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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 ←

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

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 ←

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS OF 2018!

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS 2018

As 2018 comes to a close it is time to look back through the year’s camera releases and see which delivered quality at an affordable price in slow motion.  Phone slow motion options above 480fps were a big surprise this year and the frame rate quality improved in other cameras up to 240fps.

There has been a stagnation in the mid to professional camera range at the 240fps with no big improvements afterward. The best quality and value once again came from the Chronos 1.4c from Krontech and the edgertronic cameras which offer professional quality results at a very reasonable price. Read on for our best of 2018 results!

BEST SLOW MOTION CAMERAS of 2018:

Without further ado here are what we believe are the best value slow motion cameras in their respective categories for the year 2018:

Best Slow Motion Phones:OnePlus 6, 6T, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 9, Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ3 series!

The best slow motion phones of 2018 are in our view the OnePlus 6 & OnePlus 6T which offer the same Slow Motion quality and features at 480fps 720p with a recording time of 3.75 seconds which translate to a full minute of playback at a 30p frame rate timeline. This is unmatched by any phone and while the quality is still not ideal, it is, however, the undisputed king of usable slow motion.

Other phones in the running like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 offer 960fps recording for up to 0.2 and  0.4 seconds which is a very short time frame to catch the action. Sure they offer twice the frame rate as the OnePlus 6 at 720p HD as well but the time restriction just gets it to second place. The Samsung phones do have better 240fps continuous recording which is something to take into consideration.

The Xperia Sony Phones XZ2 and XZ3 are 960fps phones that record at 1080p resolution which is a first for any phone. Problem is they record at just a very tiny sliver of time. The 0.1-second recording is so small a window that the phones are just next to useless for serious slow motion use.  Furthermore,  the phones at 720p only double that time recording to 0.2 seconds which is 6.4 seconds of slow motion at 30p playback.

OnePlus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S9+ super slow-mo by Fun4sure:

The big surprise in the phone space was the iPhone is no longer a class-leading slow motion phone, same goes for the Google pixel which capped performance at up to 240fps only.  Both of the big tech companies nearly forgot about slow motion this year while our phone leaders OnePlus, Sony and Samsung used it as one of the top features to tout the feature set.

As a Side Note, OnePlus just released a new variant of the OnePlus 6T called the 6T McLaren Edition which also offers the exact same camera performance in the regular 6 and 6T. The big change comes in faster charging and a 10GB RAM memory configuration which will probably be unnoticeable compared to an 8GB 6T in real use. The extra price tag is mostly for the look and feel so we recommend the 6T and regular 6 OnePlus variants as better options for value. All of these phones have the exact same slow motion specs.

Winner: OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6!

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Mid Range Professional Cameras: Panasonic GH5s, Sony a7 III, and Sony PXW-Z90V!

3rd Place: We were excited by the announcement of the Panasonic GH5s earlier in the year as the rumors showed 240fps 1080p continuous recording.  Sure the spec was included in the camera but the results were an aliased and moire prone image that made it unusable for professional use at 240fps. The camera does offer excellent 1080p at 120fps and slightly reduced resolution at up to 190fps.  The 240fps mode is usable but you will not want to shoot anything for a client with it as the quality drop is severe.  The Panasonic GH5 of 2017 is actually a higher quality 180fps image than the GH5s which seems to be based on the sensor itself being able to out resolve and scale the image down with more detail retention. We still think that unless low light is your prime focus, the Panasonic GH5 is still the better choice for frame rates in the Panasonic portable Mid-Range Professional cameras.

Panasonic Lumix GH5S + DJI Ronin-S | 240fps Slow-Motion Footage by Tom’s Tech Time:
→ Continue Reading Full Post ←

Sony a7 III Great Value In High Quality 120fps FHD!

Sony a7 III

There is no question the Sony a7 III just announced by Sony is making a splash in the midrange to professional camera markets. We have a $1,998.00 USD Full Frame camera that can shoot 10fps at the full 24MP sensor resolution with probably the best AF tracking system ever shipped on a camera aside from the slightly better Sony a9.  The low light performance of the new a7 III is quite frankly impressive with nearly as clean video to the king of low light the a7s II up until ISO 12,800.

It also has the same high-quality 120fps Full HD mode in both full frame downsampling and APS-C crop modes with continuous reliable AF tracking that performs as good as the a9 system because when it comes to spec comparisons they seem identical.  You will be better off with this camera if you are looking for 120fps full HD than any we have seen before as quality, low noise, focus tracking and dynamic range all come together to create a superb package.

Sony a7 III Main Features:

  • 24MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
  • 693-Point Hybrid AF System
  • UHD 4K 30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
  • 120fps Full HD Slow Motion with AF Tracking
  • 2.36m-Dot Tru-Finder OLED EVF
  • 3.0″ 922k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • ISO 204800 and 10 fps Shooting
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and NFC, Dual SD Slots
  • USB Type-C Port, Weather-Sealed Design
  • 3hr Video Battery Life Rec Time!
  • MSRP Body Only $1998.00 USD

SONY ALPHA a7 III | First Look by Clifton Cameras:

Slow Motion 120fps Full HD With full AF!

We gave the Sony a9 last year the best image quality rating for 8 bit 120fps Full HD ever by getting a 98% rating in our camera guide which is no small feat. We loved the color, dynamic range, continuous AF and lack of aliasing artifacts with excellent detail that looked beyond cinematic.  The only real problem was the price which at $4,495 is a little rich for most everyone.  The new a7 III looks by all accounts to be an identical performer to the a9 in slow motion 120fps with extremely good AF and at less than half the price at $1,998 USD.

The Sony A7III manual is available for download Here (Click here Adobe PDF).

Slow & Quick Settings Online Guide 100fps/120fps 1080p Here:

http://helpguide.sony.net/ilc/1720/v1/en/contents/TP0001211742.html

A7III Detailed Review for VIDEO Shooters – A73 A7 III by Max Yuryev: → Continue Reading Full Post ←