2

I'm interested in shooting slow-motion videos of sports (eg. ping-pong, badminton; for analysis and such). After trying an iPhone camera I wish to get something higher quality/more crisp (ideally 1080p@240fps).

However, finding something decent at an affordable price-tag seems to be rather difficult. hispeedcams.com is a quite good source for this purpose. Here are some notable finds.

research

rather professional solutions (too expensive)

dedicated high speed cameras (more than needed)

action-cams (too limited): ("240fps at 720p and 120fps at [...] 1080p")

DSLM/MILC (which would also be nice as default photo cameras but don't have a optical TTL view finder)

It would be nice to have something more versatile than action-cams, but less expensive than those professional devices. As I don't want to shoot slow-motion only, cameras specially designed for that aren't really what I am looking for either.

This leads to the (still quite expensive) GH5 (or similar DSLM) and also to a few

questions:

What should I look for in gear for a beginner?

Is there something (DSLRs/DSLMs) in between (regarding price) GH5 and action-cams (similar to a6500) supporting slowmo ?

Some specifications mention that high-speed capture is only available for a few seconds

Is there always a maximum on how long can I capture slowmo if it is not noted?

If a camera is advertised with (eg.) 8sec 1000fps, at which rate could it record permanently then ?


note:

I have asked for DSLRs on photography already with comments mentioning the GH5 only - I can remove this partial question if it is not fitting
I have split off the SDI part-question here.

  • Your question in SDI should pribably go in a separate question. But basically it allows uncompressed capture on a recorder, or the use of minimally lossy codecs like prores, sometimes at higher colour depth, depending on the recorder. – stib Jun 4 '17 at 5:01
  • @stib, I have had a look on that article. 1000fps sure looks impressive, but how does this translate into lower fps recording times ? (Could not find anything on that) I am not planning to analyze bee-flight but ordinary quick human actions. I have split off the SDI part here. – gr4nt3d Jun 4 '17 at 15:46
  • While I know you are probably looking for something cheaper. I'd add the Ursa Mini 4k to the list of professional cameras with high speed features. It does 120fps 1080p as well and is only $3k, making it cheaper than any of the others in that section, but still quite pricy. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '17 at 15:54
3

You may want to look into Sony's camcorder line (even legacy; like the NX5U).

The NX5U and I think even the FX1000 (which is an HDV Tape Format and can be had used on a place like ebay for under $1000) could do bursts of full 1080p 240+ for a "limited time".

If I remember correctly the FX1000 by sony could do 240 frames at for 10 seconds. It would buffer the video into internal memory; then queue the tape; then record to tape when the 10 seconds was up.

It was limited in terms of it's usefulness; but it sounds like based of what you want to use the slow motion capture for; it may be worth looking into to.

Burst cameras (even the iPhone now does this); will give you a higher frame rate, with limited record time for a much lower price than say going the RED route or Phantom Route.

Or you could rent a RED, RED Epic's will do 480FPS at 1K; and they can be rented cheap; as they are everywhere... and sit on the shelf most day's of the week by people who own them.

3

There isn't really any magic bullet in high speed photography. High speed photography is difficult because of the amount of data involved and the sensitivity necessary for the sensor. Both of these factors combine to drive up the cost of all portions of the camera to do it well. You can either sacrifice quality (which the iPhone does) or you can sacrifice affordability.

The higher the frame rate gets, the less time is available to expose each frame and thus the more sensitive it needs to be. This makes the cost of the sensor higher. Additionally, that data needs to be transferred off the sensor more quickly, which means more expensive sensor, it needs to be processed more quickly, which means more expensive electronics and it needs to be stored more quickly, which involves more expensive media.

Some cameras try to save on the cost and maximize quality by putting the money in to a faster sensor, but then putting a limited amount of high speed cache in the camera. This means that the camera can not record continuously at high speed, but rather will record at high speed until the cache is filled and then will have to wait while the processor and storage have a chance to process the data after the fact before it can do another high speed recording.

If you are able to use burst capture like this, it may be the best chance at getting something which is capable of both high speed capture at high quality and also not breaking the bank, but that only works if you are ok with the limitation of not being able to record continuously.

  • Thank you for this informative answer. I have split off the part about external recording; am I mistaken or does this not notably reduce the stress on the most limiting internals ? (which I understood to be cache, sensor and processor in regards to not overheating and limited throughput; apart from copying and compressing maybe). – gr4nt3d Jun 7 '17 at 17:53
  • @hillbilly - not sure what you mean about external recording. External recording only impacts part of compression and storage speed, but you are just transferring the cost to an external device then. The camera still has to process the data from the sensor in to an image stream and put it in to some format that can be sent over the wire to the external recorder. It can be done pre-compression, but then you need ultra high data rate cables and communications gear, which is also expensive. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '17 at 18:06
  • Well I thought sending out RAW via SDI would maybe allow to push the limits of the device. Obviously this is nowhere cheap and would be interesting to know mostly for upgrades. – gr4nt3d Jun 7 '17 at 20:02
  • This would potentially offset the storage requirement and would technically offset a portion of the processing requirement if you were doing it in raw, but most things that are able to push that kind of data rate in raw are also able to record it, so I'm not sure how much you would gain there. There might be some device that could gain something, but it'd be the exception rather than the rule I think. – AJ Henderson Jun 7 '17 at 20:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.