In the market for a 4K flip screen video camera that can deliver great image quality on YouTube?
4K Flip Screen Cameras: Not Much Out There
A few years ago, you could get selfie cameras for under $300. Most were low quality 720p resolution and generated less than stellar images you could brag about. The convenience of your smart phone along with social media outlets like Instagram helped spur this new “flip the camera around” mentality. Today, the Apple iPhone 7 is quite good to replace some DSLRs, even your video camera.
However, with smart phone cameras like that on the Apple iPhone, their small sensors doesn’t fare well with the different types of lighting situations you are going to be faced with. That’s where a higher end 4K camera dedicated to professional quality output comes in. If you are a YouTuber, using your 4K capable cell phone isn’t going to get you up to snuff with the other 4K kids on the block. Your videos will pale in comparison.
My Minimum Video Camera Requirements
Looking for a new 4K video camera, I sat down and came up with a list of my minimum requirements. Two of the most important things I wanted is the ability to flip the camera around and actually see myself being recorded. It is a total waste of time video recording yourself and doing multiple takes when you see you aren’t in the view.
Also, 4K video output is whats in. While most video on YouTube is being recorded and displayed at 1080p, the move for the future is 4K and above. It is no use using older technology when a newer one is building. You will just be wasting your money especially at this point in time at a high $1000+ price point.
- Flip up selfie screen
- 4K video recording
- 3x Zoom
- Image stabilization
- Lightweight under 1 pound
- Small form factor
- Tripod mountable
- Wi-Fi and USB 2.0 data transfer
- 64GB+ SDXC support
- Raw output
My Search for a 4K Video Camera
Given these requirements, I could not find very many digital cameras that had both the flip up style screen and which supports 4K recording.
The Canon G7 X, which many vloggers use today, falls short in the resolution category. It only supports 1080p but has the flip screen. Every vlogger on the planet swears by the G7 X and initially, this may be a great choice that would be my go to camera if I could not find one that would meet my requirements.
The Panasonic LX100 has come with great reviews. They have always been a favorite of mine, especially for the Lumix brand with Leica lenses. It has a small form factor and shoots in 4K. But unfortunately, they don’t support a flip screen either.
The Samsung NX500 has a flip screen and many people gave it a thumbs up. While I was doing more research on this, I found out that the company no longer produces it. That, is a no buy for me because you will have trouble getting support as well as parts and accessories.
Sony RX100 Series
Then there are the Sony RX100 IV and the new RX100 V. Both have flip up screens and 4K video support. They don’t come cheap but for meeting my requirements, these are worth noting. The new Sony RX100 V was just announced a few days ago and fixes issues lacking in the older IV model.
In particular, the autofocus (AF) has been improved for performance with the Fast Hybrid AF system at 24fps. The AF point coverage is now at 315 and covers 65% of the sensor. That should help in getting more of the subject in the shot under wide angle shoots. If you like shooting fast action sequences, this will be helpful to you.
On the IV for video recording, there was a 5 minute limit for shooting at 4K which to me was a very severe limitation. Why anyone would want to buy a $1000 camera that only lets you record a limited amount of footage is beyond me. Good news is, that limit no longer exists on the Mark V. This is a very good reason why if you are a vlogger that you should not purchase the RX100 IV and choose the RX100 V instead.
The Mark V can record 4K UHD at up to 30fps and Full HD 1080p at 60fps. If you want slow motion video in a very smooth fashion, it can do up to 960fps.
Given the above requirements, the choice is pretty clear to me that if you are looking for a 4K flip camera that shoots stills and video, the Sony RX100 V is the way to go. If you plan to shoot a lot of video for YouTube, the Mark V has set the new bar in vlogging gear.