Cameras with 4K video capability are usually quite expensive because they are mostly designed for professional use. However, they are getting cheaper due to advancements in technology and the stiff competition between big brands. The dream of having a 4K camera without costing a fortune is finally becoming a reality. In this guide, we are going to review the best 4K camera under 500 besides some other terrific models to choose from.
Why Do You Need a 4K Video Camera?
4K resolution enables you to record breathtaking, natural-looking videos. Similarly, a high-resolution camera will further improve your content if you are a YouTuber or a vlogger who has to record a lot of videos and capture countless stills. The possibilities are endless if you have a 4K camera.
Now, what is 4K resolution? 4K is equal to 3840 x 2160 pixels with total pixels amounting to 8.3 million. The videos recorded in 4k are nine and four times clearer and sharper than those in 720P HD and 1080P HD respectively. Therefore, a single 4K camera can do the work of 9 720P cameras.
Similarly, you can display 4K videos on substantially larger screens without sacrificing details. The 4K contents would be the clearest and most vibrant when you broadcast them on standard or HD definition as well. The 4K camera can produce more details than any HD camera when you crop an ultra-HD image to HD (1080P).
You have better control over 4K images in post-production. Some of the other advantages include minimum noise, extra zoom, and better stabilization. In simple words, it is a delight to shoot in 4K.
Best 4K Video Cameras under 500
The following are the best affordable cameras with 4K capability according to our experts.
|Image||Model Name||Form Factor||Megapixels||Check Price|
Panasonic Lumix FZ80
Panasonic Lumix FZ300
GoPro Hero8 Black
YI Action and Sports
Panasonic Lumix LX10
Dragon Touch 4K Action
1. Panasonic Lumix FZ80: Best 4K Camera under 500
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is one of the most popular point and shoot cameras on Earth. It is a lightweight and affordable camera, perfect for travel, outdoor, and nature photography. It has many rather advanced feature that makes it an ideal choice for people who are shifting from smartphones to a proper digital camera.
FZ80 not only has 4K video capabilities but also exclusive 4K photos at blistering 30fps. Moreover, the powerful 18.1 megapixel camera results in clear and sharp photos. It is also a superzoom camera (120-1200mm), allowing you to capture extremely distant objects with convenience without sacrificing the image quality. Similarly, the lower zoom also captures spectacular landscapes.
The low light performance of the camera is very impressive. The best feature of the camera is “Post Focus” which allows you to set focus points after taking the picture, offering you greater creative freedom.
Panasonic’s POWER O.I.S technology compensates for the camera shakes and reduces image blurs. The camera has a simple design with an ergonomic grip and therefore, it fits easily in your hand.
The rear 3-inch touchscreen and 1170K-dot viewfinder give excellent performance even in the bright sunlight.
Available for just $400, Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is indeed the cheapest 4K camera you can find on the market. But – don’t be fooled by its price. It is a powerful camera with impressive zoom range, brilliant 4K video, and superb image quality.
2. Panasonic Lumix FZ300: Best Digital Camera under 500
Panasonic Lumix FZ300 is an ideal camera for you if you are in search of a superzoom camera. It comes with a 24x (25-600mm) zoom range that enables you to capture moon crates and airplanes flying at 40000 feet in great detail. Similarly, it is also a perfect camera for travel, wildlife, and landscape photos due to its zoom.
FZ3000 records 4K videos at 30fps and comes with blazing quick autofocus. The continuous shooting speed of 12fps means you can easily catch even the fastest of action. The burst speed is, in fact, 5fps faster than an average DSLR.
The camera has an excellent electronic viewfinder and 3-inch free-angle rear touchscreen for the better composition of your images. Similarly, the touchscreen has swivel capability for vertical compositions and selfies.
FZ300 features Panasonic’s Depth-From-Defocus (DFD) Autofocus that tracks and focuses the subject quickly in one sweet movement. The camera also enhances the performance of continuous focus while recording videos.
Another great feature of the camera is 5-stop image stabilization that compensates for five types of movements while shooting with one hand. The 12.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor coupled with Venus Engine produces crisp and sharp images. The minimum focusing distance of 1cm also creates stunning macro shots.
The camera has a rugged as well as splash and dustproof design. Therefore, you can easily use it in challenging environments and harsh weather conditions.
Available for just $500, Panasonic Lumix FZ3000 offers tremendous value for money. You cannot expect all of the above features in such a cheap camera, also making it the best camera for video under 500 dollars.
3. Sony DSC-HX99 4K Compact Camera: Best Compact 4K Camera under 500
Sony DSC-HX99 is not only an affordable camera but is a great option for travel and outdoor photography because of its compact size. Despite its small size, it offers a whopping 30x zoom and 180° tilting touchscreen for amazing images and spectacular videos.
The camera records 4K videos at 60fps and normal High Definition 1080P videos at 120fps for super slow-motion recording.
The image quality is the best you can get in this price range thanks to the powerful 18.2 megapixels Exmor R CMOS sensor. The images have excellent details and delicate textures as well. The camera also takes fantastic low light images using its ISO range of 80-6400. Similarly, you can shoot RAW images.
DSC-HX99 makes it a breeze to take selfies because of its 180° 3-inch tilting touchscreen. What separates this camera from the competition is the Eye Autofocus that detects and focuses on the subject’s eyes automatically. You can shift focus easily using the LCD as a touchpad for the electronic viewfinder.
The continuous shooting speed of 10 fps is quite impressive. Furthermore, you can shoot 155 images in one shot. You can take 370 shots with a full charge which is on the lower side in our opinion. It is better to keep a spare battery with you when you have to shoot for a whole day outdoors.
It is easy to transfer your photos and files using the built-in Bluetooth, WI-FI, and NFC. Wi-Fi enables you to remotely control the camera while NFC establishes a quick connection with smartphones.
4. GoPro Hero8 Black: Best Action 4K camera under 500
GoPro makes the best action cameras in the world and the GoPro Hero8 is no exception. It packs a lot of features and functions that make it a great action camera. For example, you can easily carry the camera thanks to the integrated loops at the bottom. The pocket-size camera can become your number one travel companion as well.
The camera allows 4K recording at a whopping 60 frames per second. Furthermore, it captures 1080P high-definition videos at 240fps for super slow motion videos. The 12 megapixel sensor ensures images of the highest quality with improved HDR.
The waterproof action camera works perfectly under up to 33 feet of water. It also excels in different situations as it comes with 4 different lenses.
The best feature of GoPro Hero8 is HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization which improves greatly on its predecessor, the GoPro 7. Three levels of image stabilization that are On, High, and Boost steadies the images in various conditions. For example, it boosts the stabilization while recording video or taking wide-angle shots.
The excellent image stabilization also improves the time-lapse function. Now, you can record time lapse videos while shooting images or videos. Similarly, it is possible to revert to the real-time recording right in the middle of time lapse.
You can also broadcast your videos live on social media while recording in 1080P. Furthermore, different kinds of media modes such as Display Mode and Light Mode enhance the quality of your vlogs and videos such as improving the audio performance.
In short, GoPro Hero8 is one of the best 4K cameras under 500 to get in 2021 for its excellent video quality and superb image stabilization.
5. YI Action and Sports Camera: Best Budget Action Camera with 4K
YI Action and Sports should be your choice if you need an affordable sports camera with a 4K option. It is a small and compact camera that delivers fantastic 12 MP RAW images, 720P videos at 240fps, 1080P at 120fps, and 4K at 30fps thanks to the Sony IMX377 image sensor. Similarly, it can take smooth yet stunning 2.7K images at 60fps.
YI also has a long battery life, allowing you to record 120 minutes of 4K video at full charge. The high sensitivity and high retina touchscreen with 330ppi offers an intuitive shooting experience. The screen cannot develop scratches owing to 2.19 inches of protective Gorilla glass.
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) easily detects changes in motion and position thanks to the 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope respectively. EIS also compensates for camera shakes, movements, tilts, and impacts to deliver stable and steady videos.
The brilliant YI app enables you to easily edit your images like a professional and share them with your friends and family. The app has especially been designed for professionals but is simple enough for beginners to use as well.
6. Panasonic Lumix LX10: Best Video Camera under 500
Panasonic Lumix LX10 is yet another best HD video camera under 500 for its amazing set of features. The powerful 20.1 megapixel LEICA DC VARIO-SU millimeter ILUX lens delivers pristine image quality. Similarly, the built-in optical image stabilization superbly compensates for camera shakes as well.
The 3X zoom (24-72mm) makes it a great point and shoot camera for landscapes, panoramas, and group photography. However, the 3-inch and 180° rear touchscreen also helps you take beautiful selfies.
Just like Lumix FZ80, the Lumix LX10 records 4K videos at 30fps with an exclusive 4K option. The post focus feature allows you to set the focus points after taking the photos.
One of the perks of having Lumix LX10 is its focus control ring that enables manual focusing of the subjects. It also gives you the feeling of using a DLSR camera. Furthermore, the minimum focusing distance of 3cm creates spectacular macro shots, even when handheld.
Other notable features of the camera are USB charging and Wi-Fi connectivity. Similarly, USB 2.0 micro-B and HDMI ports provide other options to connect your camera.
All in all, Panasonic Lumix LX10 is the best 4K camera under 500 for average users.
7. Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera: Best 4K Professional Camera
Finally, we have Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera on our list. It allows you to capture exciting moments with ease thanks to its 16 megapixel sensor. Similarly, it offers professional 4k video at 30fps. You can also record in full HD 1080P at 60fps and capture images at 2.7K at 30fps.
The zoom range of 4X is good enough to shoot images underwater. The camera comes with wireless remote control that you can put on your wrist. You can also install the camera on your head, enabling you to reach difficult places conveniently. The remote has a wireless range of 33 meters but it is not waterproof.
The camera itself is waterproof for up to 30 meters. The action camera is perfect for watersports like swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing, etc.
It features a 2” screen for convenient framing of the subjects. The Wi-Fi range of 33 feet makes it a breeze to share your photos with your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Dragon Touch 4K also comes with several free accessories such as a charger and 2 rechargeable batteries.
The camera has various shooting modes such as driving mode, loop recording, time-lapse, image rotation, slow motions, white balance, exposure, and drama shot. Therefore, you can apply this camera to many different situations.
The only problem with the camera is that it struggles to read SD cards sometimes.
How to Buy the Best 4K camera?
You can find a huge number of 4K cameras on the market. But – 4K cameras under 500 are quite rare. The low price also means they would compromise on some features and functions. Still, you should look for a few factors while buying the best 4K camera under 500.
Frames per Second
High frames per second or fps are crucial while shooting in 4K. Budget cameras usually have 4K at 30/20fps. However, GoPro Hero8 Shoots 4K at a massive 60fps. Professional filmmakers usually use high resolution with lower fps and vice versa depending on the situation and type of filmography.
Most cameras store images in JPEG, the most common file format in the world. However, JPEG does not store full information of the image. For example, it compresses the photo by reducing its pixels. The raw format stores the image with the full detail without sacrificing anything. It also helps you in post-production or while editing the images.
Image stabilization is necessary for 4K cameras. Otherwise, they cannot capture sharp and clear images. Even the slightest camera movement can ruin your pictures and therefore, your camera should have built-in image stabilization. Optical image stabilization shifts the subject with the lens to minimize blurs. Electronic image stabilization has low image quality but little to no blurs. Action cameras like GoPro Hero8 widely use EIS.
4K videos and images occupy more space than Full HD. The camera’s memory is usually insufficient to store all 4K files. Therefore, you should buy a camera with a micro SD slot for additional memory cards.
The 4K camera under 500 dollars should have excellent built quality. It is even better if it is water, dust, and shockproof. All the action cameras have these features because they are widely used for adventure photography. However, other types of cameras should also have these features.
Any camera you choose should have a high level of autonomy to make your life easier. For example, you can control some cameras with remote control using your smartphone or tablet. Similarly, the camera should have good autofocus and an LCD screen to better preview your shot.
All the modern cameras have built-in Wi-Fi, enabling you to easily connect your camera to smartphones and tablets or share your content on social media. Some cameras even allow you to go live while recording. Similarly, many cameras also have Bluetooth and NFC. These are essential attributes if you regularly update your image on the internet.
The best 4K camera under 500 dollars is hard to come by. However, we have tried to include the best budget 4K cameras in our list for you. These cameras do not only offer 4K resolution but a host of other features, enabling you to take stunning photographs and videos without spending a lot of money.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best camera for under 500 dollars?
You can find many good cameras for under 500 dollars such as Panasonic Lumix FZ80 or Nikon a5100. Similarly, different cameras have different functions and features. You must research thoroughly to find a sub-$500 camera according to your budget, requirements, and the type of photos you want to take.
- What is a good cheap camera for beginners?
It depends on your requirements and preferences. You can buy a decent DSLR camera for less than 500 dollars such as Sony RX 100 and Nikon D3400. The former camera is incredibly cheap whereas the latter has an excellent “beginner mode.” Similarly, point and shoot cameras such as Panasonic Lumix FZ80 are also great for beginners.