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Best Budget 4k Camera – Camcorder for Filmmaking / YouTube / Videos

By Anton

Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 29 Nov 2020


We live in an age where incredible photographic and video capture technology can end up in the hands of just about anybody. Now, a great video camera doesn't make a great videographer, but a great videographer can do amazing things with a great video camera.

Today we live in a moment where, even within a fairly small budget, you can get your hands on camcorders that are capable of capturing images that, only a few years ago, would have previously been unthinkable.

As such, we all have high standards in this day and age, as creators and receivers of content. As an aspiring videographer, you not only want the incredible image quality of 4k video, but you also want image stabilization, image sensor, digital zoom, and incredible battery life. Beyond this, you also want this for a low price -- again, it was not that long ago that such requests, for this level of recording quality at this low of a price, would have seemed ridiculous. But today its possible.

We've decided to browse through the market and find some cheap 4k cameras. In looking through these 4k camcorders, we also want to make sure that they're easy to use, high quality, and have top of the line features. We're not just looking for a cheap 4k camera.

But the best cheap 4k cameras.

1. Sony FDRAX33

Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder (Black)
301 Reviews
Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder (Black)
  • 4K XAVC-S recording with 16.6MP, Exmor R sensor, B.O.SS stabilization
  • ZEISS lens(26.8mm) 20x optical zoom in 4K, 30x Clear Image Zoom in 4K
  • 3.0" LCD (Touch panel), EVF, Wi-Fi/NFC, manual ring, night shot, 4K Time-lapse...
  • Built-in Zoom Microphone. Minimum Focus Distance- approx. 13/32 Inch (Wide),...

Coming in at under $1000 (USD), this camera has a lot of incredible features that one would think might not be available in this price bracket. For example, this Sony's image stabilization is among the best in the game. The "Balanced Optical SteadyShot System" really optimizes this element in incredible ways.

Obviously, image quality is not an issue at all, as this 4K camcorder has a 7.8mm, 20 megapixel sensor that can take jaw-dropping photos (still frames up to 6048 x 3400 p), as well as 4k video recording capability, coming in at 24-30 frames per second. The video quality is, in a word, amazing.

What is a bit unfortunate, however, is that some might like a slightly bigger sensor, even though this camera finds creative ways to compensate for its 8mm. Further, there really isn't much internal memory, but this can obviously be patched up with an SD card. Unlike other recent Sony cams, this doesn't shoot full HD, which is also a bit disappointing.

Still, this is a great device. Functionally, it is very easy to operate, easy to use, and has some cool features. The flip-pout screen is touch-sensitive, and the multi-cam control can manage up to 5 camcorders at once, virtually using wifi. We highly recommend this camera.

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ80

25%
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC...
2,194 Reviews
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC...
  • Point and Shoot Long Zoom Camera: 18.1 megapixel MOS sensor plus 60X zooms DC...
  • High Resolution View Finder & LCD Display: High resolution 1,170K dot view...
  • 4K video Capture: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160) with three unique 4K...
  • Low Light Performance: Low light capture lets you enjoy photography during your...

Alright, this camera comes in at an extremely low price and we're not entirely sure why. The 4k video capture mode is excellent, featuring a viewfinder, a strong autofocus capacity, and a stylish form in general.

Unlike more expensive Panasonic camcorders that have amazing full hd and optical zoom options, this is comparatively sparse in its features, however. In terms of things like image stabilization, it won't blow you away, but it's definitely good.

Nonetheless, this camera thrives in low light and has a 60x zoom feature which, when properly used, has some amazing potential.

The virtues of this camera are obvious: 4k video recording as well as 4k photo, 60x zoom, and general ease of use complemented by its lightness in weight and comfort to carry. Low-maintenance, to be sure.

The biggest downside, we think, is that the battery does not last long at all when shooting 4k-- we're talking about half an hour. Nevertheless, you get more than you pay for with this beauty.

3. Nikon D7500

10%
Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR Body
619 Reviews
Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR Body
  • Class leading image quality, ISO range, image processing and metering equivalent...
  • Large 3.2” 922k dot, tilting Lcd screen with touch functionality. Temperature:...
  • 51 point AF system with 15 cross type sensors and group area AF paired with up...
  • 4k ultra hd and 1080p full hd video with stereo sound, power aperture control,...

It wouldn't be a list of the best cameras in the game if it didn't feature a Nikon. This is definitely more of a camera than a camcorder, but the video quality is still great, even if it's not intended to be a full-on action camera for filmmaking.

As such, the features are typical of a good camera: 21 megapixels, ISO range that peaks at about 12500 but increases to 52000, 8 FPS shutter, and an autofocus feature which really works for it.

But, since it's not a video camera by nature, some small complaints arise-- cropping must be kept in mind when shooting in 4K, for example, which is annoying and you must keep track of. Also, in terms of its rear screen, the resolution is a bit low. But the battery life is fine and certain features, such as zebra stripes that let you know when to correct your exposure, are really good.

Still, for the price, this is an awesome camera-- especially if you're not looking for something that is solely geared toward shooting and recording video.

4. GoPro Hero 7

11%
GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD...
3,259 Reviews
GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD...
  • HyperSmooth: Get gimbal‑like stabilization—without the gimbal. HERO7 Black...
  • TimeWarp: Capture super stabilized time lapse videos while you move about a...
  • Live streaming in 720p: Share while you’re there. Live stream in 720p on...
  • Rugged + Waterproof: Share experiences you can’t capture with your phone....

GoPro has earned a reputation: young renegade filmmakers on tight budgets have shot some amazing stuff with their GoPros, especially in the great outdoors. A GoPro is anything but conventional, and the Hero 7 is no different-- awesome image stabilization, high image quality, easy to use, extremely durable and versatile.

Since it is often used for extreme endeavours and is generally known as a sort of "action camera", the HyperSmooth image stabilization is quite literally the best on the market, especially for the price. 4k videos can be shot at 60fps, the battery life is really good even at 4k, and a few other features are particularly cool: it can livestream, its waterproof, and the microphone is the best GoPro has introduced yet.

If you are shooting too long continuously at 4k, it might start to heat up a bit, but you'll just have to give it a break. The biggest knock against the GoPro seems to be that, aesthetically as an object, its a little underwhelming. We say: who cares! It is an excellent camera.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cameras for Videos

What is the Best Affordable Camera?​​​​

All four of these are great, but it really depends on what you consider "affordable." We think the Sony is the best, but its hundreds of dollars more than something like the GoPro, which is also a fantastic device.

What is the Cheapest 4K Camera?

In our opinion, the Panasonic LUMIX is probably the cheapest 4K camera on the market worth buying.

Which Camera Can Shoot 4K 120fps?

Unfortunately, none of these cameras can-- you'll have to go up a price grade! The GoPro shoots 60 fps at 4K, which is as close as these ones get!

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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