This year we have decided to have a special post to highlight the advancements in smartphone camera systems that allow the recording of super slow motion video. We have seen after all huge advancement this year especially by Asian companies making their best efforts to exploit the camera module’s strengths without crippling them to sell a newer model. The Chinese have decided to create a camera war between phone builders that one-up each other every few months.
We value image quality just as high as frame rate and when phones claim to be 1080p in high frame rate modes we usually find that the real case if 720p or similar upscaled to full HD 1080 with artifacts and jagged edges that can make you dizzy. But not all phones are created equal and that is where this list of the best of 2019 comes in. If by any chance an even stronger contender comes in before the end of the year we might revise this list but it would be a fluke.
The latest beta version of One UI 2.0 which is the Samsung interface layer on top of Android 10, is featuring an initial selfie mode for the front camera in the Galaxy S10 and Note 10, to match Apple’s Slo-fie feature which debuted on the iPhone 11. The Samsung focused Sammobile.com has already tested the feature and has shown that it is working but with still some performance issues to be ironed out.
For starters, the footage stutters like it is losing some frames from what looks to be a 120fps 720p capture on the front selfie camera. Then there is no real adjustment at the moment of capture allowed on the interface but there are post-recording editing and speed stretching that should allow some level of control. It would be ideal to have access to a full manual feature on this mode, but it seems it is kind of a bolted-on software upgrade feature to allow a better feature for feature comparison with Apple. If that is the case Samsung should also allow all the cameras on the back to shoot slow motion video and not only the standard wide default cam.
Now that Apple’s latest and greatest phone the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max have been out in the wild for a few weeks, it is time to revisit the performance of the slow motion video mode of this all-encompassing handset. The iPhone has always been a good slow mo performer but the new cameras and bigger lenses with more advanced processing gave us high hopes for increases in video quality and fewer artifacts.
The slow motion quality should be better across both the 11 and 11 Max since they share essentially the same system of optics and bionic chip. Quality must be identical except for the two or three camera configurations. One thing that separates the iPhone is that you can shoot slow motion in all cameras and not just in the standard wide like Samsung or other Android phones. This is one thing Apple wins in spades and we hope to see other manufacturers adopt as standard.
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.
Ok let’s get the bad news out of the way which is that the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro all have essentially the same 120fps and 240fps of the previous iPhones on their main cameras which depending on the phone is two or three. All at 12MP and all capable of 4k UHD at 60fps and all slow motion capable at 120p and 240p at 1080p. So no new frame rates but a consistent capture across all cameras which seems unique compared to the competition.
The real new thing is the availability of 120fps at 1080p in the TrueDepth or Selfie front camera which allows for “Slofies” as Apple calls them. It would have been more impressive to have the full 240fps on the selfie camera too but they will save it for a future model. 120p is good and lets you shoot funny and compelling content. It is probably the best looking selfie camera image we have seen yet so Apple has an easy head start there.
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