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BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS OF 2021!

 

We have passed another year in slow motion land and while camera releases were more plenty than expected considering the chip shortage and teh COVID disruption, it’s time to take a look back through the year’s camera releases, and see which delivered on the price/performance scale when it comes to slow motion frame rates.  Phones are stagnationg while high end cameras are getting more frame rate options in higher resolution. Our Best Slow Motion Cameras Of 2021 have been selected and ordered by recommendation! → 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 ←

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k Camera Setup 7 new Frame Rates!

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k Camera Setup 7

Blackmagic Design has released Camera Setup 7.0 which upgrades the URSA Mini Pro 12k camera in several areas including improved frame rates at different resolutions.  At 12k the maximum frame rate has increased to 75fps from 60fps and at 4k we now have up to 240fps in BRAW format from 220fps on a Super 16mm crop of the sensor. We also get 8k at up to 160fps from a maximum before of 110fps which is improved by leveraging the fast pipeline in the camera and delivering usable frame rates with good multiples.

While the camera is not cheap at $9,995, it is certainly a bargain considering the resolution and frame rates you have access to in BRAW RAW-Like format.  It may be essentially the most powerful camera you can buy today for this price range and available with an F, EF, or PL mount the flexibility is there if needed.  Blackmagic Design are also the owners of DaVinci Resolve and usually bundled it with their cameras. It makes for a hard to beat all in one system for shooting, editing, and postproduction. Dig in for more details…

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12k – Full High Speed Frame Rates After Update:

12K 17:9 full sensor up to 60 fps
12K 2.4:1 up to 75 fps
8K DCI full sensor up to 120 fps
4K DCI full sensor up to 120 fps
8K 2.4:1 and 4K 2.4:1 up to 160 fps

6K Super 16 up to 120 fps
4K Super 16 up to 240 fps

Ursa Mini Pro 12K Unboxing & Footage by Epic Light Media: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS OF 2019!

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: → Continue Reading Full Post ←

Terra 4k Firmware Update Allows 320fps 2k!

Terra 4k Firmware Update

The Kinefinity Terra 4k camera which starts at $3,999 body only and a ready to shoot package at $5,499 has now released information of a new firmware upgrade that will be released in May of this year which increases the slow-motion capabilities of the camera markedly.   The camera was no slouch before when it came to frame rates which had 240fps at 2k and 100fps at 4k.  It actually records in RAW and has excellent quality with no moire and aliasing since it is effectively cropping the sensor area to get a 1:1 pixel read-out for the slow mo.

For this low a price you really have no viable options that shoot these frame rates in excellent quality except for the recently announced Chronos 2.1 HD which does 1000fps at 1080p in DNG RAW.  The Kinefinity line of cameras has started to become a go-to place for cinema quality at reasonable prices. Many Video Pros are actually becoming owners of the camera and praise the rock-solid quality of the build, operation and beautiful image quality with ample dynamic range. The Chinese have really built the Cinema camera for the common man.

The Firmware announcement came from their official Facebook account and you can see it below:

#4K 160fps and 2K 320fps! #TERRA4K boosts frame rate from 4K 100fps to 4K 160fps, 2K 240fps to 2K 320fps by new firmware…

Posted by Kinefinity Inc. on Saturday, April 6, 2019

The firmware update will be available at the official site here when released in May this year: http://www.kinefinity.com/terra/?lang=en

You can see a full review of the Terra 4k camera here by ProAV TV:

You can see a great video shot on the Kinefinity Terra 4k using a variety of frame rates here by Philip Bloom:

There is no question the Terra 4k is an excellent no-compromise camera for a reasonable price. Now with the new frame rate update, it will be featured higher on our Slow Motion Camera Rankings with RAW performance in 2k at 320fps. It is nearing real dedicated slow-motion camera frame rates. -HSC

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Chronos 2.1 HD Shoots 1000fps 1080p For $5k!

Chronos 2.1 HD Slow Motion Camera

In what could be summed up as a big milestone day in affordable slow motion, Krontech.ca the company behind the excellent 720p 1500fps Chronos 1.4c slow motion camera has now announced ready for pre-order a new 1080p Full HD 1000fps slow motion camera that starts at a bargain basement price of $5,000 US Dollars.  Considering just a few years ago this performance in the Phantom camera space was a six-figure proposition, this is major progress towards a camera that we have been waiting for a long time.

Sure there have been other cameras that democratized the space in the past like the amazing edgertronic SC2X we tested which is a 15,990 USD piece of gear and is capable of 2000fps+ at full HD resolution on an APS-C sized sensor.  Still very cheap compared to other cameras but not exactly affordable for the common shooter. Now the Chronos 2.1 HD is here to change all that and offer in a fully contained package with a ready to shoot kit for a starting price a third of that.

Chronos 2.1 HD Main Specs:
  • 1080p, 4/3” format image sensor captures 2.1 gigapixels per second for 1004fps at full resolution, and up to 100 000fps
    at lower resolutions.
  • 8GB, 16GB and 32GB high-speed RAM buffer options for 2.5, 5.5 and 11 second record time respectively.
  • High sensitivity base ISO of 500 (Color) and 1000 (Monochrome) enables shooting with modest lighting.
  • Completely standalone, untethered operation.
  • Field-swappable internal battery EN-EL4a lasts for 1 hour of recording.
  • Runs indefinitely on AC adapter or external power source.
  • H.264 Recording In Camera & Uncompressed DNG RAW
  • Many lenses supported: Nikon F, Canon EF, Micro Four Thirds and C mounts available as field-swappable options.
  • Focus peaking highlights sharp edges for quick and perfect focus.
  • Zebra lines help you set correct exposure.
  • Pixel pitch 10um
  • Electronic global shutter, 1/fps to 10us (1/100 000 s)
  • Dynamic range 10.3 stops (62.4 dB) (preliminary)
  • Bit depth 12-bit
  • 5″ 800×480 capacitive touchscreen, 1000 nit daylight visible
  • Cooling Active cooling, variable-speed fan
  • Dimensions 155mm x 96mm x 67.3mm (6.11″ x 3.78″ x 2.65″) without lens
  • IR Filter 650nm, user removable, 24 x 16 x 1.1mm
  • Cooling Active cooling, variable-speed fan
  • Network: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Trigger Two Trigger inputs/frame strobe outputs (BNC and Aux)
  • Audio* Microphone/Line input, headphone output
  • Video HDMI monitor output
  • USB USB type A (host) and micro B (device)
  • SATA eSATA 3Gbps

Pricing and Availability:

Chronos 2.1-HD 8GBUSD $5000  – [email protected]
Chronos 2.1-HD 16GBUSD $5400 [email protected]
Chronos 2.1-HD 32GBUSD $6000 – [email protected]

There will also be 40 early bird cameras ready to ship for the 2019 summer for the lucky few that get there first. Pricing will be the same but you will get the camera earlier. Pre Order Page Here!

Chronos 2.1-HD Demo Reel #1 Sample Footage:

Watch in 4k for best results, Youtube 1080p compression obliterates a lot of fine detail!

NAB 2019 Booth:

The Krontech team will be attending NAB 2019 in Las Vegas to show their cameras and answer questions at their own booth.

What’s the catch, this price can’t be real?

There is no catch, the camera is a direct evolution of the Chronos 1.4c and a clear winner at least on paper for our #1 spot in our affordable slow motion HSC camera guide.  Since the Chronos started at $3k USD the Krontech team has made it possible by using their honed skills to deliver a product which is really a cut above at just $2k more.  For $5,000 USD you really cannot even imagine getting a camera close to this level of performance.

The camera sports a Micro 4/3s sensor which is considerably smaller than most professional cinema slow motion cameras which start at APS-C size and also the edgertronics but it seems to be a sensor that is not only capable but very sensitive to light which should, in theory, allow for beautiful imagery in 1kfps 1080p and at lower resolutions.

We are fans of Micro 4/3rds sensors like the one in the Panasonic GH5 and GH5s which delivers outstanding value for money.  These cameras are very capable in the video world and the sheer adaptability of the mount means that it can be used with almost any lens out there sans that of shorter flange mounts like the Sony Alpha for example.

The sensor in this Chronos 2.1 – HD is also adaptable to using speed boosters like the excellent Metabones line of m4/3 adapters which allow for a full stop improvement in light gathering as well as allow for APS-C field of view on the smaller area 4/3 sensor. We can already get excited about the light gathering improvement in a camera like this with the appropriate adapter.  Remember, you can never have enough light when shooting slow motion video.

Chronos 2.1 HD Slow Motion Camera Body Design & Mount:

The Sensor is a LUX2100 from Luxima with 1952 x 1096 pixels & 1080p resolution with a max full readout of 1004fps at 1080p.

The camera body will be identical in shape and dimensions to the Chronos 1.4c and there will be an adapter to incorporate Micro 4/3 lenses as an add on. You should be able to use any C mount to EOS or C mount to Nikon adapters for using those lenses.

The HDMI port will also export a 1080p image at 100ms delay time which is the same as the back screen. This is short enough to allow the use of larger accessory screens and or viewfinders with the camera.

  • SD Card speed will be limited to 20MB/sec
  • SSD Drive saving will be 60MB/sec or 13 – 1080p frames a second in RAW DNG format.
  • Much faster H.264 saving than DNG like in the original Chronos.

Chronos 2.1-HD prototype demo, overview, and teardown by tesla500:

New Screen, New Horizons!

  • 5″ 800×480 capacitive touchscreen, 1000 nit daylight visible

Yes, the Chronos 2.1 – HD will have a new screen capable of 1000 nits which according to the spec sheet will allow full sun visibility outdoors.  This was a big issue with the original Chronos 1.4c which requires not only a sun shade but even some guessing as to focus and framing in sunlight.  If this screen is that good then this is simply the best upgrade to the camera after resolution!

Now you can take your Chronos out and shoot without a separate monitor in daylight while composing and operating the camera. Very exciting news!

Maximum Frame rates, this is a serious piece of gear!

As you can see in the table above, you can really push this camera to limits never before attempted in this price range.

The camera shoots in 32×2 pixel increments which means you can literally punch in any multiple of those like 64*4, 128*8 and so on until full HD on the sensor to get a plethora of combinations.

At 100,000fps 1920*8px the maximum this camera can offer you will be able to see a bullet fired and smashed if framed right with excellent temporal detail.  Of course, you will want to use resolution accordingly depending on the subject matter and the display where it will be ultimately shown.

You will still get the 720p 1500fps popularized in the Chronos 1.4c with a sensor center crop if needed which means you don’t really lose this ability if you upgrade to this camera. We are very happy to see this spec retained and now with 34% Larger Pixels.

When can I see it?

The camera should start to ship this summer to early bird buyers and shortly thereafter to regular orders.  The hardware is finalized and working so they need to build the cameras after the orders come in. Krontech delivered hundreds of Chronos 1.4c cameras after their Kickstarter campaign and has continued to fulfill new orders day in and day out, we have full confidence in their ability to deliver on these cameras after purchase.

We hope to get one of these cameras soon for testing and evaluate how well it performs. Looking forward in the Chronos 2.1 HD to a much larger sensor experience in 4/3rds than the Chronos 1.4c  2/3ds sensor. The pixel size alone should deliver a much better image with less noise and artifacts out of the box at 10µm vs 6.6µm in the Chronos 1.4c or 34% larger. New sensor technology should also play a significant role in delivering on the image quality front.

Other Chronos Updates:

The Chronos API should be released soon which will let users build applications and control the camera or array of cameras in unlimited ways.   Once this API is released the original Chronos 1.4c camera will increase in price by $401 USD to reflect added capabilities and keep up with inflation while at the same time supporting the development of the software.

Chronos Ring:

We thought it was an April’s fools joke when Krontech.ca released a teaser image on April 1st showing a 48 Chronos 1.4c camera rig to record in 360 degrees in super slow motion.  However, the Rig is not only real but a world first in recording this type of content at 68 gigapixels/sec in glorious super slow motion.

Krontech was kind enough to share early samples of the technology in the video below. Rest assured this is in alpha stage so any miss-alignment or slight jumpiness should be fixed by release time or by the customer on location.

The technology of the Chronos Ring should, in theory, allow for a completely new 360º degree perspective in recording super slow motion footage for TV shows, commercials, and scientific applications.  We are eager to see more of what this rig is capable in professional hands.  Expect to see blockbuster movies and or TV using this technology to create the next generation VFX shots to move forward the art of practical effects. What an awe-inspiring technology.

Chronos Ring Video Samples:

Chronos Ring – Bullet time array of 48 high-speed cameras by tesla500: → Continue Reading Full Post ←