October 29, 2014

There Are Now Over 20 Cell Phones that Shoot 4K Video

We know that there is an ever-growing number of DSLR and cinema cameras on the market now that shoot 4K, but what about smartphone cameras?

I'm a big fan of smartphone filmmaking, because -- well, because it's easy. The best camera is the one you have with you, and most of us always have our phones with us. And since 4K is en vogue and becoming increasingly more important in the industry, it seems natural that filmmakers would also enjoy having that capability available on the camera they spend so much time with. But, how many are out there?

There are quite a few, actually. We've talked about a few before: the Panasonic Lumix CM1, a device that gives users better portability than a compact camera, as well as better image quality than a smartphone thanks to its real compact camera lens and large sensor (the largest smartphone camera sensor to date, in fact). Then there's the Chinese OnePlus One smartphone that actually beat out the Canon 5D Mark III in a video comparison.

Both of these, as well as 18 others, are included on a list compiled by Phone Arena.

  1. Acer Liquid S2
  2. Asus Padfone X / Padfone S
  3. Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
  4. LG G Pro 2
  5. LG G3
  6. Motorola Google Nexus 6
  7. Motorola Moto X (2014)
  8. OnePlus One
  9. Oppo Find 7 / Find 7a
  10. Panasonic Lumix CM1
  11. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  12. Samsung Galaxy Round
  13. Samsung Galaxy S5
  14. Samsung Galaxy Alpha
  15. Samsung Galaxy Note 4
  16. Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
  17. Sony Xperia Z2
  18. Sony Xperia Z3
  19. Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  20. Vivo Xshot

So yes, this is kind of a grab bag of smartphones and phablets with varying specs and prices -- and not all of them are currently on the market. However, from looking at the list, one thing is pretty clear: There are a lot of 4K smartphones for Android. And for Apple -- not so much. Well -- technically this doesn't count, but I'll mention it anyway. 

The iPhone 6 doesn't shoot 4K, even though many users were hoping it would, but the iOS app Vizzywig 4K will give it that ability. At the time we originally reported on it, the price for this thing was astronomically high at $1000. However, Vizzywig, most likely realizing that if people had a grand to to pay for 4K capability, they might as well just go out and buy a legit 4K camera for pretty much the same cost, has lowered the price by 95%, so now you can download it for $50.

Do you use smartphones for filmmaking? Is shooting 4K on your phone something that is important to you?     

Your Comment

28 Comments

It's unbelievable the pace on which society is evolving. It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations.

October 29, 2014 at 9:19AM

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Tommy Plesky
Director / D.P / Editor
1871

I think its pretty awesome that we can just pull a phone out of our pockets and start creating. although I wouldn't want to do a full fledged project with a phone,although I have done some skits at work with my phone to post on my site. But I wouldn't want to use a phone to film a short or a feature, 4k or not! Phone does come in handy when your trying to visualize how your going to shot something, I'll grab a couple shots on the phone and edit it on the phone too. It's amazing how far we have come in technology.

October 29, 2014 at 9:36AM

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Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
314

There was a great historic event about a week ago, with massive people rallying over main roads and I thought just for fun, this time I will leave my DSLR at home and document it casually with my 4K UHD Galaxy

October 29, 2014 at 10:11AM

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Raya Fahreza
Freelance Corporate Shooter
122

(continued), I thought why not. 'future proof' my casual documentation. Turns out the rolling shutter jello was soooo bad it was totally unusable unless you have near zero movement. In the end, I lost the opportunity. But anyway, I still think it's awesome that these mobile devices are growing so fast, hopefully it will force camera makers to innovate faster.

October 29, 2014 at 10:14AM

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Raya Fahreza
Freelance Corporate Shooter
122

Considering the compression and other problems with these...

# of Fucks given = 0

October 29, 2014 at 10:21AM

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Jay Mead
Colorist/Paintball Filmmaker/Colorado
147

As the cameras in phones get better regular camera HAS to become EVEN better... So enjoy.

October 29, 2014 at 10:29AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1171

Does anyone know of any phones that shoot 4K at 24fps? Everything I've seen shoots 30fps with no 24fps option. If I were to ever use my phone to add a couple shots on a project, it would be nice to know if I could shoot it in the frame rate I prefer.

October 29, 2014 at 11:32AM

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I don't know if anyone got back to you, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 shoots 4k at 60fps and 120fps. So, you could conform that to 24fps.

October 30, 2014 at 3:51PM

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Stephanie Dzieglo
Editor
149

Stephanie, I'm curious, how did they get the Note 3 to do 4k at 60 and 120fps? I was waiting for somebody to try 60fps.

Thanks.

November 2, 2014 at 1:12AM, Edited November 2, 1:12AM

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Wayne M
74

Thank you. The community was too busy downvoting me to answer a simple question.

November 3, 2014 at 12:27PM

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Don't sweat it, I get it, they are a bit technically illiterate to understand that most issues are overcomable, and cinema cameras are nearly the future's go pros. I've been looking at and designing technologies that can put a cinema level camera in a credit card. There is a long way to go (like 'incompetency') but these sorts of things are possible and getting a phone to record descent format, with a back illuminated sensor that has fast shutter (like an old Sony CMOS fhd camcorder) to reduce rolling shutter and merge frames for desired blur), and run such footage through a shake noise and lens correction software, and 'learn' how to hold a phone, is simple in comparison. Some other people are onto the sane ideas, go over to redshark and read their articles, and realise they are applicable to mobile phone footage too.

There are many uses for such a phone, so don't sweat it Stephanie, likely a few of these people would like one.

Anyway, where did you see the Note 3 UHD 60fps stuff?

Thanks

Wayne.

November 3, 2014 at 1:27PM

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Wayne M
74

The Oneplus One shoots at 24FPS ;)

November 13, 2014 at 4:42PM, Edited November 13, 4:42PM

4
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And a lot of that "4K" looks like pure shit.

October 29, 2014 at 11:47AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1052

hi,

i just watched a youtube video with testclips vorm the galaxy note 4. (the compression is horrible) same stuff looks quitw good (for a phone)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZeWqTbgmAQ

what do you think?
best
maria

October 29, 2014 at 12:04PM

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maerz.maria
SFX
248

FIY Shooting 4K on a camera sensor smaller than your finger nails with 16mp will only show the flaws of the video (escpesially in low-light situations).
PS: the most common phone is the iPhone and the app for shooting 4K costs 600$

October 29, 2014 at 12:33PM

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Firas Mojbani
Director/Filmmaker/Editor
81

"Then there's the Chinese OnePlus One smartphone that actually beat out the Canon 5D Mark III in a video comparison." By who's pronouncement? Only in the area of detail did the cell phone "Beat" the 5DMKIII. The dynamic range was horrible and the rolling shutter on these cell phones is also horrible. It's exciting that the public is now being offered phones with this type of high res capability, but they have a long way to go before they will fully "Beat" a modern DSLR or other dedicated video camera.

October 29, 2014 at 1:33PM

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Benton Collins
Camera aimer
257

i bet these won't give me HDR..
and camera shakes are going to be extreme..these might work for timelapses..

October 29, 2014 at 2:24PM

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Arjun Kukreti
Cinematographer/Editor
126

Someone show this post to Canon... " disgruntled C100 owner "

October 29, 2014 at 2:24PM, Edited October 29, 2:24PM

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Claire McHardy
Cinematographer
352

I hear you. How could the C100 not be stepped up to 4K? Adding 60fps only puts the C100 on par with cameras in the previous generation! I can understand not upgrading the video features of the 7D as much, since it's primarily a stills camera, but why not make your video cameras more competitive with what's an inevitable trend?

October 29, 2014 at 3:50PM

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And yet still no native 4k on the Canon C100 II ???

October 29, 2014 at 11:06PM

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I sure don't, but for realtors this will no doubt be something they snatch up.

October 29, 2014 at 11:42PM

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Jake Keenum
Filmmaker
2052

Check out MoviePro for iPhone. I just discovered this app and love it. 3K recording on the iPhone at up to 120 mbps for only $5? Yes, it's awesome! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moviepro-video-recorder-pause/id54710114...

It gives you a choice of 2 flavors of 3K/2K, as well as several lower resolutions, all with a choice of bitrate (up to 225% of iPhone native, which at 1080p equates to 50 mbps), and frame rate (including every fps between 1-25, and up to 240 at 720p on iPhone 6). The quick switching between saved presets is awesome too, so I can instantly go from shooting a scene at 3K 24 fps with uncompressed audio, to 240 fps at 720p with audio turned off to save space. Definitely my favorite filmmaking app next to CineMeter II.

October 30, 2014 at 12:50AM

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Darren Weckerle
Editor/Colorist
94

iPhone 5S & up have access to 4K filming, too - just use Vizzywig 8xHD.

October 31, 2014 at 12:26AM

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Elias Hardt
Director / 3D Graphics
83

Like any video / film shooting, if you have the right skills and tools the footage from these phones can look amazing. They can also ruin your project depending on the variables in which something was shot. For a documentary I used the canon 6D. For a good amount of B-Roll I used my iPhone 5S. Most of it was usable and the rest was easily fixed in post.
I think it's a great thing that these phones we already have in our pocket can help get us a good HD photo or video.

October 31, 2014 at 11:48AM

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Matt Spade
Director / Editor
95

Wow, this website is difficult, it crashed my browser, and lost my open pages, and this floating menue bar keeps floating accross the middle of what I'm reading and breaking up and leaving behind bits of itself on piece of the text. Zooming in on my normal surfing phone makes it worse. It hasn't improved since I left months back. And now I have to login to post. Joe, simpler is better. :)

November 2, 2014 at 12:35AM

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Wayne M
74

OK, on topic again.   Would be great to have a list of filming features of the phones?  Like, I'm hanging out for ultrahd at 50fps and higher data rates, but don't need to wait for a Nvidia K1 phone.   Once we get to 100-144 mb/s we will be doing OK.  144-300 with 10 bit 4:2:2, or bayer, should be possible, and we would be in cream.  Just time for the chip nodes to shrink and their energy consumption to come down enough to make this possible without overheating before silicon reaches its minimum power consumption.

Good news is that the GaAs alternative to silicon has just finally taken a leap forward, so 8k phones should be possible.

November 2, 2014 at 1:03AM, Edited November 2, 1:02AM

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Wayne M
74

I read somewhere that all these phones stop recording after a maximum of 5 mins. Also i am curious as to how they comepare with a GoPro in terms of colour accuracy and detail.

November 6, 2014 at 9:59AM

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sanveer mehlwal
Filmmaker
149

This is really neat.

Hopefully they start making ways to stabilize your phone without your hands.

November 14, 2014 at 12:05PM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
295