Best Slow Motion Camera
Everybody loves slow motion.
While you can take video on more or less any device and play it back in slow motion, there are certain requirements which make for the smoothest slow motion playback from a camera.
Take a look at these powerful slow motion cameras and see which ones is best suited for your style of filming.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best slow motion camera
- A brief buyer’s guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Slow Motion Camera
- Best of the Best: Canon EOS R5
- Runner Up: Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35
- Best on a Budget: GoPro HERO8
- Best for Vlogging: Sony RX100 VII
Best Slow Motion Camera Reviews
Canon EOS R5 (⭐ Best of the Best)
The best slow motion camera as far as we’re concerned is the Canon EOS R5.
This compact mirrorless camera is packed full of features which make it a fantastic choice for slow motion video. While it might have a hefty price tag for what it is, if you want to be able to shoot some seriously cool-looking slow motion then you’ll struggle to find better. This is the camera that will help you capture moments you experience on your adventures in slow motion without needing a big camera or complicated setup. It makes slow motion compatible with your everyday life and experiences. Few cameras offer a smooth handheld experience with such high quality slow motion as the Canon EOS R5.
This camera does the basics well when it comes to shooting slow motion, rather than focussing on extra features. The Canon EOS R5 can shoot in 4K and raw 8K 12-bit video at a rate of 29 FPS. You can also capture as many as 119FPS with a 10-bit rate in 4K video too, which is like music to the ears for anyone familiar with slow motion. The other factor which sets this camera apart from others is that it uses the full width of the sensor, which means you won’t have cropped video and can enjoy the scene unfold in all its glory.
The full-frame 20MP CMOS image sensor is what gives you the wide view, and also makes this camera an excellent option for stills too. There’s also continuous shooting up to 12FPS with the mechanical shutter, and 20FPS with the silent shutter – perfect for capturing the golf swing from start to finish. Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is a sophisticated autofocus system, which should ensure that you never record a video with a blurry subject.
The subject tracking of people and animals is made possible with impressive Deep Learning Technology. This makes your job of shooting compelling slow motion footage much easier, since you can do so with the subject in full focus. If you plan on having a moving subject like a person or animal, then this feature will make all the difference.
- Mirrorless camera
- 20 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
- DIGIC X Image Processor
- High-speed continuous shooting
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
- Deep Learning Technology for subject tracking
- 4K UHD 2160p video capture resolution
Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35 (🥈 Runner Up)
The Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35 is a premium professional camcorder, suited to capturing the very best slow motion footage.
This is the slow motion camera to go for if you’re serious about slow motion, and you want to capture every epic moment of life in stunning detail. One of the best features of this camcorder is how easy it makes shooting video. It’s ergonomic handle and clever design make it effortless to prop up on your shoulder or into your chest for straightforward documentary-style shooting. It’s also quite a light camcorder, which helps if you need to keep things steady as you shoot for a longer period of time.
Due to the design of this camera, it is more suited to professional-style video like documentary footage than casual use. But if you have the budget, then this camcorder can level your slow motion video up big time. The biggest reason you’ll want this camera for slow motion shooting is the impressive 180 FPS rate, allowing you to capture everything from splashes in the water to the graceful flight of a flock of birds in stunning quality.
There’s also an incredible Super Slow Motion time lapse option made available by the XDCA unit which gives you a playback mode range of 59.94p to 23.98p. Another feature which will be welcome is the 4 channel external microphone support, which allows you to record everything with crisp audio to match the quality of what you see on screen.
- Professional Camcorder
- 4K Super 35 Exmore sensor
- 180FPS continuous HFR in Full HD
- Flexible e-mount
- RAW recording
GoPro HERO8 (💰 Best on a Budget)
Quality slow motion video doesn’t come cheap, but the GoPro HERO8 offers excellent value for money if you don’t have a huge budget for a top end camera.
While you might think of action cameras as only suitable for extreme sports like skiing or base jumping, the truth is they can be an excellent choice for any form of outdoor videography. What makes the GoPro HERO8 specifically an excellent option for slow motion footage is the high frame rate, and the solid image stabilization.
The GoPro HERO8 offers 240FPS video recording at 1080p, and 4k at 60FPS. The high frame rate is perfect for ultra smooth slow motion, albeit in a lower resolution rate than some of the top end cameras. As such, this is the camera for the slow motion aficionado who is fine to compromise a little on quality in order to get the smoothest slo-mo sports shots or action moments. If you value high quality, there’s something for you too, as the 4K video recording at 60FPS can lead to outstanding results.
The other great feature of the GoPro HERO8 as far as slow motion goes, is the HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization technology. This feature gives you three different levels of stabilization, which work well for different styles of video. As far as extras go, you can use the TimeWarp 2.0 technology to capture stabilized time lapse videos as you’re on the move. This can make for some excellent on the go shooting if you want to capture some tennis skill shots or epic maneuvers on the slopes.
- Action camera
- HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization
- Compact design
- 1080p live streaming
- TimeWarp 2.0 stabilized time lapse
- 240FPS at 1080p, and 4k at 60FPS
Sony RX100 VII (📹 Best for Vlogging)
The Sony RX100 VII is our top pick for the vlogger looking to incorporate some casual slow motion shots in their videos.
What makes this a great camera for vlogging off the bat is the 3.5mm microphone port, which gives you the option to capture excellent audio. When it comes to creating a top vlog, it’s important that the audio quality matches the video. An external microphone is what you need if you’re looking for top notch sound, so a camera like this one should suit you well.
There are several HFR options with this camera that gives you access to epic slow motion, including 205, 500, and 1000FPS. Having an HFR mode is a very nice feature for a slow motion camera, although the caveat with this is that you can only capture a few moments before the camera needs to buffer.
You can also do up to 20FPS blackout free shooting up to 60 times a second. This is backed up by the sophisticated autofocus system, and the real-time tracking. This makes it easy to keep the focus where you need it to be while shooting your video, whether it’s a human or an animal.
- Compact camera
- 20.1 MP CMOS sensor
- Real time tracking
- 4k video with s log3 and interval shooting
- Active mode image stabilization in 4k
Ultimate Guide to Slow Motion Cameras
There’s a lot that goes into a great slow motion camera, even beyond the FPS rate.
A slow motion camera needs to meet certain criteria to function well, otherwise you could end up with choppy or poor quality playback.
Take a look at the following factors before you make a decision, since a slow motion camera can be a significant financial investment.
The budget is a very important factor, given that high end slow motion cameras can potentially set you back thousands of dollars.
While this isn’t true of every slow motion camera, they do tend to be more expensive than your average vlogging camera.
That being said, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, the GoPro HERO8 is as good as it gets for adventure and action-based video footage.
The budget you have will determine which type of slow motion camera is a more feasible option for you. There’s the interchangeable lens camera, and the fixed lens camera.
The former will allow you to switch out the lens to achieve different levels of zoom and field of view, while the latter comes with a fixed lens.
As you can imagine, having the flexibility to change out the lens makes the interchangeable lens camera the more expensive option.
Whereas the fixed lens camera will likely be a more affordable option.
Closely tied to your budget for the camera is the purpose you want to use it for.
If you just need a slow motion camera for personal or casual use then you probably won’t need to break the bank to find the right one.
On the other hand, if you’re more serious about slow motion or you want it for professional use, then you should be willing to shell out more for the best quality camera.
Your purchase decision should also be influenced by the type of filming you are looking to do.
If you’re just looking to upload some cool videos to social media platforms such as Instagram, then you don’t want to spend a lot of money since it doesn’t support 4K video.
However, if you want to make a living or have a go at vlogging on YouTube, then you should invest in a camera with full 4K HD video and as high an FPS as possible within your budget.
There are other features of a camera that can help you too, such optical image stabilization, which is essential if you want to shoot adventurous videos with lots of movement.
The lens and field of view should also play a role, depending on whether you will be doing a lot of close-up filming or motovlog style videos where you need a wide perspective to capture your surroundings fully.
Related: Best Tripod for Shooting DSLR Video
Frames Per Second
The FPS, or Frames Per Second, of a slow motion camera is the most important element by far.
If you want the smoothest slow motion video possible, then you have to invest in a slow motion camera with the highest FPS.
The more frames per second, the better the moving image will appear.
As a general guide, here’s what each FPS rate equates to as far as the amount of time during playback.
30FPS – 1 second
60FPS – 2 seconds
120FPS – 4 seconds
240FPS – 8 seconds
The higher the FPS rate, the longer the duration of playback.
Each FPS rate corresponds to a different style of slow motion, so your style of shooting will play a large part in determining what’s best for your slow motion footage.
60FPS will be fine for your run-of-the-mill slow action film shot of the hero walking away from an explosion, as well as other basic slow motion shots.
120FPS is the go-to frame rate for capturing the tiger pouncing on its prey, or the photo finish of the runner crossing the line.
240FPS is the first speed at which you can slow down events that would normally be too fast for you to see in any detail. This includes the splash and waves in the water, and the flight of a tennis ball.
480FPS is where it starts to get more serious, and is the slow motion speed which is perfect for skill shots in sports, tricks with the skateboard, and watching the white powder fly through the air in a skier’s wake.
960FPS onwards are reserved for the top end slow motion cameras, and will make for some excellent slow motion footage. At the frame rate of 960FPS and above, you can expect to capture moments in glorious detail no matter how quickly they happen in real time.
Generally-speaking, you won’t find many cameras that offer an FPS of more than 120, although some do have a HFR mode, which we’ll get to now.
As well as frames per second, there’s another term you should become familiar with when it comes to slow motion cameras, and that’s HFR (High Frame Rate).
Many cameras will claim to have HFR modes, which essentially means they will be able to shoot anywhere from 240 FPS and upwards, for ultra smooth footage.
One such example is the exceptional vlogging camera the Sony RX100 VII, which will let you shoot some super slow motion for that extra special b roll.
You might be wondering what the catch is here, since it seems quite ludicrous to be able to switch to shooting in 960FPS if the standard mode is much less than that.
The catch is that this HFR mode is only suitable for capturing a short span of time, or a few moments. Though if you’re looking to shoot a very specific moment and you can set things up to time it perfectly, then you could end up with some unique footage.
Just bear in mind that just because a camera has a HFR mode and can shoot in 960FPS though, it doesn’t necessarily make it a valid alternative to a top end camera due to lower quality and short duration.
Video resolution is one of the most important parts of shooting video.
Regardless of whether or not you want to shoot slow motion video, the resolution will largely determine the quality of the end result.
The gold standard these days is most definitely 4k.
While sometimes you can get ultra smooth video at lower resolutions, as is the case with the GoPro HERO8, the top end cameras will give you crisp footage in stunning 4k which is the optimal resolution.
So the question of quality will depend on both your budget, and what type of shooting you want to do.
For casual use or a touch of slow motion footage in your videos you don’t necessarily need 4k, but the FPS is definitely important.
On the other hand, if you want to shoot some more professional footage like a documentary, then you’ll have to prioritize both 4k resolution and high FPS.
While 720p used to be the peak of HD footage, it pales in comparison now to the likes of 1080p and 4k resolutions.
While it isn’t that bad that you should avoid it completely, if you want slow motion footage like what you see in the movies, then you should aim for a higher resolution.
1080p is a decent video resolution to shoot your videos in.
While it isn’t the peak of video quality, it can still provide excellent footage for slow motion purposes.
This is especially true with cameras like the GoPro HERO8 that offer this resolution at a stunning 240FPS which makes up for the lower resolution.
4k is the ideal for whatever kind of video you want to capture.
4k will become the new norm soon, so it’s a good idea to get on board now so your videos can be at the cutting edge when it comes to quality.
Having 4k video resolution can make the FPS rate you shoot at slightly less important, since what you lack in smoothness, you’ll more than make up for in crisp image quality.
Alongside resolution and frame rate, another determining factor in the video quality you can attain will be the bit rate offered by the camera when shooting footage.
This is where things get a little more technical, but it’s worth learning about specifications like bit rate since it can help you find the perfect camera for your needs.
Essentially what the bit rate refers to is how much information can be encoded every second. As with most things, the higher the number of the bit rate, the better the end result in terms of quality.
The way you identify the bit rate of a camera’s video recording is to find the ‘mb/s’ figure in the technical specifications. This number will vary based on the video resolution and frame rate you are shooting at, so you will find a number of different figures on the product description page.
To put it briefly, if you want the best quality possible for your videos without understanding everything in depth, opt for the camera with the higher bit rate, 4k resolution, and a high FPS rate.
That way, if you have to choose between two or three cameras, you can compare them at a glance without necessarily knowing all there is to know about the technical information.
The one downside to having a high bit rate (which also applies to higher resolutions) is that the size of the file will be very large, so you’ll need to wait longer for it to upload and will need to ensure you have enough storage space for it.
That means if you just want slow motion footage you can share with friends and quickly upload, then you’ll appreciate a lower bit rate.
Bit depth is another thing you should seek to understand if you want the best slow motion video recording.
The bit depth is much easier to notice, since you will only really find two options: 10-bit and 8-bit.
8-bit is the typical bit depth for most cameras, and 10-bit is for the slightly more advanced cameras.
To put it briefly, the bit depth refers to the color of the video.
While 8-bit will give you a possible 16,777,216 colors in a single image, 10-bit blows it out of the water with 1,073,741,824 colors.
That means that if you want to capture every last shade of blue and green in the sea, then you’re best served seeking out a camera with 10-bit depth.
This isn’t necessary though, so if you’re on a budget it’s best to stick with 8-bit depth.
The last technical feature we’re going to cover in this guide is the camera sensor, and more specifically, the size of it.
The reason why size matters when it comes to the camera sensor is mainly due to low light performance and depth of field.
The size of the sensor will determine how much light is taken in when capturing the image.
Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to find a large camera sensor on a smaller, compact camera which makes it harder to find if you’re on a tight budget.
The camera sensor issue explains in part why a lot of top end cameras are so large and bulky.
The main advantage of a big camera sensor when shooting in slow motion is the wide angle of view it affords. If you want to record slow motion footage of an event unfolding in front of you, then you will be better off with a larger sensor. Something like a tennis ball bouncing won’t require as big a sensor, so it depends on what you want to film.
Of course, if you want a full-frame camera sensor, you’re going to have to pay a premium for it. There’s also the fact that a larger sensor will weigh the camera down and make it heavier to carry around.
Which camera is best for you?
Shooting great slow motion footage requires planning, patience, and precision.
If you want to wow your friends, family, or viewers with stunning slow motion action, then there are several things to bear in mind.
The first thing you need to know is that adding in a slow motion effect after you’ve shot the footage is a big no-no. This is a surefire way to lose credibility and create choppy, low-quality slow motion images.
You need to get yourself a camera that is capable of shooting at 60FPS or more, and at 1080p resolution or 4k if you can afford it.
Another important factor to consider when selecting the right camera for your slow motion is footage of exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
If you want to shoot fast-paced sports or acrobatics, then you might be better off with an action camera like the GoPro HERO8 with its sophisticated Hypersmooth image stabilization technology.
Otherwise, you might prefer a handheld mirrorless camera which you can use to shoot slow motion footage from the hip whenever you see fit.
Some cameras, like the popular vlogging camera the Sony RX100 VII will have a HFR mode, which is perfect if you just want to capture fleeting moments in glorious detail.
For more professional documentary-style footage, look for a camera such as the Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35, which can be held comfortably against your chest and produces outstanding results.
The bottom line is to find a camera that is capable of capturing the very best slow motion footage, you need to find the highest FPS, best resolution, and highest bit rate that’s available within your budget.
If one feature is more important to you than another, for example smooth video and high FPS, then you could compromise in another area like resolution.
The GoPro HERO8 for example offers an incredible 240FPS at the lower resolution of 1080p, which makes it great for filming fast-moving action.
Related: Best Motovlog Camera
Frequently Asked Questions About Slow Motion Cameras
What camera does the Slow Mo guys use?
The hugely popular ‘Slow Mo guys’ channel on YouTube attracts millions of viewers with every video, and this is due to the incredible high quality slow motion video footage they produce.
To achieve such crisp video, the guys behind the YouTube channel use the Phantom Flex 4K camera.
This is a monster of a camera, which will set you back an awful lot of money. What makes it so special is its hugely impressive 1,000 FPS shooting capability and incredibly detailed 4K video.
Is 120fps or 240fps slower?
Frames per second, or FPS, refers to how smooth the video will be and the higher the number the better.
With regards to slow motion, you want the highest FPS possible, since it will give you the smoothest slow motion video.
120 FPS will take 4 seconds during playback, while 240 FPS will take double that at 8 seconds. This makes 240 FPS the slower option.
How many frames per second is a slow motion camera?
Frames per second is the most important factor for a slow motion camera, and the higher the rate the smoother the video will be during playback.
You can capture slow motion footage with as few as 60 FPS, which allows you to watch the video at half its normal speed.
A lot of dedicated slow motion cameras though will start at 120 FPS and higher, since this is necessary for the smoothest video playback.
Related: Best Camera for Podcasting
A Final Word from Run Gun Shoot
Taking the time to find the perfect slow motion camera for your personal or professional use is well worth it.
There are a number of factors which should be taken into consideration, including the FPS rate, video quality, and your budget.