, giving you a longer record time! A very clear and bright view finder display with the optional audio connection ports, built in autofocus so you don't always have to search for focus, its lightweight and accepts standard interchangeable SD cards.I am just starting to get into the different exposure modes. I snagged myself a case for this beauty and have had an amazing time making outdoor films. I couldn't be happier with my buy and expect years of fun family pictures with my newly purchased Panasonic HC-WXF991K"
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Is a 4K Camcorder?
An Ultra HD camcorder that has the ability to record at a resolution of 4096 x 2160. HD cameras record in 1080p with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Is 4K Really Better Than 1080p?
An Ultra HD camcorder has a much higher resolution than a 1080p HD one. This large difference in resolution makes recording in 4K much more clear and sharp when compared to 1080p.
Where Is The Best Place To Buy a 4K Camcorder?
If you are looking to buy one in person, then Walmart, Best Buy, and any other local "tech" store will do. Amazon is also a great place to buy online, they provide very fast shipping and great customer service.
Is Ultra HD (UHD) The Same as 4K?
Ultra High Definition or UHD refers to the recording resolution of 4096 x 2160. In 4K video cameras, the recording resolution is considered to be Ultra HD. Therefore UHD and 4K mean the same thing.
There are a few more key ideas to keep an eye out for while investing in a new piece of gear, here is some of extra thoughts and conclusions about what type of camera is going to suit you the best. Once you have decided whether or not you need built in slow motion,wi-fi, a crazy 30x zoom or perhaps how many built in memory slots. How do i capture that clean gimbal like shot, you can finally pick the gear you want! If you have any questions regarding what choice you think is best and how you can come out on top in terms of what fits your style of shooting, please do not hesitate to contact us! Sometimes a Dslr might be your best bet, so we are also working on our next pages to highlight even more of this exciting niche! Also if you need any extra help or support, Remember to check back to our homepage!