Red announcement wasn't that exciting

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 14, 2008, 12:01 AM | comments: 0

The fans of the Red One camera have been all aglow with excitement for today's announcement of what they were planning for the Scarlet and Epic models. The idea was that they were changing what they planned to do because Nikon and Canon were suddenly recording HD on their SLR's (well, Canon is, while Nikon is recording something that looks like Jell-O® in motion).

So today they unveiled the new system. While there's little doubt in my mind that these are going to be great cameras, I expected that they'd also break down the price barrier. There are 200 pages of posts on just stroking all each other to death because they're so excited. I get it... but a good rig will still cost $10k. That's disappointing.

What makes the Canon 5D Mark II most incredible is that it's using a 21 megapixel sensor that's a full 35mm size. When scaling all of that down to 1080p, that means there's virtually no noise at any light. That's staggering. You need the $12k Red Scarlet for that sensor size (though admittedly, you can shoot up to 6k resolution, which is absurd). The Canon isn't perfect, of course, since audio support is meh and you can only shoot 30 fps (not 24), but still.

I think what Red is doing is a huge kick in the nuts to Panavision and Sony, and that's awesome. That the Red One can do what it does, 4k for under $30k (for a realistic package), is truly great, and pro film folks have really responded to that. But I guess if I wanted a more serious camera, I'd probably score a P2-based, shoulder mount camera like the HPX-500, which comes in under $20k with a lens.

I'm very curious to see if Canon will have the good sense to adapt what they've done with the 5D Mark II and migrate it to their video line. That would be impressive.


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