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Up Your Game: 6 Budget-Friendly Slow Motion Cameras

Lewis McGregor

Bring your slow motion game up to speed with this roundup of high frame rate cameras that won’t deplete your life savings.

While it would be an absolute blast to shoot some slo-mo with the Phantom VEO 1310—which can shoot an insane 10,860fps at 1280 x 960—the camera’s $150,000 cost makes the possibility, well, let’s say unlikely. Just renting the thing for one day will set you back a few thousand bucks.

Fortunately, there are a ton of high-quality slow motion cameras available at a reasonable price point. Let’s look at a few of the better, more affordable slo-mo options.

1. GoPro HERO10

You know, GoPro has never been my thing. I’ve been let down by the image every time I’ve used a buddy’s GoPro. However, with this new model, the footage looks better, especially the slow motion.

So, how does the HERO10 improve on previous models? Improved sensor, 5K recording capabilities, hyper-smooth 4.0 image stabilization, as well as “8x Slo-Mo” at 2.7K. The 8x at 2.7K is a massive win.

Usually, when we drop down to ridiculously slow frame rates, especially in compact cameras like this, we take a massive hit with the quality of the footage. And, in 2022, it seems a detriment to be mixing 1080p slo-mo with 4K or 6K native footage. The HERO10 quashes all of that.

The Hero9 had the following specs:

  • 23.6 MP sensor
  • 5K recording at 30p
  • 12 MP 1-chip CMOS
  • UHD 4K video resolutions
  • 4K time-lapses at night
  • HyperSmooth 3.0 stabilization

The Hero10 has the following improvements:

  • 23.6 MP sensor
  • 5.3K recording at 60fps
  • 8x slo-mo at 2.7K
  • Better low-light capabilities
  • New GP2 processor
  • HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization

Price: $449.00

2. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Next up in price point is a competent point-and-shoot option—because, why not—the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II.

The G5 X Mark II is excellent for high frame rate videography like previous iterations. It offers full HD up to 120 fps, which combines well with a solid 20.1MP sensor and standard UHD 4K video recording.

If you’re traveling or looking to avoid buying or renting lenses, this is a good option.

  • 20.2MP 1″ stacked CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 8 image processor
  • 5x optical zoom f/1.8-2.8 lens
  • 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
  • 2.36m-dot pop-up electronic viewfinder
  • 3.0″ 1.04m-dot tilting touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 4K30p and full HD 120p video

Price: $899.99

3. Sony RX10 IV

One of the highest-end point-and-shoot options, the lightweight Sony RX10 IV is a staple in filmmaker go-bags thanks to a clean image and ease of use.

Boasting full HD 1080p at up to 120fps, the RX10 IV’s Zeiss Vario-Sonnar zoom lens (24-600mm) is both sleek and powerful. You really can’t go wrong here.

  • Full HD up to 120fps
  • 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor
  • UHD 4K up to 30fps
  • Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/2.4-4 zoom lens
  • 24-600mm (35mm equivalent)

Price: $1,699.00

4. Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II

Is this camera even out yet? If it isn’t, it’s about to be. And, it doesn’t even matter because any camera from the Lumix “GH” line will give you an excellent image, especially for slow-motion shots. You really can’t go wrong when choosing between the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s and the slightly cheaper GH5.

If you do go with the GH5 II, you’ll get higher-quality 4K 60p at 10-bit. The internal 4:2:2 10-bit, V-Log, and Hybrid Log-Gamma recording options make creating some gorgeous picture profiles easy.

  • 20.3MP live MOS sensor with AR coating
  • DCI/UHD 4K 60p video, 10-bit internal
  • Pre-installed V-Log L, no-crop 4K video
  • 6.5-stop 5-axis dual I.S. 2
  • 0.76x 3.68m-dot OLED viewfinder
  • 3.0″ 1.84m-dot free-angle touchscreen
  • 225-area DFD AF, advanced subject detect

Price: $1,697.99

5. Insta360 One X2

The Insta360 line of action cameras is undoubtedly tiny and gives GoPro a significant competitor in the action camera market.

Here, I’ve picked out the One X2, the latest line with some fantastic specs for such a small device. If you want something new that isn’t a GoPro and don’t want to be buying all different types of add ons, the Instax360 One X2 may be a fine selection over the norm in the action camera world.

However, and it’s a big however, our tech guru writer Alejandro recently reviewed this compact action camera, and well, there were seemingly more detriments to the camera than he would have liked.

The specs of the camera are:

  • Two fisheye lenses @ f/2.0
  • 5.7K video recording at 30fps at 100mbs bitrate
  • 360 degree view mode
  • Waterproof (IPX8 rated up to 10m)
  • 46x113x29mm in size and weighing 149g
  • Multiple video modes including bullet time, timeshift, & timelapse

Price: $429.99

6. Sony α7C

When I first heard about the a7C—essentially the follow-up to the wildly popular Sony a7 III—I didn’t think much about it since I was all eyes on the Sony a7S III. But, this little powerhouse is worth every cent of its (relatively) low cost.

You get the benefit of Sony E-mount lenses, strong low-light capabilities, and the portability of something small like a Fuji. If I needed a new camera to go along with my more extensive setup, I’d probably get one of these due to the price point.

  • Full H24.2MP full-frame Exmor R BSI sensor
  • BIONZ X image processor
  • UHD 4K up to 30fps
  • 1080p up to 120fps
  • HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
  • 693-point hybrid AF system
  • 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • 3.0″ 921.6K-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization

Price: $1,798.00

This article was initially published in May 2021. It has been updated to reflect changes in the industry.

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Cover image via Sony.