Before you invest in the best 4K camera for video, you'll need to think about what type of content you want to shoot. Whether you're looking for a camera that shoots high-quality stills and 4K video or you're a filmmaker looking for a video focussed camera, our list includes the best of both worlds.
We've updated this buying guide to include two important new cameras. The Panasonic GH5 II is an update to Panasonic's top-selling GH5, with numerous important and worthwhile improvements – though we suspect the Panasonic GH6 (opens in new tab), now expected in 2022 due to delays, will quickly steal the limelight.
In this guide we concentrate on regular interchangeable lens cameras with strong 4K video capture. These are ideal for photographers moving into video, or for filmmakers who don't want or need dedicated cinema cameras, and all the expense and technical complexity that goes into them.
The world of video is now incredibly diverse, of course. If you think this guide doesn't quite describe you, then maybe you might want to take a look at these:
• Best cinema cameras (opens in new tab): for professional filmmakers and studios
• Best vlogging cameras (opens in new tab): for independent content creators
• Best camera for film students (opens in new tab): powerful and affordable cameras to start with
• Best DSLR for video (opens in new tab): traditional interchangeable lens cameras for video & stills
• Best action cameras (opens in new tab): for filming adventures and action
• Best 360 cameras (opens in new tab): for cutting edge filming and VR techniques
• Best drones (opens in new tab): for aerial photography specialists
This guide concentrates on the rapidly growing list of hybrid stills/video cameras that can handle all types of content creation. This is where all the action is happening at the moment, as mirrorless cameras move upmarket and start to eat into the territory of professional cinema cameras – but at a fraction of the price.
These days, mirrorless cameras have such amazing 4K capabilities they really challenge professional cinema cameras. The powerful Panasonic S1H and the remarkable Panasonic S5 are two cameras paving the way for 4K-ready mirrorless cameras. If you want even more resolution, the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A1 are now capable of shooting in 8K which while it sounds great on paper, is probably a bit overkill for most vloggers, commercial photographers and filmmakers. For most scenarios, a camera that shoots decent 4K video is more important than one that shoots at higher resolutions due to massive file sizes and processing power needed to edit them. Not to mention how long these videos take to transfer and share!
The Sony A7S III offers incredible 4K footage but as it only shoots 12MP stills, the file sizes are comparatively small. This is the opposite of the Canon in terms of specs but many would consider it to be the best mirrorless 4K camera on the market though it's certainly not cheap!
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The best 4K cameras for video in 2022
Stills and video
In this section we list the best 'hybrid' cameras – fully functional stills cameras that can also capture 4K video at a professional level. These are cameras that are split 50:50 between stills and video (all right, some may be 60:40!) for photographers, videographers and content creators who need to capture both.(opens in new tab)
The Panasonic S5 comes a very very close second to the Fujifilm X-T4 with its impressive video and photo capabilities. In fact, as far as full-frame cameras go, this is probably the best value you can get. It benefits from a smaller build than the Panasonic S1 but uses the same 24-megapixel CMOS sensor. It's autofocus has been improved, it features a tough, weather-resistant body and has 6.5 stops of in-body stabilization so that even handheld video is smooth. It's capable of recording 4K vieo at 60p, 4:2:0 10-bit internally with an APS-C crop or 4K at 30p 4:2:2 using the entire sensor.
For stills photographers, it offers a high-resolution shooting mode that combines 8 shots into a 96MP image resulting in raw files that are 165Mb in size. The Lumic S1 and the Lumix S1H might've been Panasonic's first leap into full-frame mirrorless cameras but we think the Lumix S5 is much more exciting - especially for the price. The one downside is that it uses contrast-detect AF rather than phase-detect AF which is what the Sony A7 III and Canon EOS R6 use but there are lots of features that make it a great choice for shooting 4K video.
As far as APS-C sensor cameras go, the Fujifilm X-T4 is up there with the best. It offers advanced video capabilities such as 4K at up to 60P which will give you a smooth, 2x slow-motion effect. It can also capture 10-bit video internally whereas most 4K cameras only capture 8 bit. If you connect it to an external monitor, the Fujifilm X-T4 is also capable of saving video at 10-bit 4:2:2 which means it can detect way more replicate colors more accurately than when shooting at 4:2:0. The Fujifilm X-T4 is the first camera in Fujifilm's X series to benefit from in-body stabilization which not only reduces or eliminates the need for a gimbal, it means you can shoot at a much slower shutter speed when in low light environments. Its fully articulated screen makes it perfect for shooting from the hip or shooting overhead and when you're not using it, it can be flipped in on itself so that the screen is protected. Even though the X-T4 uses a phase-detect auto focus system, it has been known to 'hunt' occasionally but we still think this is a great value, all-rounder camera.
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The Sony ZV-E10 is Sony's latest APS-C camera release, offering 4K video, a 24.2MP sensor and 11fps in continuous burst mode. It's more compact than the A6000 range and unlike the Sony ZV-1, it has an interchangeable lens mount with more than 60 lenses to choose from. It's the first Sony APS-C camera with a fully adjustable variety-angle screen which is a big advantage for filmmakers. It features a 3-capsule direction mic on top of the camera, which you can attach a clip-on wind muffler to ut also has an external mic port. If you're a stills photographer the lack of a viewfinder might be a drawback but for anyone who wants to primarily vlog or shoot video, it shouldn't be an issue.
When Canon released the Canon EOS R5, it paved the way for the future of mirrorless cameras. With a 45MP sensor, 20fps burst shooting and super-fast autofocus, as far as a stills camera goes it's hard to beat. Then we get to its video capabilities which again are pretty impressive. Despite the bad rep it has received for overheating when recording 8K video the Canon EOS R5 is still a landmark camera. Canon has since released firmware updates that help with the overheating issue but haven't solved it completely. It's also worth noting that the camera will only overheat when recording continuously for more than 20 - 25 minutes. If you're recording lots of short clips you shouldn't experience overheating issues. If it wasn't for the high price point, the Canon EOS R5 would've taken the top spot on our list. When you also factor in how expensive some of the best Canon RF lenses (opens in new tab) you're looking at spending thousands to get a complete video set up.(opens in new tab)
The Nikon Z6 II is a light refresh of the original Z6, with a second memory card and processor bringing a bump to burst shooting, now up to 14fps, and the promise of 4K 60p video via an update. However, 60p video is cropped and the camera still lacks an articulating screen, limiting its appeal for video and vlogging. Existing Z6 owners won't see a need to upgrade, but new buyers will get a very capable camera at a pretty good price. The dual card slots are a definite plus point, Nikon's in-body stabilization is very good, and the best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab) are some of the best on the market right now.(opens in new tab)
Good things come to those who wait is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of the Panasonic GH6. It had pretty big boots to fill following the popular Panasonic GH5 (opens in new tab)which still is regarded as one of the best value options for shooting video. However, the GH6 is an improvement in just about every way. It has a brand new 25.2MP sensor, it can shoot 4K at 120p or a staggering 5.7K at 60p. There was hope it would be able to shoot in-camera RAW thanks to the brand new stacked MFT sensor and CFExpress Type B storage but sadly it's not the case.
For those looking to shoot stills, Panasonic decided to stick with its DFD (Depth From Defocus) contrast AF system which is super fast and effective. From what we've soon so far, the image quality is very good, it can shoot up to 75fps in burse mode (when using the electronic shutter and AFS) although this is reduced to 8fps when shooting with continuous AF. The body is very big for a Micro Four Thirds camera - it's even bigger than some of the Sony A7 bodies however, the lenses are still much more compact and there's loads to choose from. All in all, the GH6 is incredibly impressive and while the starting price point is pretty high but it's still cheaper than the Sony A7S III and it has 5.7K capture and 25MP stills.
Read more: Panasonic GH6 initial review
The Sony A7C's specifications are unambitious to say the least, particularly in terms of its video capabilities, but its practical performance, from its handy vari-angle screen to its excellent AF system, make very effective. But why have we included this and not the mighty Sony A1? Because the A7C does the right job at the right price, where the A1 is overkill for most users. We will leave it to you to decide if the silver A7C's two-tone design is appealing, but for us it does not have the quality ‘feel’ of the other A7 models. With that new 28-60mm retracting lens, the A7C is also compact. The main thing for video shooters is the very useful vari-angle screen, the in-body stabilization and Sony's superb autofocus system.
Read more:Sony A7C review (opens in new tab)
This section contains cameras that are designed for video first and stills second (or, in the case of the EOS C70, video only). The Sony A7S III is a classic example; a stellar 4K camera that can also capture 12MP stills. The Lumix S1H is another; a big, heavy beast that does have a 24MP sensor but leans so far towards video that the stills capability is more of a bonus. The Canon EOS C70 looks like a mirrorless camera, but it's really a cinema camera. We include it as an example of one of the best cinema cameras for handheld video, vlogging and one-person filming.
It took Sony five years to upgrade the video-centric A7S II to a Mark III, but the wait has been worth it for keen enthusiast and professional moviemakers. It might not boast 6K or 8K video resolution of some of its rivals, and with only 12.1MP it’s not a powerhouse super-stills machine either. But apart from a big and expensive cinema camera, it’s the only camera that can shoot 4K at 60p full frame with no crop, recorded internally, in 10-bit 4:2:2 with no limitations on recording time and with all the advanced AF functions still working. The 12MP resolution means the A7S III is pretty poor as a stills camera, but an absolute natural at 4K, so it is tilted more towards video than stills. However, sports fans should note it can shoot stills at 10fps and has an incredible 1,000-shot raw buffer (using new CFexpress Type A cards).(opens in new tab)
If you're primarily a filmmaker or videographer and looking for a camera strictly for video, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K (opens in new tab) is a cine camera without the high price tag. Even though it was launched back in 2018, it's still a popular choice among filmmakers who need Pro-Res and Raw recording. It has a Micro Four Thirds sensor which means there are a huge number of Olympus, Panasonic and third-party lenses available both brand new and secondhand. It can shoot up to 4K 60p with no crop factor and has 13 stops of dynamic range. With a Canon LP-E6 battery, you could argue it's a bit of a mix-match of a camera and although it only has 60 minutes of battery life you can plug it into the mains for continuous recording. It features one SDXC card slow and one CFast 2.0 slot which supports 4K Raw. The one downside to the camera is it doesn't have a flip-out screen but if you're a serious filmmaker you'd probably want to invest in one of the best on-camera monitors (opens in new tab) anyway.
The Canon EOS C70 is Canon's first RF mount cinema camera offering powerful video capabilities. It features Canon's Super35 sensor, Dual Gain Output, a massive 16 stops of dynamic range and 4K 120fps / 2k 180fps. It also includes a game-changing touchscreen which makes accurately focusing quicker and easier. The C70 bosts the deep learning iTR AFX system from the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II which offers head detection and extremely accurate autofocus. If you don't want to invest in expensive RF lenses, you can use an adapter to mount EF lenses onto it. Canon's new speed booster will also enable you to use them with an extra f-stop and a full-frame angle of view. Where the C70 falls down is that it doesn't record RAW and you can't use PL glass on it - for that, you'll have to step up to the Canon C300 Mark III.(opens in new tab)
With the Lumix S1H, Panasonic has used its considerable video experience to bring many of its high-end VariCam features to the Lumix S range. The controls, the interface and certainly the hardware have been build for video and cinematography, and the fact it’s also a very serviceable 24MP stills camera is a bonus. It’s a truly compelling ‘bridge’ between conventional system cameras and higher end cine gear, especially for existing Panasonic videographers. It's expensive, though, and specialized too, so not necessarily the first choice if you need to keep the cost down – though it does make the 'regular' S1 seem like second best now. Its official Netflix accreditation is a major plus point, but its continuous AF proved pretty patchy in our tests so that, combined with this camera's considerable size and weight, rules it out for vlogger style run-and-gun style videography. However, a recent upgrade to offer ProRes RAW output via HDMI to Atomos Ninja V devices adds to the credentials of the S1H as a cinema camera offering at a regular camera price point.
How we test cameras
We test DSLR and mirrorless cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab conditions. Our lab tests measure resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for noise analysis across the camera's ISO range. We use both real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides.
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