Law Enforcement Video Training

Sawabini & Associates, LLC

Should Your Agency Jump to 4K?


Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi

At least one U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Agency has begun purchasing 4K camcorders.

Should your agency follow suit?  That is a question I get asked on a regular basis.  My answer is no!  It is my opinion that some of these early 4K camcorders are simply placeholders so that the manufacturer can say “We have 4K, too.”


Canon XC10 13.36 MP Ultra HD Camcorder ‑ 4K

My issues with 4K range from the use of proprietary digital media which is very expensive to the lack of analog video outputs which means you must have a Hi-Def connector on your monitor. File size is also an issue for agencies that intend to archive video as evidence.

I am not alone in telling agencies to wait on 4K.  Jan Garvin, Director of Training for the Law Enforcement Video Association is a retired FBI Video Producer.  Before that he was an Air Force Videographer.  Recently I asked him about 4K. Here is his reply:

“4K is dandy if you’re standing really close to the monitor when you can notice a difference.  Otherwise, it’s too early to recommend outright.”

I have had a brief “Hands-On” session with a Canon XC10 13.36 MP Ultra HD Camcorder.  The images are gorgeous.  I found the zoom lens lacking although it did have on-the-lens focusing and on-the-lens zoom.

As prices on 4K drop, a lot of agencies may decide to jump.  I say wait!


Sony FDR-AX53

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