As 2019 comes to a close its that time to take a look back through the year’s camera releases and see which delivered the goods at an affordable price in slow motion. Phone slow motion continues to be a strong category, so strong in fact that we made a Best Slow Motion Phones of 2019 list that you can see here.
Stagnation in many camera segments aside from phones is still ongoing, the semi-professional and pro markets stay at 120fps and 240fps with the occasional 320fps camera that delivers just a tad better quality but at a price. For professional slow motion, there were announcements but not a shipping product yet, however previously released cameras like the Chronos 1.4c and edgertronic still own the affordable quality market. Read on for our best of 2019 results!
BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS of 2019:
Without further ado here are what we believe are the best value slow motion cameras in their respective categories for the year 2019:
Best Slow Motion Phone Category:
We had 5 finalists for slow motion phone of 2019 and while the Mate 30 Pro below got the top marks, the iPhone 11 and OnePlus 7 series had great showings, go to the dedicated article for the rest of the phone options.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro:
Coming out of left field from a company that has been in the news as being in trouble with the US government, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro which is not shipping in the US officially but can be found from online import sellers, is the slow motion phone champ of 2019.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro Slow Motion Specs Dissected:
- 120fps 1080p Continuous
- 240fps 1080p Continuous
- 960fps 1080p for 1 full second (960 frames in total)
- 1920fps 720p for 1/2 second (960 frames in total)
- 7680fps 720p interpolated 4x (lasts for 32 seconds on a 30p timeline.)
- All super slow motion modes at 960p and above last 32 seconds of playback at 30fps regular speed.
- The entire buffer for the slow motion feature is 2GB and gets filled by data then dumped and encoded on the fly by the Kirin 990 chip.
This is the first phone that truly records 1920fps slow motion in 720p mode for 1/2 a second or 960 frames and then does excellent interpolation to a whopping 7,680fps 720p to create mind-bending images. It is especially good for people, animals, and hard non-deformable objects. It will of curse fail as any algorithm with fluids, powders, and heavily detailed objects and will create a soft mushy in-between frame in those cases. If you do not choose interpolation mode then you can get real slow motion for up to 32 seconds of playback on a 30p timeline which is excellent for a phone.
If you decide to buy it, the phone has a few issues to keep in mind. Due to US government restrictions, it will not ship with a full version of Android with the Google Apps and not have access to the Playstore. However several workarounds have been worked out in forums to make this phone usable. The other is that it is a Chinese phone which may need you to get help from someone who understands/reads Chinese to make the setup and get to work in English after. We do not recommend this phone as your main handset as the support of updates will probably be negated in the US but if you are in China, this is a great flagship phone. If you are outside of China, make sure you can live with the limitations in the software.
960fps，1920fps and 7680fps test – Huawei Mate 30 Pro incredible Slow Motion by Slow Experiment:
As you can see from the sample above and these other samples at HSC, the quality is quite good and the time is usable easily as a sports and experimentation high speed mode. It will of course not replace a dedicated slow motion camera for quality work but it is still an amazing development to get real 1920fps 720p and 960fps 1080p even with some artifacts in a portable device.
Huawei may be in hot water with the US government for some time but they have consistently delivered amazing hardware that is probably the cutting edge worldwide. We are excited about the future of phone slow motion and considering the giant leap that happened here, it is not unrealistic to think that really good 1080p 2,000fps or similar could be very close. At least for a small-time recording but it will really be magical.
Huawei has made an incredible slow motion phone on the Mate 30 Pro and if they read this, send a handset our way to test and offer samples of reference. As of now, their new handset is the one to beat. -HSC
Mid Range Professional Cameras:
This year the semi-pro camera market had some very good surprises when it comes to cameras that can shoot RAW files at very high quality and also allow for windowed slow motion modes.
Two of our picks are from Blackmagic design which is a known name in the affordable quality camera market. They have been able to deliver RAW and compressed RAW with BRAW format for very little investment compared to many other brands. The quality delivered by these cameras are really cinema-quality so the trade-offs when stepping down are more to do with changing a camera system for producers rather than giving up the footage grading ability or low light performance.
Third Place: URSA MINI PRO 4.6K G2
The URSA Mini Pro G2 had a firmware update mid-year that allowed for 300fps in a windowed 2k pixel mode that has great quality and can be stabilized for excellent 1080p production quality. For under $6k for body only the price is not that high for a camera that can really bring your production values up. It gets a third place because the cost of owning the camera goes up with accessories like media, lenses, batteries, monitoring, and storage for editing. A good kit can easily get in the 15k range. The BRAW format is excellent but not for everyone. ProRes is also a possibility and probably what many producers will shoot in when need to deliver in a rush.
High Speed Frame Rates on the URSA Mini G2:
Blackmagic RAW 8:1
4.6K Full – Up to 120 fps
UHD Windowed – Up to 150 fps
HD Windowed – Up to 300 fps
With 4k UHD at 150fps it makes for a killer feature rarely available on other cameras and the 300fps in HD or 2k allows for that extra oomph within your creative shoot.
300fps UMP G2 test 190629 by Reel Eagle Studios:
As you can see from the video above the G2 is one camera that has a beautiful image even in crop mode. With the possibilities allowed and an EF electronic mount option as standard, it could be the camera you need in your arsenal.
Pricing & Availability:
The URSA Mini Pro G2 is available at authorized resellers like Adorama.com. For $5,995 without lens and a Standard EF Mount. See the link Below or the Amazon Link Here:
Second Place: BLACKMAGIC POCKET CINEMA CAMERA 6K
Blackmagic did another solid for fans of their pocket platform with the introduction of the 6K Pocket Cinema Camera. As for Pocket it is debated if it will only fit on the largest jackets around but one thing is sure, by marrying a dual ISO sensor very much like the one in the Panasonic GH5s just a tad larger, the camera is an excellent low light performer in a S35 sensor sized imager package.
While the camera maxes out at 1080p 120fps, it has 4k 60fps and 6k 50fps modes but also a 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) up to 120 fps mode which is quite advanced for a camera costing less than $2500 USD with a full EF mount. We wish the camera was able to do 180fps like the GH5 from Panasonic, but the quality here is paramount which means a higher frame rate while theoretically possible, would have meant artifacts and lower resolution.
- Active Canon EF Mount
- Super 35-Sized HDR Sensor
- Record 6K 6144 x 3456 up to 50 fps
- Dual Native 400 & 3200 ISO to 25,600
6144 x 3456 (6K) up to 50 fps
6144 x 2560 (6K 2.4:1) up to 60 fps
5744 x 3024 (5.7K 17:9) up to 60 fps
4096 x 2160 (4K DCI) up to 60 fps
3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD) up to 60 fps
3728 x 3104 (3.7K 6:5 anamorphic) up to 60 fps
2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) up to 120 fps
1920 x 1080 (HD) up to 120 fps
This camera earns the 2nd spot this year by providing Cinema 2.8k 120fps recording at the excellent quality for very little money, in reality, a full accessory kit can be had just under $4,000 USD.
First Place:TERRA 4k 320FPS @ 2K!
The Kinefinity Terra 4k is probably the most affordable cinema-quality camera shipping today. It is full of excellent features and it is very reliable. It has echoes of RED modular design which is probably based on if you look at it closely but without the very high price tag.
For just a starting price of $3,999 for the body only, it really jumps out at you by showing what the marriage of affordability and quality can bring to the table. 4k 160fps and 2k 320fps in RAW format with beautiful quality.
320fps Kinefinity Terra 4K by Andrey Savchuk:
The key here is that the Terra makes no compromises aside from sensor crop to get those frame rates. You get no aliasing and moire, you get beautiful quality and dynamic range with a lot of shadow information. This is a camera that requires you to focus and shoot the way a cinema follow focus system with all the manual finesse required. For this kind of money, we cannot find a better deal to get 320fps in this kind of quality and that is why the Kinefinity Terra 4k with the high speed updated firmware is our Mid-range professional camera of the year 2019.
Other good options in this segment:
- Panasonic S1H -180fps 1080p
- Sony PXW-FX9 XDCAM – 180fps 1080p
Action Cameras: DJI OSMO Action & Sony RX0 II!
The action camera market keeps churning ever lower in sales numbers. There is an over-saturation in the segment full of copycats that preyed on GoPro and now with the entrance of DJI the world’s de-facto drone maker in the space, means pretty bad news for GoPro and Sony. However GoPro has managed to stave off the competition for now while remaining profitable, we wonder how long can they last?
2nd Place: DJI OSMO Action
OSMO Action Frame Rate Support List:
|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
|720p 120, 240fps
1080p 120, 240fps
|4K – 30, 25, 24fps
2.7K – 30, 25, 24fps
1080p – 30, 25, 24fps
With 120fps/240fps 1080p recording with pretty good quality, this little camera is a direct match to the GoPro Hero 7 and 8 Black cameras that used to be unbeatable. For the first time a camera from another manufacturer than GoPro is now on our list as the best value/performance bundle. With also 4k at 60p you can get creative by slowing it down to 30p, 25p and even 24p for good effects at a higher resolution.
While the video quality is nearly as good as the Hero 8 Black from GoPro, the DJI Osmo Action camera has a price of $245 USD which is $100 less than the Hero 8 Black which is $349 USD. That hundred dollar difference for about the same specs means it is an easy decision to get the DJI Osmo action to be the #1 slow motion action value of 2019. It may not be the absolute best at everything but it is clearly good enough for the vast majority of users.
GoPro Hero 8 Slow Mo compare DJI Osmo Action 6 inches away from : fishycomics
In the excellent video above by fishycomics, you can see the Osmo Action actually has an edge with less jagged edges in the slow motion mode. The GoPro has a tad better color and noise control but the DJI camera has the high-speed quality edge.
1st Place: The Sony RX0 II is using the sony Stacked sensor Motion Eye technology in the RX and Xperia products inside this camera. It offers frame rates that other cameras in the action market lack by using a buffer recording mode. This is essentially the same camera as the 2017 RX0 but with a back screen, better lens and internal 4k recording which just makes it an all-around better option.
Sony RX0 II Frame rate options:
Quality Priority 2 Seconds Record Time:
Shoot Time Priority 4 seconds record Time:
Sony RX10 II slow motion compilation: 120 to 960 fps by Gordon Laing:
This little camera is now a real contender for the vlogging world and with the new features, it becomes possible to shoot in a self-contained package. The higher price compared to competitors is still a point to remember since it is probably it’s Achilles heel.
Still, there is no action camera that can compete with the RX0 II when it comes to slow motion options and that is why it earns the top spot in this category! -HSC
Professional but Affordable Slow Motion: edgertronic SC2X & Chronos 1.4!
In 2019 again there is no contest when it comes to excellent quality slow motion cameras you can actually afford. The edgertronic SC2X with over 2000fps full 1080p HD quality using an APS-C sized sensor is our pick for uncompromising broadcast-quality high-resolution slow motion capture. See our full review of the SC2X here!
The camera launched with 1910fps 1080p as a top broadcast spec but an Overclocking Software Update transforms the camera into a 2000fps, 2200fps and up full 1080p HD monster. As with all software updates on the edgertronic line, these are free of charge.
While the camera’s price tag at $15,990 may put off enthusiasts and small studio buyers, it is really a steal for this kind of quality. A camera that does full HD 1080p at over 2000fps is usually reserved to $50k USD kits without it being ready to shoot. Those other cameras require expensive memory modules, cabling, monitors and more just to start recording. The edgertronic SC2X comes in a ready to shoot package which also includes a Nikon f1.8 50mm lens and all the cables you need to start shooting out of the box. It even includes an 8GB SD card which allows you to save about 40 clips in H.264 high-quality 1080p format and over 60 clips in lower quality compression which is still better than most.
In our full review, we took the camera through its paces and it impressed us with the ability to retain excellent detail across all of our adapted lenses with no hints of aliasing or moire that could ruin shots. This camera is ready for TV and Film production which is the primary market of the SC2X. The camera also does 2,814 fps at 720p HD if you need more speed and if you add overclocking up to 3,642fps at that resolution. The camera tops out at over 24,000fps at the reduced resolution of 1920*96 pixels.
The edgertronic SC2X is the first affordable Full HD 1080p camera that you can really own, with ease of use to boot; this makes it our professional camera of the year and should be top on the list for any serious video producers that want that edge in super slow motion!
For more information and ordering an edgertronic camera visit: https://edgertronic.com/our-cameras/sc2x
Option #2: Chronos 1.4c
The Chronos 1.4c was a camera that got its Kickstarter Campaign late 2016 and was featured in our camera list for 2017. The big improvement for this year is RAW DNG recording in camera and the ability to output HDMI to a monitor which makes it a real professional tool for very little money when you give it ample amounts of light.
The camera is a self-contained ready to shoot block with included 5″ touch screen and it is very easy to use once you get the hang of it.
- 1280×1024 1057fps CMOS image sensor with 1.4Gpx/s throughput 1,502fps at 720p HD
- Global shutter LUX1310 image sensor – 8.45 x 6.76mm, 6.6um pixel pitch
As you can see for a starting price 8GB model $2,999 USD, there is a lot of value here for run and gun shooters. Its price is really groundbreaking when it comes to serious slow motion devices.
Krontech.ca has really done a good job of providing a solid camera at this price. However, it is not our #1 recommendation because the small 2/3″ sensor has several drawbacks compared to the APS-C of larger cameras like the edgertronic. The low light ability is limited, with pixels at 6.6 µ instead of the SC2X at 1.0 µ which are gigantic by comparison. Compression on the Chronos 1.4c is very good at about 40mbps for 720p but image artifacts are also encoded due to the smaller sensor. Noise and banding become problems in non-ideal conditions which means this camera needs a lot of light to deliver a good HD image. There is also some moire and aliasing patterns in detailed objects and the extra kit lens is an ok lens but quite soft wide open.
Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera after TWO YEARS (review) by TAOFLEDERMAUS:
The Chronos, when shot properly, can deliver excellent image quality especially in RAW DNG when not using C mount lenses which tend to be softer and full of aberrations compared to Nikon or Canon for example. The Camera with adapted 35mm lenses really shines and allows for extreme reach with a 4x crop. For example, a 100mm lens is equivalent to a 400mm, while a 400mm lens becomes a 1600mm lens. This is a plus for nature enthusiasts but a pain for studio shooters. You will need to use super wide angle lenses for tight spaces. We found the camera with a 20mm lens is pretty usable indoors giving it enough back throw space for 80mm.
The Chronos 1.4c is a very new camera which is still evolving in software. Support for most of the side camera ports as of this writing is not ready but planned to be released next year, this, however, doesn’t impede the camera to shoot as is. It is certainly a great option for 720p shooters who do not need very sharp and detailed image quality for a client that demands broadcast quality.
It is a great camera for education, experimentation, and youtube but if you need uncompromising quality you need a different camera with a larger sensor area. Maybe Krontech will release a 1080p camera with a larger sensor one of these days.
Update for 2019: The Chronos 2.1 has been announced this year with a 4/3″ sized sensor and 1000fps at 1080p for $5000 USD, this camera is expected to ship in May 2020 so that is why it was not featured as an option this year. If this camera is all that it promises to be, it will get high accolades from us. We should get a test camera at some point to put it through its paces. In the meantime, the Chronos 1.4c is still the only ship ready option from Krontech Canada. See the 2.1HD demo reel below to get an idea on the image quality of this new camera which easily surpasses the 1.4c and it’s tiny 2/3″ sensor.
For more information about the Chronos 1.4c and 2.1 HD cameras plus ordering information please visit: http://www.krontech.ca
P&S / Prosumer Cameras: Sony RX100 VII & Sony RX100 VA!
For the fourth year in a row, the RX series by Sony takes the entire prosumer category. These cameras have up to 960fps in the US and 1000fps in Europe as specs and have up to 3.8 seconds recording in high-quality mode at higher frame rates.
The new RX100 VII brings all the technology of the RX100 VI with its super long compact zoom at 24-200mm F2.8-4.5 lens attached to this little camera plus the killer capability of shooting 20fps stills with no blackout with full subject tracking by using the Sony Pro Autofocus technology on their Alpha cameras reduced to a pocket P&S camera. It also adds S-Log3 and HLG gamma settings, 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 3.0″ 921.6k-dot LCD touchscreen with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing imagery to a linked mobile device
Sony RX100 VII | What a $1,199 Point and Shoot Gets You by Potato Jet:
The big selling point of the camera is the 315 AF Phase detect points with full eye-tracking which is probably the best in the business. Still the lens is so long, meaning that low light shooting will be less forgiving than the RX100 VA of 2018 which we still recommend as a second option here in this category.
The RX100 VA has a f/1.8 to 2.8 8.8 to 25.7mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 24 to 70mm) 2.9x optical zoom which is ideal for shooting slow motion sequences. The video quality on the slow-mo HFR mode is identical in the RX100 VII and the VA so it ends up being a choice about lens light-gathering power vs reach and the better AF module on the RX100 VII. We still believe that if you only need the HFR version, then the RX100 VA is the clear option once again in this segment and deserves your attention as an all-around shooter for any situation.
|RX100 VII & VA HFR Resolution Table:
The Sony RX cameras remain the best performing cameras in the prosumer space without interchangeable lenses, their 1″ sensor is very good in low light and the video quality in good light is nearly flawless.
Sony RX100 VII slow motion test – 960 fps by gadgets and tech:
Be aware that all the RX series only record near Full HD quality at up to 240fps, everything after that resolution the quality drops considerably and pixels are up-sampled to 1080p for the recording. Resolution above 240fps is under 720p HD and at 1000fps its under NTSC VGA.
Sony RX100VA night video test, slow motion & color grading & cinematic video by International Departures:
The Sony RX Series continues to be the best slow-motion camera for value in the point & shoot prosumer market. Their CMOS Stacked Sensor technology with included memory and 1/32000 shutter speed allows for some amazing capabilities with a lower price tag.
End of 2019 Message to Our Readers:
2019 marked a slow-down in camera releases in many segments for slow motion with phones taking over the real hardware increases in performance. Software interpolation also got in a lot of attention by phone manufacturers and graphics giants like nVidia even when this is not real information, it can have several legitimate uses if done well. Many phones and video post-production software programs are able to do wonders with the technique on subjects like animals and people but no so much on water, powders and high motion events like explosions with debris.
The camera market will continue to evolve but the basics remain the same, frame rate, shutter speed, sensor size, video codecs, and overall quality. We hope the market continues to improve and allow for a reasonable budget to shoot high frame rate video at good quality to produce material that educates and inspires the viewer, or simply serves a useful purpose like motion analysis or industrial production. Our hope is that we break the 2000fps 1080p barrier in the next five years in a camera that costs less than $5000 USD. A tall order but it can be done with the relentless pace of technological miniaturization and image sensor evolution.
We strive here at HSC to catalog and weed through the camera market to find the hidden gems that are able to produce high frame rates on a budget. By using our links to products and clicking our banners you help us continue to exist. Even if you do not buy a product directly from a link, any product that you buy in the visited store helps us a little bit. So the next time you visit and need to buy something, please click a product link first and then continue at no extra cost to you.
We thank you all and we hope you have a pleasant holiday season with your loved ones and a great 2020!
Shoot Great Slow Motion Stuff! -HSC
Check out: Best Slow Motion Cameras of 2020!
Check out: Best Slow Motion Cameras of 2018!
Check out: Best Slow Motion Cameras of 2017!
Check out: Best Slow Motion Cameras of 2016!
Check out: Five Best Slow Motion Cameras of 2015!