You Don’t Need a Phantom
Let me start out by saying the Phantom high speed cameras are undisputedly the best cameras in the industry for slow motion work. You will never walk onto a hollywood feature and find someone shooting with an Sony FS5 or RX100 at 960fps. They simply aren’t good enough quality to show on the big screen. With that being said, maybe you don’t need to produce content for a hollywood feature. Maybe you just want to get started in high speed and need something you can afford to build a reel. This is a question I get literally every week. “Hey Chris, I want to shoot slowmo but I can’t afford a phantom. What cameras can shoot slowmo that are more affordable than phantom cameras?” The short answer is, there are none. The longer answer is it depends on what your needs/goals are. If you only need 120 fps there’s tons of cameras that will work, If you need 240 an FS5 works great. If you need 480 only for instagram a Sony RX100 VI will work too. It just depends on what your needs and goals are. With that in mind I shot a quick test comparing the Phantom Flex 4k, Phantom HD Gold, Sony FS5 and Sony RX100 VI to see how they compare in the same lighting situations.
Each camera is set to daylight balance a approx. 100mm focal length shooting 960fps. Pay attention to the details of the pill bottle especially the text. Other things to note would be the lighting from key side to shadow side as well as the saturation on all cameras. If you’re coming from instagram you might have noticed they don’t look so bad because it’s such a tiny screen on your phone. That’s my point exactly in regards to what your needs are. If you want to build a library or reel for yourself to move into phantom work maybe all you need is a Sony RX100 to start shooting everything you can think of until you can make the move into phantom work.
Download HD versions of the clips here and compare them yourself
Phantom Flex 4k https://vimeo.com/328969254/647c110904
Phantom HD Gold https://vimeo.com/328970135/a3847ef7e9
Sony RX100 VI https://vimeo.com/328970492/ed3ff2fd00