With prices falling all the time, we run down the best 4K video cameras that can be picked up for less than £500
Just a couple of years ago being able to shoot in 4K resolution was still very much the realm of the professional filmmaker. But better sensor technology and increased processing power have brought 4K to the masses and there are now many devices that will enable you to shoot 4K video that are affordable. We take a look at some of the best 4K video cameras that cost around £500.
Our Top Ten Best 4K Video cameras for £500 and under
For the best combination of value and functionality, these are our top five picks for the best 4K cameras for under £500… in no particular order
The beautiful Panasonic LX100 has been around long enough that it can be picked up for a shade under £500, and it is absolutely worth the plunge. Featuring a 16.84MP 4/3 sensor, a fast 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 lens and a stylish body, the LX100 packs the 4K capability that has at this point become a staple of Panasonic’s Lumix range. It’s not a small camera, but it’s thoroughly pleasurable to use, and produces wonderful crisp video.
This was a pleasant surprise from DJI last year – previously known of course for its drones, the firm made waves by detaching its built-in ZenMuse X3 gimbal head and making a handheld stabilised camera out of it. It requires the use of a smartphone for live view, and will certainly get you some curious looks, but it’s a thoroughly decent gadget that produces the kind of top-notch 4K video we’ve come to expect from DJI’s drone-mounted cameras. The Osmo also has the ability to record external audio thanks to its microphone socket mounted on the front of the handle. Read our review of the DJI Osmo here
The predecessor to the LG v30 that is expected to come out later this year, the V20 is a great way for amateur filmmakers to get involved in creating videos.
On top of shooting 4K LG upgraded the Steady Record function seen in the V10 with Steady Record 2.0. Relying on the Snapdragon 820 processor, the V20 leverages the electronic image stabilisation 3.0 tech developed by Qualcomm. By using this the camera is designed to minimise unintentional movement when shooting video. It uses the gyro to analyse the movement in real time, then, once the footage capture is complete, the video is analysed against 15-20 other frames to ensure smoother footage in more challenging conditions.
GoPro Hero 5 Black
The sleekest, most sophisticated GoPro Hero yet, the Hero 5 Black Edition is notable for continuing to bring 4K video to the table, capturing at 30fps and adding a built in viewfinder. It’s got all the GoPro ruggedness you’d expect, with the added bonuses of Full HD 1080p at up to 120fps, for super high definition slow motion footage. The GoPro Hero 5 Black marks the next stage of the GoPro’s transition from fun tough camera to serious filmmaking tool, as demonstrated by the firm’s increased presence behind the scenes in Hollywood TV and movies.
Building on the success of the FZ300, the beefier FZ330 brings vibrant 4K footage thanks in no small part to a superb constant f/2.8 24x Leica-made zoom lens sitting on the front. Its ½.3-inch MOS sensor sports 12.2-million effective pixels, the improved viewfinder and high-resolution touchscreen both make great strides on the previous camera’s handling. Featuring the intelligent ergonomics of Panasonic’s bridge camera range, the FZ330 is versatile enough to be well worth consideration. It also is one of only a few cameras on this list that includes a microphone socket, which is a big deal for budding filmmakers.
Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium made waves on release when it was revealed that not only did it boast a 4K-capable camera, but also a 4K display. This gives it a real premium feel that makes it enjoyable to use and shoot with, with a 23MP camera on the front capturing impressive footage – though it’s worth noting that you need to switch to the separate 4K mode before you start shooting.
Sony X1000V Action Cam
The key feature of Sony’s X1000V Action Cam is that it has SteadyShot image stabilisation, something that is often lacking in action cameras, including GoPro cameras. Sony’s premium action cameras shoot in 4K, has built-in wifi connectivity, a 170° ultra-wide Zeiss Tessar lens, wind noise reduction and a case that will allow you to take it underwater to 10m, or 60m with an optional case. With a optional Live View wrist remote and the ability to control multiple cameras at once, the Sony X1000V is one of the best 4K options for the sports and travel
Panasonic Lumix TZ90
If you don’t fancy a bridge camera the size of the Panasonic Lumix FZ330, the the smaller TZ90 travel compact may be more like what you are after. The TZ90 has a 30x optical zoom lens, image stabilisation, a 20.3MP sensor, wifi connectivity as well as being able to capture 4K video with 100Mbps data rate at 30fps. The built-in electronic viewfinder helps to frame images in bright conditions, and more importantly holding the camera to your eye can help keep the camera even steadier, which is handy with the long zoom lens. For those who want to travel with something lightweight and pocketable, the TZ90 is one of the best 4k video capable cameras you can buy, and at a great price.
Panasonic Lumix GX80
The most recent camera on this list is the Panasonic Lumix GX80. Ok, for just a pinch over £500 you will only get the camera on its own, you’ll need a bit more a lens, but the camera is a great choice for 4K video. It does miss a few of the features of the cameras higher up in Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds range, but with zebra patterning, focus peaking and a black and white monitor option it is a neat choice for videographers wanting to shoot 4K. It should be noted that, like most of the cameras in this list, it doesn’t have an external microphone input. However, what it does have is Dual IS – a system which uses internal 5-axis sensor based image stabilisation, and combines it with 2-axis lens based stabilisation, on compatible lenses. The result is super steady video footage.