Why shoot 4K video at 60fps?
The standard playback for video is 29.7fps, so why would you want to shoot at 60fps? Essentially because it gives you more flexibility. Footage captured at 60fps gives you smoother playback at 29.7/30fps and it also gives you the option to produce slow motion footage.
At 60fps it’s only half speed, but the slow motion effects you can produce are still quite cool!
If you try slowing down your 4K video shot at 30fps you’ll notice that it looks less fluid, kind of staccato – to borrow a musical term – whereas slowed down footage captured at 60fps has more frames and looks smoother.
Think of it this way: if you record 1 second of 4K video at 60fps you are capturing double the number of frames as you would at 30fps. So when you slow your 4K 60fps video down to half speed, that 1 second stretches out to 2 seconds.
The best cameras for shooting 4K @ 60fps video
So which cameras can shoot 4K video at 60fps? We’ve rounded up the best consumer cameras for 4K 60p footage to help with your filmmaking.
Videographers will be pleased to learn that there’s unlimited 4K video recording – most cameras can only record in bursts of up to 29minutes and 59 seconds. There’s also a choice between MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD formats at a variety of frame rates, the system frequency can be set to 59.94Hz, 50.00Hz or 24.00Hz.
With GH5 it’s possible to shoot 4096 x 2160 4K at 24p (or 3840 x 2160 4K at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p with no cropping), 4:2:2 10-bit Full HD (1080p) recording and 4K 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra MP4/MOV (apart from at 60/50p) and Full HD 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra recording. The step-up from 8-bit to 10-bit recording vastly increases the range of colours that can be recorded.
In addition, there’s a Waveform Monitor and Vector Scope to meet the needs of professional videographers. This embeds SMPTE-compliant Time Code with Rec Run or Free Run counting to aid with multiple device synchronisation.
A firmware update has also added high-resolution Anamorphic Video Mode and Hybrid Log Gamma for 4K HDR Video (for playback on HDR compatible televisions).
It’s also possible to add V-LogL recording via an optional software key (DMW-SFU1), with LUT (Look Up Table) and V-LogL View Assist to help experienced videographers get the colour and contrast they want.
Further good news for video shooters is that the GH5 can output live to an external recorder and simultaneous internal (there are dual SD card ports) and external recording is possible. Plus there’s an optional adaptor (DMW-XLR1) to allow an XLR microphone to be used for sound recording.
Fujifilm has taken a big leap forward with video for the X-T3. The headline spec is 4K/60P 4:2:2 10bit recording to an HDMI device. However, there’s also 4K/60P 4:2:0 10bit internal recording to an SD card. It’s even possible to record both simultaneously.
What’s more, video can be recorded in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or H.265/HEVC. The bit rate can be set to 200Mbps for 4K/60P 4:2:0 10bit recording. The compression can be set to All-Intra (4K/29.97P, 25P, 24P, 23.98P, and FHD/59.94P, 50P, 29.97P, 25P, 24P, 23.98P when H.265/HEVC is selected. Not compatible with H.264.)or Long GOP (4K/29.97P, 25P, 24P or 23.98P). And when ALL-Intra is used the bitrate can be set to 400Mbps.
F-Log recording is also possible and can be used when recording video internally or externally. Fujifilm has also reduced the minimum sensitivity for shooting footage in F-Log and with the Dynamic Range (DR) set to 400% to ISO640.
Fujifilm claims that a new noise reduction process along with 4K Interframe Noise Reduction reduces the level of noise visible at ISO 12800 by around 2EV.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 4K features a 4/3 sensor that provides 13 stops of dynamic range and can capture 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW cinema 4K at 60fps and full HD video at up to 120fps, as well as 10-bit Apple ProRes 422. Oh, and it only costs £1,000/$1,000.
That alone is worth the price tag, but there’s so much more inside this stellar camera that make it even more of a bargain. Let’s talk about its Dual Native ISO.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K boasts two gain circuits behind each photo site. Each of these is optimised for ISO 400 and 3200.
In a single ISO system, when you increase your ISO setting in low light you are effectively taking a stop from the bottom of your dynamic range and losing info from the shadows. In a dual system like the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, the gain curve resets once you get to ISO 1250 and you’re then getting similar shadow performance as if you were shooting at ISO 100.
There’s also Blackmagic’s Extended Video Mode, which is sort of a halfway house between Film and Video modes. You don’t have to grade footage shot in Extended Video Mode, but it provides an increased dynamic range and pulls back some of the highlight clipping, particularly when shooting wider scenes.
GoPro Hero6 Black
With the Hero6 Black GoPro kept the resolution at the same maximum of 4K as in the Hero5, but pushed the frame rates to 60fps (from 30fps), and boosted 1080p to 240fps. GoPro basically double the headline frame rates of the previous generation.
What this means in real terms is that you can now shoot slow motion footage that will stretch 1 second of film over a staggering 8 seconds.
The full list of resolutions and their partnered frames rates is impressive, but something else GoPro did is it quietly reduced the number of lower resolution options in the menu system. For instance, 480p is gone, all the additional 720p frame rates also disappeared, and 960p bit the dust as well.
This reduction of options makes sense. Best to keep it simple. That way when navigating the settings and options, the ones you want and use most often are quick and easy to select without wading through all the additional options you’re never going to use. One day we may even see a custom menu that enables you to select only the options you use the most.
Of course, the GoPro Hero7 Black can shoot 4K at 60fps, as well, but the Hero6 Black does it at a much lower price tag!
Quietly one of our favourite action cameras, the Yi 4K+ has more on offer than any camera in its price range – so much so that it rivals the GoPro Hero6 Black when it comes to pure specifications, yet it costs half the price.
With 4K at 60fps, slow motion, voice activation and a touch screen, the Yi 4K+ matches all of the GoPro Hero6’s features above in our list of 4K at 60fps cameras, but then it also goes further with a feature that people have been screaming for: live streaming to Facebook and YouTube.
Powering this video capture is the Ambarella H2 SOC chipset, Cortex-A53 ARM Processor and Sony IMX377 1/2.3-inch 12mp CMOS image sensor.
Yi hasn’t replaced the 4K+ – and there are rumours about Yi’s commitment to the action camera market – but despite its age, the 4K+ is a great, low-cost option for shooting 4K video at 60fps.
Canon EOS-1DX Mark II
Many people forget, but the Canon 1DX Mark II can shoot real 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixel) footage at speeds up to 60fps for high quality slow motion playback, but oddly, unlike Full HD footage it can’t be saved to an external drive. So if you wanted to connect to an external 4K recorder when filming longer events… well, you won’t be able to.
But with its wonderful AF system and other technical prowess, the Canon 1DX Mark II is a great camera to shoot video with.