Nikon P900 vs. Samsung Note 8 – slow motion shootout

So, here’s the thing . . . I knew the P900 had slow motion. I mean, I’d read it had slow motion capabilities. But, I’m old. I’m old, and I have a lot on my mind. Stuff like where’s the next malasada coming from, why does the hair in my ears grow so fast, and what’s up with my eyebrows? It’s like they’re on some sort of acid trip. Honest, it’s all I can do to keep them from looking like mini-antlers above my eyes. 

The point is, it slipped my mind, see? And, I can tell you why. 

640 x 480 (120p mode)

For them who don’t know what that means, 60p is regular motion; real world; what we experience when we look around and say “What was that? Did you see that?” 

120p shoots twice as fast so that when you play it back it’s at half speed. Now, that sounds pretty good, right? Except for the 640 x 480 part. Those numbers are the width and height of the frame in pixels, and for them who were born after 1980, that’s what’s known as VGA

VGA is fine when viewed as no larger than the above. So, if you click on the YouTube logo, the video opens up in another tab and will play with a couple of large black bars on either side of the picture. Try to view it as a full screen, and it will look like crap.

That’s because there’s not enough information there to fill the whole screen, so the video is interpolated (enlarged) and that degrades the images. 

Did you notice what else is not there? Here, let me play another clip.

Now, the video itself is not bad — again, ignoring the VGA limitation and not watching it full screen — but there’s no sound. 

I don’t get it. I checked the calendar, and it is 2017. Even allowing for the camera being two years old, I’m pretty sure we were doing slow motion with sound way back then. 

Now, the P900 is known for one thing . . . that I own one. No, wait . . . that it has a long zoom. 

But, guess what? While you can zoom in and out during regular video recording, you cannot zoom when shooting slow motion. That means you need to guess the framing of the whole shot ahead of time. 

In practical terms, zooming in too much will make it impossible (or nearly so) to keep the subject in frame. Ideally, one would like to zoom out a bit, reframe, and then zoom in once the scene is reacquired. 

The alternative is to shoot wide and just hope it’s good enough.

I tried “riding the crest” as I filmed, but I kept losing where I was. The shot above is a bit wider than I would like, especially given the small resolution. Now, if that was at least at 1080p and I could view full-screen, that would not be bad. I would be able to see a lot more.

The alternative is to shoot closer . . . 

That video is not bad, especially toward the end. 

This next one is also pretty good. 

You get the boat in the background and the wave in the foreground. 

Remember this photo?

That’s where I shot this next video from . . .

You can see the heat rising from the beach, but you also get a decent shot of the wave. Small, but decent.

Here’s one of the boat going the other way. It appears it’s going a bit faster, probably because — as can be seen in the video — it’s traveling on a slight downhill.

Here’s the last of the P900 videos, focusing on the rock just off the shore, the one with the Bob Hoskins profile atop it . . . or, maybe, Mussolini’s, take your pick. 

So, that’s the P900.

Usable stuff, especially if I add a soundtrack, like maybe some Yani or Mantovani. 

Now, the Samsung Note 8 can shoot up to 4K (whatever that means) but it too scales back when shooting slow motion. Still, it manages at least 720p HD, hass the option of shooting 1/2, 1/4, or 1/8 speed, and . . . it has sound. 

That is at 1/8 speed. I think this next one is at 1/2 speed. 

People who actually watched the clips might have noticed that the slow motion switches off briefly. Let me describe it really quick . . . you get the movie at regular speed, and then you have the choice of either adding one or two partitions in any of the available slow motion speeds. Or, you could have one partition the size of the whole video. 

Let me illustrate . . . this next one is the original video at regular speed. 

Now, I took that video and added two segments of slow motion . . . I think one is at 1/8 and one is at 1/2.

Finally, here’s another clip, this time of the shallow areas and filmed closer than the others. Again, two portion are set to slow motion.

I get what the idea is here . . . you may have a long clip but may only be interested in some portions to be shown in slow motion. 

You might want more than two portions, but you don’t lose the original, meaning that once you edit the movie, it’s saved as a new movie. You can then go back to the original and trim it or choose different portions to slow up. It sounds complicated, but it’s not. 

One thing, though. Once the original movie leaves the phone, it’s no longer editable to turn into slow motion. Meaning, it’s only the video editor on the phone that can take the original and play with introducing slow motion segments. 

I can see me using this more than once, especially when the big waves come back. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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