Cameras that are capable of producing high-quality, slow-motion footage are increasingly in-demand. As lockdown measures around the world begin to ease in 2021, this demand will only grow as more people are able to explore again.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all slow-motion cameras are made equal. Similarly priced models can perform very differently, so it’s worth understanding what sets some models apart.
If you’re looking for a great slow-motion camera that can shoot at a high fps, you’ve come to the right place. This page will dive into some of the best slow motion camera options available in 2021. We’ll also lay out some general things to consider.
What Is a Slow-Motion Camera?
Without stating the obvious, slow motion is an effect in cinematography where movement appears much slower than usual. The camera captures frames at a much higher fps in order to create a striking effect.
The result is videos that reveal exciting new details and present the material with drama and impact. High-action sports are a great slow-motion subject, but practically any video with enough movement can turn out great.
A camera that’s good for slow motion will capture at a high enough fps and have sufficient sensitivity to light.
How Do You Shoot the Best Slow-Motion Video?
Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to brush up their skills or a complete notice, there are a few things to keep in mind when shooting slow motion video.
Frames per Second
Fps, or frames per second, determines how many still frames your camera records per second when filming a video. For slow motion, the higher fps you choose, the slower your subject will appear to move.
A rough rule of thumb is that 60fps will result in a video that’s 2X slower than normal. 120fps, then, is 4X slower and so on.
To put it simply, the shutter speed of a camera determines how long the sensor is exposed to light. It affects the lighting of your composition and its overall sharpness. Within the context of slow-motion photography, shutter speed has a close relationship to fps, or frames per second.
To get the results you need, always set your shutter speed to double that of your frame rate. For example, when shooting at 500fps, your shutter speed should be 1/1000th of a second.
Light is fundamental for practically all photography, and slow-motion video is no exception. The golden rule is that the faster your shutter speed, the more light you will need.
Once you’re shooting at 1000 fps or more, you’ll need a massive amount of bright light to get what you’re looking for. Image noise becomes a big issue at this speed. Avoid low-light environments whenever possible.
Another thing to remember is that many incandescent lightbulbs can cause a flickering effect in slow-motion video. To avoid this issue, look for bulbs with a flicker frequency that’s higher than the refresh rate of your camera sensor.
This may require some trial and error to figure out.
Consider a Tripod
It isn’t strictly necessary to use a tripod for this kind of footage, but it can make a huge difference. This is especially true of longer videos where camera shake can ruin your results.
To guarantee the best possible standards for focus, camera shake and image noise, a tripod is your best bet every time. There was a time when this kind of accessory could be prohibitively expensive, but you can now pick one up for around $20-$40.
Once you’ve got familiar with shooting video with your camera, you might like to try a tracking shot using your tripod. It will take a little getting used to but can really elevate your shots once you’ve got the hang of things. Adding skills like this to your arsenal can go a long way in upping your photography game.
High-resolution video can take up a lot of space, fast. Double-check the storage options available for any camera you’re considering. Check whether it’s compatible with SDXC cards, SDHC cards, or both.
The read speed is another important consideration; look for at least 150mb/s.
Editing Should Enhance, Not Fix
This is generally true of most photography, but it’s especially relevant for slow-motion footage. When working with such a dramatic shooting style, heavy-handed editing can distract from your final result.
Aside from perhaps a slight crop, a new audio track or some lighting tweaks, you should try to make your shot as effective as possible before opening up lightroom.
Remember that Audio Gets Weird
There’s a reason that most slow-motion videos you see use a separate audio track for the sound. When you capture in slow motion, the audio starts to sound super funky.
Unless you’re going for an outlandish effect, plan to replace the audio for your video. There are plenty of online resources that host royalty-free tracks that can be used.
Remember to only use tracks legally and responsibly.
What are the Best Slow-Motion Cameras?
The reality is that the best slow-motion camera will be different for everyone. Some will want bleeding-edge specs with jaw-dropping clarity, while others will be happy to forgo these features if the price is right.
The list below contains our top picks for the best slow-motion cameras on the market. We’ve tried to pick a reasonable range of prices and feature sets. The options on this page are priced between $300 and $1200+.
If you’re looking for cinema-quality performance, we recommend checking out Sony’s line of ultra-expensive professional cameras.
1. GoPro Hero 9 Black
The GoPro line of action cameras is still phenomenally popular. They make it easy to capture stunning videos and stills while on the go. The Hero 9 Black has excellent slow-motion capabilities and can capture 8X slow motion at 240 fps.
It’s worth noting that this is significantly better performance than many other consumer-grade cameras on the market. GoPro appears serious about maintaining its reputation as an action powerhouse.
Why we Love it
If you’re looking for a rugged action cam that takes excellent-quality slow-motion videos, this GoPro is tough to beat. Sports and general action videos benefit tremendously well from slow-motion capture and the Hero 9 was built to deliver on this front.
Videos are stable, crisp, vivid and are remarkably easy to capture thanks to the signature GoPro layout. Add this to the generous suite of other features that come with this model and you’re looking at a seriously compelling package
One of the great things about GoPros in recent years is the ability to expand the performance of your camera with optional accessories. Your audio recording, lighting and display can all be upgraded with a modular add-on.
The light mod in particular can help bring some much-needed illumination to your slow-motion videos.
As mentioned earlier on this page, stability is a huge factor when recording slow-motion video with your camera. “HyperSmooth” is the GoPro marketing lingo for their image stabilization features.
In short, they make your videos appear much more stable, even when doing shaky sports like dirt biking.
- Excellent slow-motion footage (8X at 240fps)
- HyperSmooth 3.0 for stable shooting
- Built for the outdoors
- Audio capture still isn’t amazing on GoPros
2. Sony RX0 II
As a general rule, Sony has a great track record when it comes to camera performance. The compact RX0 II is no exception to this rule. Sony has packed an impressive amount of slow-motion punch into this tiny package.
Why we Love it
Within the context of this review, the main thing that stands out to us about this camera is the wide array of slow-motion options. Standard slow-motion capture is possible at a respectable 120fps in full HD.
Switch to Sony’s so-called “slow motion7”, however, and you’ll be recording at frame rates of up to 960/1000fps. At this speed, even the most pedestrian footage can be brought to life. Keep in mind that at super-slow speeds like this, you’ll need a great deal of light to get the results you’re looking for.
The “end trigger” feature for slow-motion capture on this camera is great. It lets users pinpoint exactly where they’d like the effect to come into force.
Adjustable LCD Screen
A handy feature of the RX0 II is its adjustable LCD that can tilt up 180° and down 90° for flexible shooting on the go. Features like this help this camera stay ultra-portable and adaptable to a broad range of environments.
The increased visibility it affords will make slow-motion capture even easier.
BIONZ X Image Processing
Sony usually does a great job of onboard processing. The BIONZ X processing engine does a phenomenal job of treating your images and footage with the respect it deserves.
Expect rich tones, vivid details, and way less image noise.
- Excellent slow-motion options with super-slow footage
- Sony’s stellar image processing
- Ultra-compact design
- The autofocus can be a little finicky
3. Sony RX100 VA
At around $1000, the RX100 VA represents a significant bump up when compared to its younger sibling the RXO II. In exchange for this extra cash, you’ll enjoy significantly improved battery life, better autofocus, and stunning low-light performance.
Why we Love it
The low-light performance of the RX100 VA deserves a lot of praise. Considering the size of the camera unit, the ISO range of 80-12,800 is impressive.
Slow-motion video capture is only ever as good as your available light. Cameras that can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your lighting environment are a boon for slow-motion recording.
The high-density autofocus tracking on this model also contributes significantly to this camera’s slow-motion performance. Your subject will stay sharply in focus, even when moving at blistering speeds.
As you can probably tell by now, we’re big fans of Sony cameras in general. Their image processing, autofocus technology and shutters usually have one thing in common — they’re fast.
If you regularly capture in continuous shooting mode, or prefer subjects that move quickly, the speed of this camera will definitely appeal to you.
The shutter speed of this camera is designed to keep image noise to an absolute minimum. If you regularly shoot subjects that result in blurred or distorted images, you might be surprised by how effective this feature can be.
- Gorgeous 4K video
- Excellent low-light performance for slow motion
- A very fast camera in general
- Compact design
- At this price, an interchangeable lens system would be nice
4. Sony A6500
Rounding up this section of the review is the Sony A6500. Sony boasts that this camera has the “world’s fastest” autofocus. If speed and precision matter to you, then this camera is well worth considering.
Why we Love it
The A6500 delivers on almost every front. The performance on offer here is seriously impressive. In particular, we love the stellar ISO range and noise reduction technology. They allow for slow-motion footage that is absolutely gorgeous.
The adaptable autofocus features on this camera from Sony can adjust to practically any subject you throw at it. Your footage will be in focus like never before, even with unexpected or irregular movements.
5-Axis Optical Image Stabilization
As we’ve mentioned previously on this page, the stability of your shot will determine the quality of your slow-motion video. The 5-axis setup of the A6500 keeps your shots rock-solid, even if you have a shaky hand.
Features like this one begin to justify this camera’s $1300 price tag.
This camera is from Sony’s world-renowned line of mirrorless cameras. This comes with a number of benefits. These include a super-lightweight frame, interchangeable lens system, and a slew of Sony accessories that are all ready and waiting if you can afford them.
- A fully fledged mirrorless camera
- Excellent low-light performance
- 5-axis optical stabilization
- Great onboard image processing
- One of the more expensive options on this list
5. Canon EOS 90D EF-S(Canon camera that shoots 120FPS)
If you’re looking for a camera that can shoot at 120fps, Canon is a good brand to look out for. The camera giant has plenty of options available. It’s worth keeping in mind that most cameras capable of higher frame rates like these come at a premium.
Weigh up your individual requirements before pulling the trigger; you could save a fair bit of money if you don’t need the extra juice.
This DSLR ticks a lot of the right boxes. 240fps shooting with plenty of other frame rates? Check. Uncropped, 4K videos? Double check. Killer sensor with brilliant optical performance? You get the picture.
If you can afford it, there’s plenty to love about this camera.
Why we Love it
The versatility and power of this machine make it an excellent slow-motion camera. Use an appropriate lens with sufficient low-light performance and you’ll be able to capture stunning videos every time.
The updated sensor design on this model delivers fantastic image quality with stellar dynamic range, resolution, and clarity. Canon has done a great job here.
The 45-count autofocus system on the Canon EOS 90D does a phenomenal job of keeping your subject in focus. Without getting into the nitty gritty of focusing features in this review, a higher number of focus points usually translates to a much more robust system.
Your subjects will come sharply into focus every time and will need far less tweaking to look right.
The 32.5 megapixel sensor on this camera goes a long way toward making this one of our favorite cameras for shooting slow-motion video. This level of performance can be much more forgiving than other cameras.
Even if you’re still a little unconfident when shooting, your footage should still turn out great.
- Very good optical performance
- Canon DSLRs are very versatile when it comes to available lenses
- Strong autofocus system
- Produces excellent slow-motion video with frame rates up to 240fps.
6. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
If you’re looking for some of the performance of the EOS but are working with a tighter budget, the G7X Mark III might be for you. This option is popular among vloggers thanks to its compact design, but it still packs plenty of punch for high frame rate shots.
Why we Love it
With shooting modes up to 120fps, the G7X Mark II is capable of producing some pretty impressive videos. The tilting screen can also be adjusted 180° which lends some welcome versatility when shooting.
Buying from Canon grants users access to the brand’s huge range of available accessories. When you buy a Canon camera, you’re usually buying a product that can be expanded with modular accessories.
DIGIC 8 Image Processor
This iteration of Canon’s onboard image processing significantly improves both speed and overall performance on this camera. The ISO and low-light performance in particular have seen a notable increase.
For slow-motion shots, this means clearer images with more punch in general.
Live Streaming Functions
This feature won’t be for everyone, but it can make the lives of some people much simpler. The G7X Mark III can live stream directly, without the need for additional software or devices.
If you regularly vlog or stream content for events, this camera is a great choice.
- Adjustable touchscreen LCD
- Can film at up to 120fps
- Strong image processing with 4K video
- Live streaming capabilities
- Can film at up to 120fps
7. Canon EOS M6 Mark II
With unique viewfinder options and some pretty impressive performance, this mirrorless option from Canon is well worth a look. The M6 Mark II can film at up to 120fps and comes with a slew of impressive features to justify its considerable price tag.
Why we Love it
Canon has balanced performance, usability, and value very well here. This camera delivers excellent videos and photos and is relatively simple to get to grips with. This one should serve you well, even if you’re a complete novice.
One feature that caught our attention with this model was the option to pay extra for an electronic viewfinder accessory. While far from essential, this peripheral significantly boosts visibility and flexibility when shooting, with up to 100% coverage wherever you are.
If you prefer to shoot with a more traditional approach, definitely consider this upgrade.
Touch and Drag Autofocus
This one might come in handy when filming slow-motion footage of a moving subject. Canon’s intuitive autofocus UI lets users drag a finger over the touchscreen LCD to adjust focus on the fly.
This will make it much easier to shoot dramatic footage that’s always just as crisp as you planned.
Rapid Continuous Shooting
As a general rule of thumb, a rapid shooting speed of 10+fps is considered pretty fast. The M6 Mark II can shoot continuously at up to 14fps, making this camera a beast when it comes to fast moving subjects.
A great use for ‘burst mode’ is to hedge your bets when capturing stills so that you have plenty of photo options to choose from later.
- Up to 120fps for videos
- Rapid continuous shooting mode
- Touch and drag autofocus for convenient tweaks
- Powerful 32.5-megapixel sensor
- The low-light performance is good but could be better
How Much Does A Slow-Motion Camera Cost?
The answer to this question is determined largely by your specific requirements. It’s possible to find a slowmo camera for as little as $300. When working with a budget this small, it’s worth paying special attention to online reviews to make sure you’re not wasting your money.
GoPro is a great brand for relatively affordable slowmo cameras. Models from the Hero 8 and earlier tend to be significantly discounted these days when compared to the more recent Hero 9 and GoPro MAX.
Staying within the consumer-grade category, a premium option can run you as much as $1500+. While excessive for most people, enthusiasts and professionals will appreciate the performance that comes with a heftier price tag.
As a general rule, more premium cameras come with better low-light performance, superior autofocus systems and larger sensors. These all contribute to a device that can capture incredible slow-motion videos.
If you have very specific slow-motion needs and are working in a professional environment like cinematography that needs ultra-slowmo capabilities, there are plenty of cinema-grade options out there.
These cameras will run you at least $5000 and can easily get much higher. Sony has a strong line of cinema cameras, for example. The reality is, however, that if you need a camera of this calibre, you probably don’t need to be reading this review!
Which Phone Has the Best Slow-Motion Camera?
If you read this title and turned your nose up, think again. Smartphones have come leaps and bounds in terms of optical performance over the past five years. There are a few options out there that can produce some seriously impressive results considering the size of the phone.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
While the length of your video will be capped at certain frame rates, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra remains one of the best smartphones for slow-motion video. Samsung’s “Super Slow-mo” feature can capture footage at up to 960 fps.
With four cameras, a laser autofocus system and Samsung’s respectable software suite, this phone is a fantastic choice if you can afford it. Not only can it produce great slow-motion clips, but it’s also a brilliant camera in general.
Other killer features of this smartphone include Samsung’s unique S Pen, a top-end processor, and the powerful Android operating system. Put it this way: there’s a reason that Galaxy phones are among the most popular in the world.
- Arguably the most premium line of smartphones out there
- Killer overall camera performance
- Optimized footage for a result equivalent to 960fps slowmo
- Very expensive
2. Sony Xperia 5 II
The Sony Xperia 5 II is another great choice if slow-motion capture is important to you. While Sony’s smartphone line-up has been polarizing in the past, this phone is undeniably good at slowmo.
It’s possible to capture 4K video at 120fps with this smartphone. As a leader in the digital camera space, Sony appears dedicated to continuing this brand image with their phones.
The camera software on the Xperia line of products offers more control than some users might be used to. You’ll be able to tweak manual settings to your heart’s content.
The 240Hz refresh rate on this display is complete overkill, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous to look at. Swiping through your phone will feel buttery smooth. If you’re used to the more standard 60Hz refresh rate, you may be surprised by how nice this upgrade feels.
- Brilliant slow motion for a smartphone
- High refresh rate display
- Great front-facing speakers
- Sony’s track record for smartphone updates isn’t great
3. Huawei P40 Pro Plus
Huawei has broken significant ground in the international market in recent years. The P40 Pro Plus delivers excellent slow-motion video for a premium price.
This smartphone records a burst video at 1920fps and then extrapolates it up to 3840fps. Software trickery aside, the results can actually be breathtaking if you get it right.
As for general camera performance, this thing is no slouch. The 5-lens system gives users plenty of versatility when shooting on the go. Huawei’s default processing is a little vivid for some people, but this can easily be tweaked in the settings.
Phones like this are testament to how far camera technology has come. If you can stretch to the $1200+ price tag, this one is worth considering.
Conclusion: Which Slow-mo Camera Is Right for Me?
Feeling overwhelmed? It can be easy to feel paralyzed by the amount of choice that’s available. We always recommend thinking about your individual requirements in as much detail as possible.
The more you know about what you want out of your camera, the easier it will be to make the right choice. We lay out some specific suggestions below.
Think About Other Features
While this page has focused primarily on slow-motion video, it’s likely that this won’t be your only priority. Do you care about still images too? Does weatherproofing matter to you? What about Wi-Fi connectivity, do you care about that?
The clearer you are about which features you care about, the simpler it will be to pick the right camera.
Which Frame Rate is Enough?
While crazy-high frame rates up in the thousands are great to have, it’s worth remembering that they’re miles away from being essential. 120fps can be more than enough for casual slowmo requirements.
If you just want to film your pet in a fun new way or have similarly straightforward demands, a modern smartphone will probably do the trick.
Pick a Dealbreaker Price
Once you’ve spent a little time thinking about the features you care about, decide on an absolute maximum price that you’re willing to tolerate. This will make it much easier to say no to cameras that go out of your budget.
Unless it has a good enough feature set to persuade you, don’t be distracted by flashy marketing. Remember that while it’s possible to get a good camera for $300, this is usually lowest you can go before quality starts to suffer.