When I say inexpensive, it’s relatively inexpensive – not your sub $200 category. Let’s admit – good cameras that can record butter smooth slow motion footage will cost you a lot of money. But that shouldn’t deter starters and enthusiasts as there are good options for slow motion video cameras nowadays in the sub $800 price range.
If you want me to name just one camera that I would want to buy for slow motion recording, it would be the Sony RX100 Mark V that can record a whooping 960 fps for ultra smooth slow-motion. But the best option is also the priciest and this is no exception.
There are cheaper options if you want to start with/try slow motion video recording. Here are a few –
#1. GoPro Hero 7 Black Action Camera
Priced at around $400, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is currently the cheapest camera that can record both 4K video (60 fps) and 1080p video (240 fps) for slow-motion video recording. Well, GoPro is the most popular action camera, so if you want to record good slow motion clips in bright sunlight, this might be the best option. In low light situations, you might want to buy a more expensive camera with a larger sensor and better ISO/Aperture capability.
#2. Mobile Phones
Yes, some mid-range and high-end mobile phones have the capacity to record good slow motion. The top end iPhones can all do good slow-mo. And so can the Samsung Galaxy S9 (960 fps at that).
If you find these phone to be very expensive, go for the mid-range mobiles like One Plus 6, Asus Zenfone 5Z or Xiaomi Poco F1. These phones can all record 240 fps (8x) slow motion, which is not bad for the price range they come at. Of course, you’ll also be getting a phone + 4K video camera and nothing can beat that multi-use functionality and value for money. Just that there is no optical zoom, otherwise these little monsters do the job just fine. Again, the smaller sensors might inhibit their low-light capability.
#3. Sony RX100 Mark IV or V
If you are serious about slow motion recording and would want to use it for professional/semi-professional purposes, you’ll definitely want to save enough money to buy one of these two beasts. They can record slow motion at a whooping 960fps (40x) and can also do 4K video recording. The larger one inch sensor gives a better low light capability and the Carl Zeiss lenses are among the best.
Personally, for now, I bought the Panasonic FZ1000 bridge camera which can do a 120fps (4x) slow motion because I wanted an all-rounder camera with an 3.5mm audio jack for external mic and decent optical zoom. However, I am saving money to buy the Sony RX100 Mark IV or Mark V as soon as possible – even if I can only use it to record slow motion video. Trust me, it’s still worth it.