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Cheap 4K camera 2019 suggestions
  • I need a 4K camera mainly for vlogging and interviews and have a selection of M43 lenses, so M43 cameras are my top priority but I'm open to other platforms as well. I don't care about RAW, S-log and other pro features, simple MP4 will do the job. I just need some crop headroom for 1080 delivery. I only have two major requirements:

    1. No time limit for recording.
    2. No moire.

    As far as I understand all newer Panasonic cameras don't have an AA filter - so that's a no go. Shame, shame, shame, Panasonic, back in the days you were cool not following stupid trends. So, my own search yielded a second hand G7 as the best candidate. It has time limit but it can be removed via hidden menu tricks. GH4 fits my criteria, too, but it's more expensive.

    Anything else I can look upon?

    PS I've checked webcams, too, but even top Logitecs 4K models have digital zoom only - uh-oh.

  • 10 Replies sorted by
  • @zigizigi

    AA filter is always tuned to native photo resolution, if present.

    I also suggest to focus on GH series if you want to get only one body, as in future you could connect cheap recorder or monitor.

  • @zigizigi

    You could go for the GH5 and / or the GH5s - In VLOG they are quite moiré stable (not perfect - but still quite good and kind of the best in the Micro 4/3 system). Both are also coming without any time limit for recording, quite good handling and also quite long battery runtime.

    Alternatively you could also check out the Fuji X-T3 or the brand new way cheaper X-T30. The X-Trans sensor is quite moiré stable (I own the X-T3 btw. and went for it, due to the moiré stability - I need it too for interviews of people in suits and fine structured dresses). When using the intra mode (4K 10 bit H.265 up to 30P with interframe noise reduction set to ON) you get a VERY stable image. One of the best images moiré stable wise I´ve ever seen. But even in the other modes you still get a better image than on the Panasonic GH5 and GH5s models.

    The X-T30 also uses the same processing and full sensor scaling as the X-T3. You could even go for an external headphone over the USB-C port. But the biggest limitation there: Battery runtime and the missing unlimited time recording internally. What you could do though is: You could use an external recorder. That way you even get 4:2:2 10bit over the HDMI port - On both. The X-T3 and the X-T30. But I never tried this til now - So take this with a grain of salt. The X-T3 ran over 3 hours though without overheating (changed battery two times as one only lasts about an hour). So at least the X-T3 offers quite good temperature stability.

    Btw.: Forget about the GH4. Its "ok". But a present aliasing filter doesn´t mean, that the recording is moiré free. The newer generations (without aliasing filters) have WAY better processing and due to the full sensor scaling alot of the moiré issues are also removed by the scaling process anyways. Final result is therefor often BETTER than on the older cameras. The G7 and G85 are btw. both not moiré stable either. The G85 especially (the G7 is better according that aspect).


  • So you can forget about a lot of these because of time-limit/overheating. The G7 will occasionally overheat but it is pretty rare. As it gets older the soft heat pad wears out and you can put a bigger one in. Other than that, it's a good choice, lightweight, etc. Silent but no IS.
    Fuji--good picture, has time limit. So X. Sure, you can use an external recorder. Then there is the GX85, small, a bit heavier adds IS and a bit better IQ than the G7, especially color, Can hack CineD which is crap but whatever.
    Next up is the G85 which adds IS and weather sealing and you can add a clone battery grip which totally rocks because you can set it up with one fake battery and one real battery and use the real battery as a UPS. You can also use two batteries for longer events. Better IQ than than the GX85 but the difference is marginal. The flip LCD is a big bump up over the GX85.
    Then there's the GH5 which is basically the same as the G85 (yes, I know). Aaaand the Sony 6400. No IS. Rocking focus and IQ. OK so you have these cams, you have some lenses, which ones have the best moiré and stairstepping resistance?
    Well, it depends on the source material and the colors. Different textures trigger these cams in different ways. But, overall, the a6400 is the winner here followed by the the GH5. The GX85 and the G85 have a similar IQ to the GH5, but the GH5 is ever so slightly resistant to moiré. For my purposes, the price, quality and features of the G85 make it very useful but different cams for different situations.
    If you look at text charts, a lot of these are B&W. You have to test the moiré using different color patterns. Having said that, the real way to avoid it is to not film stuff that sets it off. Buy some new clothes without stripes and polka dots.
    For me, the price, weather sealing, flip out LCD and most of all the dual IS of the G85 outweigh the slight moiré advantage of the Sony. But the Sony a6400 is a very good camera. For camcorders, there's the a700. Super camcorder.
    You didn't mention audio but several of the Sony's have 16 bit or better audio. It's all crap, anyway, the audio on cameras, you can get decent results on any of them with a good mic and some basic techniques for mic placement.
    Note that is some online reviews, the Sonys are rated that they produce more detail and also more moiré. This is true for high contrast subjects like B&W star charts. IMHO to draw a conclusion from B&W test patterns is in this case a bit misleading. Mixed color subjects is a different story, and, here, it really depends on what you are filming.

  • You can't out-cheap the YI M1. I'm not sure about the AA filter but you have 4k and 4:3 "2k" video modes off the GX8-era 20Mpx sensor. If only they'd re-up the firmware another time or two (or open it up!).

  • what's cheap ? ....the pany fz300 for 400bucks is cheap

  • My idea of cheap was below $700. I have eventually ended up buying a used but mint G80. Moire is not a problem in video, however it manifests itself in stills. All PAL/NTSC framerates out of the box without service menu hacks, HDMI output even while recording. No time limits in 4K (Russian market version). Everything I need + IBIS which I don't need much but it's still nice to have. I'm happy with it.

  • I have a G80 and have never seen any moire issues with stills, but you might get it from time to time in video modes. Moire can be reduced by various shooting techniques like varying the lens focal length (zoom) or distance between the subject and the camera. Also, don't trust the output on the built-in screen as that can show loads of moire that doesn't exist in the finished image.

  • Then there's the GH5 which is basically the same as the G85 (yes, I know).

    Wait, what?

  • i got a Zcam E1 for 100 dollars used, its basically a GH4

  • @pureaxis

    Where is such place?