The bottom line is that to at least some extent, all 4K cameras, from DSLRs to video production cameras, are capable of both taking photos and shooting video at least to some degree. Thus, to keep things simple, we need to distinguish between two basic kinds of 4K camera category that exist on the market today.
The first are video production cameras. These include models such as the Black Magic Production Camera and very well known Red Scarlet X. They are designed for full blown cinematic video production, of commercials, movies, documentaries and whatever else. They can also take superb still shots but their main design features are oriented far more towards filming movies in studio or field settings.
With very few exceptions, cinematic production cameras are not only not cheap but are also designed with professional cinematographers in mind.
After film production cameras, come the DSLR/Hybrid cameras. The DSLRs basically look and feel just like any other high end DSLR from Sony or Nikon but with their far greater 4K resolution and associated features. The hybrids on the other hand, such as the Canon EOS 1D-C, are cameras that could easily double as lite versions of serious video production cameras while still having the easy to carry and maneuver body designs of their smaller DSLR cousins. Thus, they’re hybrids, because while any 4K DSLR has video shooting ability, they take it to a higher level while also being designed for flexible photo taking.
Finally, we should mention camcorder style 4K cameras such as the Sony FDR-AX100. These are basically hand held small camcorders but with the power and video development features of much more powerful 4K film cameras. While they too can take beautiful still shots, they’re mainly designed for amateur mobile 4K video recording on a budget much smaller than the cost of a full 4K video camera.
What is 4K camera Technology?
4K camera technology, just like the 4K capacities of TVs and 4k projectors gives the cameras which have it the ability to take extremely detailed photo or video shots with a minimal resolution of 3,840 x 2160 pixels and more commonly an industry standard resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels at a 1.9:1 aspect ratio.
All 4K cameras are capable of shooting video in these resolution settings but some can also take still shots at a much higher 5K resolution of 5120 x 2700 or even larger resolutions of 8K or higher in some rare cases. A notable example being the RED Scarlet X video production camera. These resolutions are possible due to specialized internal pixel shrinking technology and very powerful processors built into all such cameras. Many brands even have multiple processors running simultaneously for the sake of rendering such immensely clear resolutions.
In essence, when you film 4K video content with a camera that’s capable of rendering it, you’re creating native 4K content that you can later display on a UHD TV or 4k monitor under the same crystal clear resolution.
In addition to their enormously powerful resolution, all digital 4K cameras include a whole host of other photo/video features designed to make the most of their innate resolution power. While these developments vary between DSLR/Hybrid cameras and full scale professional video production cameras, they include capacities such as very large sensor sizes, numerous types of manual and automatic focus control, extremely powerful ISO settings and powerful internal processing software.
How Much Do 4K Cameras Cost?
4K cameras can vary in price enormously depending on what you’re looking for and which major type you choose. Full scale video production cameras like the above mentioned Black Magic or the RED Scarlet X will easily cost you $10,000 or more if you also buy all their needed attachments. On the other hand, hybrid cameras like the Canon EOS 1D-C can also take a solid 10 grand out of your bank account.
On the other hand, 4K DSLR cameras and mini camcorders, both of which are capable of shooting some absolutely spectacular 4K photos and videos will cost you anywhere from $800 to $4000 dollars. Still expensive in some cases, but much cheaper than their video production counterparts.
Furthermore, we should now also add that many flagship smartphones offer up 4K video recording that’s steadily getting more robust. This includes the ability to shoot UHD video at reasonable frame rates of 30fps (comparable to the frame rate of many 4K stand-alone cameras) and great light capture and color. One particular example of this technology is the iPhone 6S Plus, which has even been used to record professional documentaries with just its 4K video camera being used. In simple terms, some of the best value for your dollar on the market is found in these types of recording devices. You’re already getting your hands on a premium smartphone, which you need, and can also get a lot of the core benefits of ultra HD video recording.