The Best 4k Cameras For Filmmaking 2020

The Best 4k Cameras For Film Making 2020

There are currently a lot of cameras capable of filming in 4K, but which models are doing best? so here are the best 4k cameras for filmmaking 2020.

Whether you’re getting into a video for the first time, or looking for a new camera model to be able to deliver content to today’s high-quality 4K standard, in this handy guide you will find the best cameras to shoot 4K videos currently available – and for all budgets.

There has always been a certain mix of genres between photo and video, but it is only in recent years that cameras have started to demonstrate their skills to consumers in these two areas.

Whether they use an SLR or a hybrid camera, photographers are receiving more and more requests from their clients to also produce videos. Manufacturers are equipping their cameras at the entry-level with increasingly sophisticated video capabilities. It is a revolution that we must not ignore and today’s professional or semi-professional photographers must also be well aware of.

In this guide, we have brought together seven of the most interesting 4K cameras on the market, which meet the needs of photographers and perform well in photos and videos and cover a wide range of prices – we have also included two models especially turn to video to see what they were capable of and understand why so many professionals prefer to invest in real cameras.

All these devices have in common the possibility of filming in 4K. But this possibility is not necessary for everyone, because videos in Full HD (1920 x 1080) are sufficient in many cases. But on the other hand, you also have to see that 4K is more and more widespread and is going to quickly become a standard, it is also a way of seeing in the long term for you and your customers, so that that the videos you shoot today will still have the correct quality in five or ten years.

Read on to discover the best cameras currently available capable of shooting in 4K – and the best prices at which you can find them …

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The best 4K cameras in 2020:

1. Fujifilm X-H1

This 4K camera has the best ratio between its features, performance, and price

Type: Hybrid
Sensor: APS-C
Definition Sensor: 24.3MP
Mount Format: Fujifilm X
Number of frames / second at 4K: 30, 25, 24p
Sensor crop factor 4K: 1.17x
Standard ISO Range: 200-12 800
Cards memory: 2x SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II)
Best price:  $1,299.00 on Amazon
User reviews: 4.5 out of 5.0

Most :
  Very clear and good quality videos
 Stabilization integrated into the housing

The lessers :
 APS-C sensor and not full format
 Moderate rolling shutter effect 

The X-H1, the highest-end camera from Fujifilm, is equipped with an APS-C sensor and an X-mount. It is also the first in the Fujifilm X range to benefit from built-in stabilization (IBIS), which works in conjunction with the stabilization found in many compatible Fujifilm optics. The X-H1 can shoot in 4K UHD and 4K DCI with speeds up to 200Mbits / s and an F-Log gamma option. It is also equipped with a new film simulation mode called Eterna, which can be used with the dynamic range adjustment at 400% offered by the device which allows to gain up to 12IL of dynamic range and requires less work color sampling compared to Log modes. A cropping factor of 1.17x is applied when shooting in 4K, but it is relatively small, producing perfectly sharp images indoors and outdoors. What it lacks in high-end video specifications is compensated by its ability to make good videos right out of the box, without complex adjustments. In our tests, this camera gave the best results with the least effort.

2. Panasonic Lumix GH5S

A great camera for 4K videos – but not so much for photos

Type: Hybrid
Sensor: Micro 4/3
Definition of the sensor: 10.28MP
Frame format: Micro 4/3
Number of images / second in 4K: 60, 50, 30, 25, 24p Crop
Factor 4K sensor: 1x
Standard ISO range: 160-51 200
Memory cards: 2x SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II)
Best price: $1,997.00 on Amazon
User reviews: 4.6 out of 5.0

Most :
 4K to 60IPS and 10-bit recording internally
 Very good specifications for the price
 Only 10MP photos

The lessers :
 No stabilization integrated into the housing

Panasonic has long made the construction of crossover devices its specialty, but with the GH5S they went even further by sacrificing the resolution of the sensor to favor high-end video features. The 10MP lost sensor is attractive for photographs but is ideal for 4K videos, especially thanks to the fact that it is Multi-Aspect. This allows it to film not only in 4K cinema 17: 9 and 4K UHD 16: 9, but also in conventional formats 3: 2 and 4: 3 without the focal length being affected when you alternate between formats. Unique in the world of crossover cameras, it can shoot 10: 4: 2: 2 videos and record them internally on SD cards fast enough.

The GH5S also comes with Panasonic V-logic preinstalled mode, for a wider dynamic range and, while its rivals cannot film more than 30 minutes continuously, the GH5S can film as long as you want (in the capacity limit of the memory card you are using). The performances are of a very high level, it is capable of capturing images with beautiful clarity, a good level of contrast and colors, as soon as it is unpacked.

3. Canon EOS C300 Mark II


A very good 4K camera, but you will have to put in your own to master it

Type: Hybrid
Sensor: Super 35mm Sensor
Definition: 8.85MP
Mount format: Canon EF
Number of frames / second in 4K: 60, 50, 30, 25, 24p Crop
Factor 4K sensor:
Standard ISO range: 160-25 600
Memory cards: 2x CFast 2.0 (4K), 2x SD (only FHD)

Most :
 Internal 10-bit recording
 Built-in ND filters

The lessers :
 Reserved for video, not photos
 Expensive and complex to use

The C300 Mark II is the mid-size model of Canon’s EOS Cinema line, and while it is substantially more expensive than any 4K crossover SLR or hybrid on this list, it also goes much further to meet the needs of videographers. professional, with a better designed modular design capable of accommodating external monitors, grips, poles, and sound recording equipment. It is equipped with a Super 35mm CMOS sensor similar in size to an APS-C sensor and corresponding to the old 35mm video format. The 8MP sensor captures 4K videos directly and without cropping, pixel binning or oversampling and can record 4: 2: 2 10-bit sequences internally on two CFast memory cards. It can also record 4K RAW directly to an external recorder. Rolling shutter visible during our panoramic tests. However, its heavyweight, the need to use post-capture color grading and Canon’s delicate MFX file format to use, rather reserve this 4K camera for experts and not amateurs.

4. Sony A7R III

A very good all-rounder for professional-quality 4K photos and videos

Type: Hybrid
Sensor: Full size
Definition Sensor: 42.4MP
mount format: Sony E
Number of frames / second at 4K 30, 24p
sensor crop factor 4K: 1x, Super 35mm
standard ISO Range: 100-32 000
Memory Cards : 1x MS / SD, 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II)
Best price:  $2,498.00 on Amazon
User reviews : 

Most :
 Ultra high definition photos
 Stabilization integrated into the housing

The lessers :
The imbalance between the small camera and big lenses
 Provides better results with cropped C4K mode

Sony has built a solid reputation with videographers with its full-frame hybrid cameras. The A7S II is undoubtedly the most suitable model for video in the A7 series, but it is also the oldest and about to be replaced shortly. So we chose the A7R III for our list because it brings together the best of both worlds and delivers photos and videos of exceptional quality.

Equipped with a 42.4MP sensor, it offers the second-best definition of the devices presented here and can capture full-frame 4K videos or oversampled 5K videos in its cropped Super 35mm mode, which Sony presents as being that which offers the best quality. image. The HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) mode is included in addition to the S-Log2 and S-Log3 modes for a wider dynamic range during video captures. Color rendering is very good, but although full-frame 4K is useful to avoid applying a cropping factor to lenses, we prefer the more precise Super 35mm cropped format.

5. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Good videos and very effective stabilization

Type: Hybrid
Sensor: Micro 4/3 Sensor
definition: 20.4MP
Frame format: Micro 4/3
Number of frames / second in 4K: 30, 25, 24p Crop
factor 4K sensor: 1x
Standard ISO range: 200-25 600
memory Cards: 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC UHS I, 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC UHS-II
Best price: $1,399.00 at Amazon
user Reviews : 

Most :
  Compact, fast and powerful
 Stabilization integrated into the housing

The lessers :
 Quite a small sensor
 Overshadowed by rivals at Panasonic

When we talk about cameras capable of filming in 4K, we cannot say that Olympus has forged the same reputation as the other manufacturer of micro 4/3 cameras that is Panasonic, however, its OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers great video tools for photographers. It can film in 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) and in 4K Cinema (4096 x 2160) at 30 or 24IPS at a maximum speed of 237Mbits / s, which is very correct for a crossover camera geared towards the general public.

It also benefits from the stabilization of the housing on 5 axes developed by Olympus, which works in conjunction with the optical stabilization which is found in some of the most recent lenses of the brand. The M. ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm 1: 4.0 IS PRO lens is the perfect partner for this camera, combining a focal range equivalent to 24-200mm with a constant aperture of f / 4 and its own stabilization system which, used combined with that of the case, allows to save up to 6.5IL. This Olympus camera captures crisp, clear and natural video with only a slight rolling shutter effect, but it’s still difficult to get a cinematic depth of field because of the small size of its microsensor 4 / 3.

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6. Nikon D850

Best for photos, but still makes very good 4K videos

Type: Reflex
Sensor: Full format
Definition of sensor: 45.7MP
Mount format: Nikon F
Number of frames / second in 4K: 30, 25, 24p Crop
factor 4K sensor: 1x
Standard ISO range: 64-25 600
Memory cards: 1x XQD, 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS I)
Best price: $2,996.00 on Amazon
User reviews : 

Most :
 Excellent for photos
 No 4K crop factor

The lessers :
 Contrast detection AF only available in Live View
 No Log modes

As a versatile high-definition SLR, the Nikon D850 is more or less the direct rival of Canon’s EOS 5D Mark IV (number seven on this list). However, it offers a better definition and, via an optional battery grip, better burst speed. Its great advantage when you use it for filming is that it captures 4K videos without cropping factor, which means that your lenses maintain the same angle of view in the photo as in the video.

Another of its advantages is that it can record videos in 4: 2: 2 8-bit 4K format on an external recorder, while the external output for EOS 5D Mark IV files is limited to Full HD. The D850 does not have Log modes, which is a shame and it relies on an AF with contrast detection for videos, which slows it down a bit. The quality of the videos themselves is still very good, although they undergo a moderate rolling shutter effect, if you move the device too quickly.

7. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

A camera that was at the top in its time, but which is currently surpassed by its rivals

Type: SLR
Sensor: Full size
Definition Sensor: 30.4MP
mount format: Canon EF
Number of images / second in 4K: 30, 25, 24p
sensor crop factor 4K: 1.74x
standard ISO Range: 100-32 000
Memory Cards : 1x CF (UDMA 7), 1x SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS I)
Best price$1,546.00 on Amazon
User reviews : 

Most :
 Good versatile photo/video camera
 Good quality of the videos produced

The lessers :
 Significant 4K crop factor
 Internal 4K video recording only

Canon has always dominated the video SLR market and the EOS 5D Mark IV is a very complete camera that has been very successful with professionals thanks to its durability, its versatility, and its affordable price. It can film in 4K but has some limitations that are good to know. First, 4K video mode does not use the full size of the sensor, so its 1.74x cropping factor is quite high.

Second, although it does support Canon’s Log Gamma mode for a wide dynamic range, this is only done through a paid upgrade at a Canon service center. Even more surprising, it can only record videos in 4K on internal memory cards, you can use an external HDMI recorder, but only for files in Full HD. Motion JPEG video files are huge and the 4K crop factor makes wide-angle framing more difficult, but the quality is as good indoors as outdoors. Our tests, however, showed that the rolling shutter effect on this device was the worst of the whole group.

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Key terms of 4K lingo explained

4K UHD or 4K Cinema: The 4K that the majority of people refer to is actually 4K UHD or 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is not quite the same as the 4000 pixels (or 4K) wide true 4K. However, it has the same aspect ratio 16: 9 as Full HD with twice as many vertical and horizontal lines as the latter. True 4K cinema, which is often rated 4K DCI, has a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, with a slightly wider aspect ratio of 17: 9.

Autofocus: Most manufacturers offer fast hybrid phase and contrast-detection autofocus systems on their cameras, but Nikon DSLRs still use contrast-detection autofocus in Live View when recording video and detection autofocus DPD (Depth From Defocus) contrast is extremely fast. In reality, however, most videographers prefer to focus manually.

Color Depth: Most cameras shoot 8 bit and the videos produced suffer from the same limitations as 8 bit JPEG which may start to deteriorate or show tape or posterization effects when edited slightly too deep (or “calibration” to use the term reserved for the video). Some cameras can record 10-bit video, which provides more flexibility in post-production.

Bitrate: The level of compression applied to video recordings. In general, we can say that high compression levels (low bitrate or bitrate) produce smaller files but of lower quality, while low compression levels (high bitrate or bitrate) produce larger files, but of better quality.

The Fujinon MK50-135mm T2.9 lens , mounted on a Sony body

Cinema lenses (Cine lenses): Classic optics can easily be used for video, but Cine lenses have specific adaptations that make shooting easier or improve video rendering. They use T-stops (the amount of real light transmitted by the lens) instead of F-stops, and many have “clicked” aperture rings for a softer, quieter exposure setting. Some still have cogwheels that combine with the professional mechanisms of Follow Focus.

Color sampling: Videos consist of a luminance signal and two color signals. Compressing color data is less detrimental to the overall quality of the image and this compression is expressed as a ratio. In a perfect world, the cameras would record videos in 4: 4: 4, but generally speaking, the channels are compressed and are noted, for example, 4: 2: 0 (basic) or 4: 2: 2 (better).

Crop factors or conversion factors: Not all 4K cameras necessarily capture video across the full width of their sensor. Most cameras are equipped with sensors with a definition much higher than what is necessary, which pushes some manufacturers to crop the size of the sensor to avoid having to convert the images produced to the right definition or reach a ratio of 1: 1 pixel for 4K video. This produces a potentially annoying cropping factor.

The Shogun Inferno Atomos records video in Full HD and 4K-compatible devices

External recorder: The cameras can generally record compressed videos internally, on their memory cards, but there is the possibility of recording uncompressed videos, directly on an external recorder via the HDMI port of the device. Which gives you better quality and more storage space. Most of these recorders are also equipped with a screen large enough to allow you to see the scene more clearly.

Frames per second: The traditional number of frames per second for a film is 24IPS, while for television broadcast in PAL, it is 25IPS and 30IPS for NTSC. Now that most videos are streamed and viewed digitally, the old distinctions between PAL and NTSC are less relevant, but the number of frames per second still affects video rendering.

Interlaced or progressive signal: Interlaced video is an old technique where two fields of even and odd lines are combined. This technique reduces the power required for image processing and uses less bandwidth (for broadcasting) but the quality is not as good as that of a progressive video in which each image is captured in its entirety. Interlaced videos have the suffix “i” after their number of frames per second and progressive, the suffix “p”.

Intra-frame or Inter-frame: Intra-frame compression compresses each frame or image separately and gives the best image-by-image result. Interframe compression, on the other hand, retains only the differences detected between keyframes. Either of these compression options is sometimes noted as “All-I” (Intra-frame) and “IPB” (Inter-frame).

Log modes: Allows you to capture “flat” videos with a wider brightness range, intended to be reworked (calibrated) in a second step. All manufacturers have their own versions of Log mode such as S-Log (Sony) or C-Log (Canon). Log modes are a selling point used for video-oriented cameras.

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Microphone: The internal microphone of your camera, whether stereo or other, will never have the sound quality or the directional sensitivity necessary for good quality videos. An external microphone is, therefore, an essential accessory. You can choose to use a directional “shotgun” type microphone, like RODE’s VideoMic Pro, or use a wireless lavalier microphone also called “Lavalier” to clip on a piece of clothing to record a speech, for example.

The NEO 2 Rotolight is a popular panel light among videographers

LED lights: Obviously, flashes are not what is most suitable for video, if you need additional light, it will require continuous lighting. LED panels are the best choice for videos because they can be used for a long time on battery and produce good levels of light without overheating. Some even offer adjustment of the color temperature to match the color of other light sources.

Live View: Hybrid cameras have an advantage, as they offer Live View continuously whether on their rear screen or via their viewfinder. Reflex cameras can only display it on their screen because to film the mirror must be raised.

Memory cards: Memory card manufacturers often display the maximum transfer speed, which is useful for comparing their performance for photos, but in the video, you will need a constant minimum writing speed. This is not the same thing, which is why memory cards now display both information. The bare minimum for 4K videos is 10Mbits / s (Class 10, UHS Class 1, V10), 30Mbits / s is better (UHS Class 3, V30) and 60Mbits / s is ideal . (V60).

Oversampling: This is a technical process where the video is captured at a higher definition, then reduced to 4K definition. This technique makes it possible to obtain better images and is sometimes used by devices whose sensors have a higher definition than that necessary for filming in 4K.

Pixel binning: A way to combine photosites so that a high definition sensor can be used to produce 4K videos. It is not a technique considered as good in terms of quality, as oversampling.

Sensor Size: 4K crossover cameras come with a variety of sensor sizes common to dedicated photo cameras, ranging from the full-frame sensor to APS-C or micro 4/3. The super 35mm sensor, on the other hand, is used for cinema and equips some professional cameras – it is more or less the same size as an APS-C sensor but benefits from a wider aspect ratio.

Tilting screen: Very practical when you want to film low enough or even at ground level. Fully articulated screens are less important for video because you never film with your camera held vertically.

Touch screen: Useful for video because you will limit vibrations if you have to make changes during shooting.

Video tripod and ball head: A dedicated video tripod, like the Manfrotto tripod above, has double legs for more stability and reduced vibrations, as well as a flowing head with a long arm for smooth panoramas. The Manfrotto Nitrotech N8 has these two features, as well as a continuous counterbalance system that prevents the camera from falling forward when released.

Zebra: It is a tool offered by many recent cameras that measure exposure. It displays the highlight areas in the frame to allow the user to adjust the threshold to better manage the details in those areas.

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