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In 2008, Popular Science named Vision Research’s Phantom V12 slow-motion video camera one of the best products of the year. This summer, we drove out to the headquarters of Vision Research in New Jersey to talk to the Phantom folks, see firsthand how the cameras are manufactured — and ultimately borrow a camera to really get a feel for how it works.

We took the v641 for a bit of a spin, shooting a series of delightful slow motion videos of subjects including fireworks, knives slicing through fruit, and puppies frolicking. All of these will be posted for your delectation, on a weekly basis.

We also documented some of the abuses that we chronically inflict on PopPhoto.com editor Stan Horaczek. This video was shot at 1,500 frames per second:

(The flicker you see is not any fault of the camera; at such high speeds, many types of lighting reveal hidden on-off cycles).

Hypothesis: given sufficient beard volume and transmitted impact, the beard of a bearded man will waggle when he is punched in the head. Conclusion: well, we may have to hit Stan a little bit more to be absolutely sure.

Stay tuned for our complete look inside the Phantom.

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