Digital Photography Review

7 Best Cameras for Slow Motion | Affordable Slow Motion Camera


Humans kid ourselves that the external world is as we see it. In fact, it is a construct our brain makes which can be exposed as a construct by optical illusions. That applies to color but also to motion. Some other animals ‘see’ much faster than we do and have a wholly different kind of viewing experience. We first started to see this other world with the invention of slow-motion cameras, which appeared more than 150 years ago and opened up a strange and often beautiful world that is normally invisible to us. Originally these were based on high-speed optical photography using optical 35mm film, pulled through the camera at astonishing speed, like the amazing camera models used by NASA but today these cameras are digital.

There are huge technical challenges for high-speed cameras, not least of which is that they have very little time to capture enough light to make a satisfactory picture. So, what are the best cameras for slow motion? High-end digital slow-motion cameras from the likes of Arri, NAC, etc. cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and are out of the reach of most. However, there are plenty of slow-motion camera models that are priced for consumers too. We looked at seven affordable slow-motion cameras that produce stunning results.

So, what exactly constitutes an affordable Slow Motion Camera?

best affordable slow motion camera Slow-motion means shooting at a higher frame rate than normal (this is also known as “over cranking” from the days when cameras were hand-cranked) and then playing back at ‘normal’ speed. If you go to the cinema, you’ll be watching normal speed playback at 24 fps (frames per second) and HD or UHD 4K TV in the US are viewed today at 60 fps. Once you get to view images shot at 120 fps you are in the realms of high frame rate (HFR) which is a proposed new display format for UHDTV. It’s a bit confusing because that is not slow-motion (because you are shooting and displaying at the same fps). However, shooting at 120 fps but displaying the result at 60 fps (thus effectively halving the speed of perceived motion) is arguably the start of genuine slow motion. Shooting above 120 FPS will then progressively reveal more time-based detail. So, shooting at 240 fps means you are watching at one-quarter speed, 480 fps at one-eighth speed, 960 fps at one-sixteenth, and so on.

In terms of cost, a rule of thumb is an affordable slow-motion camera that is good enough should be priced around $1,000 – $2,000 or something in that ballpark (lens not necessarily included in the price). You can find reasonable budget brands well below that price range and we review a few here but usually, you get what you pay for.

TOP three Slow Motion Cameras

Before looking in depth at this topic, here are our top 3 video cameras for slow motion.

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