5 Best 4K Camcorders Under $1,000

It is quite obvious that the best videos are not those recorded with an iPhone, but those that are recorded with an actual camcorder. Of course, the better quality the camcorder, the better quality the videos are going to be.

Unfortunately, most of the best cameras are going to run well over $1,000, which makes them pretty much unattainable to the average person who wants to capture their own videos. Well, we are here today to let you know that there are some pretty great 4K camcorders out there that shoot in 4K HD video, and they cost less than $1,000. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.

Sony FDRAX53/B 4K HD Video Recording Camcorder

When you want to shoot with the absolute best clarity, you really need to shoot in 4K Ultra HD, which is what you will be doing when you use the Sony FDRAX53/B video recording camcorder. This camera comes with a wide angle lens, along with a 20X zoom and the famous Sony Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology, so you always get great footage, no matter what you are shooting, and what conditions you are working under.

Features of Sony FDR/AX53

One of the best things about this camcorder is that you can capture the finest, tiniest details in perfect clarity, shooting in 4K full HD resolution. This camcorder has a newly-developed image sensor that has larger pixels (1.6 times larger) than most other sensors, which lets you capture perfect images every time, even in low light conditions. Some of the best features include:

  • Resolution – We love that we can use this camera to shoot 30p movies in 4K, or 60K movies in HD and enjoy full 1080 resolution. Footage is clear and crisp, and video quality is excellent. The XAVC Scodec makes the resolution even better.
  • Image Processor – If you want a camcorder that has a super-fast image processor, this is a great choice. This camcorder actually has one of the fastest processors in any camera that is available on the market today, the same processor that is used in Sony professional cameras.
  • SteadyShot Technology – Instead of a single shift lens that moves into the optical block, the technology in this camcorder moves the whole block, which means that the Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology is going to ensure that you get next to no camera shake for great video quality.
  • Zoom Lens – The ZEISS 26.8 mm lens gives you 20X optical zoom when shooting in 4K, along with the 30X Clear Image Zoom, so you can get good and close on your subject, even if you are shooting from a distance. Images will always come out looking wonderful.

Pros and Cons of Sony FDR/AX53

Pros

  • Auto Focus – You never have to worry about losing focus, or having to readjust the focus yourself, because this camcorder offers intelligent auto focus technology. Intelligent AF allows you to capture footage on the fly, and it can sense when you change things up and will automatically adjust focus, contrast, motion, and more so you always get the perfect shot.
  • Live Streaming – You can easily share your movies while you are recording them, without having to download and edit your footage. Use Ustream to live stream all of your videos, and you can even link to your social media to let people know your videos are live.

Cons

  • Image Stabilizer – One problem that we have found is that the image stabilizer will automatically shut itself off when you are using a tripod. This problem leads to shaky footage, and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Panasonic HC-VX981K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi Twin Camera

If you want to capture ultra-sharp footage in full 4K, Ultra HD resolution, the Panasonic HC-VX981K is a good camera for you to consider. It is loaded with features that make capturing great videos easy, even for beginners. You can even use it to do a lot of in-camera editing, so it isn’t always necessary for you to download your videos to edit them, and you won’t need a lot of expensive editing software. Some of the things you can do in-camera include post cropping, panning, zooming, and subject tracking stabilization.

Features of Panasonic HC-WXF991K

One of the coolest features this camcorder has to offer is the multi-camera scene picture-in-picture recording technology. To use this, all you have to do is add a Wi-Fi link to a mobile device camera, and you can use it with the camcorder to get this feature in your videos. While this isn’t something that you are likely to use all the time, it really is a handy little feature to have. Other features include:

  • HDR Mode – The HDR mode is an innovative feature that makes it easy to capture great quality videos, even in low light conditions. It helps to pick up highlights and shadows that many other camcorders cannot, so you always get a clear, crisp picture.
  • Lens – This camcorder has a Leica Dicomar lens that gives you a 20X optical zoom range. At the wide end it is the equivalent to the 35mm focal length of 30.8mm. The 20X zoom can be combined with the intelligence zoom to make it 25X when shooting in 4K, and 40X when shooting in full HD.
  • Multi-Camera Functionality – While this camcorder isn’t a twin camera in itself, it does have that capability when you connect a Wi-Fi connected mobile device. You can enjoy the picture-in-picture recording that will give a whole new depth to your videos.
  • Remote Control – When you are using the Wi-Fi functionality, you can use a remote control so you can control the camera even when you are not standing right next to it. You can even use it from a distance, so if you notice something awesome happening, you won’t miss it because the camera isn’t right in your hands.

Pros and Cons of Panasonic HC-WXF991K

Pros

  • In-Camera Editing – Enjoy using a variety of editing tools that let you do most of the editing as you go, without the need for extra software. The only downside is that you can’t save your edited videos in 4K. You can only do it at 1080p resolution.
  • Still Photos – We love that we can take regular photos with this camcorder. It’s not quite the same as a regular camera, but you can easily extract any still images you like from your video frames, and they are as high quality as any regular photos.

Cons

HDMI – When the camera is in Wi-Fi mode, there is no HDMI output, so you can’t control remotely when broadcasting in HDMI.

Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

Here is another camcorder that lets you capture amazing still photos as well as Ultra HD video. You can use those photos to insert into your videos, or just to have memories of all of your special moments to put into an album, frame, etc. The Panasonic HC-WXF991K is a 4K, ultra HD camcorder that has built-in Wi-Fi, and it even has a multi-scene twin camera function, so you can get picture-in-picture videos.

Features of HC-WXF991K

This camcorder is loaded with features that make it ideal for beginning video enthusiasts. One of the coolest features is the in-camera editing, which lets you use such cool effects as stabilization, dolly zoom, regular zoom, 4K post cropping, and many more. This is going to eliminate the need to go out and by expensive editing software. Other features include:

  • Flip-Out Display – Sometimes you need to move the camera in a variety of directions, but then you can’t see the display. That is not a problem with this camera, thanks to the flip-out display that lets you view from multiple angles.
  • Microphone – One problem with many built-in microphones is that they pick up too much external noise. The built-in microphone in this camera has a special wind reduction feature that gives you a much better sound quality for your videos.
  • Touch Screen – You can make all of your adjustments right on the convenient touch screen, without ever having to twist a focus ring or fiddle with other buttons. This makes re-focusing fast and easy, so you never miss a shot.
  • Exposure – Enjoy a dynamic exposure range that allows you to work in just about any lighting condition, including low light. The camera has an auto exposure feature that automatically senses when the lighting conditions change, and makes the appropriate adjustments for you.

Pros and Cons of HC-WXF991K

Pros

  • Great for Beginners – Even though this camera is loaded with features, it is easy to use, making it the ideal choice for beginners. It is lightweight, so you can even shoot handheld videos easily without a lot of camera shake.
  • Price – This is not an expensive camera when you compare it to other similar camcorders. It offers more features than many other cameras that are on the market in the same price range, and is similar in quality to many professional cameras.

Cons

  • Noise – One of the biggest drawbacks about using this camcorder is that when you are shooting in 4K, you may notice that there is a lot of noise in the picture. This can be edited out, but that is just adding more time to the process.

Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000

Sony has gone and done it again! Not only are they offering a terrific camcorder that is great for everyone from beginner to seasoned professional, they have also combined it with all of the accessories you will need to start shooting awesome videos right away. The Sony Acton Cam FDR-X3000 can be mounted to any flat surface, and even to your helmet, so it can easily be your on-the-go camera for capturing footage anywhere, and at any time.

Features of Sony FDR-X3000

Capture amazing images in 4K with this professional quality camcorder that is dustproof and waterproof to 197 feet (60 meters) when you use the handy underwater housing. This camcorder is loaded with features that make it easy to capture amazing videos, including a built-in stereo microphone with noise reduction. Other features include:

  • SteadyShot – This camcorder features the famous Sony Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology. You can get amazing images that are steady, crisp, and clear, even if you are shooting without the use of a tripod.
  • Underwater Housing – Often, you have to buy the underwater housing separately before you can take your camcorder into the water. The underwater housing is part of the package when you buy this camera, so you can take it into the water as soon as you get it.
  • Mounting – There are two mounts to use with this camcorder: a curved helmet mount and a flat surface mount. This allows you to set the camera up in a variety of positions, so you can capture video at interesting angles.
  • Memory – You can take more high resolution videos and photos, and do it faster, using the 64GB high-capacity micro SDXC 300X Class 10 USH-I memory card. The package also includes an SD adapter.

Pros and Cons of Sony FDR-X3000

Pros

  • Battery – This camera comes with a powerful NP-BX1 Lithium-Ion battery. It is rechargeable, and you have a spare, you will always have battery power when you need it. This battery tends to last longer than other lithium-ion batteries, for longer shooting time.
  • Accessories – The kit comes with the Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000, a Transcent 64GB memory card, a spare battery, two mounts, a camcorder case, a flexible compact mini tripod, a five-piece camera and lens cleaning kit, and a memory card case.

Cons

  • None – Not only do we have no issues with this camera, we have also noticed that there do not seem to be very many negative reviews. We can only assume that most people who use this camera are pleased with its performance.

GoPro HERO5 Black

If action and adventure is your specialty, and you are someone who is always on the move, a GoPro is a good option for you, particularly the HERO5. This camera shoots in awesome 4K video, and you can also capture 12MP still photos in single, burst, and time lapse modes. This is a durable and waterproof camera that you can take pretty much anywhere, and it is loaded with features that make creating great videos fun and easy.

Features of GoPro HERO5 Black

You can take this camera out in the rain without worrying about damaging it, and you don’t even need to use a housing. This camera is waterproof to 33 feet without a housing, so you can use it for many of your favorite water sports. The battery will give you up to 90 minutes of continuous 4K video recording. Other features include:

  • In-Camera Editing – You can do a lot of editing right on the camera, without having to download anything to your computer. Preview and play shots back, change the settings, and even trim footage, quickly and easily.
  • Voice Control – One of the coolest features is the voice control. Enjoy hands-free operation simply by using a few voice commands. This camera is likely going to be one of the easiest that you have ever used.
  • One-Button Control – All you have to do is press the shutter button to turn the camera and automatically begin recording everything around you. There are no additional buttons and settings to fiddle around with.
  • Uploading – If you get a GoPro Plus subscription, you can automatically upload all of your videos and photos right to the cloud, where it is easy to view, edit, and share, even while you are on the move.

Pros and Cons of GoPro HERO5 Black

Pros

  • Advanced Features – This camcorder is loaded with advanced features that are easy to use, and help you to create stunning videos. These features include 4K video and 12MP photos, RAW + WDR photos, exposure control, stereo sound, GPS location tagging, and more.
  • Price – While this camcorder may not have as many features as others we have talked about today, it is great for creating awesome videos, and it is easy to use. The best part is, you can get it for less than $400, where other cameras can cost double that or more.

Cons

Not Waterproof – This camera may be touted as being waterproof, but from what we can see, this is not always the case. Another problem is that if you do try and use it underwater and end up having problems, you may also have problems dealing with customer service to have the issue taken care of.

Conclusion

If you want to get into making your own YouTube videos, or you simply want to have fun making videos to share with family and friends, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get started. Any of the cameras we have discussed today will suit your needs perfectly, whether you are going to be shooting stationary videos and photos or want to get right in the middle of the action.

About the author

Nalin

I am an avid photographer and a few years back developed an interest in taking videos. I write on videography tips and review camcorders here on my website. In my free time, I like to hike, read books and play sports.

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