Phantom Flex slows down time, captures 1080p at 2,570fps

Ever wanted to slow down time?! The Vision Research’s Phantom Flex might be just what you have been craving for. By shooting an enormous amount of frames per second, this ‘time machine’ is able to create an illusion of slowing down the time by shooting an incredible 2,570 frames per second footage (can even shoot at up to 10,000fps at lower resolutions). And even though it carries a price tag of around $100k (unconfirmed), it is worth every penny. Let’s not forget that some of the greatest blockbusters (Inception for example) were shot using Phantom series cameras such as Phantom HD Gold.
Read more for additional info including other rigs used by Hollywood such as Typhoon HD and Red One.

A quick rundown of the main features look like this:

  • Up to 2,570 fps at 1920×1080 in Standard Mode
  • 12-bit pixel depth
  • 1200 ISO (measured using ISO 12232 SAT method)
  • HQ Mode provides ultimate in image stability under changing shooting conditions
  • Phantom CineMag compatible, CineMag interface has field-replaceable pin array
  • Global, electronic shutter to 1 μs (shutter angles in HQ mode depend upon frame rate and resolution)
  • Multi-cine capable via segmented memory
  • Internal mechanical shutter for hands-free and remote Current Session References
  • On-camera controls for camera modes, settings, playback, edit & save
  • Frame synchronization to external signal, allows multiple cameras to be synchronized – 3D recording
  • External trigger signal on camera connector panel and both 12VDC power ports
  • Genlock for synchronizing video playback – essential for 3D video workflows
  • Raw digital and/or video workflow solutions
  • Flexible lens solutions

Official Website: Vision Research


There is, however competition. On the lower side of the scale, you might find the M3 series camera from IDT Vision which shoots 517fps @ 1280×1024. They also have N4-S3 which shoots 3,000fps @ 1016×1016; and Y4-S3 that is capable of delivering 5,100fps @ 1016×1016. As you can see, it is possible to get a very high frame rate from an “affordable camera” but the overall resolution would have to be sacrificed.

For a similar case of cash, you can indulge yourself with Typhoon HD4 – the camera heavily used by Discover Channel when shooting the Planet Earth, South Pacific and Time Wrap series. It was also involved in shooting some of the Myth Busters episode; but that was before the Hollywood knew of the existence of Phantom Flex.

The Typhoon HD4 is stuffed with the following goodies:

  • Image sensor: Advanced CMOS with ultra-high light sensitive of 1000 ASA
  • Resolution: 1,280×1,024 pixels; 720P high-resolution up to 1000 FPS
  • Max frame rate: 200,000 FPS
  • Storage: 4GB internal memory (3.5 seconds of recording time at 1000 FPS or 7 seconds at 500 FPS or 720P)
  • Lenses: Nikon prime lenses 14mm and 17-35mm.

There is also a newer version of Typhoon – HD5 which is a slight upgrade performance-wise and a slight hit on your budget as well.

  • light sensitivity 1000 ASA/ISO at 0 db (max. 5000 ASA/ISO)
  • frame rate 50 to 200,000 frames per second (fps)
  • 12bit colour
  • resolution 1280 x 1024 pixels up to 2000fps
  • HD 720p up to 2700fps
  • SD up to 7000fps
  • fully stand-alone camera – no computer needed
  • hand held, electronic viewfinder, compendium
  • interchangeable lens mounts: Nikon, PL, Canon
  • high performance underwater housing
  • remote operation: camera & lens


If you are looking for image quality rather than frame rate, do not wait a second and pickup the hottest rig – Red One from your local convenience store (yeah, right). For a pocket change ($25,000 to be precise), you can get this (body-only) 10lbs box of joy. With over 5 times the resolution of an HD video camera, the RED ONE has earned its rightful place as the successor to 35mm film acquisition. It was used to film Social Network, Pirates of the Caribbeans, Jackass 3D, District 9, The Book of Eli, Knowing and others. With 14megapixel censor, it can record at 4.5K RAW. Did you hear? That’s 4480×2304 resolution!!! As for the frame rates, it is well-capable of capturing at 30fps @ 4.5K, 60fps @ 3K, and 120fps @ 2K.
For full specs, head over to their website.

Red Epic 5K

For even higher resolution, Red offers a 5K (!!!) camera named Red Epic (because it is epic indeed).
Find below a short video of people shooting on Epic.


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