For years, we’ve had our minds blown by dramatic and powerful slow-mo scenes of epic fights and explosions. Up until recently, these shots seemed impossible to replicate with your own equipment, but great news!
Due to recent developments in consumer technology, affordable high-speed cameras are flooding the market. The days of needing to pay a small fortune to experiment with cinematic slow-motion shots are over. We’ve put together a handy list of 13 great slow-mo cameras, which could be useful for creators at any experience level and with any budget.
We will guide you through:
- How slow-motion shots work
- The best slow-motion cameras for beginners
- Semi-professional high-speed cameras
- The best pro ultra-high speed cameras on the market
First, we need to understand how slow-motion footage is shot.
How slow-motion shots work
Slow-motion shots require a high-speed camera. These can record more frames per second (fps) than usual cameras, so when slowed down, the action still appears fluid.
The higher fps your camera can record, the more you’re able to stretch out the footage. Anything played back below 24 or 30 fps will look choppy and jerky to the human eye. If you shoot 120 fps, you can stretch every 1 second of footage into 4 seconds without disturbing or distracting the viewer.
Get started with the best slow-motion camera for beginners
If you’re new to shooting in slow motion, or on the budget, you might want to get started with a cheap option. These action-, and point-and-shoot cameras can record smooth slow-mo shots without breaking your bank.
Some of the best cheap cameras for slow-motion are:
- Action camera – with 5K video resolution for serious detail
- Waterproof – up to 33ft for no limits
- HyperSmooth 3.0 Stabilization – in-camera horizon leveling
- 1" sensor – easy to shoot video with pleasing bokeh
- Side-flipping screen – ideal for video
- Autofocus sensitivity options – perfectly suited for vlogs
- Super portable design – for your convenience
- 20.1MP sensor – for superb image quality
- USB charging – so you can charge up wherever you are
- 16X optical zoom lens – for dynamic shoots
- Versatile and portable – for the filmmakers on the go
- Tilt/swivel LCD touchscreen – organized, modern menu
- Small-sized – to fit perfectly in your hand, bag or pocket
- Quick capture – to ensure you never miss the perfect shot
- AI Editor – to automatically combine your clips with transitions and music
Get better with semi-professional high-speed cameras
Do you want to elevate your projects to the next level? If you want to have more control and options, these mid-range cameras provide excellent specs and full HD resolution up to at least 120fps.
Choosing the camera that fits all your needs can always be difficult. Read more about finding the right camera here.
The following high-speed cameras are the perfect choice for intermediate creators, who wish to manipulate time smoothly in their next big scene:
- EF lens mount – for compatibility with a wide range of lenses
- lightweight mirrorless body – for convenient shooting
- large 5" LCD – for easy focus
- Digital Live MOS sensor – for sharp and artefact free images
- micro four thirds system – for compact portability
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – for a flexible shooting experience
- 45 MP full-frame CMOS sensor – for sensational clarity
- In-body image stabilization – against camera shake
- Advanced focus – accurate in almost 6000 AF positions
- 61 MP full-frame sensor – for high sensitivity
- Choice of aspect ratios – for full control over your shoots
- Improved user interface buttons – more haptic feedback
- ISO range of 100-12800 – for various lighting conditions
- Fast Hybrid AF 0.03 seconds – for no delay
- Capture fine details – 1.7x more information for 4K
Stay Pro with the best ultra-high speed cameras on the market
Pro slow-motion shots are basically synonymous with Phantom cameras. They’re the pinnacle of high-speed cameras and shoot at mind-blowing fps of up to 25000-1 million fps, and clear Slow Mo Guys favorites! While most of us only dream of getting our hands on a Phantom camera, they’re definitely a marvel to behold.
The absolute best pro slow-motion cameras in 2021 are:
- 4K imaging – for professional cinema, media, and broadcasting
- full size images – 9.4 Gpx in Cine Raw file format
- Lens mount options – for flexibile and smooth workflows
- The fastest ultrahigh-speed camera – capable of up to 1 million fps
- Outstanding memory – of 72, 144 or 288 GB high-speed internal RAM
- CMOS sensor – with 12-bit depth
- Very versatile – used in sciences labs, outdoor areas, and on film production
- High light sensitivity – for usability in any setting
- Compact lightweight body – airtight seal protecting the components from dust and sand
Whether you want to shoot a scene of your main character running through a field of flowers or create exhilarating action sequences, the right slow-motion camera is out there for you.
You have to think about your needs, level of expertise, and budget thoroughly. If you still have doubts, consider renting a camera or even hiring a high-speed Phantom camera. This way you can experiment with different equipment without making a significant financial commitment. Whatever you do, just make sure that you have fun exploring your creativity!