Slow motion video of bullets exiting guns and hitting stuff? Priceless. Well, not really. The Phantom V1610 High-Speed Camera goes for $100k (not including case and accessories). I’d love to have that kind of imagery available for every review, and then some. But, as Nick constantly reminds me, TTAG is not a video site. (Not that he has to. The uproar that follows an autoplay video clearly indicates our “I’m sitting here doing my work” cubicle-dwelling clientele.) Still, the site’s seasonal readership trough is making me feel anxious. Should we bite the bullet (in super slo-mo) and find a way to secure one of these suckers (giving Kirsten Joy Weiss and Shooting the Bull a webgasm) or is there some other way to take TTAG to the next level? Should we start advertising? Be nicer to the NRA? What?

85 Responses to Housekeeping: Should TTAG Buy a Phantom V1610 High Speed Camera?

  1. Can you rent such a camera? $100K is a chunk of change. But, don’t keep it a secret if you’re going to raise funds to buy one.

  2. get it. you can put it on my credit card (which luckily has 0% apr for the next 15 billing cycles) and give me an iou in the amount of 100,000 benjamins in exchange. i know ttag is good for it. 😉

  3. Yes.
    And then come up here so we can shoot interesting guns at interesting things.

    I’d like to see high speed video of a .50 APIT or raufoss round smacking thick steel.
    Schwing!

  4. Sure if you want to. However if I want to see hi speed stuff I’lll go check out You Tube.

    • I agree. Why bother when somebody else has already probably done it?And even if not, when you need to do some super-slo-mo, how many people have rigs that sit waiting for cool suggestions of what to shoot (pun intended), that you could do a deal with?

    • I agree with this.

      Plenty of people already do it and do it better than you probably could since they’ve been perfecting what they do for 10 years.

      My suggestion? More humor.

      This site is known for being the paranoid site on other gun blogs. Why? Well, 2 posts a day on moms demand action doesn’t help.

  5. If you can afford it, why not get it? This is ‘MURICA, after all, damnit! (READ: Uh, DUH! Yes, yes you should.)

    That’s the better question, IMHO.

    • I would stipulate that the camera would need to be positioned so that we can see both the shooter and the target.

      So we can learn important things about stance, stability, muscle tone^W^W posture, etc.

      😉

  6. If you can afford it, go for it!

    Oooor, you could spend it on all sorts of sweet guns to review! Like a minigun! (I have no clue what the going rate for a mini gun is).

  7. I would just bring back supermodels. International this time, since women are beautiful all over the world and not just in Israel.

  8. It’s the M134 of cameras. ~125K for a rig.. and the video processing computer hardware is spendy.. That being said.. Hell yes. Hell Fracking Yes!

  9. For me personally i would say no, i rarely watch videos on this site i prefer y’alls reviews. But if i had 100k to throw around, sure why not.

  10. Should TTAG Buy a Phantom V1610 High Speed Camera?

    Only if you promise to not make videos like the one at the top of this post.

  11. I could think of a better way to invest 100,000 in this fight. That camera will be worth 2500.00 in a few years.

  12. If it was cheaper I’d say go for it.

    But I know you guys aren’t made outta money. So instead I suggest renting one as needed. That rig is going to spend a LOT of time idle if you buy one, and that’s a waste of money.

    • Seconded.

      If you have $100k to burn, I suggest having reader polls on which guns need reviewing, buy the gun, do the review, and then (try to) recoup your expenses by raffling off the firearm (even if the review says ‘inaccurate, unreliable, strictly a range toy’, I expect plenty of your readers will be willing to kick in $5 for a shot at an inexpensive range toy).

      • ^^This^^ It’s much closer to TTAG’s mission, especially when compared to the almost meaningless eye candy that comes from those high speed/slo mo videos.

      • this. So may guns, so little time. Seeing some easter peeps shot with a 50 cal is cool and all but the top viewed posts are typically the reviews.

      • This.

        I’ve been saying for a long, long time I want to see more reviews.

        This site is one of the only places I trust reviews from.

  13. I have to vote no on the camera. As insanely cool as those high speed rigs are, I’m not sure what one would add to what you do here. Does it really improve the quality of a gun or gear review? $100K buys a lot of guns and gear for reviews and contest giveaways, a lot of web hosting, and even a bit of advertising. I say keep being ‘re best there is at war you do: providing premium quality news, reviews, and philosophical queries regarding guns.

  14. Rent the best you can find as you need it buying one is not smart

    the stuff that was the best a few years ago can be bought for pennies on the dollar used today

  15. Spend $20,000 of that on server hardware and the other $80,000 on site design, especially for mobile/tablet browsers. Months later, commenting on mobile devices is still broken (no replying), and desktop view, while somewhat mobile responsive, looks clunky and is hard to use.

    The next level for TTAG is a site that looks great no matter the browser or device, is always fast to load, and enables great community interaction. To that end, I’d love to see auto-refresh comments without having to reload the page. Also, a system that allows the user to mark comments read/unread would be great as well.

  16. About 3 seconds thought –

    Will it make you $$ ?

    What is the Investment Return Period?

    By the time you pay it off, how many new (and cheaper) generations will be available?

    What is to cost of training/operator to make best use of it?

    How much does replacement insurance cost?

    and so on….

    If your business model (you have one, right?) demands it, then buy. If not….well…..

  17. The seasonal trough may be related to the dearth of good practical gun reviews on guns we can own. Maybe more reviews and Less Shannon Watts?

  18. I like the idea of investing in more equipment to test. And if you buy the stuff outright, instead of receiving rented samples, then you can raffle off some hardware to your readers afterwards! I don’t know why nobody does reviews this way.

  19. How about a partnership with someone who’s already got one? Come up with an idea, fly out and buy them lunch and film it.

  20. I would say buy more guns instead of a camera. Slow mo is cool but I can look elsewhere for that. I would rather see regular video reviews. Use the money for other things.

  21. Actually, why a phantom? Do you need 1 million frames a second? Is there a cheaper model that maxes out closer to what’s useful for firearms?

  22. No, give it to pro 2a groups, or use it to improve the website or put it towards gun reviews

  23. My wife is an adjunct professor. She teaches videography for journalists. Between the two of us, we liked the video. However, neither one of us believes that $100,000 is worth the cost. I’d rather see that money spent for gun rights and fixing the mobile website interface.

    There are already a lot of folks who specialize in high speed video and spend time blowing things up in slo-mo. You can always link their stuff (with permission, of course).

  24. I gotta vote more gun and gear reviews, and better software for the website. Both of which would contribute more to the EVERYDAY quality of TTAG. So many of us probably have all kinds of guns worth reviewing but little to no ammo, or plenty of ammo but no gun, or in my case….both. I know, doesn’t make a lick of sense but there you go.

    shootingthebull may well be the resident ammo guru, but he can’t compete with the sheer variety of any few hundred TTAG’ers If you could set up some sort of equitable system whereby TTAG’ers could nominate a given gun of theirs for evaluation, then upon selection be provided with a reasonable assortment of ammo for testing and review purposes, that might be worth pursuing. Depends on how good the tester really is.

    On a more personal level, the biggest problem I’m having at the moment is simply that it’s impossible to find ANY reasonable variety of ammo for my Glock 20, and to a lesser extent the LCP….hardball? sure. Full power 10mm? Fugheddaboutit! JHP other than Fed HydraShok at Academy? Surely ye jest. And don’t even mention .22LR to me.

    And of course we could all use a better mobile website that actually allows us to load pages quickly and post comments and replies.

    Tom

    • Exactly what Tom said.

      Fix the multiple issues with the website, ad delivery comments section, mobile site, layout, etc. This is the engine that drives your content and quite frankly its pretty bad.

      100K would also go a long way to hiring some quality journalists who can do some actual reporting and dive deeper into some pro gun topics that other outlets gloss over.

    • “If you could set up some sort of equitable system whereby TTAG’ers could nominate a given gun of theirs for evaluation, then upon selection be provided with a reasonable assortment of ammo for testing and review purposes, that might be worth pursuing.”

      This is an amazing idea. Give ammo to someone with a unique firearm worth reviewing in return for a thorough, well thought out review. The question is, how can TTAG guarantee the review will be delivered if they give the ammo to someone?

  25. This is your business, you spend your money how you see fit.

    That said, I think that there are better ways to spend $100K for the content and business model you appear to want to pursue with TTAG. The ultra-slow-mo video issue is a very narrow niche thing in firearms testing, and I think you could lease it for the content you want to create.

    How about some of the following ideas for firearms testing?

    1. A supply of match grade (real match grade) ammo for .22LR, .223, .308 for rifles, and 9×19, .38 Special, .357, .45 ACP for handguns.

    2. A Ransom Rest for accuracy testing of handguns.

    3. A good rest and rear bag for accuracy testing of rifles.

    4. A pattern board for testing shotguns.

    5. A chrony for testing the muzzle velocity of ammo.

    6. A light box for photographing firearms. Most people don’t realize that the price and complexity of a camera aren’t what result in good gun photos – it is the lighting. You can’t use a direct flash, especially on high-gloss finishes. You need diffuse, indirect lighting, and this is where a light box comes in. You can make one out of a refrigerator-sized box, white paper and some halogen bulbs, if you want to do it yourself.

    7. A trigger pull gauge.

    8. A bore scope, if you want to see what is really going on inside a barrel.

    9. If you want to function-test guns without going to the range, investigate getting a “snail” wet bullet trap. They’re made by Savage.

    Just some starting ideas…

    • +1
      All of this will cost much less than $100,000, and they will really improve your gun reviews.

      One more thing: I have asked before for gun comparison reviews. Still haven’t seen even one. Spend your extra money on a few tests that determine which gun is better.
      – Compare several DA/SA guns.
      – Compare some of the 1911s. For example, does a higher price really give you a better one?
      – Compare several pistols with reputations for great triggers. Find the one with the best trigger pull/feel.
      – etc.
      There are dozens of possible comparisons. All of them would be compelling reading, and very controversial (more comments and higher ‘click counts’).

      • Some of the best triggers on pistols will be on match/bullseye pistols. There is no trigger that I’d rate as “good,” much less “great” on any modern “tactical/defense” gun. They all suck, some just have the distinction of sucking less.

        For US-made pistols, I’m partial to the S&W Model 41 and 52 triggers, but there are better triggers out there on high-end European .22 target pistols.

        • DP – first, we need to find someone with a Smith 41. I know they’re out there, but for every S&W 41 owner there’s probably 100 or more who have a Ruger .22 instead. I ought to know, since I’m one of them. And it so happens I do have a Competition. I’ve not yet been able to have any upgrades done on it nor may it even happen, what with being in school and the expenses associated therewith.

          Tom

          PS: I do have a fair amount of .22LR on hand. If I can get a few boxes of Eley here and there, and some of the goodies you listed (trigger pull gauge and chrono especially!) then I can probably do a halfway decent test.

  26. Major capex (capital expenditures) spending has a way of defining business strategies, rather than supporting them. A nonvideo site that buys a $100K camera will likely become a video site. Whether that’s supply creating its own demand, or rationalization of the purchase, it tends to happen and can carry unintended consequences. Think MRAPs.

    Try renting one as needed first, then possibly leasing one longer term if it still makes sense. An alternative is to keep showing other people’s videos rather than creating your own.

    I, for one, enjoy the broad base of firearms topics which TTAG covers. Although I first found the site while looking for a gun review, that’s not at all the reason I stayed. Technical reviews are an important and useful feature of the site, but if TTAG became dominated by slow mo videos of them and bullets through peeps, it’d get boring.

  27. My vote is to buy more guns. A hundred grand would buy a LOT of interesting guns for reviews (and if Nick’s quarterly “state of the TTAG” articles are accurate, gun reviews are where the eyeballs are). A high-speed camera is cool as hell, but really, it doesn’t add much to a review, and there’s already quite a few people feeding the “slow-mo blowing shit up” market. Not many sites out there with TTAG’s trusted record on gun reviews, so I’d say invest the money in gun reviews. Then give ’em away in contests when you’re done reviewing them…

    Or, better still, raffle them off to raise money for pro-2A organizations.

  28. Speaking from my (entirely self-serving) standpoint, you should totally get one. Guns are cool, slow-mo footage of guns is really cool, more slow-mo footage of guns on the internet can hardly be a bad thing.

    • But it’s not worth 100K, especially when there are so many other useful things. I don’t remember who brought it up, but stuff like a stand and a borescope and various testing stuff sounds like a wonderful idea. Really professionalize the reviews and stuff.

  29. I worked with medium speed cameras for packaging lines. After work I took it to a range and filmed archers. When shooters see their release, it’s instant feedback. For example one gal was constantly in the 8 ring at 6 o’clock. Video showed her fingers extended during aim but gripping the bow just before release. Within 5 minutes arrows were tighter and moving into X. Another time, a gal was nailing her targets and then shanking right. She thought it was trigger pull, after review, video showed her right heal lifted.

    Get a medium speed and start filming, body positions while shooting and sharing. It will do more to improve shooters than watching stuff blow up..

  30. Instead of 100K, for 1K you can get a Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1 6.0 MP High Speed Digital Camera on eBay and if you don’t like it, sell it for what you purchased for in the first place. Not as good as a 100K camera but should do the job for simple reviews.

    As far as reviews, would like to see a standard set of tests so that you can later compare two handguns or rifles. Would like to see a database to better find and compare guns reviewed.

    Also, in the same way that Matt does his daily digest, would like to see a monthly in your backyard article giving info about NRA-ILA , SAF & GAO as well as local grass roots efforts. I am willing to bet many don’t know what many of these organizations are doing.

    Me personally, since you guys have been posting on Facebook, I am totality confused as to why something gets posted in one place or another – no clue. I hate Facebook but I also know it is not going away.

    Lastly, if your going to do video, how about a YouTube Channel. If nothing else to link to other good videos. Where video would work is with interviews. I hear that TX has a few gun manufacturers, how about a video tour of the facilities or test ranges. How about a trip Lapua or some others to see how they test? How a shooting instructions series from Ms. Weiss – if a recall she had some great info in some past post/forum response on dealing with parallax.

    Anyway, better things you can do with 100K than a slow-mo camera.

  31. Don’t buy one!! Won’t add much to the site. The youtube videos of slo mo arnt even cool. Way too expensive as well. You’ll regret it in a few years, especially if you don’t use it much ( I bet the novelty wears off quick).

  32. Take 10k to buy guns, review them, then use them as prizes for reader content submission contests. Have the people who win write their own review of the same firearm to contrast it with the initial TTAG review. Save the other 90k for a rainy day.

  33. Don’t bother. The reviews you do wouldn’t benefit in any way, and there are plenty of young folk out there with more money than sense to video exploding X-Boxes, Macs, and iPhones for those interested.

  34. No. Like so many others have put out spend the money if you have it on better equipment to do written and photographed reviews, or spend it on more guns to review. If you have to raise the funds for that anyways then raise the funds for more and better equipment not a single camera.

  35. This idea is like a washed up actress deciding she will start her comeback with a spread in Playboy. Not that TTAG is washed up but slomo is cheap thrills and for one hundred grand you can buy a lot of good sex with accessories included. I’m going off topic aren’t I?
    If you want more viewers you have to continue to expose the antis/grabbers as you have been doing but take it too the next level getting directly involved . Help open a gun store in Chicago, step into the mental stability/gun ownership morass,develop a way to effectively promote open carry, work with the NY Times to provide felon rights. Blogging in and of itself only goes so far.
    Thanks for asking.

    • A gun store in Chicago?

      Now that is what I call putting an ache in the belly of the beast!

      100 grand might be on the low side, though.

      Tom

  36. Nah there are plenty of high speed shooting videos on the internet. I love TTAG reviews as they are, it wouldn’t be worth the extra 100k. But if TTAG has 100k to spend then how about buy a few metric tons of ammo and let the contests begin.

  37. Slow motion cameras have their place, and to be honest, I don’t think one would improve this site. Most slow motion videos don’t contribute to firearms knowledge. If you were to do a real analysis of what’s going on in a slow-motion video it could be interesting, but I don’t think it would contribute to your mission of telling “the truth about guns”. Other people have pointed out much better methods of improving the site.

  38. Who doesn’t love SloMo? For those of us who can’t spend the $$ to get a professional camera, I use the $3.99 “SloPro” App on my iOS mobile device….hey, it’s not a professional camera, but I get 50, 40 and 25% reduction in speed (or can speed up a video by the same) even has an option for 500 and 1,000 FBS….

    Now if I only knew how to embed a video in this comment, I’d post an example.

  39. Since you asked: High speed videos are cool but TTAG is cooler. Not worth the $$$$ to get something that would bring in traffic that probably won’t be interested in your other wares

    I’d vote using that money for more website upgrades and lower-cost ways to bring in more readers/clicks.

    Consider bringing in features like comment ratings or comment aggregators. More integration with social networks. Allow these as opt-in options.

  40. I think y’all should get better mics, or at least a wind cover. Then yea, high speed camera.

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