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.
Price: around £499
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 teh front of the handle. Read our review of the DJI Osmo here
Price: around £489
The most powerful four-inch phone ever, claims Apple, and the SE has some impressive credentials to be sure. It borrows lots of innards and functionality from the iPhone 6s, with a 12MP iSight camera that can shoot 4K video, which you can also edit in the phone itself. As a smaller phone it’s also available for a decent price, comparable to its Android rivals. As you would expect from Apple, the image quality is surprisingly good given that this is, after all, a phone. And the fact that it will be in your pocket at all times, and you can also edit your footage on the go, makes it one of the best 4K video cameras to have with you everyday.
GoPro Hero 4 Black
The sleekest, most sophisticated GoPro Hero yet, the Hero 4 Black Edition is notable for being the first to bring 4K video to the table, capturing at 30fps. 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 4 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.
Price: around £399
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.
Price: around £449
Samsung may have thrown in the towel with its NX system, but the cameras are still excellent machines and can now be picked up for significantly more attractive prices than they launched at. You may have to buy second-hand and hunt around for the best deal, but the superb video quality, excellent autofocus and class-leading Samsung connectivity make the NX500 worth hunting down. Based on the excellent Samsung NX1, the NX500 is one of the best 4K video cameras for those on a budget. You may be lucky to find a new one for just over £500, if not they are available used. You may just pick up an absolute bargain. Just don’t expect any new lenses to be released….
Price: around £499 (used)
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 yo 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
Price: around £300
Panasonic Lumix TZ80
If you don’t fancy a bridge camera the size of the Panasonic Lumix FZ330, the the smaller TZ80 travel compact may be more like what you are after. The TZ80 has a 30x optical zoom lens, image stabilisation, a 18-million-pixel sensor, wifi connectivity as well as being able to capture 4K video with 100Mbps data rate. 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 TZ80 is one of the best 4k video capable cameras you can buy, and at a great price.
Price: around £335
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.
Price: around £500
(Article last updated 7th April 2016)