Six cameras for 4K video
If you want to shoot the highest resolution video available on consumer cameras, you’ll be wanting one of these
Once, 1080p was the king of video image quality – the idea of filming in Full HD with its bountiful detail was alluring to all filmmakers. Of course, we weren’t satisfied for long – now we all want to film in 4K.
4K is a shorthand way of describing video with a horizontal resolution of roughly 4000 pixels, though often the actual figure is the UHDTV (Ultra High Definition Television) standard of 3840x2160 pixels, used extensively by the BBC for the 2012 Olympics. True 4K cinema cameras actually have a slightly higher resolution of 4096x2160.
While you can argue a final video size higher than 1080p is currently wasted on the majority of viewers (though we looked at some great affordable 4K screens back in MF278), it’s always worth starting with a source video that’s as high quality as possible if you want to make something that looks spectacular.
There are things to keep in mind when considering 4K as your video format, though. The most obvious is file size, as well as storage difficulties. 4K video footage can be enormous and so your recording media – be it SD cards, CompactFlash or an external
Does 4K capability make the additional cost over a standard 1080p camera worthwhile?
recorder – must be selected with this in mind. Archiving afterwards can also be problematic, especially if you’re a documentary maker or have the tendency to shoot a lot of footage.
Back in 2007, the Red One professional video camera blew our minds, and it’s tempting to look at 4K cameras and wonder if any of them will beat it. The cameras tested here aren’t designed for that, however – they’re mostly consumer-targeted cameras with prices at the lower end of the spectrum.
The key question is whether the 4K capability makes the additional cost over a standard 1080p videocapable camera worthwhile, or whether it’s just a gimmick to stay one feature above their competitors in the tech war. We put a selection of six to the test. Alun D Pughe