The Best Slow Motion Cameras

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Modern vlogs are more of an art than mere video journaling. They now require intricate detailing and fine editing while blending together plenty of shots with accuracy, making sure each second leaves an impact. Whether you are a wild-life vlogger or a cinematographer, with the right equipment, you can trigger a great impact through your videos.

When it comes to vlogging, in particular, newbies to the art of vlogging need to know exactly what impact each equipment has on the video production process. Hence, it is important to know about the best cameras for vlogging before you start a vlog. 

In recent years, the process of YouTube videos, vlogs, and filmmaking has become more advanced, as new variations continue to come into practice in terms of video recording style, composition, time-lapse shots, and transitions between simple monologues. Although this can sound like an effortless task, the execution is nothing alike.

With the increase in the demand and practice of video making, camera manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony, Canon, etc. have introduced new and advanced features in their products to cater to video developers’ needs. Slow-motion cameras are one of such amazing products that can give you outstanding slow-motion shots to add more impact to your videos.

What is the slow-motion effect?

The slow-motion effect is one of the amazing effects often used by videographers to grab the attention of the viewers to an emotional or impressive scene. The effect is basically a very slowed-down time in the middle of a normal streaming video. Previously, this effect was only used in movies; however, today, commercials, music video, and even vlogs are using this effect in the film. 

Any camera that can take pictures at speed more significant than the playback speed is a slow-motion camera. This technique uses more still frames per second, so when a video is played at an average pace, time appears to pass slowly. In order to achieve this effect, you need to have the best slow-motion camera for the purpose. 

Choosing the right slow-motion camera is based on the frame per second criteria. For example, a Phantom HD camera can take HD photos at up to 1,455 frames per second, while a regular camera usually works at 24 frames per second.  So, when you make a video at 24 fps, you only notice normal motion. However, when you make a video at a higher speed, such as with the Phantom HD camera, you notice that the motion becomes slower.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of the cameras featuring best slow-motion effects for photography and videos: 

The Best Slow Motion Cameras

1. Panasonic Lumix S1

Both the S1 and S1R cameras are sturdy models with impressive features. This full-frame mirrorless camera captures a stabilized image of a 24 MP sensor that can take photos at 9 frames per second. The S1 can also record 4K video at 60p from the APS-C area or oversampling 4K at 30p from the full width of the sensor. 

The body has a firm grip, offering several control features to make the process of video production more convenient for the user. The touchscreen allows the users to adjust the settings easily. The OLED viewfinder has 5.76 million dots and is considered the highest resolution viewfinder available.

The picture quality of the S1 is very close to its competitors like Sony a7 III and Nikon Z6. The 24MP sensor strikes the right balance between the level of detail and visibility of noise. The noise is well controlled, and results are generally good up to ISO 12800 to 25600.

Users can choose H.264 or H.265 compression to support 4K recording. When working at 60 frames per second, the focus width increases significantly (1.5x). With this camera, you can also choose to record in 1080p with standard 60frames per second. 

The Defocus depth system of Panasonic S1 is very good as compared to other cameras but it lags behind in hybrid autofocus systems.

Pros

  • 5-axis sensor stabilization
  • 24MP full-frame image sensor
  • Excellent EVF
  • Powerful controls and ergonomics
  • Protects from dust and water splash
  • 4K video along with 10-bit output

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Heavy in weight
  • The sharpness of contrast limits the tracking speed and continuous shooting speed
  • Lens selection is limited

2. Sony A7 III

The Sony A7 III is equipped with a 24MP sensor, as well as a fast processor with an improved autofocus system. The sensor in Sony A7 III has the same resolution as previous versions, but it has adopted a new design to achieve better results in high and low lighting. 

Compared to other cameras of the A7 series, this one has a larger grip, making it more convenient to handle. The longer battery life allows you to conduct intense shooting at up to 8 frames per second in Live View mode with minimum delays in the viewfinder. Even in continuous and silent shooting modes, the A7 III output 14-bit RAW format is equipped with a 5-axis image stabilization system that can achieve amazing results.

The A7 III is equipped with an upgraded image processing system that enables full-resolution image capture up to 10 frames per second with continuous and accurate AF/AE tracking. The quick mode can be used for a mechanical shutter or utterly silent shooting.

The A7 III lets you record 4K UHD video across the full-frame range for high-quality 4K footage. The camera can also shoot videos at Full HD, 120 frames per second at a maximum speed of 100Mbps, so that the footage can be viewed and edited into a 4X or 5x slow-motion video with AF tracking.

The A7 Mark III offers the most extended battery life of any mirrorless camera in the world (without battery holder). However, in some areas, Sony lags slightly behind other competitors as the A7 III still uses 2.36 million dot EVF.

Pros

  • 24MP sensor for excellent image quality 
  • High ISO performance with dynamic range 
  • Improved quality JPEG colors 
  • Fast AF system 
  • Best 4K video
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Even with a high-speed UHS-II card, buffer clearing will be slower
  • UHS-II support one card slot
  • There is no RAW option for compression
  • No built-in flash 
  • No battery charger included 

3. Sony Alpha a6500

The Sony a6500 is a top APS-C mirrorless model, a 24-megapixel camera with image stabilization. It is a better version of a6300 in the Sony product series, with an improved touch screen functionality and stability for enthusiasts who won’t hesitate to delve into their pockets for a better outcome. 

The touch sensitivity on the back screen can be used for two things: to set focus or trigger focus and shutter, or as a touch panel when the camera is held close to the eyes.

The combination of the APS-C CMOS sensor with the new LSI front-end and Sony BIONZ X image processor gives this camera impressive performance and speed. It can also capture full HD video at a speed of up to 120 frames per second, with an excellent texture, sharpness, and image clarity with low noise disruption.

The autofocus system of this slow-motion camera is very powerful and advanced. The 4K video capabilities of the a6500 are particularly impressive. It uses upsampling instead of pixel binning to maintain the best image quality. The video is captured at the equivalent resolution of 6K i.e., 20MP, and then downsampled for better details to 4K.

The SteadyShot stabilization system for pictures and video is an amazing feature of this camera. The camcorder is equipped with the function and speed similar to that of an action camera, and a 4K video function is designed to attract professional video makers. The Sony a6500 gives the best performance, but the price is much higher than traditional competitors.

Pros

  • Excellent Autofocus system
  • 4K video recording
  • Tilt-able touch screen

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Complicated menu

4. DJI Osmo Pocket

The Osmo Pocket can record a stable 4K video with a smooth time-shifting effect. Its convenient size allows you to easily carry a full-size DSLR gimbal to a shoot instead of having to carry the traditional bulky photographic equipment. This slow-motion camera offers an amazing flexible body that can counterbalance your uneven or shaky movement during the shoot.

In some ways, it can be compared to the GoPro Hero 8, however, it can provide better motion stabilization due to built-in software. The DJI Osmo Pocket allows maximum axis rotation similar to any large gimbal, without the need to use other photographic gears such as a motorized panoramic tripod for time-lapse photography.

The camera is designed to be handheld. The menu and touchscreen can sometimes be challenging to handle due to small screen size. The Osmo Pocket includes a universal port that can accommodate small lighting devices and USB-C adapters. 

To access the camera’s advanced features, it can be connected to a smartphone. Users can easily transfer files at around 10 Mbps to their smartphone as the physical connection is secure and unbreakable. The camera offers many recording features including panoramas, slow motion, motion & time-lapse. The Osmo Pocket is the best choice when you want to just walk around and shoot while moving. 

When shooting in 4K mode, camera performance in low light conditions is challenging, and users can hear the noise. However, the image colors are vibrant and high quality. The Osmo Pocket can take photos with a resolution of 12 megapixels.

Usually, audio capture is fine. The built-in microphone can pick up any sound. But there is an external mic port for professionals who want high-quality sound. The supporting DJI Mimo app can also be used on iOS and Android devices.

There is a Story Mode option to help users capture short social media sized clips with options like auto-editing, music tracks, and camera movements.

Pros

  • Capture 4K video at 60 frames per second
  • Motion-lapse is easy to use and intuitive
  • Smart controls for a small-sized device

Cons

  • Audio and video quality are not ideally compatible
  • The 1-inch screen is comparatively small

5. Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM

The Sony PXW-FS7 II Digital Cinema was  launched  in 2014 and since then it has been an absolute favorite of videographers who frequently switch between documentary and cinema-style shooting. The camera is popular for its low power consumption and smooth operation. 

The setting menu and the dustproof performance makes it suitable for outdoor use and continuous prolonged motion recording. The Sony FS7 offers some of the best ergonomics under the price of $10k. 

The 35mm camera sensor can capture footage in full 4K resolution—the camera records in different codec up to 10-bit 4: 2: 2 color space. While in the XAVC-I codec, it can also capture up to 14 runs of dynamic range. 

The FS7 II can record video at very high frame rates from 60 to 180fps videos internally in 4K and HD, respectively. When using a raw Sony external recorder, the HD frame rate can be increased to a maximum of 240 fps.

A new feature of FS7 II is the integration of Sony’s Variable ND technology. Cinematographers can now use the automatic variable ND without compromising on exposure settings. This slow-motion camera offers an outstanding E-mount, which significantly improves the lens mount’s strength and stability, especially for the use of heavier cinema-style lenses.

The camera takes photos in two basic modes: Custom and Cine-EI. Custom Mode is more like standard recording, while Cine-EI is designed for movie recording. The biggest weakness of the FS7 is the low quality of the footage when shots are taken in low light.

Pros

  • Upgraded E-Mount Lever Lock
  • Hi-speed up to 180 fps
  • Super 35mm Sensor

Cons

  • Twisting the lens mount while pressing the lock may cause trouble
  • Handheld camera
  • Rod is too short to rest the camera on the shoulder 

6. Canon PowerShot G16

The Canon PowerShot G16 has similar specifications to Nikon Coolpix P7800. It has a 3-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 921,000 dots. The 28-140mm lens located in front of the camera has a 12.1-megapixel sensor. This lens enables users to easily capture macro photos and portraits.

The wide aperture provides an excellent shooting experience indoors or at other places with low lighting without changing too much ISO sensitivity and too slow shutter speed.

The G16 is built to offer the most comfortable grip for use as compared to other cameras. The multi-function control panel offers a complete range of features specially designed for professional photographers.

You can use two continuous operation modes (burst): standard and autofocus. The standard method is the fastest because it takes shots without refocusing the image when the focus changes, while autofocus focuses on the subject as it moves during frame recording.

Thanks to the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card, the G16 records JPEG images at 9.6 frames per second without slowing down the camera. It also provides swift-like performance when taking continuous shot-to-shot. Canon claims to offer a smart masking technology in G16 for capturing images without the need for a tripod. 

Pros

  • Built-in WiFi feature
  • AE bracketing
  • Optical built-in viewfinder
  • Image stabilization feature
  • Long battery life
  • RAW shooting

Cons

  • No tilt screen
  • Heavy body
  • No touchscreen
  • No weather sealing

7. Panasonic VX981 Camcorder

Released in 2015, Panasonic VX981 Camcorder is famous for its sharp 4K and HD quality and plenty of other features in the price range of $800. 

When comparing the Panasonic HC-VX981K and HC-WX870, the additional feature of in-camera editing is what sets the VX981 apart. This in-camera editing solution allows users to convert 4K video to 1080p video without using complicated software or down-sampling.

The camera provides the following video formats: MP4, AVCHD, iFrame, and Ultra HD, HD, and AVCHD Progressive. The Panasonic HC-VX981 uses a Leica Dicomar lens with a 20x optical zoom. As part of the intelligent zoom feature in 4K video recording the range of optical zoom increases to 25x and in Full HD recording – up to 40x. Unfortunately, the edited videos can only be saved in 1080p resolution.

While this camera is not a dual camera, it does have a Wi-Fi feature that allows users to record picture-in-picture from a smartphone connected to your Wi-Fi network. Multiple points of view and shots can be captured simultaneously with mobile devices.

The Panasonic 5-axis Hybrid optical image stabilization can provide stable optical and digital images, allowing users to record in motion without blur and vibration.

Pros

  • The new editing function allows flexible resolution options
  • Best functions available within a compact device
  • Multiple devices can be used for picture in picture shots

Cons

  • The sensor is same as the previous version camcorder
  • Average battery life for 4K recordings

8. Sony DSC-RX10 III

The Sony RX10 III is specially designed to record professional videos. The camera has a built-in 24-600mm F2.4-4 equivalent lens and a 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor. This BIONZ X image sensor and image processor provides excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance. 

The RX10 III and RX10 II look similar, but the body and handle are a lot different; the weight is increased, and the power of the zoom has also increased threefold.

The lens performs well throughout the zoom range, regardless of the distance to the subject; details may not be so clear, the lens sometimes slows down the focus of the camera and adds some volume for a distant object. For short-distance and slow-moving subjects, the RX10 III uses center-lock tracking and a slower burst rate to achieve good results.

The colors are impressive, with a complete range of customization options for professional photographers. The resolution and dynamic range are also excellent in the RX10 III.

Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization is very effective. Thanks to the automatic ISO, users can set the minimum shutter speed and also adjust the movement control settings for a more stable shoot.

The High Frame Rate (HFR) of the Sony RX10 III is suitable for slow-motion video creation. The camera offers high-quality recordings in 4K and HD resolutions with an excellent range of filming options.

Pros

  • The single-lens, small-sized camera is ideal for portable use
  • Both 1080p or 4K image quality is excellent
  • Support wide-angle, macro photography, and telephoto
  • Users can use the menu and operating system with ease

Cons

  • The LCD screen may get damaged when in contact with water
  • At longer lengths, autofocus may disrupt
  • The battery quickly drains
  • This camera may lose its balance often due to its weight

9. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K 

The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K offers the perfect combination of high dynamic range, excellent low-light performance, and a super 35mm sensor capable of capturing 6K RAW. When recording in RAW, the capacity can be increased up to 30 minutes by setting the resolution at 60fps. 

This 6K Pocket camera features an incredible 13 stops dynamic range, allowing images to retain more detail in the brightest and darkest areas than other cameras.

The 6K model is compatible with larger EF photography lenses, making it the perfect choice to create impressive cinematic effect images with a shallow depth of field. These effects can  result in creative blurred backgrounds and stunning bokeh effects. The extra resolution also offers its users reframing opportunities in editing and color correction.

There is no articulated screen or a built-in ND filter in the 6K. Still, the maximum shooting resolution of this camera outweighs more expensive options like the Canon C300 M2 with multiple ports. If you are shooting both indoors and outdoors, then a separate ND filter will do the job. The camera isn’t explicitly designed for vloggers and photographers, but filmmaker enthusiasts will find Blackmagic 6K better than any digital film camera for high-end production.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K model has 48-volt phantom power and mini XLR input, which can be used to connect professional microphones such as lapel and booms.

Pros

  • Perfect picture quality
  • Compatible with a variety of Canon EF mount lenses
  • Low entry price compared with other movie cameras

Cons

  • Low battery life
  • The screen size is small
  • Comparatively low-quality autofocus

Choosing The Best Slow-motion Camera

Every professional camera has specific features that play a key role in capturing high-quality slow-motion videos. If you are trying to find a slow-motion camera for your indoor recordings then the best choice is to opt for Canon PowerShot G16. Whereas, you will find Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K  to be the perfect choice for outdoor shoots and it’s very convenient to handle as well in long travel shots.

Now that you have your ideal camera in mind, you need to understand a few factors before going ahead on the purchase. Before buying a camera, it is essential to first check the frame rate for slow-motion footage. 

How Can You Choose A Slow-motion Camera?

There are few things to consider while selecting a slow-motion camera:

  • Your budget is the most crucial factor. Identify your video recording needs, then select a camera.
  • If you want to make professional videos, then you will need to consider specialized specs and features. Keep in consideration that you might need extra gear to go with your camera for a high-quality shoot.
  • Bit rate and depth are also important to check before purchase as they impact the quality of your video.
  • When shooting in slow motion, some cameras have a crop factor. 

While slow-motion camera recordings can offer a great impact to your videos, there are other necessities that can add more value to the recording process. One of these necessities is the microphone, which needs to be chosen specifically to match your video recording requirements. It is best to study about the best cameras with an external microphone if you want to explore recording audio directly to the camera.

With the perfect slow-motion camera as part of your recording equipment, your videos can help you achieve the perfect impact on the audience, making your message more powerful and memorable. 

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