Do the 'broadcast quality' cameras used in the 2016 Olympic Games have higher than normal frame rates? It seems that their slow motion footage is smoother, sharper, and less motion blurred than typical day-to-day productions from local stations.

  • The lack of motion blur depends on the shutter speed more than just frame rate. While a higher frame rate will mean a faster shutter speed, you can increase the shutter speed without necessarily increasing the frame rate.
    – stib
    Aug 29, 2016 at 6:52

2 Answers 2


The MacCAM (used in Tennis back in 2004) used a 1000 fps frame rate and had just enough resolution to capture a tennis ball hitting (or missing) a line with reasonable resolution. Today, a Phantom Flex 4K can do 1000 fps with UHD or 4K resolution. Many high-end broadcast cameras can do 120 fps at FullHD or UHD resolution, which is probably what they were using at the Olympics. That's 4x slow motion for NTSC-land and nearly 5x slow motion for PAL-land. That is a great frame rate for anything but the fastest sports (badminton, ping pong, etc).

The Panasonic Varicam HS is a broadcast camera that does 240 fps. I wasn't watching these Olympics closely enough to see whether this was the camera used for the gymnastics event, but wouldn't be surprised if it was.


The official local broadcast equipment supplier is Panasonic. Most countries take the local broadcast partner's feed of the games. Looking at footage of athletics, swimming, rowing and team sports I didn't see a lot of different broadcasters' equipment in the background. Basketball is good for spotting cameras.

Panasonic Corporation provides the Olympic Games with state-of-the-art digital audio/video equipment, such as flat screen TV, digital video camera, DVD recorder, and professional audio/video equipment. https://www.olympic.org/sponsors/panasonic

Panasonic is providing P2HD Series cameras.

NBC managed to get their own broadcast capability in Rio.

NBC Olympics will also use Sony’s HDC-4300 4K high frame rate camera system for HD replays - https://blog.sony.com/press/nbc-olympics-selects-sony-to-provide-broadcast-and-production-equipment-for-its-coverage-of-the-2016-olympic-games-in-rio/

So state-of-the-art high frame rate 4K cameras.

The Sony HDR-4300 does 479.52 fps at 60Hz (400fps at 50Hz).

I think the P2HD frame rate is 240 fps.

I don't think either of those cameras will do those frame rates in 4K, but I haven't got the specs handy.

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