Top 5 Digital Cameras that Shoot 4k Video [Comparison]
4k digital cameras are taking the world by storm. You don’t need to be an expert to use one, but you certainly could be. This video resolution is generally defined as 4096 pixels x 2160 lines in the digital cinema realm. It is quickly becoming the standard for high-quality video content. If you are on track to becoming the next Steven Spielberg, then find out which cameras can take you to the next level.
We are going to break down the five best 4k cameras and help you decide which one is best for you. There are many specifications to sift through, models to be examined, and brands to be debated. It’s a tough job, but one that needs to be done. Steven Spielberg would expect no less.
Table of Contents
- Nikon D500
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- Sony Alpha a99 II
- Panasonic LUMIX GX8
- Camera Comparison
- Which Camera is Best For Me?
- Which Camera is Best for Beginners?
- Which Camera is Best for Professionals?
- What is the Best Camera Company?
- Where Can I Buy Any of These Cameras?
- How Much Does a 4k Digital Camera Cost?
- Are the Lenses Interchangeable?
- Are the Batteries Interchangeable?
- Do they have Wi-Fi Built-in?
- Do they have a Flip-out Screen?
- Can I Make Videos?
- Do they have Video Autofocus?
- Do they have a Touch Screen?
- Do they have Image Stabilization?
- The Verdict
Meet the Nikon D500, a classy powerhouse of a camera that will have you wondering where it has been all of your life. It’s specifications are drool worthy to anyone with the slightest interest in photography or cinematography.
- EXPEED 5 Image Processor. Processes images fast so you don’t miss any shots.
- 4k UHD Video Recording at 30fps. For movies worthy of the big screen.
- Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF System. This autofocus system turns what you see into a beautiful photograph.
- In-Camera Time Lapse. Up to 9999 Frames
- 10 fps Shooting. Up to 200 frames
- Built-In Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Wirelessly transfer or upload your photos
- 3.2″ 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD. Move the crystal clear screen to your specifications.
- 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF. Clear and crisp photos every time.
- 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor. For high quality pictures with a balanced composition.
- Native ISO 51200. Extend to ISO 1640000
The Nikon D500 is versatile for all of your camera needs. On the same hand, it offers value in specific areas that you may be looking for like the processor speed and AF ability. Whether you are in a photo shoot or on-the-go, the Nikon D500 is a great companion.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a beautiful piece of equipment. Canon is a world renowned company that keeps up with the paces of ever changing specifications. It’s a name you can trust, but it’s much more than that. It’s ability to take quality photos and video is superb.
- 4k video recording at 30p or 24p. In-camera still frame grab of 8.8MP images
- Up to 7.0 fps continuous shooting speed. To get the best picture possible.
- 61-point AF system. 41 cross-points for expanded vertical coverage for photos or videos.
- 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor. From nature shot to portraits, you will get the picture you want every time.
- ISO range 100-32000. With a 50-102400 expansion.
- Touch-screen LCD monitor. Handle your settings with ease without having to manipulate buttons and dials.
The specifications for this upgraded camera are mind boggling. It’s quick, accurate, and most of all produces a quality image or video. You don’t have to be an expert to get expert quality results with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. You can read our full review of this camera here.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is both rugged and delicate in one. It’s weatherproof exterior is built for action shots but it’s AF abilities will have you astounded at it’s close up photographs. Your videos will be smooth and your pictures will have stunning precision.
- 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor. Take photos in motion that are clear and crisp, making the viewer feel as if they were really there.
- 15fps Seq. Shooting (Mechanical). To grab a full resolution hard to get shot.
- 60fps Seq. Shooting (Electronic). Silent and wicked fast for an amazing shot without distraction.
- Cinema 4k Video. Get truly smooth video worthy of the big screen with this new feature.
- 50 Megapixel High-Res Shot Mode. This feature allows you to combine 8 consecutive shots in 1 second to make one ultra beautiful photo. 121-Point Dual FAST AF. Fast and accurate focusing so you never miss the perfect photo opportunity.
- Advanced 5-Axis Image Stabilization. Truly incredible technology for steady shots without a tripod.
- Lightweight, Weatherproof Body. Dust, splash, and freeze proof. Ready for any journey.
- Fully-Articulating 3.0″ Touch Monitor. Move the screen to your liking while being able to easily adjust settings.
- Built-In Wi-Fi. Free up yourself from cords and automatically upload your work.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is state of the art in photography and videography. It’s AF will have you questioning why you ever took a photography class. The weatherproof body is capable of following you on any journey. What are you waiting for?
Want to learn more before purchasing? Click here to read our full review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
Sony Alpha a99 II
Resolution is the first word that will come into mind if you are using the Sony Alpha a99 II. The quality and intensity of focus you will get in each photo and video is unparalleled. It’s specifications are noteworthy but its resolutions is what sets it apart from other cameras.
- World’s FIRST 79 hybrid AF cross-point array. Unmatched auto focus tracking at your fingertips.
- Up to 12 fps at 42.4MP continuous shooting with AF tracking. Speed and precision go hand and hand to create the ultimate experience.
- 4k movie recording with full pixel readout in full-frame. Your movie will be high quality and cinema worthy.
- 5-axis in-body Image Stabilization. Shaky hands and lack of tripod? No problem. Smooth video every time.
- Wi-Fi and NFC built-in. Sync, upload, and transfer photos with a touch of a button. No cords required.
- Dust and moisture resistant. Coupled with a magnesium alloy body, this camera is built tough.
- High bitrate XAVC S5. A host of pro video features.
The Sony Alpha a99 II is a definite upgrade from its earlier version. The quality and precision will speak for themselves as you watch your stunning videos or browse your outstanding photos.
Panasonic LUMIX GX8
Finally, a camera as unique as you. The Panasonic LUMIX GX8 is outstanding in its class. It takes the prize for sticking out in new features. Dual-image stabilization is this camera’s key feature, but flexibility is a close second. Browse these specifications at your own risk.
- 4k Imaging Performance. You probably saw this coming but what’s really unique is that you can also get 4k photos. You can shoot 30fps in 4k Ultra HD Video and then extract them as photos. Can you say genius?
- In-Body Stabilization and Select Optically Stabilized Lenses. Dual Image Stabilization results that will leave other photographers in the dust.
- Weatherproof. Get down in the muck and mire with this rugged number.
- Fast and Precise AF Tracking. Track your subject without missing a beat.
- 20.3-megapixel Sensor. Image quality to rival with the likes of Martin Scorsese.
- 20+ interchangeable Lens Options. Let your creativity run wild with dozens of artistic options.
This one of a kind camera will leave your options open for whatever project you want to take on. Get artistic with different lens options. Laugh in the face of danger with its rugged exterior and dual image stabilization. Whatever life throws at you, the Panasonic LUMIX GX8 is locked and loaded.
|Model||Nikon D500||Canon EOS 5D Mark IV||Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II||Sony Alpha a99 II||Panasonic LUMIX GX8|
|Sensor||APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)||Full-frame (36 x 24 mm)||Live MOS (17.4 x 13 mm)||Full-frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)||Live MOS (17.3 x 13 mm)|
|Burst Rate||10 fps||7 fps||15 fps||12 fps||10 fps|
|4k Video FPS||30/25/24||30/24||30/25/24||30/24||30/24|
|Dimensions||5.8 x 4.6 x 3.2"||5.9 x 4.6 x 3"||5.3 x 3.6 x 2.7"||5.6 x 4.1 x 3"||5.2 x 3.1 x 2.5"|
|Weight||1.67 lb||1.96 lb||1.27 lb||1.87 lb||1.07 lb|
Which Camera is Best For Me?
While all these cameras are top of the line, I am betting you only want to buy one. Here lies your predicament. If one didn’t pop out at you as a winner while you were reviewing their specifics, there are a few more ways to figure out which camera is best for you.
Some questions you really need to ask yourself before you go any further are:
- What am I going to use it for?
- Photography, snapshots, homemade videos, videography? A combination?
- What is my budget?
- These cameras range from budget friendly to high end, go with what you can afford but remember it is an investment.
- Where do I want to be as a photographer/videographer next year?
- Do you want to just learn photography on the fly? Or, are you a little more serious than that? If you are looking to be a professional photographer, that should have an impact on both use and price. If you aren’t, then you could look at a camera with less extras.
- What camera piqued my interest the most?
- When you were reading through the 4k digital cameras, which one intrigued you the most? Was there a camera that just jumped out at you and said, “Pick me!”?
Did you answer all of these questions? Still don’t know which one to pick? If you answered the questions, it should have at least narrowed down your options.
From there, go with your gut. There isn’t necessarily a wrong camera for you. People go for years and years with one brand of camera and make a sudden switch. There’s also those who stick with one brand or model for life and that is okay too.
When you are weighing your options on cameras that shoot 4k, there are quite a few that will do the trick. However, you should feel confident about your decision. There isn’t a magic solution to finding the right camera for you, but if you can answer these questions, you will have a good idea of which one is right for you.
My favorite 4k camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. That doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you but if you are on the fence between a few, that would be my recommendation.
Which Camera is Best for Beginners?
If you are a novice at photography or videography, do not fret! Camera technology is made to range from novice to expert in most devices. Most cameras have the point and shoot capabilities along with all the extras. Gadgets and gizmos are there for the experts and can have a beginner wondering if they are reading a different language. Lucky for you, you can grow into using all these extra features.
This is another tough question to answer because it depends on who you are and what you want to do with your camera. Are you going to stay in the beginner level and just take fun pictures to upload to social media? Or, are you diving into the photography or videography world and looking for your first 4k camera?
The best beginner 4k camera in my opinion is the Nikon D500. I think it offers the most versatility in a camera for a beginner. The features that are most noteworthy for beginners should be: ease of use, quality of photo and video, autofocus, and upload capabilities.
Ease of Use
The Nikon D500 is definitely a point and click camera. The EXPEED 5 Image Processor won’t leave you hanging around waiting to take your picture. You can snap away and not worry about your camera keeping up.
It also has the 3.2″ 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD. You can view your images in stunning clarity before you take them to make sure you are getting the shot you want. It’s tilting screen allows you to get into any position for the perfect photo opportunity. The touchscreen makes it easy to manage and handle. You don’t have to learn a new form of communication just to get your camera to do what you want.
The 4k UHD Video Recording at 30fps will so far surpass any other homemade videos, people will question if you are the next Woody Allen. This is without even trying that hard! This camera is just that good at getting a quality shot.
The 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor is going to help you take even the briefest snapshot to the next level. The Nikon D500 actually balances the composition of your photo to make sure that you get a professional looking shot even if you are not a professional.
Autofocus is something that will help you tremendously if you are new to the world of photography. It can be the difference between a blurry picture and a precise image. The D500 has a 153-point autofocus system that will help you get a clear photograph.
It also has a 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area autofocus to help you even further. The Nikon D500 will get you a clean and accurate photo every single time.
Let’s face it, if you can’t upload your pictures, what good are they? In this age, everyone wants to see what you are doing and they want to see now. With this camera, you can seamlessly upload to social media with a few taps of your finger.
The biggest thing to remember when you are buying a beginner’s camera is that you will no longer be a beginner once you start using it. Pick a camera you can grow into and enjoy for many years. It’s an investment.
Which Camera is Best for Professionals?
There are two sides to every coin. We couldn’t have the best camera for beginners section and not have one for professionals, now could we? It’s a lot of the same here. It boils down to what level you are at. However, there are some differences. What you like or need is another factor that comes into play now.
If you are going for strictly the photography side, I would opt for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. There are a few key points on why this is the best camera only option. That’s not to say that you can’t shoot great video with it, because you can. However, we have another pick for that category.
The 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor will keep viewers on their toes with your ability to capture captivating action shots. What is really special about this camera is the 121-point Dual Fast autofocus. It really does make for the best pictures.
Another great feature is the 50 Megapixel High Resolution Shot Mode. It takes 8 consecutive shots in one second, combines them, and makes the ultimate photograph. That’s what you need if you are a photographer. No more having to edit your way through a mountain of photos.
The Advanced 5-Axis Image Stabilization allows you to leave the tripod at home. You don’t have to worry about being a little shaky or in an unsteady environment. The image stabilization has you covered.
The screen fully articulates so that you can get any photo from any angle.To top it all off, it’s ability to be in the dust, water, and frigid cold makes it a wonderful travel companion.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is my pick for best 4k digital camera in the video arena for professionals. The brand name alone should comfort you but its specifications certainly will too.
The autofocus on this camera is so wonderful for video. It has a 61-point AF system with 41 cross-points for expanded vertical coverage, and that includes your video. Of course, it has the 4k video recording as well at 30p or 24p. Watch out Alfred Hitchcock!
Beyond that, the Canon is just renowned for its cinematography skills. The touch-screen LCD monitor doesn’t hurt either. It’s much easier to capture the video you want if you can have a clear image on your screen.
If you are a professional, any of these cameras will come up to snuff. Take the time to make sure your camera has exactly what you want and need.
What is the Best Camera Company?
We could argue this for ages in any direction. Get any group of photographers together and you won’t get a resounding answer. There isn’t a best camera company. There is, however, a best camera company for you.
Do you need extra customer service? What kind of warranty do you demand? These are questions you need to ask yourself prior to purchasing your camera. Make sure the camera you want comes from a company that has the support you need.
Where Can I Buy Any of These Cameras?
Any of these cameras can be bought on Amazon. Amazon is both competitive in price and a heavy-hitter in the customer service and returns arena. You really can’t go wrong if you order through Amazon.
The other great thing about Amazon is that they are going to have your order ready quickly. Most cameras will ship within two days. That’s free if you have Amazon Prime. You can’t beat that and it will most likely take even more cost off your camera. That’s what you were looking for anyway, right?
How Much Does a 4k Digital Camera Cost?
It depends which camera you go with. They range from budget friendly to top of the line. This is a huge factor for some people so relax if your dream camera is out of your budget. You can either save up, buy a starter camera first, or bite the bullet and go for it.
These are the prices from the manufacturer on each camera listed at MSRP value:
- Nikon D500: $1,999.95 MSRP.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: $3,499.00 MSRP
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: $1,999.99 MSRP
- Sony Alpha a99 II: $3,199.99 MSRP
- Panasonic Lumix GX8: $999.99 MSRP
These were all taken directly off the manufacturer’s website so if you go with Amazon, your price may be different. It’s safe to say that Amazon is very competitive and with the shipping incentive, it’s hard to say no to them.
Take into account that these are the camera body only prices. There are no extra lenses, no addons, no packages of any kind. You may want to think of adding some of the extras depending on what you plan on using your new camera for.
While the prices may look alarming, remember you are making an investment. Cameras last you a long time. You don’t need to buy a new camera every 6 months or even every year.
Are the Lenses Interchangeable?
On all of these cameras, the lenses are interchangeable. The ability have interchangeable lenses opens up even more options for whichever camera you choose. They all can take on different personas to portray whatever it is you are trying to showcase.
Are the Batteries Interchangeable?
All of the above mentioned cameras that shoot 4k have interchangeable batteries. Each one of them use a Lithium-ion battery that can be recharged. There are even some options on getting a battery booster pack for some cameras so that you never have to worry about running out of juice (battery life) again.
Do they have Wi-Fi Built-in?
Each 4k digital camera we covered does have built-in Wi-Fi except the Panasonic Lumix GX8. Not only is this convenient but it’s becoming a staple in digital cameras. Beyond Wi-Fi, some of the cameras offer more options for syncing or uploading without a mess of wires.
The Nikon has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC technology built-in. This is perfect for uploading on-the-go.
The Canon has built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS. This is superb for expeditions and adventures.
The Sony has NFC and Bluetooth as well as the built-in Wi-Fi. NFC allows wireless uploads.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has Wi-Fi built-in for on-the-go syncing.
It should be mentioned that it’s not hard to upload photos from the Panasonic, it just doesn’t have Wi-Fi.
Do they have a Flip-out Screen?
Only two of our beloved 4k digital cameras have a flip-out screen, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Panasonic Lumix GX8. These really are classy little numbers. The Olympus’ screen can articulate to whatever degree you want so you can get the best photo or video possible.
On the same hand, there have been complaints about the OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s video taking abilities with the flip-out screen. There are complaints that it gets in the way of the tripod. It also has been known to knock out any HDMI cables when you move the screen. I would say it depends on the situation but take caution that this can be a problem.
Can I Make Videos?
Yes, yes, and yes. These cameras are made for videos. The 4k shooting ability is what you want when you are shooting a video. These are all great for making videos. There are advantages and disadvantages to some that will make your decision easier though.
Like we mentioned earlier, if you are going for straight up video over anything else here, we think you should go with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. It just has a little bit of an edge over the other cameras when it comes to videography.
As just mentioned above, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s screen has been known to get in the way of your movie making process. Whether it be unplugging the HDMI cords or doing away with the tripod, you might want to reconsider and get the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. That is if you want to play on the safe side.
Do they have Video Autofocus?
Video autofocusing means your video quality is going to be that much better. This technology allows you to track your subject with less blurring and unfocused images.
Do they have a Touch Screen?
All of the cameras we have reviewed have touch screen except for the Sony Alpha a99 II. This has its definite benefits. The only con is that sometimes touch screens can get finicky over time. It’s up to you if you want to keep it old school and go with the Sony or stick with the touch screen technology of the other four cameras.
Do they have Image Stabilization?
The Sony Alpha a99 II, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and the Panasonic Lumix GX8 all have built-in image stabilization. While the Nikon D500 and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV do not have it, it depends what you are using your camera for to know if it is important.
If you are using it for on-the-go or action shots, it’s really handy to have image stabilization. That way if you get bumped, you are on an uneven surface, or in a moving vessel, you still have a good chance of getting the perfect shot.
If you don’t have a steady hand, image stabilization can really help too. It’s also a great benefit if you don’t want to carry a tripod with you as you don’t necessarily need one with it.
No camera is perfect. Not even these 4k digital cameras. While they come close to reaching perfection, each camera has it’s own positives and negatives.
All of these 4k shooting cameras are compact, rugged, and wicked fast. There’s only a question of budget, purpose, and specifics that set them apart. Take the time to read through each camera’s specifications. Know what it’s purpose is going to mean to you, not just to the average joe.
If you don’t want to opt for the higher end camera now, when will you? Your camera is your investment. Whether photography and/or videography are your hobby or profession, treat yourself to the best of the best with a 4k digital camera.
Are you ready to make the leap and buy one of these cameras from Amazon? Then do so using the links below.