Looking for the cheapest 4k camera for shooting professional videos? Earlier these cameras were very expensive, but today you can buy an affordable 4k camera under $1000. I’ve made a list of 15 cheap 4k cameras (DSLR/mirrorless), action cameras, and camcorders for you to find the camera you need.
4K is a video resolution type that stands for “4000.” It is the number of pixels in width produced by equipment that records footage in this format. It provides a higher level of detail than any other resolution available to photographers or filmmakers today. HD offers a very detailed and vibrant image on large screens too, but it’s still capable of only 1920px across, which is twice less than 4K has horizontally, and 4 times less overall.
Recently, 4k cameras were so expensive, large and very heavy, but nowadays even a compact action camera can easily produce 4K footage. Here is my list of 15 cheapest 4k cameras that cover different price ranges and camera types – action cameras, camcorders, DSLR and mirrorless camera bodies.
Price: about $2500
This 4K video camera is ideal for wedding, nature, portraiture, and action shots. The D850 has a state- of-the-art 45.4MP full-frame sensor, an innovative 153-dot autofocus system, a rotatable touchscreen, and offers a broad range of connectivity options. This model is the most impressive 4K DSLRs ever produced by Nikon. Also, since most of your video footage will be 4K, remember that the camera has to perform a huge amount of image processing to accommodate the video’s resolution. It means that the quality of the footage processing and the camera’s lenses will matter more than how much megapixels it has.
Price: about $450
This 4K camera Panasonic represents a multifunctional video recording camera that offers great image quality, a highly efficient AF system, and 4K support packed into a tiny unit operated by external controls. The camera’s UI can be uncomfortable to use at times but has several neat functions such as the ability to employ the rear display as a touchscreen to determine an autofocus point. I recommend this camera for rookies who want to evolve as photographers and DSLR owners who want a compact spare camera. It’s especially great if you’re planning on recording a lot of videos. While it isn’t the cheapest 4K video camera here, it’s a good choice for high quality filming.
Price: about $300
The DC-FZ80 is not the best professional video camera but can shoot beautiful videos too. It has a relatively small 1/2.33” sensor and offers an 18MP resolution. It’s supplied with a large lens that has a focal distance of 20-1200mm (equivalent to 35mm film) and a mind-blowing 60-times digital zoom. If you employ the zoom to the max, you can take pictures with a focal distance of up to 4800mm. The FZ80 has an integrated image stabilizing system known as Power O.I.S. It combines elements of optical and digital stabilization and is used for both image and video recording. It offers nice performance but starts to show flaws when taking photographs at 1200mm. To avoid this problem I advise purchasing a tripod that will ensure you to create sharp images and shake-free video footage.
Price: about $1800
XC10 stands out from other Canon cameras because it’s a universal model that supports 4K and Full HD videos and 12MP photos. Another great feature of this camera is how comfortable it is to hold when shooting, leading to reduced camera shake. It has an integrated 1” sensor, Canon Log support, and twelve dynamic range settings. Optics-wise, the camera employs a fixed zoom supported by an optical picture stabilizer and an integrated ND filter. This 4K camera Canon has a lens with a focal length of 27.3-273mm for video recording and 24.1-241mm for taking pictures. It also has an extremely useful Vari-Angle touchscreen paired with a loupe that can be used to see the display better in direct sunlight. If you’re a beginner who spends more time recording videos than taking pictures, this Canon 4K video camera can become the perfect camera for creating almost cinema-level content. I also recommend this model to students who study cinematography or journalism.
Price: about $500
The Olympus Mark III represents everything you can want from a mirrorless 4K camera. Its 4K footage is of high quality, it’s comfortable to hold, includes a broad range of features, requires minimum space in your backpack, and takes stunning pictures. Among other impressive characteristics of this affordable 4k camera are a handy 3” rotatable touchscreen, integrated flash, and a 2.36m-point digital viewfinder. Considering the camera’s low price, advanced features, and several Art and Scene modes, it could be viewed as entry-level gear. But nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to tell apart such a progressive multifunctional camera from an enthusiast model.
Price: about $1900
While there are lots of 4K cameras capable of recording videos in top quality, Fujifilm X-H1 remains my go-to choice when it comes to filmmaking. As expected from a 4K camera targeted at experienced photographers, professionals, and moviemakers, this model has an array of advanced functions such as integrated image stabilization. This feature is unprecedented in a Fujifilm product. X-H1 comes with a rotatable 3” touchscreen located at the back of the camera and attached by two joints. Thanks to the touchscreen controls, this model is far more user-friendly than X-T2. This cheapest 4K camera can be connected via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or NFC. Once you’ve linked it to your phone or tablet and installed the brand’s app, you can freely copy your photos and videos and share them on SM websites.
Price: about $360
If you’re looking for an action camera for affordable price, I recommend choosing GoPro Hero 7. It has a waterproof body, useful apps that provide superior phone integration, a touchscreen that allows previewing your videos and photos, and Cineform. We’re talking about the functionality of professional-level gear implemented in a miniature action camera. Design-wise, Hero 7 is nearly identical to its predecessor, GoPro Hero 6. The only difference are the new body color scheme and reworked microphone meant to improve the audio quality (But its quality is still too low). This is the best 4k video camera that has improved image stabilization system Hypersmooth, user-friendly UI, straightforward controls and the “Prepare it and forget it” philosophy.
Price: about $200
This model is the cheapest 4K action camera that supports recording 4K footage at 60 fps. However, that feature does come with several exceptions. For instance, the Ultra 4K mode, which provides the best quality, can only produce 30fps. Likewise, the 4K HD mode (which offers a 4,000x3,008 resolution in contrast to the regular 3,840x2,160px) has the same drawback. That being said, if you only use the standard 4K mode, you can choose between shooting with 60, 48, or 30 frames per second. Obviously, though, you’ll enjoy the best results at 60fps since it provides the sharpest, most pleasantly-saturated pictures.
Handholding the camera isn’t recommended since it leads to choppy footage caused by the fact that Yi’s stabilization system only works in 4K at 30fps or lower. Yet despite that drawback, it’s still a great option if you’re looking for the cheapest 4K camera for filmmaking. If you’re planning on using the camera for taking photographs, you’ll be impressed with the sharpness and colors offered by Yi 4K+’s 12MP pictures. Moreover, you can also take images in RAW format (although only when HDR is disabled).
Price: about $750
Sony a6300 is a mirrorless camera that shares the same 24MP introduced with a6000. However, this camera’s autofocus system, video recording-, viewfinder-, and design quality have been significantly improved. I believe that the a6300 is the best 4K camera under 1000 and I recommend it to everyone who is looking for gear that allows taking amazing photographs and 4K videos.
Price: about $1300
The D500 is 20 MP DSLR camera with an APS-C image sensor. It boasts a burst shooting mode of 10fps that is paired with a 200-photo buffer for RAW files. This 4K camera Nikon D500 was designed with action-oriented videographers and photographers in mind since they don’t care about the smaller sensor and instead enjoy its additional reach. The camera has a 153-dot autofocus and a 180k-px RGB metering sensor powered by D5’s EXPEED 5 processor. The D500 allows recording video in either 4K or UHD and comes with a “SnapBridge” function that enables your phone to be constantly connected to the camera via Bluetooth.
I can definitely recommend this model to photographers in need of a sturdy DSLR 4K HD camera that is comfortable to hold and use. It’s especially well-suited for people who are planning to record sports events.
Price: about $120
V50 Pro is the cheapest 4K action camera featured on this list. Even though this model is nearly 4 times cheaper than GoPro’s Hero 6, it offers surprisingly adequate video quality. Moreover, the camera allows recording time lapses in extremely high quality. It’s possible to record 4K footage at 30fps, which is reasonable considering how inexpensive the camera is. However, it’s recommended to shoot in Full HD and 60 fps instead to achieve the best results. If your goal is to produce a ton of 4K footage, you’ll need a large SD card. I suggest purchasing a card that has at least 64GB of storage space. Overall, this decent cheap 4K camera should satisfy both rookies and pros.
Price: about $240
If you dream of hiking, recording your adventures, capturing the beauty of the ocean and the sky, this best budget 4k camcorder should be right up your alley. The AiTechny camcorder is extremely universe and can be used for all kinds of videos including trips, family parties, weddings, etc. It has a 4K resolution of 2,880x2160 at 24fps and is able to provide beautiful high-contrast imagery. The camera allows capturing breathtaking landscapes thanks to its wide-angle lens and taking close-up shots with the 16x digital zoom. However, be prepared that zoomed-in footage will lack clarity since this model doesn’t have an optical zoom. Even so, this is still probably the best cheap 4K camera in its category.
Price: about $1500
This cheap 4K camera has a sturdy body identical to the BlackMagic Cinema Camera and has a width of 6.5”, is 5.2” tall, while weighing mere 3.8lbs. The camera comes with a 5” touchscreen with a decent 800x480 definition. The display offers high sharpness, but due to being very reflective, it can be hard to see during outdoor photoshoots. This issue is somewhat mitigated thanks to the provided rubber touchscreen hood. However, if you want to solve this problem completely, I advise attaching an extension to the hood or purchasing a focusing cover like photographers used to do back in the day.
Price: about $850
Sony released a small, user-friendly camera that weighs a mere 655g, meaning that for the most part, you can control it using only one hand. You can turn the FDR-AX33 on either by extracting the viewfinder or activating the 3-inch touchscreen. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive 4K camera. This model has the B.O.S.S. image stabilizing system. It allows you to examine how the camera’s lens is moving inside to prevent camera shake. FDR-AX33’s image stabilization is especially useful when recording footage on hiking trips or during close-ups.
Price: about $500
This is a miniature camcorder that supports 4K videos. Moreover, in theory, this 4K camera Sony is capable of recording 4K at a faster rate than GoPro equipment. While this model allows you to choose between 60 and 100 Mbit per second, GoPro cameras have a maximum rate of 60Mbit/s. Regarding recording settings, you are presented with a broad range of modes that save footage in different formats. Let’s take a look at MP4 as an example. A resolution of 1080p grants you a recording speed of 60fps, while 720p increases that figure all the way to 100fps. If you decide to record in 240p, you can enable super slow-mo mode with 200fps. As mentioned above, 4K can be recorded either at 100 or 60 Mbit/s at 30fps if you shoot in Sony’s in-house developed XAVC S format. If you use this codec to record in other resolutions, you can generate 120fps in 1080p and 240fps in 720, which is quite impressive. Overall, this camcorder offers everything one might expect from an inexpensive 4K camera.
|GoPro Hero 7 BlackOUR CHOICE||VIEW PRICE|
|YI 4K+ Action CameraCHEAPEST||VIEW PRICE|
|AKASO V50 Pro Native 4K/30fps||VIEW PRICE|
|Camcorder AiTechny 4K||VIEW PRICE|
|Nikon D8504K NIKON||VIEW PRICE|
|BlackMagic Design Production Camera 4k||VIEW PRICE|
|Sony FDRAX33 4K||VIEW PRICE|
|Sony Fdr-x1000V/W||VIEW PRICE|
|Panasonic Lumix G7k||VIEW PRICE|
|Panasonic Lumix FZ80||VIEW PRICE|
|Canon XC104K CANON||VIEW PRICE|
|Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III4K OLYMPUS||VIEW PRICE|
|Fujifilm X-H14K FUJIFILM||VIEW PRICE|
|Sony Alpha a6300||VIEW PRICE|
|Nikon D500||VIEW PRICE|
There are several aspects you have to keep in mind while searching for the cheapest 4K camera:
Most cameras are only capable of recording 4K footage at 25 or 30 frames per second max. That being said, more expensive models, like the ones offered by GoPro, raise the bar up to 60 fps. What this means is that a camera will capture full-frame pictures 60 times each second. Such a framerate is particularly needed for filming sports events, where shooting in 30fps won’t provide fluent footage. 60 fps footage is great for making slow-mo videos during the editing process since it will still look smooth.
Give preference to cameras that have a MicroSD slot (or maybe even 2) so that when you run out of internal memory mid-shoot you can avoid deleting files and simply insert a different SD card.
The majority of cheap 4k cameras that have Wi-Fi connectivity are also supplied with a dedicated app. Before you make any decisions, you should do some research and learn what each app has to offer. Personally, I like GoPro’s app since it allows working with files while they’re still on the SD cards as well as recording photos and videos. However, it does lead to the camera heating up far quicker than usual.
The availability and quality of the IS system is one of the most important characteristics of action cameras. The best brand in this regard is Sony, with GoPro slowly reaching that level, but still not being there yet. Image stabilization allows reducing camera shake, which is a real issue since micro-movements occur even when the camera is left untouched with a mechanical stabilizer.
There are many types of 4k cameras you can choose from, including DSLR, camcorders, mirrorless, and action cameras. You need to determine the field in which you’re going to use the camera. If you’re planning on recording vlogs and adventures, I suggest purchasing an action camera due to its compact size. On the other hand, if you want to shoot movies and ads, it’s better to buy a DSLR or a mirrorless model.
The type and complexity of controls depend on the purpose of your camera. For action videos, you require a simple model that allows starting recording with a single press of a button. Meanwhile, if we’re talking about professional videos, you need to have access to a broader range of settings and features.
4K support is becoming more and more common. Even though smartphones that allow recording 4K footage are still a novelty, it’s not an uncommon feature. Actually, they’ve been available since about 2013, when Qualcomm released Snapdragon 800 chipsets that gave brands the potential to develop gadgets capable of recording 4K videos.
Nowadays, 4K isn’t a mysterious exotic function, but something that is included in almost any flagship phone of all the major companies. Smartphone cameras are best suited for recording short films. For instance, Samsung Galaxy S8 offers 4K support and has a front-facing 8MP camera and a back 12MP camera.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.