Freefly Wave high-speed camera. Small, light, and insanely fast


Freefly today announced the Wave. It’s a small high-speed camera with a global shutter. When I say high-speed I mean it, but with some caveats. The maximum FPS is 9259, however, the resolution is a bit odd at 4K 16:1 the frame height is 256. In 2K it’s 3275.

The maximum frame rate depends on image resolution. There are two Width options: 4096 (4K) and 2048 (2K). The 2K width option uses subsampling, which preserves the crop factor of the Image Sensor but does not increase its light sensitivity. The table below lists the maximum frame rate by aspect ratio for both Width options. Continuous recording is possible at all frame rates from 1fps up to the maximum in increments of 1fps.

Screen Shot 2020 10 07 at 10 15 29 AM

The Wave is an interesting camera mainly due to its small size and the ability to shoot in high frame rates. Freefly states the DR is low at 10-11 stops. This is common for high-speed cameras with a global shutter. The battery is internal and not removable.


Wave 3

The sensor format is S35 with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a pixel size of 5.5μm x 5.5μm. The native resolution is 4096 x 3072. Native ISO is 250.
The sensor is first and foremost about speed. It produces pixel data at up to 37.75Gb/s. It is not designed as an HDR sensor or a low-light sensor, although HDR modes that extend the dynamic range by 2-3 stops at lower frame rates may be added.

The camera records compressed Bayer RAW with a typical compression ratio of 5:1 to 6:1. These files can’t as of now be opened directly by other editing tools. WaveViewer is the PC software used to view native Wave clips, trim them, apply basic image adjustments, and export them to other formats. Export formats include Cineform, H.264, and PNG/JPEG sequences. At this time you have to use a Windows PC to view the files.


Wave uses an M.2 NVMe SSD drive that is removable. Only a small number of SSDs have been tested to meet the write speed requirements of Wave, but by using a standard interface, the camera can be upgraded as drives get bigger, faster, and cheaper. Details on the upgrade process will be posted at a later date.

Lens Mount

Wave uses a passive, locking E-mount. There is no electrical connection to the lens. Wave is intended for use with manual lenses that cover an S35 sensor. Faster lenses (with lower wide-open f-number or T-stop) are preferable for shooting at high frame rates, where light is at a premium.

Screen Shot 2020 10 07 at 10 48 22 AM

Because of its short flange focal distance, E-mount can be readily adapted to almost any other mount. The stock E-mount can be removed and other mount options may be added in the future. RED DSMC mounts are also supported with an optional spacer. Some good lens options for Wave are listed below with sample videos shot on Wave, if available.


  • Output – Fullsize HDMI for motoring in 1080p30
  • Power – DC Barrel Jack 5.5mm OD x 2.1mm ID
  • GPIO – 6-Pin JST GH Optically Isolated Start/Stop/Sync UART (3.3V or 5.0V)
  • USB – Type C (Reversible) 3.2 Gen1x1 SuperSpeed 5Gb/s
  • Wireless – WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.2

The Wave looks like an innovative camera that is small enough to fly and get incredible slow-motion footage like never before. It really is impressive they can keep it from catching on fire in such a small body. The Wave is available for purchase today for $9,995.00 with a 1TB SSD or $10,995.00 with a 2TB SSD drive. While this is a high price for the camera Freefly is making the Wave available for rental as well.

Freefly is releasing the Wave in waves.

Batch 1

  • 20 Units 
  • Shipping starts 11/18/2020

Batch 2

  • 30 Units
  • Shipping starts 12/1/2020

Batch 3

  • 50 units
  • Shipping starts 2/15/2021

To place an order and learn more visit the Freefly Wave website.

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