15 Best Cheapest 4k Cameras: Buyer’s Guide

By Tati Taylor 20 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

How much should you spend to get high-quality 4K images if your budget is limited?

top 3 cheapest 4k cameras

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. Have a look at these 15 inexpensive 4K (DLSR/mirrorless) action cameras and camcorders, and choose the one that meets your requirements and allows taking detailed shots with minimum crop noise.

Top 15 Cheapest 4K Cameras

  1. GoPro Hero 7 Black - for action or underwater shooting
  2. Nikon D850 - the best quality
  3. Panasonic Lumix G7k - amazing stabilization
  4. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 - great AF
  5. Canon XC10 - AI functions to eliminate camera shake
  6. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III - convenient for long-time shooting
  7. Fujifilm X-H1 - the best option for video recording
  8. DJI Osmo Action - Reasonably priced action camera
  9. Sony Alpha a6300 - good price-quality ratio
  10. Nikon D500 - for continuous shooting
  11. AKASO V50 Pro - the cheapest model
  12. Camcorder AiTechny 4K - 16x optical zoom
  13. BlackMagic Design Production Camera 4k - minimalistic design
  14. Sony FDRAX33 4K - for recording home podcasts
  15. Sony Fdr-x1000V/W - great choice for recording family videos

Using budget 4K cameras from my list, you can capture any subject in great detail. Thus, when zooming in on skin, foliage or similar objects, you will see clear textures.

However, you should understand that along with more details, your images will contain more defects visible, so if you are shooting in 4K, you must devote enough time to photo and video editing. This is especially important if you are using a cheap camera.

Usually, when it comes to portrait editing, professional retouchers smooth skin, get rid of acne or blackheads, remove hair on the skin, and more. If you have no editing experience, you can always order FixThePhoto services.

1. GoPro Hero 7 Black

Our Choice
gopro hero 7 black cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: action, slow motion, accelerated, underwater, standard ground survey, aerial from drone | Sensor: 12 MP | Focusing: automatic AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 2-inch | Weight: 4.16 ounces

  • ✚ Good touchscreen
  • ✚ Waterproof body (up to 10 meters underwater)
  • ✚ HyperSmooth electronic stabilization system
  • ✚ Removable battery
  • ✚ Compatible with drones
  • Not found
Rating

If you’re looking for an action camera at an 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 differences 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 thank to its improved image stabilization system Hypersmooth, user-friendly UI, straightforward controls and the “Prepare it and forget it” philosophy.

2. Nikon D850

Professional full-frame sensor
nikon d850 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sports, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 45.7 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3.2-inch | Weight: 2.02 lbs

  • ✚ Can capture large, highly detailed pictures
  • ✚ Advanced autofocus mechanism
  • ✚ Big bright viewfinder
  • ✚ Impressive battery life
  • ✚ 19.4MP DX crop function
  • Live View focus speed is somewhat lackluster
  • Using SnapBridge is still awkward and unintuitive
Rating

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. It also offers a broad range of connectivity options.

This model is the most impressive 4K DSLR 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 video resolution. It means that the quality of the footage processing and the camera’s lenses will matter more than the number of megapixels it has.

3. Panasonic Lumix G7k

Convenient touchscreen for focusing
panasonic lumix g7k cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sports, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 16 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 0.90 lbs

  • ✚ Impressive digital viewfinder
  • ✚ Small and lightweight
  • ✚ Includes a retractable flash and a hot shoe
  • ✚ It’s a CSC model
  • ✚ Removable lens
  • Controls may be too complicated for beginners
  • Disappointing battery life
Rating

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 a 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.

4. Panasonic Lumix FZ80

Integrated stabilization system Power O.I.S.
panasonic lumix fz80 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sports, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 18.1 MP | Focusing: manual and automatic| Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 1.36 pounds

  • ✚ Includes a wide-angle lens with a 60x zoom
  • ✚ 18MP stills and 4K footage
  • ✚ Cheap
  • ✚ Great results in poor lighting
  • ✚ Flexible focusing
  • Tiny sensor leads to lowly detailed images with much noise
  • Unmovable LCD screen on the back
Rating

The DC-FZ80 is not the best professional video camera but can still shoot beautiful videos. 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 use 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 and stabilizing your camera to create sharp images and shake-free footage.

5. Canon XC10

Reduces shake
canon xc10 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 18 MP | Focusing: automate and manual | Screen: 3.2-inch | Weight: 2.3 pounds

  • ✚ Supports both slow-mo and fast-mo recording
  • ✚ AF has a face-detecting feature
  • ✚ Amazing 4K footage
  • ✚ Integrated lens with a 10x zoom
  • ✚ Durable build
  • Can shoot only in JPEG
  • Lens can’t be changed
Rating

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 device for creating almost cinema-level content. I also recommend this model to students who study cinematography or journalism.

6. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Compact and multifunctional
olympus om-d e-m10 mark iii cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 16 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 0.9 pounds

  • ✚ Awesome digital viewfinder
  • ✚ Small and ergonomic
  • ✚ Reliable image stabilization
  • ✚ Fast processing
  • ✚ Small size and weight
  • 16 MP images aren’t as impressive as they used to be
  • Subpar focus-tracker
Rating

The Olympus Mark III has 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 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.

7. Fujifilm X-H1

The best choice for filmmaking
fujifilm x-h1 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 24 MP | Focusing: AF, AF-C, automatic, manual | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 2.2 pounds

  • ✚ Built-in image stabilization
  • ✚ Accurate and convenient viewfinder
  • ✚ DCI 4K video support
  • ✚ Separate button for controlling autofocus
  • ✚ Controlled via LCD touchscreen
  • Unintuitive exposure compensation settings
  • Low battery life
Rating

While there are lots of 4K cameras capable of recording videos of 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 Fujifilm products.

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 has 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.

8. DJI Osmo Action

Reasonably priced action camera
dji osmo action camera cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: action, slow motion, accelerated, standard ground survey, aerial from drone | Sensor: 12 MP | Focusing: automatic | Screen: 2.2-inch | Weight: 4.4 ounces

  • ✚ Crisp 4K video footage at 60fps
  • ✚ Vibrant JPG and RAW images
  • ✚ User-friendly and responsive interface
  • ✚ Easy-to-use app
  • ✚ Suitable for aerial shooting
  • Doesn’t provide GPS location tags
  • The camera body isn’t waterproof
Rating

This model is the cheapest 4K action camera that supports recording 4K and the maximum fps rate of 240 frames (shooting in 1080p). DJI Osmo Action has better weather-sealing than Hero7 (36 ft. versus 33 ft). There is also the RockSteady technology, which combines EIS with sophisticated algorithms to deliver stable, shake-free shooting no matter how intense and quick the action gets.

If you’re planning on using the camera for taking photographs, you’ll be impressed with the sharpness and colors of 12MP pictures. Moreover, you can also take images in RAW format (although only when HDR is disabled). The DJI Osmo Action offers an HDR video feature, which slightly improves dynamic range, but, in reality, it just increases exposure and saturation a bit, sacrificing the possibility to record stabilized video (and 60fps).

9. Sony Alpha a6300

Amazing AF
sony alpha a6300 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 24.2 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3-inch| Weight: 1.55 lbs

  • ✚ Impressive continuous shooting mode
  • ✚ Fast autofocus
  • ✚ Above-average performance on high ISO
  • ✚ Nice image quality
  • ✚ Refresh rate is 120Hz in the viewfinder
  • Lacks integrated image stabilization
  • Beginner-level manual settings
Rating

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.

The most impressive upgrade if compared with the previous model, in my opinion, is the new a6300 sensor. Although the pixel count remains the same, here sensor has a whopping 425 phase-detection AF points. When it comes to object identification and tracking, the a6000 already offers one of the best AF systems in its class, so an upgrade in this area sounds very promising.

10. Nikon D500

Fast burst shooting
nikon d500 cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 20.9 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3.2-inch | Weight: 1.90 lbs

  • ✚ Amazing optical viewfinder
  • ✚ Swiveling display screen
  • ✚ Controls aimed at enthusiasts
  • ✚ Two slots for SD cards
  • ✚ Great model for landscape shooting
  • Screen isn’t fully rotatable
  • Battery lasts for 400 shots
Rating

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 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.

11. AKASO V50 Pro

The best option if you’re on a tight budget
akaso v50 pro cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: action, underwater, standard ground survey, aerial from drone | Sensor: 20 MP | Focusing: automatic | Screen: 2-inch | Weight: 2.90 ounces

  • ✚ Includes many useful accessories
  • ✚ Can be paired with mounts made by other manufacturers
  • ✚ Comes with a watch that acts as a remote
  • ✚ Lightweight and portable
  • ✚ Suitable for taking action shots
  • Wi-Fi feature doesn’t always function properly
  • Disappointing footage quality in poor lighting conditions
Rating

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 of 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.

12. Camcorder AiTechny 4K

4K video recording at 24 fps
camcorder aitechny cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, studio, slow motion, portrait | Sensor: 48 MP | Focusing: manual, AFS, AFF, AFC, MF | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 2.07 pounds

  • ✚ Has an external microphone
  • ✚ Allows recording footage even when charging the battery
  • ✚ Allows recording footage even when charging the battery
  • ✚ Can be controlled with a remote control
  • ✚ Great stabilization
  • Lacks optical zoom
  • Low battery life
Rating

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 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.

13. BlackMagic Design Production Camera 4k

Modern design and compact size
blackmagic design production cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, studio, portrait | Sensor: 18 MP | Focusing: automatic | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 3.75 pounds

  • ✚ Produces 12-bit uncompressed 4K footage
  • ✚ Offers twelve dynamic range settings
  • ✚ Big sensor and a full-frame shutter
  • ✚ Minimal aliasing
  • ✚ Stylish design
  • Mediocre performance in bad lighting conditions
  • Lacks data management features (can’t format or erase files, check available memory)
Rating

This cheap 4K camera has a sturdy body identical to the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. It is 6.5″ wide and 5.2″ tall. The weight is 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.

14. Sony FDRAX33 4K

Small size and weight for long-time shooting
sony fdrax33 4k cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, portrait | Sensor: 20.6 MP | Focusing: automatic | Screen: 3-inch | Weight: 1.5 Pounds

  • ✚ Highly detailed 4K video and breathtaking stills
  • ✚ Efficient image stabilizing system
  • ✚ Lightweight body
  • ✚ 10x optical zoom
  • ✚ Great integrated mic
  • Lack of built-in memory
  • No built-in light source models
Rating

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.

15. Sony Fdr-x1000V/W

Miniature camcorder for shooting with one hand
sony fdr-x1000v/w cheapest 4k camera

Shooting type: sport, landscape, portrait | Sensor: 20.1 MP | Focusing: automatic | Screen: 3.5-inch| Weight: 2.06 pounds

  • ✚ Several handy functions for action fans
  • ✚ Integrated footage stabilizing system
  • ✚ Auto white balance
  • ✚ Exposure compensation
  • ✚ Impressive 4K video footage
  • Unresponsive camera menu when adjusting settings
  • Not for filming in the rain or snow
Rating

This is a miniature camcorder that supports 4K recording. Moreover, in theory, this 4K camera Sony is capable of recording 4K at a higher 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.

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
gopro hero 7 black
GoPro Hero 7 Black
OUR CHOICE
  • Terrific focusing
  • Suitable for action shooting
  • Can be paired with a drone
CHECK PRICE
nikon d 850
Nikon D850
BEST QUALITY
  • The best original quality
  • For any photography genre
  • Wide screen and convenient location of buttons
CHECK PRICE
akaso v50 pro
AKASO V50 Pro Native 4K/30fps
BUDGET
  • Minimum price for 4K
  • Simplified design
  • Minimum number of buttons to control the camera
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose a 4K Camera?

While selecting the best budget 4K camera, you need to pay attention to several parameters that affect the quality of your photos and videos. Besides, understanding what stands behind every feature, you can save even more money.

FPS Count

fps count

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 at 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.

Data Storage

data storage

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 for DSLR or mirrorless camera.

Wi-Fi Connection Availability

The majority of cheap 4K cameras that have Wi-Fi 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.

Image Stabilization

image stabilization

The availability and quality of the IS system are one of the most important characteristics of action cameras. The best option in this regard is Sony camera, 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 a camera is left untouched with a mechanical stabilizer.

Camera Type

camera type

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 a 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.

Controls

controls

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.

Audio

The majority of cameras boast good audio recording capabilities, including a jack for a mic. The audio quality is greatly affected by wired mics, especially if you are recording on a crowded street or in windy weather.

Actually, this is one of the most important parameters. Even if a 4K video seems good, it can be rendered unwatched if the quality of the audio is bad.

F.A.Q

  • • When should I invest in a 4K camera?

In most cases, photographers choose 4K cameras if they plan to perform advanced image retouching to fix the smallest skin defects and make other miniature changes.

  • • Is 4K at 30 fps better than 1080p at 60fps?

If you don’t record action scenes, then 30 fps will be enough for you for a smooth picture, but if you are shooting sports, then it is better to choose 1080p at 60 fps.

  • • Can I shoot in 4K with my smartphone?

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, iPhone 13 pro max offers 4K support and has a front-facing 12MP camera and a back 12MP camera, with sensors from Sony (market leaders).

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