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Apple Matches GoPro HERO3: New iPhone 5S Will Record 120FPS at 720P

09.11.13 @ 2:20AM Tags : , , , , ,

Apple iPhone 5S Camera Hero ImageApple released new versions of their cellular device today: the flagship iPhone 5S, and a lower-cost plastic phone they are calling the 5C (the C stands for color, as the device will have a few different colored backs). While most of the features for the 5S have been known for some time now, the camera has received a modest upgrade. The spec that video people will probably find most interesting is the fact that you’ll be able to record 120fps in 720p, putting it squarely in GoPro territory. Check out the sample videos below to see the slow motion in action.

Here is everything new as far as shooting goes with the 5S:

Another 120fps sample:

At this point it’s a little surprising that we can’t shoot 24fps whenever we want, as that would be a really obvious feature to have for filmmakers who want to seamlessly add it to their film (or who want to shoot a whole film on the phone).

While the f/2.2 aperture, larger 1.5 micron pixels, and 33% improved low-light performance are positive advancements, the 120fps capability is probably the most impressive feature. Considering even GoPro HERO3s require some workarounds to manually control exposure, using a cell phone to shoot high frame rates isn’t that far-fetched, especially since you will probably have the iPhone with you. Phones have never been great solutions for shooting anything more because of their shapes, but I could see it coming in handy in a pinch when you really want a certain effect — like slow motion.

The new iPhone 5C (which has less features), will start at $100, and the iPhone 5S will start at $200 (both under contract, of course). The 5S and 5C should both be available by September 2oth.

What do you think of the camera on the new iPhone 5S? What about the slow motion features?

Link: Apple iPhone Store


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  • Ah, but you can shoot at 24 fps whenever you want… but only in an app that also lets you independently control exposure, focus, white balance, video resolution, compression, etc. It’s the first app I got after getting my iPhone to replace the crappy built in auto-everything camera app, and it’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time:

    I wonder if this new 5S could be pushed to shoot 120 at full 1080p… but either way this is a very cool feature!

    • That looks helpful, I wonder why Apple won’t just give you the advanced features built-in.

      • >time
        >>consumer phone isn’t a pro camera

        • I think it’s less of a time and money issue and more that Apple aims its devices at the mass-market consumer who generally doesn’t know what frame rates are. The confusion that most people would experience when seeing a switch for 30fps or 24fps is not worth the number of people that would benefit from such a switch.

          Apple likes to keep their devices as simple as possible for accessibility, and often sacrifices customization in favour of simplicity.

    • Sheena Clitorius on 12.6.13 @ 5:36AM

      That’s your App Austin! i.e. the one you made but nice plug even if it is for your own product….

  • They should have called it Iphone 5 Lite or something, pple are going to associate the C with ‘cheap’ the antithesis of what apple is all about. Poor Steve jobs rolling in his grave.

    • Snarky people probably, but I’m seeing more reasonable people associating it with “color” which perhaps is what the c stands for. I’m not sure.

  • hmmmm….. that impressive

  • It’s interesting that the cheap version comes only in color. It’s like marking or stigmatizing those who are too poor to purchase the real thing.

    Very Appleish, imo.

  • Pretty cool, but all those features and they still dont have a manual setting.

  • GoPro, at least, should release firmware in order to manual control the Hero HD 3. An dif they want to make a difference, the next GoPro 4 should have at least 480 fps at 720p.

  • Peter Kelly on 09.11.13 @ 4:11AM

    Its kinda crazy this will record at 120fpd And yet the c100 can’t do it. And I say that as someone who is seriously considering the c100

    • You make a fair point, indeed.

    • This has a new big ass 64Bit CPU (and an off-load processor). Hypothetically speaking, the processor itself should be enough for 4K but the pro level 4K cameras will probably have two of them in parallel for their more advanced software package.

    • I’d get the C100 if it had a useable viewfinder and 60FPs. Also the audio dongle cable seems unnecessary.

  • This is an awesome addition. Iphone footage cuts relatively well with my 60D, and it doesn’t come with the extreme fisheye of the go pro or sony action cam, feeling more like a 25mm lens. I can’t wait to add this to my arsenal.

  • I recently noticed award-winning filmmaker Sean Dunne had included a few short films on his Vimeo channel ( that were entirely shot with his iPhone. Not saying that this is the weapon of choice for future filmmakers, but what was striking is that it made the content no less interesting.

  • Anthony Marino on 09.11.13 @ 6:37AM

    Hell I’d say a bigger advancement would be an unbreakable screen. Drop it the wrong way it’s done. (with a broken screen) I’m seriously looking at an alternative.

  • There are Smartphones that do 120fps already. Apple are not leading innovators anymore, yet their pricing and attitude still pretend they are. People pay a lot more for the same stuff and don’t even know.

    • well, this wouldn’t be the first time that Apple successfully sells a technology that is anything but new, yet hasn’t reached the mass market yet. Think about how tablet PCs had been around for such a long time, but were barely noticed up until the iPad came out and suddenly everyone wanted a tablet. While phones like the Oppo find 5 already had 120p for quite some time I think Joe Average didn’t know about that, so in the eyes of many costumers Apple will indeed be seen as the innovator here. Plus: The daylight/tungsten mix flash is actually something I have always wished for but never seen so far. I actually am counting that as a proper innovation (though the idea is not new whatsoever)

      • Samsung S4 had 120 fps before iphone, like Samsung takes the lead almost everywhere over Apple. I don’t think marketing and image alone will save Apple that much longer.

        • Jorge Cayon on 09.11.13 @ 9:28AM

          Well remember what happened to Apple the first time the got rid of Steve Jobs? They had to bring him back and he did, successfully making it one of the most profitable companies. His ideas were great and they help change the world.

          I wonder if in a few years when Apple starts to tank if they will reanimate him from his Cryo-Sleep chamber so he can save them again.

          • What you are all forgetting is that Apple has rarely ever been an innovator. Their motto has always been “Pirates”. They look at the technology out there and then attempt to do it better than anyone else is doing it, and in my opinion they do that pretty well. Not always perfect, but pretty darn good. They have pretty much always lived close, but not quite, on the cutting edge.

            Apple is not even close to tanking, and Steve Jobs wasn’t the hero you think he was. He was a brilliant man, no doubt, but a lot of what we have on our iphones and macs exists in spite of Jobs, not because of him. Apple knew for a while that Jobs would be passing, I’d say they were preparing for at least a couple years so that Apple wouldn’t skip a beat. And much of what we are seeing, and haven’t yet seen, was in the works while Jobs was alive.

        • Sure Samsung had 120FPS or panorama or burst mode before the iPhone but remember that the iPhone is one of the most popular cameras in the world and even without those things it’s still a pretty dope camera

  • Maybe this will put pressure on Canon and Nikon to finally get us 120p on DSLRs. It’s about time. 60fps in 1080 and 120 in 720 should not be a big stretch to pull off. Probably the hardware can do it already.

    • Jorge Cayon on 09.11.13 @ 9:29AM

      Why would they? The world is filled with suckers who think that their cameras are great and nothing can compare.

  • Did you also notice the recent announcement of the Acer Liquid S2 phone that shoots 4K video? I would have thought that was worthy of a headline on nfs… something like “Acer matches Red with 4K shooting smart phone”…

  • How about the flash that automatically adjusts for the color temperature of the ambient light? That’s awesome, and I wish a more video-friendly light source could do the same trick. Hell, I wish my BMCC had auto white balance. :)

  • Pablo Saldana on 09.11.13 @ 10:09AM

    Joe, the videos look great, do you think that apple shot their commercials with it????

  • This article just screams link bait. You guys just wanted an article up to capitalize on the new iPhone so you make this strange straw man comparison to the GoPro… because new iPhone + GoPro = traffic!

    You do little more here than quote press release and embed apple’s own video and add 4 sentences of hyperbole along the lines of “filmmakers like slow-motion, so you could theoretically (but we know you won’t) use your iPhone!”

    Come on guys your better than this. You might as well have just reported the darn phone instead of acting like it’s about filmmaking. Call a spade a spade.

  • Why in the hell do people clap after the clip? ..ha! fanboy sheep…
    Like Apple just cured cancer with something no one has ever seen before from a small tiny camera.

  • re/enchanted on 09.11.13 @ 1:49PM

    I have to disagree, kingdom1. The very first thought I had last night when I heard news of these camera specs is the GoPro and how it now has a very appealing competitor. And I’m no Apple fanboy, as I’m writing this on my Android phone.

    • Exactly. Considering how popular the phone is with filmmakers (try going on any film set without seeing at least 5 of them), it’s something you’re probably going to have with you. The GoPro has a cell phone-sized sensor, so quality-wise they are probably going to be comparable.

      • trackofalljades on 09.11.13 @ 5:00PM

        If you throw a 5S inside a serious housing like a WaterShot (comes with its own app for shooting more easily underwater) it’s definitely going to give even the latest Hero model a run for it’s money…and double bonus, the WaterShot accepts GoPro accessories with a compatible mount! There’s no comparing them on weight, but in situations like diving that are pretty much the opposite of R/C flight, this looks rather preferable. The big downside is the itty bitty storage capacity of iPhone models with no way to add cheap memory cards. But then, how long can you really dive or snorkel without needing a break anyway?

  • So many trolls. Most of what I’m reading is “Apple fanboy” this, or “Apple fanboy” that. Who cares who’s a Canon fanboy or an Apple fanboy or a Blackmagic fanboy or what not. Let them be a fanboy. Most of you guys hurling these insults probably don’t film many things yourselves, and if you did you could learn to appreciate the fact that a pocket phone can do 120fps. Does this mean it’s a Phantom Flex? Of course not, it just means there’s another option on the market to whom it may concern.

  • Remind me why a C300 cant do this?

  • Yes, but it under the water doesn’t work :)

  • Let’s see how well the iPhone works strapped to your mountain bike helmet Flying down an awesome single track or on a surf board riding an awesome wave. It’s silly comparing a phone to an adventure camera.

  • Rob Manning on 09.13.13 @ 2:20AM

    Actually, the two roll outs (S & C) are close enough in retail price, to enable, enhance, envy and discourage. The whole media sphere was about the concise scalpel they executed, in today’s cycle. Print (LA times) and web-land.

    Growth is possible more so when they convince China on track and below to ride the ‘wave’ de$igned in California. One guy even wrote a book about Apple’s meaning (ostensibly) as a belief-religion, circumspect in view.

    If China balks now (no subsidized phones) then look for eventual discounting through media atomizers tethered in bloat-ware here, but the sheer size of China’s buying sphere, minimizes any demographic Verizon can come up with (in the States) and even taking a ‘hit’, the stock has a hovering value range.

    The on balance question, will the device survive as a hand held when screwed to a rig, or helmet? Way less $$s versus a HD enabled DSLR for a crash scene. No card though.

    If so, others will follow simply for the cachet and guarantee of market semblance as long as the units tethered to, in, of, or because its iOS, move in sufficient numbers.