High-speed photography specialist Vision Research has unleashed its next-gen video camera - the Phantom Flex. The unit is billed as the world’s most flexible digital cinema camera and it's no idle boast - the specs speak for themselves. Packing a four mega-pixel color CMOS sensor, the Phantom Flex captures a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 shooting at 1,560 frames-per-second (fps) which can be increased to 2,800 when you step the resolution down to full-HD (1920x1080). At 720p HD resolution the maximum recording speed hits 6,100 fps, at 640x480 it's a whopping 13,000 fps and if you really want to trade in resolution for speed, try 330,000 fps at 256 x 8. Clearly this is a serious a weapon for capturing slow motion footage.

On the other end of the scale the frame rate can be tweaked down to 5 fps at 1920x1080.

A maximum ISO of 1000 caters for low light situations, frame synchronization to external signals suppoorts stereo 3D recording and the Phantom Flex can be used with a range of 35mm and 16mm lenses such as Canon EOS, Nikon F and Panavision, with an optional adapter for 2/3 lenses available.

The Phantom Flex also operates in "HQ mode", Vision Research’s proprietary image enhancement technology which "ensures stable blacks, low noise, higher dynamic range and repeatable shots over the full range of supported resolutions, frame rates, and temperatures, all without the need to conduct pre-shot black references." In this mode the maximum recording speeds are 780 fps at 2560x1600, 1,390 fps at 1920x1080, and 3,000 fps at 1280x720.

No pricing has yet been announced, but given that it's about as far from the prosumer market as you can get, we're not expecting it to be cheap.

    Vision Research Phantom Flex - Key Specs:

  • 1000 ISO (measured using ISO 12232 SAT method)

  • 12-bit pixel depth
Flexible lens options: choose between 35mm (PL, Canon EOS, Nikon F, Panavision), Super 16mm, and 2/3” lenses

  • Global, electronic shutter down to one-microsecond

  • Select raw digital workflow, video workflow, or combine both for maximum control and flexibility
  • Internal mechanical shutter for hands-free and remote Current Session Reference
  • Dual HD-SDI outputs: 2 x 4:2:2 HD-SDI ports can be configured as dual-link 4:4:4 video
On-camera controls for mode selection, settings, playback, edit & save

  • Frame synchronization to external signals allows multiple cameras to be synchronized, essential for stereo 3D recording
Two 12V DC auxiliary power outputs for powering external devices
Remote port for connecting Phantom Remote Control Unit
16GB or 32GB of high-performance built-in dynamic RAM

More info at Vision Research.

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