5 Best Camera Phones With 4K Video Recording
Phone cameras have come a long way; from VGA, all the way to 40 megapixel shooters. But it isn’t only the still imagery that has taken a futuristic leap. The video recording functionality is something that has transformed over the ages as well. With the advent of 4K or UHD TVs in the market and also video streaming website like YouTube and Vimeo supporting 4K content, the demand for 4K recorders has increased. Hence the smartphone manufacturers are now focusing on the high resolution video recording feature and the result is the 4K video shooting capability on many smartphones today.
4K is a 3840 x 2160p resolution which packs in more details, realistic colours and higher frame rates; in other words up scales the video quality. It has 4 times as many pixels as the 1080p resolution which by logic gives a better picture quality.
Today we will take a look at some of the best smartphones that deliver 4K video recording.
1. Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
The 16 MP camera on the Samsung S6 and S6 Edge both record videos at a resolution of 3840x2160p. By default, the video recording is set to 1920x1080p FHD quality and gives you the option to record 2560×1440 QHD videos and of course the 3840×2160 UHD or 4K videos. Shooting at 4K on the S6 will not provide features like HDR, video effects, taking pictures while recording and tracking autofocus. Most importantly the software image stabilization is also disabled when shooting at the highest video format, but the optical stabilization accounts for it. However the 4K recording on the device produces high quality videos with exceptional details at 30fps. It is by far one of the best 4K video recorder on a smartphone. The 2160p videos are recorded at 48Mpbs total bitrate and the audio is recorded at 256Kbps/48kHz and the maximum limit per clip is 5 minutes.
2. OnePlus One
One of the most talked about phones of 2014, the Oneplus One is not only a great phone but surprisingly provides 4K recording too. The 13 MP snapper is not too high on the megapixel scale but performs well in its league. Like we said earlier, the surprising element is the 4K recording option along with the first 4K DCI recording option, which is not seen on any smartphone as of now. The DCI or Direct Cinema Initiatives format is what the professional cinema cameras use while recording in 4K. Unlike the resolution on 4K UHD which is 3840x2160p, the 4K DCI format is a true 4096×2160p resolution packing more details and an amazing dynamic range. The 4K DCI records at cinematic 24 fps with a bitrate of an incredible 63 Mbps. Audio has a higher bitrate of 190 Kbps and the same sampling rate of 48 kHz. While the normal 4K UHD video records at a bitrate of 57 Mbps and shoots at a constant 29 fps. The Audio is recorded in stereo at a high 189 Kbps bitrate and 48 kHz sampling rate. Optical image stabilizer is missing on this device and will compel you to shoot with a tripod.
3. LG G4
This flagship phone by LG has a 16 MP shooter and it is one the most advanced cameras on the smartphone market right now. It has a big 1/2.6″ sensor and is positioned behind a wider f/1.8 lens. The video camera tops out 2160p resolution videos at 30fps. The device uses 30Mbps bitrate and 156Kbps of audio which creates good stereo audio. The company claims that the quality of the videos have a good dynamic range and excellent color rendering. The 4K video recording on the LG G4 supports (OIS) optical image stabilization and gives steady, smooth and crisp videos. The device can even send 4K content to HDMI-enabled TV for direct viewing it on a big screen.
4. HTC One M9+
The HTC One M9+ has a 20 MP shooter and an extra 2.1 MP camera both placed at the back. This duo camera feature is capable of capturing a lot more details and adds many extra features. The 4K recording gives a resolution of 3840x2176p and the total bitrate is 39.5Mbps. The HTC One M9+ records a maximum 6-minute video length per clip, a minute higher than the Samsung S6/S6 Edge. The M9+ has a narrow field of view (FoV) as compared to other smartphones cameras.
5. Sony Z3
Sony has always stayed ahead of many smartphone manufacturers in terms of camera performance and the Sony Z3 was one of first successful smartphones to equip 4K recording feature. The 20.7 MP shooter with a large 1/2.3” sensor size records 2160p videos at 30fps. The UHD videos are recorded at a bitrate of 55Mbps with the audio track bitrate at 156 Kbps. The audio capturing quality is impressive with the support of noise-cancelling dual microphone setup. The videos recorded at maxed out resolution are quite sharp and carries enough details. The ISO range on the phone which is upto 12800 makes it shoot excellent videos in low light conditions.
A new entrant in the 4K camera smartphone segment is the new Moto Turbo. The Moto Turbo houses a 21MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. Motorola has launched a good camera phone after a really long time and the testimony to that fact is this phone’s capability to shoot 4K videos. The 4K recording on this device produces strong details even at a lower frame rate of 24 FPS. It is odd to see that it does not shoot at 30fps in 4K resolution even after the Snapdragon 805 could certainly handle it. The audio recording is not as good as many other 4K smartphone recorders but does a decent job and can be lived with.
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To sum it up, 4K recording is finding its compatibility on almost all smartphones today. The simple reason why most users do not shoot in 4K that often is the lack of 4K content displays in many households. Though it is becoming increasingly popular amongst many video enthusiasts on the internet. It is important to note that the 4K recording does require a good processor and a lot of storage, as the files are very heavy in size packing more details in it. One tip that should be given out for those who want to shoot in 4K is to shoot on a tripod and to switch it back to normal HD recording once you’re done.