Thursday, November 13, 2008

RED DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) System

I’ve been waiting on the RED announcement, because I was a little concerned that it would confuse my interest in the Canon 5D Mark II. Finally, RED has announced their new plans for the DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) System. What they have done is designed a new product line that consists of different sensor blocks that work with interchangeable pieces. In theory, you will be able to buy the 5K model now, and upgrade to the 6K model next year. There’s some limitations (for example, the 3K uses a different lens mount to the 5K and 6K models.)

If the marketing materials are to be believed, and from what I can see, the “cheapest” Scarlet - the 3K ($2,500) - features a C-Mount, not a Canon or Nikon mount, and isn’t expected until the Summer/Fall. If you want to use Canon or Nikon lenses, you have to get the 5K, which is $7,000.

And that’s body only. You will need several other bits and pieces to get going. The other thing is that assembled together (see picture) it looks like quite a bit of hardware; more like a Medium format still camera than an SLR. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (though I don’t know that the shape is ideal for video shooting any more than the SLR body shape is.) Of course, the above configuration is one option; it appears you can set it up to be more film-camera-like.

Okay, it may be a great video camera deal – maybe – but it’s a very different calculation from the Canon 5D Mark II. I’m guessing that the 3K Scarlet, with a reasonable lens and the other parts necessary to actually shoot video is going to be close to $5,000. Just to get to the body equivalency of the Canon you’re probably looking at over $3,500.

So for me, it's not something I'm going to be looking at getting in the next year or so. But I'm not looking to spend that kind of money on a primary video camera right now. The RED looks interesting, and the fan boys seem to love RED, but I think I'll wait.

In the mean time, I'm gonna to spend more time reading through the materials and see if anything gets me excited.

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