What is a 4K camera
4K resolution describes devices and content of horizontal resolution of over 4000 pixels. Industry-standards 4K resolution stands at 4096 x 2160 pixels with an aspect ratio if 1.9:1. A 4K camera is one that is capable of capturing both images and video of very high detail, at a minimum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It can record videos at the same resolution and capture still images at even higher resolutions of 5K, 5120 x 2700 pixels. The Red Scarlet-X video production camera is one such device with such resolutions. Apart from the 4K feature, these cameras do not differ greatly from their high definition (HD) predecessors. They are almost similar in design, build, size, features, and user settings.
How it works
To achieve these extremely high resolutions, manufacturers have the designed 4K camera with advanced technology capable of shrinking pixels, as well as equipping them with powerful processors that are able to render these resolutions seamlessly. Some 4K cameras may have more than one processor, and this is to ensure the video recording experience is smooth and flawless. One of the notable positives of shooting videos with these cameras is that when they capture native 4K videos, the same can be viewed on ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs or 4K monitors with no pixel distortion.
Strengths and Drawbacks
High resolution video is not enough to set a 4K camera apart from the rest. Alongside this capability, they also pack additional features that support both video and images, in order to maximize on the high resolutions that the cameras have to offer. Such features include significantly powerful ISO settings, both high and low, to work with different lighting conditions, large format image sensors, and a wide array of both auto and manual focus controls. One shortcoming, however, is that many of these cameras cannot record 4K resolutions internally. They require additional external recorders to achieve the same. This may lead to an increase in the costs of acquiring the camera and additional accessories, as well as making the camera rig more complex when the accessories are added.
The price of the cameras varies depending on the brand and user needs. However, if one opts for the full scale camera to shoot 4K videos, then the price of the camera and additional accessories may be well over $10,000. There are also some hybrid cameras such as the Canon EOS 1D-C, which costs up to $10,000 dollars. Smaller camcorders and DSLR cameras capable of achieving the same 4K resolutions cost anywhere between $2000-$4000. The choice of purchasing either of the two categories of cameras may depend on the intended use and budget. The Sony FDR-AX100 and the Panasonic GH4 camcorders are a cheaper 4K option for non-professional video shooting.