This week we had the announcement by Samsung of the Galaxy S21 phone line which is the de-facto Android handset in most of the world. The Galaxy S21 Slow Motion has essentially the same feature set as the Galaxy S20 of 2020 when it comes to high-speed video. The Galaxy brand went serious with Slow Motion since the Galaxy S9 with the 960fps mode at 720p which we can still see here with somewhat improved resolution and recording time.
The S21 line is by almost any standard a refinement of the line with very subtle but important updates on the previous S20 phones. We get the Snapdragon 888 which is the brightest and fastest SoC in non-Apple land. We get 120Hz adaptive screen refresh rate and 108MP telephoto camera on the Ultra version with 10x hybrid zoom, and half that at 64MP on the regular S21 and S21+ which only offer 3x hybrid zoom. We also get 8k video recording on all of the phones at 24p which we will have to test if it is really delivering on the promise.
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.
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.
The newly released iPad Pro 2017 refresh in both 10.5 and 12.9 inches share a new camera module that really is a direct transfer from the iPhone 7. It makes sense for Apple to offer their best camera yet in the best iPad they have ever built when it comes to performance. However, you will not get anything in the camera department that makes the iPad Pro a leap forward in frame rates or other imaging specs.
The dual camera setup of the iPhone 7 Plus is not included in the iPad Pro so that is one aspect where the iPhone is still ahead. The new tablets are for all intents and purposes a refinement with speed and software productivity capabilities as the two main goals for the line. They want to be a laptop replacement and they are aiming at the crowd who is fed up with the weight and bulk of traditional laptops.
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