RED Camera: I’m RED with ENVY

Ok friends, brace yourselves. The company that brought us the RED ONE video camera–that I’ve used and raved about before, ad nauseum–today announced their newest addition to the imaging world: not one, but two new DSMC (that’s “digital stills and motion camera” in case you missed it) camera platforms…EPIC and Scarlet.

Sure you remember my earlier post about the converging technologies of still and video. We’ve naturally been excited by the newest video dSLR’s by Nikon and Canon, but hold your horses. This new stuff from RED has got to have our longtime camera-manufacturing friends’ knickers in a twist. You want to shoot 24mp images at 100 frames per second? OK. And you want the system to be 100% modular so you never have to buy an entirely new “camera” again? Check. And, you probably want to use all your Nikon, or Canon, or PL mount lenses too? No problem. If that interests you, click the ‘continue reading’ link below. This is bigtime.

Of course all this versatility comes at a price–that’s been the argument against the RED system before…”sure the body only costs X (and the first time it came out, X was 17 grand), but the all the lenses and the glass will cost you 3x”, etc. Well, as I understand it, at least half of that argument is gone as of today. You can leverage your existing Nikon or Canon dSLR glass into this system. Smart move RED folks. Yes the accessories will also cost a pretty penny, but consider that this system is mod-u-lar. New sensor technology evolves? Just replace the old sensor portion of the camera with the new juice. Same goes for display and recording modulars. That’s mind blowing.

Don’t get me wrong – there is still plenty of room to be skeptical about the yet-proven success of such a platform, but c’mon, if you know anything about me or this blog, you know I’m easily excited by a new way of looking at an old problem. Hell, just simply the conceptual rhetoric about such a system get’s me light-headed and grinning from ear to ear.

Alright, enough banter say you. Give me the meat and potatoes.

First, according to the manufacturer, the EPIC line “features a robust, machined body and has virtually unlimited options for frame rates and image formats.” The Scarlet line, on the other hand, is “compact and lightweight and supports a limited range of motion and stills formats”.

Second, hold onto your chair. Prices for RED dsmc–body only–range from $2500 to $55,000. Yowza. The one I had shipped to me yesterday fantasies about today is called the FF35 and will shoot 24mp at 100fps. It rings in at $35,000. That’s some crazy-high, Hasselblad-like resolution, and/or some massive frame rate (=gorgeous slow motion in vid mode) if you want it, and a commensurate price tag.

Here’s a chart to show you still image size and frame rate for each type of camera:

And here’s an image highlighting some of the super hot and sexy accessories you can strap onto this bad boy:

If you’re in the market for this stuff, the time has come. If you’re not in the market and hate the hype, or if you’re understandably cursing the pricetag, do suspend your feisty side and take a minute to reflect. This sort of technology, just prior to this release would run a hundred or two hundred grand – easy. Now, it’s a fraction of that. Also, we all know what happens to technology – it gets cheaper fast. Lastly, what will Nikon and Canon do to answer this call? When these camera companies put their thinking caps on and get all competitive, remember it’s us that win.

This is big news.

Now go visit the RED Camera Epic/Scarlet page. Note before you go that the site’s navigation is a bit bizarre – you’re supposed to just scroll down to continue to get more info…

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