It’s been a while since we’ve covered the fps4000 camera mainly due to development time taking longer than initially estimated. However, Graham Rowan the engineer behind the camera has now posted the first 4k 480fps footage shot in RAW on the fps4000 camera which uses a sophisticated memory arrangement on the onboard super-fast flash RAM to be able to record lengths of time unimaginable before on slow motion cameras at high resolution.
This camera is a very different kind of technology from regular high-speed cameras that record to volatile DRAM. The fps series records to flash chips that are soldered to the mainboard and allow a variety of frames rates and resolutions depending on the sensor used but all is saved on the flash memory as a non-volatile stream of data. Modern SSD chips are so good at re-allocating reading and writing bits that the life of the components is now measured in decades of regular use instead of a few years. The fps4000 is using this technology fully to enable memory bandwidth magnitudes greater at a significantly reduced cost.
After several camera announcements where slow motion was a main feature instead of an afterthought, things have been calming down until the next wave which will break closer to NAB 2018 from April 7th to 12th in Las Vegas. There will probably be quite a few announcements in the professional space which is mainly where things heat up when it comes to higher quality resolution at higher frame rates.
We expect Sony to steal the show with probably the a7s Mark III which by any measure will probably retain the low light king title for the foreseeable future. If the a7 III released recently is any indication then a lower megapixel sensor anywhere between 12-16MP Full Frame with the same technology in a stacked sensor will give us a camera so capable that room for improvement will be mainly on the ergonomics, interface and higher frame rates going forward.
The HTC U11+ is a refined version of the U11 which was one of the better spec android phones of 2017. The new iteration boosts speed and a screen that goes from 5.5 inches to 6 inches. Space was accommodated for a larger screen without making the phone itself much bigger which is a feat of design and engineering.
For many, the big disappointment will be that it seems HTC is not making a US version of the U11 Plus and leaving it only for Asia and Europe at this time. The US market is very competitive and HTC has had a hard time penetrating the sales ranks of the Samsung, Apple and Google phones. If you indeed are able to get an HTC U11 Plus the Slow motion component has a 120fps full HD 1080p spec that should be competitive.
After a long hiatus since the fps1000 project was founded, Graham Rowan the creator of both that Kickstarter project and the fps1000HD which has shipped to backers; is now announcing two new camera specs aimed at satisfying the original Kickstarter project backers who did not receive their camera. The new models replace the fps1000 original, Hex and 4k models in a six camera matrix that is divided into two main lines.
The first line is the fps2000 which has a whopping 320 Gigabytes of flash memory that will record up to 120 seconds of continuous video at the maximum resolution and highest frame rate of 2000fps. The fps4000 line is essentially double the speed of the camera maximum frame rate of 4000fps depending on configuration and 640 Gigabytes of flash storage.
Regardless of what the GoPro and Ambarella marriage can provide in tandem hardware it is clear the company wants to branch out of the fledgling sales of GoPro which have tanked in recent quarters and the stock price from a high near a $100 USD is now trading at a mere $12 which is half the IPO price. By branching out it seems they want their chips in many more imaging devices and be less affected by the GoPro product cycle.
The announced H2 and H12 chips are able to provide beefy 4k specs at high frame rates for mobile devices at a mere 2 Watts of power. As to 1080p frame rates it will remain to be seen how this powerful new chip can handle that in a camera design and how it is implemented to squeeze that performance. 120fps at 4k from the H2 in theory should be able to yield 480fps at 1080p just counting the Pixel processing. This however can be limited by the rest of the components like imaging sensor.
With 4k TVs, projectors and computer displays entering the marketplace in droves it is only a matter of time until 4k finds it’s way into the super slow motion realm for TV, Cinema and scientific analysis.
There is a strong argument for the increased resolution when it comes to capturing at 4k in any frame rate. It gives freedom to crop or punch in for a Full HD shot and or stabilize footage with crop leeway on the borders without trashing a shot. It is also crisp in a way that can only be described as looking through a window; which is a funny analogy because when Full HD came out in the early 2000s that was used often to sell TVs and the new experience. Now we are told the real window is 4k and your perfectly functional 1080p 240Hz tv is next to useless. This is of course hardly a realistic view or currently installed TV technology.
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