Today RED Digital Cinema Cameras issued a press release about their much talked about and hyped up Scarlet camera system. Looks like they’re giving the DSLR market a whirl as well. Aside from taking HD video, The scarlet’s “brain” unit as they are called, also takes quality stills. The “brain” of the unit is essentially an interchangeable sensor module, you can literally switch out between a feeble 4.9 megapixel to hefty 65 megapixel, even switch to a 261 megapixel panoramic back. Sounds sweet and dandy but, In my research it seems like people are on one side of the line or the other. On one hand you have the people who would give their first born just to get on the 1-2 year waiting list to throw down loads of cash-ola for this “revolutionary” product, on the other side you see people who are a bit more cautious to accept this DSLR “killer” as it has been called. Personally, I am not buying into this so soon.
Generally with all new product releases you have a very detailed tech spec sheet such as, ISO speeds, shutter speeds, flash sync, frames per second, you know, useful information. Not the case with the RED cameras, yes they do have some specs, but just enough to get your mouth watering, and if you have the budget why not, right?? But for those of us generally interested in this piece of equipment that threatens to render DSLR’s obsolete in one fail swoop, we’d like to see more information. Not raving applause from starry eyed gear fiends with cash to blow. I talked to a couple videographers about the red camera to get their perspective, They did generally agree that these are good quality video cameras, but from whats been said, that it beats 35mm film cameras and high end Sony cameras hands down with minimal evidence to back it up is a bit curious. A few movie clips here and test reels there was not enough to convince these seasoned videographers to make the switch.
As a photographer this makes me all too suspicious that people would put such blind faith in this case to a new DSLR that has yet to see the light of day. Yes, it is a cool feature to switch out sensors, you can even use Canon, Nikon, and RED lenses on the same body and bells and whistles to add out the wahzoo. Lots of flash and pizzaz around this one, but no meat on the bone, so to speak. Basically if this thing is going to put millions of neurotic control freak photographers out of biz we better have a good reason to run for the hills, instead of telling us the boogey man is real, does that make sense? Either way it will be interesting to see how RED cameras pan out in the long run. Hmm maybe it should come with these free pair of shades, I’d be sold!( Jim Jannard is both the CEO of Oakley sunglasses and RED Cinema. )