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…

44 Responses to RED Camera: I’m RED with ENVY

  1. whatsupdoc November 14, 2008 at 1:11 am #

    this is mind blowing.
    not a great fan of that industrial look but apart from this its amazing

    i so want the FF scarlet system

  2. Csanadim November 14, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    Wow,amazing post. And this technology, I have no worlds for this. I red it yesterday at endgadget gizmodo ect. and it’s amazing. When you got it, please make long long videos about it:) THX:-D

  3. andrewlewiscampbell November 14, 2008 at 2:57 am #

    seems like photography and cinematography are increasingly converging…from a gear perspective at least. It’s super exciting to think about the amazingly versative kit most people are going to have access to within the next few years. Thanks for the heads up Mr Jarvis.

  4. Paul Benjamin November 14, 2008 at 4:25 am #

    I’ve been closely monitoring the whole RED development structure and they are definitely moving in the right direction. I think the devil may well be in the details (how is the AF module etc.) but it’s fair to say they are moving in the right direction…

  5. Labelle Photo November 14, 2008 at 4:58 am #

    I’m almost sure that I would have to sell the house and left kidney for one of these!
    Awesome for sure…

  6. Yanik's Photo School November 14, 2008 at 5:10 am #

    This is an insane machine! But where’s my hot shoe for my SB-800 or my PW! ;-) Just kidding.

    I’m gonna have sweet dreams tonight!

  7. aradilon November 14, 2008 at 5:41 am #

    Still allot more expensive than a D3 and a good hd filmcamera and for photographers thats all we need, no need for high-end movie camera’s.

  8. GeoWulf November 14, 2008 at 6:19 am #

    Did you just say, “some of the super hot and sexy accessories you can strap onto this bad boy”?

    Sounds a bit pornographic… LOL!

  9. Adam Swords November 14, 2008 at 7:10 am #

    That’s awesome, new technology like this excites me so much. I’m glad I was born when I was!

    Love the exploded view of the camera too, looks like some sort of hi-tech automatic rifle!

  10. Rockhopper November 14, 2008 at 7:24 am #

    Want one.

  11. Christian Wiedel November 14, 2008 at 7:28 am #

    Wow, it looks so incredible! I can’t wait for some sample footage.

  12. Hoover November 14, 2008 at 8:49 am #

    Red=Real Expensive Dream…


  13. November 14, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    This is great. I’m not so excited about the actual cameras as much as I am about the convergence and future possibilities.

    If the automotive industry starting competing the way camera companies are now, we’d all have flying cars that drive themselves within 2 decades :-)

  14. Jared Froiland November 14, 2008 at 10:25 am #

    Wow! I’m shocked! What an exciting time to be a photographer. I was a little perturbed at first, but you make a valid point Chase. What will Nikon and Canon do next? Whatever it is, I’m sure the train is already on its way up the hill.

  15. Tom Scott November 14, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    Just followed the link to the RED website, hello RoboPhotographer!

    Are there any sample pics online that have been taken with the system?

    When you look at technology like this (as well as Hasselblad, Leaf and Leica with their 30mp unit) it makes you wonder if the mainline manufacturers are suddenly going to jump from 12mp and 8fps to something much higher … interesting times hey!

  16. Yoni November 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    i’m in love…

  17. Christopher Arata November 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    So I love the RED, I have used it & worked with it many times now & it's great! The company is great, Jim Jannard for bring this to the industry is great. With that said, I don't think Canon & Nikon, have anything to worry about. Medium format companies maybe a little. I offer you this, its a good read, promise. I agree with Stu, he pretty much sums up my feelings. Enjoy!!

  18. Danno November 14, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    just finished my preorder , 1 of each.


  19. Rafael November 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Wow, camera LEGO? Sounds like revolution to me \o/

  20. george November 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm #

    Crap, just when my financial backer (wife) decides to take a hiatus from new investment opportunities (retires). Would have loved one of these (in my dreams).

  21. November 15, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    Yes, it is mind blowing and an eye-opener for anyone who’s serious about this ‘job’. But I’m still stunned with the price tag …

  22. groenkemarquez November 15, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    Extraordinary! I’m a rainbow with envy, haha ! This is amazing stuff! I love your site and your work, BTW ! Great post.

  23. Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 1:25 am #


  24. dan November 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Red has done an amazing amount of pre-announcing. Now they need release some actual product….

  25. JoshL November 17, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    I’m not sure how 24MP at 100fps is even technically feasible… if each RGB channel is 16-bit, that’s 6 bytes per pixel. So, 6 bytes per pixel times 24 megapixels times 100 fps is roughly 15 GB/s, which is well above the speeds of virtually any data transfer (let-alone storage) technology we use today. Even with on-the-fly compression (that would have to be very fast at those rates), I’d have to assume that 24MP@100fps would be limited to extremely brief durations that could be stored in on-camera RAM.

    But who knows, it’s not out of the realm of feasibility (if I recall, the Large Hadron Collider handles data on a similar or larger order) and technology does have a tendency to get cheaper and smaller over time, so maybe they’re just planning ahead.

  26. Chase Jarvis November 17, 2008 at 11:29 pm #

    @ tom: nothing on line yet… cameras out in 09. Fingers crossed that they dot their i’s and cross their t’s. ;)

  27. Anonymous November 18, 2008 at 4:40 am #

    I believe the way they do so much in-camera processing in the RED ONE is with the Cell chip ( IBM’s PS3 chip – Toshiba’s Spurs Engine is about a half of one )

    I also believe that the things can be ganged in parallel, for heavier crunching-power.

    Therefore, the data coming off the chip could be streaming through some compression before going to RED’s RAID-drive magazines ( RAID-0 – if a single device in the magazine dies, you’ve lost everything in it, but it’s FAST, and if you only use the most reliable drives, and replace ‘em before they fail … ; )

    As for 15GB being more than anything can handle, bugshot.

    Take a good look inside modern video-cards, and I think you’ll find some higher datarates.

    hmmm… maybe they’re using ATI or NVidia chips to do the processing on these things, instead of the Cell, that’d make sense…


  28. Mike November 18, 2008 at 8:36 am #

    As cool as this is (depsite being WAY out of reach for most of us mere mortals), there is a VERY interesting posting on the Red Support forum from it’s owner:

    We believe, and are developing for late 2009, a replacement for DSLRs. Currently, we call it a DSMC (Digital Still & Motion Camera).

    While (insert code name) is not a replacement for Epic or Scarlet, it is strategically targeted at the DSLR space. As Nikon and Canon release their 720P and 1080P, respectively, DSLRs with video capture… RED has a more advanced view of the future. We look forward to rapidly pushing the "big guys" along in feature sets and capabilities.

    RED firmly believes in higher resolution, higher S/N, higher DNR, higher frame rates, smaller bodies, more system flexibility, and many more options as we move forward in camera development.

    The strength of RED is in our sensor development program, REDCODE, and having no legacy platforms to deal with. That left us free to explore, develop and prepare to deliver a new platform. DSMC.

    We think all our customers already know what the future will bring. They are just afraid to wish for it for fear of disappointment. Fear not. Sleep tight. RED is awake.


    Can’t wait to see what they come up with!

  29. Christopher Wingfield November 19, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    This is cool all and all, but what happens when you buy the new upgrade (lets say a sensor)and you want/need to sell off your old one? I am making assumptions here in saying that the only people buying these cameras will be industry pros, and that when the new sensor comes out that all of these pros will be buying it. Now who do you have to sell the sensor too? It is much easier to sell your 5D to a prosumer/tourist than a Leaf back. But none the less it is still way cool.

  30. Nathan Varney November 19, 2008 at 6:27 pm #

    Let’s not forget that Jim Jannard is a photographer too. He has a passion for it, just like the rest of us. So, he’ll make sure it functions like it should, handle like it should, and blow your mind like it should. He built the Oakley empire out of the trunk of his car. He thinks big and delivers bigger. And, oh yeah, he just sold Oakley for BBBBBillions.

  31. Matthew G. Monroe November 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    Chase: The current incarnation of the RED ONE is indeed an amazing piece of equipment, capable of producing stunning high-resolution images. At the same time, it weighs as much as a small boat anchor, and its menu-driven operation system is jaw-droppingly complex and non-intuitive.

    In order for the upcoming series of Scarlet and Epic cameras to become true contenders in the still photography world, a very serious re-building of the menu systems would need to take place so that — straight from the box (or boxes) — basic operation of the cameras is/are fairly obvious. Just as important, the cameras will need to feel good in hand, and not brick-like (or anchor-like) to the user.

    Myself (when I first read through last week’s announcement by RED), I was absolutely convinced that what they were offering was the first real convergence of motion picture technology and still photography. Now, that I’ve had the chance to actually think about their offerings, what I believe that they are setting out to create is a motion picture camera that — oh, by the way — can be used to capture still frames if need be. It’s entirely possible that I’m missing the mark by a thousand mile, and a lot can and will change during the next year or so.

    Personally, I think that the convergence/revolution will mostly come from the opposite direction: still cameras which just happen to shoot HD video, rather than motion picture cameras which allow for hi-rez frame grabs. Again, I could be really, really wrong — I’m just looking at this from the perspective of a photographer who’s actually had the opportunity to play around with current version of RED.


  32. Anonymous November 26, 2008 at 6:01 am #

    Wow – forget about capturing the moment. Just set it to how many frames a second and you need and shoot away.

    Of course there is the downside of spending hours and hours in front of your Macintosh trying to decide when the moment occurred.

    I’d rather get it right the first time. One one frame.

    However, it does offer some amazing technology and opportunities.

  33. robert SNOW December 4, 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    The catch is the computer and storage you will need to harness this beast. But who cares it’s exciting!

  34. Joe April 29, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Hmm this is very interesting. I have been wondering for some time about how RED would be received by the photography crowd. Especially with the lack of a reflex finder. Remember, the RED ONE was designed to compete with 35mm motion picture film. Another cool feature, shooting 2 scarlets side by side for super (relative) affordable 3-d motion picture capture

  35. Anonymous September 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    why shall I buy an hasselblad, or a phaseone again?!?

  36. 13790906392 March 10, 2010 at 4:31 am #

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  37. Grace June 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    One Day On Earth is an online community of filmmakers, citizen journalists, students, and inspired individuals all teaming up to film in every country during the 24-hour period on 10/10/2010 (10.10.10). The event will result in a feature documentary and online video archive that will showcase the diversity, conflict, tragedy, and triumph that can occur in one day on earth. Our immediate goal is to expand interest in the project; the more people we have involved, the more accurate and comprehensive a record of the planet we can create.

    Already, over two thousand filmmakers from around the globe have joined our community–from Oscar nominated documentarians to the recent recipient of Sundance’s award for Excellance in Cinematography. While this project is open for anyone to participate, it would be our dream to work with as many RED cinematographers as possible.

  38. pofo September 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Good one!!!

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  1. Gary John Norman info » Blog Archive » Red Camera - May 6, 2011

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