The 4K Resolution Revolution

Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K

For those invested in Canon lenses, you have another much more affordable option in the Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K with a Super 35mm-sized sensor (21.12×11.88mm). The dedicated video solution can capture Ultra HD in compressed ProRes 422 or CinemaDNG RAW video, which, much like a RAW still file, offers very high image quality and more leverage in editing, especially when adding effects or working with computer graphics like greenscreen. The Canon EF-compatible lens mount will communicate with electronic Canon EF lenses for TTL metering and abilities. The BMPC captures to solid-state drives that can be removed to work with files from a computer while they’re still on the drive. It also includes the highly regarded DaVinci Resolve color-grading software. List Price: $3,995.

The JVC GY-HMQ10 camcorder will record up to two hours of 4K video to affordable and readily available SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Delivering Ultra HD resolution at 24p, 50p or 60p frame rates, the system also captures HD at 60i/60p and 50p/50i. Live 4K productions can be live-streamed (the system works by splitting the signal output through four HDMI terminals), and there are two XLR connectors with phantom power for working with audio. You’ll also find pro features like focus assists, manual and auto control of focus, iris, gain, shutter, gamma, color matrix and white balance. List Pr
ice: $4,995.

GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

One of the most affordable 4K camera solutions available is the diminutive GoPro HERO3 Black Edition, but the only full-resolution frame rates available are 15 fps, 12 fps and 12.5 fps for adding slow-motion effects. That being said, there are a number of frame rates available for HD video, and the camera is designed as a durable video camera that can be placed almost anywhere, making it an ideal choice as a B-camera for 4K projects. List Price: $399.

With pricing to match, RED cameras are designed for use by professional filmmakers. The latest DRAGON sensor actually will capture video at up to 6K resolution at 6144×3160. The RED SCARLET X is the most affordable option from the company to offer 4K, but a body purchase requires a number of extra items to be able to piece together the dedicated cinema systems, like RED’s very expensive lenses and the REDMAG solid-state drives. This modular design allows you to adapt the camera body as technology advances. RED also manufactures the very first 4K-capable camcorder, the RED ONE, as well as the RED EPIC. List Price: $7,950 (SCARLET-X, BRAIN only); $725 (REDMAG 1.8-inch SSD drive).

Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MA6 20-inch tablet


There has been a lot of criticism of 4K televisions, since you have to be sitting very close to a display to notice the heightened resolution and sharpness. People sit very close to computer displays and tablets, however, and with affordable options finally available on the market, they’re quickly becoming some of the most exciting ways to enjoy 4K material. Currently, the only options for full 4K resolution are professional editing monitors available from Panasonic, Sony, TVLogic and a few others, though these systems cost tens of thousands of dollars. Right now, UHD systems are available at much more accessible pricing.

The 28-inch PB287Q from ASUS is one of the most affordable 4K display options around at an expected street price of $799. At the same resolution of 3840×2160, ASUS also offers the larger 31.5-inch PQ321Q display with dual HDMI ports instead of the single HDMI connection you’ll find in the PB287Q, though the price is much higher (see the Apple entry).

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