The emergence and democratization of video 4 Ultra HD have opened up new fields of possibilities for all video makers around the world. Democratization, stabilization, and miniaturization technologies have allowed the 4k action cam to keep pace by almost systematically offering 4k resolution. It is now more difficult to find your way around than when Go Pro was alone on the market.
4K Studio Cameras Buying Guide
Without waiting here is the checklist of key points to consider to choose your 4K camera.
13 key points to choose a 4k action camera
Before getting lost in the details we invite you to take 2 minutes to ask the right questions to easily find out which camera model is best for you.
- How often will my camera be used?
- What autonomy I need given my ability/impossibility to recharge easily,
- Who are these photos and films intended for (friends, followers, customers, specific professional use)
- On which medium, i.e. which medium (tv, sharing with friends, web, projection, etc.).
- In which context you want to use your action camera, the choice of your camera will depend in particular on the activity and the environment in which you will use this camera (drone, motorcycle, diving, caving, skiing, mountain biking, on your dog’s harness, car,……
- What points of view do I need to be able to give rhythm to my video?
Armed with your answers, let’s get into the heart of the matter with the elements to consider. Each point is detailed in the following chapters of this guide on the action camera. To summarize, here are the elements to (absolutely) look at before making your purchase.
Image quality: resolution (from 5MP to 12MP, 4k video), low light behavior, and fluidity (20 to 120 FPS) depending on the subject’s speed of movement is probably the main elements to consider
Autonomy: According to the mode of use, the activity practiced, the need for connectivity (Wifi, GPS, removable screen)
Weight, shape, size: they are all lightweight, and small in size, it is more a question of style and use. Sports cameras are generally cylindrical, rectangular or mini-square
Viewing angle up to 170° or 360° for some cameras. The Fisheye effect is then attenuated in the editing software and allows the image to be straightened up and given a more pro-quality look, reducing the “sporty” aspect.
Touch screen to visualize underwater or in the air what you are filming and to be able to act directly on the camera.
Built-in microphone: although the presence of the protective housing reduces audio quality
Optical rather than digital image stabilizer: to stay focused on the subject and give a smooth visual result
Shooting modes: 720p, 1P80p, 4k, burst, and Lapse time film to give rhythm and pause in your video editing.
Protection and storage: In particular through the waterproofness and solidity of the case (depth and classification), the protection rating of the camera (IP68), leash or cord cam to attach the camera to the wrist
Internal connectivity: (USB, HDMI, microphone), Wifi (control from a smartphone, file sharing), GPS are just some of the technical features to watch and can make it easier for you to use
External connectivity: display and remote control especially available for the GoPro action camera
Camera Accessories: Standard action camera accessories and their compatibility to make your camera evolve and film from new angles.
Let’s now go into more detail and take a closer look at the important features when buying a sports camera.
We have updated and expanded this guide. You will find some tips from the editorial staff to choose the best action camera and allow you to make extraordinary immersive videos. Sit back and follow the guide!
The criteria for choosing a sports action camera
Image and Sound
A 4K sports camera offers a level of detail 4 times higher than Full HD. The pixelation effect of a 4K is similar to a movie screen and offers a video resolution of 3840*2160 pixels. The best models offer at least 3 angles of view with a focal length between 17 mm and 32 mm.
However, not all 4K models available on the market are equal, particularly in terms of low-light contrast and the number of accessories provided. The latest technology in sound management is a system that considerably reduces background noise (wind, water, breath…).
On older models, optical stabilization and correction are managed manually. Now, newer models are opting for intelligent electronic settings that optimize themselves.
At the same time, the list of options available for current models is long: loop recording, continuous shooting, Motion Shot, Time-Lapse 4K, Live Streaming, auxiliary torch, activity sensors, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, built-in speaker, night vision, built-in microphone 2.0 or stereo, adjustable or removable screen, touch screen or voice control, adjustable viewfinder, internal memory, etc…
Size and Ergonomics
Ideally, a camera should fit your hand and be comfortable to use.
Most are designed so that the most commonly used controls, such as the zoom and record button, start/stop button, and still, the photo button is at your fingertips.
Make sure the controls are convenient and that you can change the recording media and remove the battery without any problems.
Most 4K video cameras have an LCD screen that measures approximately 3 inches diagonally, while compact action models are smaller. Some screens in large format models suffer from too much brightness, making it difficult to use them outdoors in direct sunlight.
Check the screen to make sure you’re satisfied with the ease of use of any model you’re considering. But keep in mind that while most LCDs look good indoors, display performance will vary greatly from model to model in sunlight.
Think of enlightenment because you won’t always be in full light. By using the default mode, the quality of the models varies significantly when recording video in low light. Most full-size HD cameras capture at least one good quality video in low light, but some were even of excellent quality.
Keep in mind that many video cameras have settings that can improve performance, but can be complicated to use.
Some cameras announce high digital zoom figures, but you may be disappointed with the results because the image may be blocked or pixelated. It’s best to rely on a high number so that the optical zoom gets close enough to capture small details without losing image quality.
If you think you’ll do a lot of close-ups, look for a camera with optical image stabilization. Optical image stabilization uses mechanical elements in the lens to compensate for hand tremors.
Therefore, even if you can’t mount your video camera on a tripod, this feature will help you record a stable video while zooming.
Remember to consider the audio quality, as well as the accuracy with which the built-in microphone records and the sound file is free of noises or whistles. Action cameras often lack decent audio quality. In contrast, high-end models include a connector for the use of an external microphone, which can drastically improve sound quality.
Cameras with built-in memory use a hard disk or flash memory. These 4K cameras typically include a memory card slot, typically SD cards that allow you to increase storage capacity.
Make sure you choose an SD card that is large enough, but also fast enough for data transfer.
The best brands of 4K cameras are Sony, Canon, JVC, or Panasonic. It’s best to avoid going to unknown brands if you don’t want to be disappointed and keep your equipment for many years to come.
Finally, the price of a 4K camera can range from less than $ to more than $2000. Depending on its use and your budget, it will surely be a vital criterion for your final choice.
What type of video camera do I need?
If you want above all quality and more features, don’t hesitate to take a larger model. If you need a smaller and more portable device, then opt for an action camera that is usually half the size.
You’ll also notice that today’s larger models are much lighter and smaller than models a few years ago. They will hold easily in your hand.
With today’s models, you can do more than playback your TV videos as the old-fashioned models did.
You can edit the video, embellish it with background music using a computer and then play your productions on a PC or DVD or even Blu-Ray.
You can also upload these videos to YouTube, for example. Many video editing programs will allow you to combine your videos with many digital effects (subtitles, text, images, etc.).
Most of these camcorders are compatible with an HDMI cable, which is the best way to connect your camcorder to an HDTV.
If you want a more compact camcorder, you should consider buying an action camera. These models are very small and light.
They are designed for people who enjoy outdoor sports and activities such as cycling, surfing, snowboarding and want to be able to capture videos with their hands-free.
Due to their compact size, they sometimes lack certain features such as an LCD screen.
Most of these cameras have accessories.