Category Archives: Action Cameras

GoPro Hero 10 Leaks with 240fps in 2.7k!

It seems the leaks have come down heavily on the to be formally announced Hero 10 Black from GoPro. The latest by Winfuture.de & @rquandt. The most important part of the leak speaks about the use of the new GP2 chipset which is at least 2x faster than the already long in the tooth GP1 which was a great processing unit when released a few iterations back but now has a bit of catch up to do.

The leak also talks about new Hypersmooth 4.0 which seems to use also the oversampled sensor to deliver gimbal-like motion stabilization performance for the camera without the use of a physical stabilizing unit. We really like Hypersmooth 2 and 3 and if the GP2 is such a better processing core, it should in theory yield even better smoothness on most footage resolutions.  Frame rates have also taken a big leap here, and we speculate on what it could mean for slow motion enthusiasts. → Continue Reading Full Post ←

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS OF 2020!

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS OF 2020

As the end of 2020 nears, it’s time to take a look back through the year’s camera releases amid the COVID 19 chaos, and see which delivered on the price/performance bracket with slow motion frame rates as the primary goal.  Phone slow motion took a back seat this year as the interest of the feature in phones was subdued or even eliminated. Our Best Slow Motion Cameras Of 2020 have been selected and ordered by recommendation!

We saw some surprises including a mostly affordable 4k slow motion solution and the adoption of 4k 120fps on many cameras which makes us think 240fps at UHD should be something to think about in the coming years as a regular option once 8k video is commonplace on consumer recording devices and TVs. The increase in resolution should theoretically allow for a lot of 4k frame rates to be offered as 8k delivers 4x the pixel count of 4k for any given frame rate. Keep on reading for our 2020 picks!

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS of 2020:

Without further ado here are what we believe are the best value slow motion cameras in their respective categories for the year 2020:

Best Slow Motion Phone Category:

3rd Place) Sony Xperia 5 II:

The Sony Xperia 5 II is all about capturing the best video possible on a smartphone and in HDR. The kick here is that the phone is capable of 4k 120fps in full HDR which is pretty much class-leading.

The footage below will give you a taste of what the phone can do. In good light, it will let you capture excellent quality 4k 120p footage with the possibility to grade as it records a gradable flat profile.  In low light, it will be a pretty unremarkable image with grain and artifacts as could be expected from the light requirements when shooting at high speed.

Sony Xperia 5 II: 4K 120fps video footage by CNET Highlights:

Sony Xperia 5 II Slow Motion Specs:

  • 120fps 4k
  • 60fps 1080p

This is one of the first phones to offer 120fps in 4k which will probably become a standard spec in 2021 for flagships. However absent is the slow motion at 1080p which considering the 4k oomph, it should have been capable of 480fps at 1080p or similar. It is a shame that the spec was completely avoided considering HDR in 120fps 4k requires 240fps full pixel readout before merging.  In theory, 240fps non-HDR is possible on this phone but not available for unspecified reasons. Phones are becoming more powerful by the day and this is one that has our attention. The just under $1k price tag is not ideal but some of the best phones are going to cost you.

2nd Place) OnePlus 8T:

One Plus continues to offer compelling slow motion features on their phones with 480fps 1080p and up to 480fps at 720p.  It gives you a quad 48MP camera module which is literally insane considering the phone sells for under $750USD and has 120hz refresh rate. Feature-wise it has probably everything under the sun and then some and will not disappoint in the performance realm.

Fireworks in Slow motion – OnePlus 8T 480fps in dark by sternking: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

GoPro Hero 9 Black Slow Motion Fail!

Gopro Hero 9 Black Slow Motion Fail

GoPro has released the Hero 9 Black and in many respects, it is the best camera they have ever made. It is a little larger to accommodate a slightly larger battery and screens and it offers a new 5k mode that is very filmic like with pretty good dynamic range.  It has Hypersmooth 3 technology which does away with most gimbal situations and it can serve as a minute and reliable blog camera.

However, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is in some ways the end of an era for GoPro and the action camera market. It now heralds a new subscription model that aims to hook their market with a  lower price for the camera if the subscription to GoPro.com is added at check out.  Gone are the days of class-leading technology and in are the days of survival at all costs. Can we really blame GoPro for trying to make it?

GoPro Hero 9 Black Main Features:

  • 23.6MP Sensor, 5K30 Video & 20MP Photos
  • 240fps 1080p Video* 8x Slo-Mo
  • Live View Front Display/Rear Touchscreen
  • Webcam Mode & 1080p Live Streaming
  • HyperSmooth 3.0 Image Stabilization
  • 33′ Waterproof without External Housing
  • PowerTools & Protune Feature Suites
  • Time-Lapse & Night-Lapse
  • Built-In Flip-Out 2-Prong Mount
  • 30% Longer 1720mAh Capacity Battery

1080p Frame rates:

  • Linear Lens 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
  • Linear + Horizon Leveling 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
  • Narrow Lens 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps

2.7K Frame Rates:

  • Wide Lens 120, 60 fps
  • Linear Lens 60, 30, 24 fps
  • Linear + Horizon Leveling 60, 30, 24 fps
  • Narrow Lens 60, 30, 24 fps

If you decide to get a Hero 9 which in our view is still the best action camera you can buy, you may be inclined to lower your cost by subscribing to GoPro.com and shaving $100USD from the camera price.

HERO9 Black

$349.98 includes

1-year subscription to GoPro1

or
$449.99
without subscription Subscribing to GoPro gets you:

  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Up to 50% off at GoPro.com2
  • Total camera replacement3

32GB SD card included

So what is wrong with this camera?

There are few things we don’t like on this camera which is a good thing, it has outstanding 5k 30fps footage, it has larger screens and better Hypersmooth in 4k, it has a larger battery, and it is a very refined product with a  quality build. It is in fact the best GoPro we have ever seen but sadly there are things we need to mention.

GoPro Hero 9 Black Slow Motion Fail:

The biggest issue we have is the stagnation of 1080p frame rates. 120 and 240fps in full HD remain essentially the same quality as they were in the Hero 6 Black.  Sure you get better Hypersmooth stabilization in 240p but quality-wise, the pixelation, and overall soft look of the slow motion footage is here with no apologies.

There has not been a consolidated effort to offer 480fps or even 320fps footage in 1080p even as the camera has grown to accommodate 4k 60p and 5k 30p recording modes.  In other words, slow motion is mostly frozen in place except for one little glimmer of hope. GoPro needs to become a leader in frame rates again, it was and still is one of the most important considerations for its users.

That hope is in the form of 2.7k at 120fps which is detailed, offers excellent color and dynamic range for such a small camera and sensor. They did a really good job extracting those 120 frames and we feel that this should be your default slow motion option on this camera. 1080p is simply to soft to even consider it for full HD quality, it is still more like a 720p upscaled mess.

5k is essentially the star on this camera and it is probably the main reason to get this camera over the Hero 8 Black.

GoPro Hero 9 Black Video Test 5K by KabyNougat: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Insta360 ONE R action cam can do 200fps in 1080p!

Insta360 ONE R 4k

2020 is already becoming a very busy year for camera releases. The CES Show this past week had a bunch of announcements in the professional, amateur and aerial drone markets that shoot high frame rates.  We will try to cover the most useful cameras in the coming weeks.  We want to start with the Insta360 ONE R Modular camera from Chinese company Shenzhen Arashi Vision Co., Ltd. which is a very interesting product that de-couples the sensor module from the body so you can interchange the actual imaging hardware on the fly for specific shots/jobs.

The real gem for slow motion fans is the 4K version instead of the 360 and or the 1″ version which both max out at 120fps 1080p instead of 200p.   Many people will cry foul at the 200fps spec when GoPro and DJI do 240fps as do most slow motion capable smartphones but 200fps, if done well with the 100Mbps codec, could be a real diamond in the rough for your arsenal in action cameras.

Insta360 ONE R 4k Camera main specs:

So we get 200fps & 120fps 1080p, plus 60fps 4k and 2.7k at 100fps which is very close to what other action cameras are doing.

The video above by Insta360 is the only slow motion sample of the One R we could find. It is still not ideal as the compression is not so good for the web.  Still, you can hardly see any jagged edges or moire which means the camera might be doing a great job capturing the full 1080p resolution at 120 and 200fps.

What about the 2 camera TWIN bundle?

So since the camera is modular, you can get the 360-degree camera module combined with the 4k camera for a reduced price…

So if you are getting the 360 One R camera it makes absolute sense to get the Twin bundle since that will only add $20 to your price tag. However, if you only need the 4k camera the Twin bundle adds $180 USD to your purchase which is significant.   You may not be able to go the Twin route if all you need is the action camera without 360-degree capability.

Leica 1″ What?

The 1 Inch edition of the Insta360 R has a Leica lens and a 1″ sensor which shoots at 5.3k at excellent quality.

Frame rates supported:

It can also shoot 60p at 4k and or 120fps at 1080p which is ok considering the quality should be very good.  Wondering if there is a crop for those modes or if it is supersampled.  We probably can expect a sensor crop at 1080p here which means a reduced field of view.

The 1-Inch edition probably delivers the best action camera video quality yet and at $ 549.99 it is not that expensive considering you may be able to use this footage commercially and or on film productions.  We would like to see video samples without compression for the web to see how good it is.

If you need the best video quality on an action camera the bar has been raised by the 1-inch version of the Insta360 R, wonder what DJI, GoPro and maybe Sony are thinking to counter this.

What to do?

These cameras will ship by the end of this month which means you have time to see more samples show up before pulling the trigger.  There is a limitation of 5m underwater for the modular design without a case which is actually very usable, if you need more you will need to get a rugged case.

It is refreshing to see so much innovation on a camera of this size and even when it does not break new ground in high frame rates, it may be doing better in the quality department. We will have to wait and see how good 1080p 200 and 120p look at full resolution.  If the images are clean, it may mean that these will be the recommended action cameras for high frame rates.

****You can get the Insta360 cameras for Pre-Order at Adorama Camera here and help HSC at no extra cost!  ****

The Insta360 One R cameras here can do so much automation like color grading, hyper-lapse, stabilization, shot editing and HDR that feels kind of daunting at first. This is the sign of things to come as the editing bay is only reserved for higher-end productions. Maybe you will be able to ditch that PC or Mac in the near future for a phone and a camera that does it all before you download the clips.  For highlights maybe but for a story, we have our high doubts.

We will try to get slow motion samples other than the one above as soon as possible.  We are working on other camera previews that were announced at CES so stay tuned and have a great 2020 ahead! Rock On -HSC

GoPro Hero 8 Slow Motion Mirrors Hero 7!

GoPro Hero 8 Slow Motion

Meet the new GoPro Hero 8 Black which is a refinement of last year’s Hero 7 Black. It has better hyper smooth stabilization, it has now stabilized slow motion modes and has a smaller form factor with a clever undercarriage that folds into the mount support system to reduce footprint which is very clever.  The real big changes are the Mods which are attachments that let you expand the capabilities of the camera to get a more professional kit if needed. They are relatively inexpensive but do offer a better package than what the competition has to offer.

The Slow Motion modes remain identical to the Hero 7 Black of last year as it still uses the same GP1 processing engine which was released over two years ago with the Hero 6 Black. By now it would have been ideal to see an updated processor and sensor combo to get even higher frame rates like 4k 120p and 1080p 480fps but GoPro has decided to press the last drop of juice from their custom chip investment to keep up with their restructuring goals.

GoPro Hero 8 Black Video Specs:

Video Recording Modes: 3840 x 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 fps (78 Mb/s MP4 via H.264/AVC)
3840 x 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 fps (78 Mb/s MP4 via H.265/HEVC)
2704 x 1520p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120 fps (MP4)
1920 x 1440p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120 fps (MP4)
1920 x 1080p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120/200/240 fps (MP4)
1280 x 960p at 100/120/200/240 fps (MP4)
1280 x 720p at 50/60/200/240 fps (MP4)

 

Media Mod:

$79.99

  • Built-in directional mic delivers crystal-clear audio and reduces wind and ambient noise
  • 2 cold-shoe mounts to attach your favorite lights, mics or LCD screens
  • 3.5mm mic port lets you add an external mic for enhanced audio
  • HDMI-out port to monitor or play back your footage
  • Unique and compact wraparound design adds portable expandability and ensures mounting remains easy
  • Specially designed for use with Display Mod and Light Mod for HERO8 Black, and compatible with third-party accessories

 

Display Mod:

$79.99

Frame the shot with Display Mod, the flip-up screen that lets you see yourself in action. Compact and perfect for vloggers, it connects to your HERO8 Black via Media Mod.1

  • 2-inch flip-up screen makes vlogging easy
  • Built-in rechargeable battery and micro-HDMI connector
  • Folding design for easy storage and transport
  • Compact and sturdy with a low-profile appearance
  • Connects to HERO8 Black via the required Media Mod1

 

Light Mod:

HERO8 Black

$49.99

Add compact yet powerful LED lighting to your next adventure. With Light Mod, you can illuminate your subject with wide, smooth, even light and capture ultra crisp footage. Light Mod attaches to HERO8 Black via Media Mod (sold separately), or works as a handy standalone light for use with GoPro mounts.

  • 4 levels of brightness—up to 200 lumens—for crisp detail
  • Built tough and waterproof to 33ft (10m)
  • Built-in rechargeable battery with up to 6 hours of runtime1
  • Compact design is perfect as an add-on to your HERO8 Black, or as a standalone light for use with GoPro mounts
  • Connects to HERO8 Black via Media Mod (sold separately)
  • Maximum brightness for up to 30 seconds with Overdrive mode
  • Strobe mode for signaling and visibility
  • Light Specifications:
    Overdrive mode: 200 lumens, 200 lux @1m
    Level 3: 125 lumens, 120 lux @1m
    Level 2: 60 lumens
    Level 1: 20 lumens
    Runtime: 1 hour at Level 3, 2 hours at Level 2, 6 hours at Level 11
    Color temperature without diffuser: 5700K
    CRI: 90

The mods do make it a nicer package and the aim is to get you to really buy all of them if you are a Vlogger or serious video professional. The addition of Hypersmooth 2.0 in all recording modes including all slow motion frame rates makes it the best GoPro for high speed video recording ever released. The limit of 240fps is, of course, a letdown as this camera could be an incredibly good 480fps slow motion camera even in short bursts.

GoPro Hero 8 Slow Motion Quality:

While the Hero 8 Black offers a 2x stronger front lens element to withstand scratches and hits better, the quality of the video should be identical to the Hero 7 Black besides the Hypersmooth improvements. Note that Hypersmooth crops the video image according to motion and estimates on the fly with sensors the amount of real-time correction.  The result is incredibly smooth and really does away with the need for most gimbals in a camera like this.

GoPro HERO8 Black: Cre8ors Hypersmooth 2.0 Madness by Chris Rogers: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

DJI Osmo Action Camera Slow Motion Initial Samples!

DJI Osmo Action Camera Slow Motion

The Introduction of the DJI OSMO Action camera marks what many called the ultimate silver bullet to counter the GoPro Hero camera line. It is an evolutionary step that takes most of what made the GoPro Hero Black series amazing and even goes further by improving in areas where GoPro has fallen behind. The Stabilizer seems better as is the addition of a secondary selfie screen in order to frame yourself while recording.

It gets the usual frame rates of 120fps & 240fps 1080p full HD and the 4k 60fps spec. None of these are revolutionary or groundbreaking which means this is a version 1 product for DJI.  Phones, for example, are already in the 960fps and 1000fps spec even when they are limited to fractions of a second. A Camera like the OSMO Action could have gotten a bit of this slow motion prowess and differentiate from GoPro even further but not this time around.  We have a few samples of the higher frame rates for you too look at and see if it makes sense to acquire this camera instead of other options.

OSMO Action Frame Rate Support List:

Video Rec 4K (16:9) – 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
4K (4:3) – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K (4:3) – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K (16:9) – 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
1080p – 240, 200, 120, 100, 60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps
720p – 240, 200fps
Slow Motion 720p 120, 240fps
Speed: 4/8
1080p 120, 240fps
Speed: 4/8
HDR Video 4K – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K – 30, 25, 24fps
1080p – 30, 25, 24fps
OSMO Action Demo Video:

The OSMO Action is only as good as it needs to be in order to further slice the pie for GoPro and other competing action cameras. With more features that capture the selfie and Vlogger market, it could really replace GoPro for most users. We, however, think that GoPro will not be standing still and will at some point not only catch up to the OSMO Action’s new features but introduce some even higher specs in order to remain relevant.

For $349 USD the OSMO Action it is at least $100 USD cheaper than the best GoPro Hero 7 Black was at launch which leverages the Chinese manufacturing advantage to undercut GoPro’s US operations which carry a higher cost of research and assembly.  For most everyone, this difference in price is big enough to justify going all in with DJI gear instead of fiddling with other action cameras. Gopro Hero 7 Black is now $349 in order to compete with the OSMO.

In this excellent comparison video review, of the OSMO Action vs the Hero 7 Black by TEAMSUPERTRAMP you can clearly see that DJI’s Rock Steady beats the GoPro Hypersmooth by some margin plus it is also working on 4k 60p which the GoPro cannot do with their ultra-smooth mode. The DJI camera is actually more advanced as a gimbal replacement.

The dynamic range on both cameras is comparable but the OSMO Action is a tad sharper and less wide which may please some users. The Slow motion modes also look cleaner on the OSMO compared to the Hero 7 Black but not by a wide enough margin to justify one over the other. The GoPro tends to flicker more and has a UV blue tint on white surfaces which the OSMO Action seems to counteract by what we think is a treated UV element on the lens system which is also a great feature.

All Manual Control (Action First):

Yes the OSMO Action has a full manual control mode of shutter speed, ISO, and exposure mode which allow you to stop the camera guessing the correct exposure like abrupt indoor/outdoor transitions and from underwater to above water.  This is in our view one of the most important features of the camera and something we would like to see in GoPro cameras from now on. Manual exposure in Slow Motion is also a must to avoid motion blur as much as possible and get sharper footage.  DJI did a great thing by including this feature.

DJI Osmo Action Camera Slow Motion Initial Samples:

DJI Osmo Action Camera Sample — Slow Motion at 1080p/240 fps by Reviewscom:

DJI Osmo Action TEST – Su manubrio – FHD 240fps con registrazione 30p – RockSteady e Dewarp OFF by Hardware Upgrade: → Continue Reading Full Post ←