The Best 6K+ Video Cameras for Filmmakers
Ready to step up from 4K? Check out this roundup of the best 6K (and beyond) cameras for filmmakers.
While it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to walk into a real brick-and-mortar camera store, I’d be willing to bet that — right now, somewhere out there — anxious store managers are taking down all their “Full HD” and “4K” signs and replacing them with “6K”, “8K,” and maybe even “12K+.”
The Recording Resolution Arms Race shows no signs of letting up. As we’ve gone over before, 8K is here to stay. And in fact, while it might be pushing some of your filmmaking and video workflows today, it’s undoubtedly the way of tomorrow. So, if you are ready to embrace the future of the industry, here are some of the current best options for shooting 6K video or higher.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
We’ll start with one of the older (and also most affordable) options on our list — the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. Released just a year after the brand’s popular 4K version, this upgrade upped the ante by adding an EF mount and 6K video recording. Impressive for a camera that retails at under $2,000 and, while not actually pocket sized, is still very small and lightweight.
The BMPCC6K shoots up to 6K (6144 x 3456) at 50 fps and includes all the best Blackmagic features with great dynamic range and a Super 35 HDR sensor.
- Active Canon EF/EF-S Mount
- Super 35-Sized HDR Sensor
- Record 6K 6144 x 3456 up to 50 fps
- Dual Native 400 & 3200 ISO to 25,600
- 5″ 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen Display
- Record up to 120 fps Windowed HD
- CFast 2.0 & SD/UHS-II Card Slots
- External Recording via USB Type-C
- 13-Stop Dynamic Range, 3D LUT Support
- Includes DaVinci Resolve Studio License
Panasonic Lumix S1H
Next on our list is another option that’s been on the market long enough to garner some solid reviews. The Panasonic Lumix S1H features a full-frame 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor that’s excellent for video.
While the S1H can shoot 6K video, it can’t yet record at anything higher than 24 fps — a downside for those who might be looking for that slick 6K slow motion. However, along with 6K, the S1H can also record at 16:9 5.9K at up to 30fps and DCI and UHD 4K at up to 60 fps.
- 24.2MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- 6K24p Video, 4:2:2 10-Bit DCI 4K/UHD 4K
- V-Log, Dual Native ISO, HFR with Sound
- 5.76m-Dot 0.78x-Magnification OLED LVF
- 3.2″ 2.33m-Dot Tilt/Free-Angle Touch-LCD
- 1.8″ Top LCD, Tally Lamps, Dual SD Slots
- ISO 100-51200, Up to 9 fps Shooting
- Contrast-Detect 225-Area DFD AF System
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
- Weather-Sealed Construction
Canon EOS R5
The Canon EOS R5 is making headlines as one of the biggest-name offerings to feature 8K video and making fans thanks to its compact body and aggressive price.
Of course, I wouldn’t quite call the R5 a cheap camera — in fact, it was announced alongside a more affordable, slimmed-down version — the Canon R6 — which is just a solid but doesn’t do 8K. Still, the R5 is an attractive option for those chasing 6K+, thanks to a stunning 45 megapixel full-frame sensor that records 8K RAW at up to 30fps.
It’s worth noting that there have been some issues associated with the R5, namely reports of overheating and workflow points. If you’d like to read more, take a look at our full write-up on the pros and cons of the Canon R5.
- 45MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
- DIGIC X Image Processor
- 8K30 Raw and 4K120 10-Bit Internal Video
- Sensor-Shift 5-Axis Image Stabilization
- 12 fps Mech. Shutter, 20 fps E. Shutter
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1053 Points
- 0.5″ 5.76m-Dot OLED EVF
- 3.2″ Vari-Angle Touchscreen LCD
- Subject Tracking with Deep Learning
- CFexpress & SD UHS-II Memory Card Slots
Z CAM E2-S6
When included in a list featuring Canon, Panasonic, and Blackmagic, some of the biggest camera manufacturers in the game, the Z CAM E2-S6 stands out as a lesser-known wild card.
Nonetheless, the E2-S6 offers some killer specs, including a Super 35 CMOS sensor featuring 10-bit 4:2:2 color recording and an impressive 14 stops of dynamic range. Plus, we’re looking at 6K video at up to 60 fps for under $2,500.
- Record up to 6K60 Video
- ZRAW Recording
- 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
- Super 35 CMOS Sensor
- Canon EF Lens Mount
- 10-Bit Color Recording
- 5G Wireless Support, Timecode Support
- Gigabit Ethernet for Data and Control
- Live Streaming via Ethernet
- iOS App for Control and Live Preview
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K
Finally, to round out our list, we’re going big. Like, not just in camera size and price point, but in pixel count. I’m talking about the recently announced Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K which shoots — you guessed it — 12K video at up to 60 fps!
While there are indeed other high-end cinema cameras that can push similar numbers, we’re including the URSA Mini Pro 12K since it’s a more reasonably priced option — for both rental and purchase — than something like the ARRI Alexa 65.
Also, similar to the BMPCC6K the URSA Mini Pro 12K has all the best hallmarks of a Blackmagic camera, like great color science and a strong dynamic range. (In fact, you want a solid A-Cam/B-Cam combo? Pair up the BMPCC6K with the URSA Mini Pro 12K.)
Along with the 12K at 60 fps, the URSA Mini Pro 12K lets you work even more efficiently with DCI 8K at up to 100 fps. Just keep one thing in mind if you’ve never worked with high-end cameras — you’ll be facing some fairly insane file sizes and processing speeds, so be prepared.
- 12K Super35 HDR CMOS Sensor
- 12K 17:9 up to 60 fps, DCI 8K to 100 fps
- 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
- User-Changeable PL Lens Mount
- 4K Super16 up to 220 fps
- 80MP/frame Blackmagic Raw
- Dual CFast or SD Card Recording
- USB Type-C Recording to Disk/SSD
That’s our list! If you’d like a few honorable mentions to consider, check out the Sharp 8K and the Panasonic AU-EVA1. And if you want to explore a few more camera roundups and filmmaking resources, well, here you go:
- The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmakers and Videographers
- Three Cheap, Underappreciated Cameras Filmmakers Should Consider
- Hack the Canon R5 for Nearly Unlimited 4K Recording
- The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000
- Five of the Best and Most Affordable Cameras for Vlogging
Cover image via Blackmagic Design.