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RED DRAGON is 'Done,' Camera Upgrades Will Begin in September

RED Dragon Side SSDInformation about what’s happening with the new DRAGON sensor from RED has been scarce over the last few months, even as the company made a big splash at NAB 2013, upgrading camera sensors right on the show floor. We’ve heard a lot of impressive stats about the sensor, like a native 2000 ISO, 16 stops of dynamic range, and 6K resolution, but many will remain skeptical until we start seeing actual moving images from the camera (even as the still images have looked impressive). From a recent posting on REDUser, it looks like those will be coming sooner rather than later.

Here is an excerpt of what Jarred Land posted to REDUser (emphasis is mine):

Dragon ( the sensor ) was actually done before NAB… when you all saw cameras being put together. Sorting out the existing camera infrastructure so the sensor and the ASIC could be an upgrade has been the consuming part.

But we are there. Final parts are now being sent off to manufacturing and customer upgrades will begin the first week of September.

It’s a good time to share with you a few things we have learned along the way.

The increased latitude of the Dragon isn’t just in the bottom. The increase is also at the top.

So you get the same 16+ stops of latitude at 200 asa as you do at 2000 with the Dragon. No latitude penalty when you lower ASA. Which means when you are shooting outside, less ND filters. Less IR issues, better images.

Because the Dragon also has lower bottom end noise than the MX, You can still push the camera to where you want it.. and you will still get cleaner images than you did on Epic MX at any comparable ASA.

The Dragon also wants to be warmer than not ( go figure ) . Good thing, as the Epic itself doesn’t have a problem generating heat. A match made in heaven.

The Dragon Firmware will automatically bring the sensor temp up… which can mean a lower fan speed (depending on your circumstances).

Dragon Firmware is actually ahead of the Epic MX firmware.. rock solid. Since we have had so much time with the Dragon… it is probably the most tested build we have ever had.

Graeme has also had the time to really dig deep into the color science. He will say he is never done.. but there are alot of color improvements he has made that are worth the upgrade all by themselves.

6K is incredible. I know the rest of the world has just (finally) landed at 4K… but 6k motion and the stills pulled from Dragon are remarkable. O the stills. And talk about oversampling for 4k motion delivery. It’s hard to go back.

Rocket-X is going to be your Dragon’s new best friend. Seriously. It should be shipping at the time the upgrades begin.

Expect to see images start trickling out over the next few weeks.

[Update]: Jarred answered what they are planning to do about the sensor liking to be warmer:

Don’t worry we covered that. The Dragon sensor board actually has a small heater on it.. This not only helps in cold situations, but gets the sensor up to temperature from rest quicker, and is much better at keeping that temperature stable in different environments.

Jarred also mentioned that SCARLET upgrades would begin in late September. As we know, firmware is never really complete, it’s always being added to and adjusted (which goes for any company), but there is some hope that it is going to be absolutely rock solid from the get-go — something that hasn’t always been true of their firmware. Color science can also be tweaked in an infinite number of ways, and I imagine we will see color profiles right out of the gate that are much better than what we saw with EPIC.

If everything the RED team is saying about latitude is true, this is really a next-gen sensor. Many cameras do not keep the same latitude as you shift ISO, but if DRAGON does as they say it will, it’s going to mean a lot more flexibility. Being able to shoot at 200 in the daytime is convenient, and then being able to shift to 2000 indoors without any penalty sounds pretty incredible on paper. IR pollution has been one of the issues many are hoping to see lessened in the new sensor, and things are hopefully going in that direction.

Everyone has been eager to see some moving images out of the beast, so it will be interesting to see what they’ve got up their sleeves to show off the sensor, and if it will be more than some test shots of static objects (if they’ve waited this long, they might as well pull out all the stops). There is likely a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare their facilities and their people for the upgrades, so the September timeframe is probably more realistic than some other dates they’ve given in the past (July was a date previously given). They’ve got a lot of camera upgrades to get through, so if you happen to be on the list, it’s going to be a long process. Just like with EPIC upgrades before, it is likely that new cameras will be available in stock well before all of the upgrades are complete — so if you’re of the impatient type or you want to buy one now, you’ll probably be able to do that fairly soon.

We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of images RED trickles out over the coming weeks.

Link: Dragon… — REDUser


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Description image 46 COMMENTS

  • Which Canon user will be the first to yawn at this AWESOME upgrade?

    • Rodrigo Molinsky on 07.9.13 @ 10:56AM

      Me. Now, let me back with my few bucks to my script.

    • Pre-emptive and ironic reverse fanboy-ism is still fanboy-ism. So you’ve only got yourself to blame for this level of discussion, Gene.

      • Rodrigo Molinsky on 07.9.13 @ 11:56AM

        Well, I can’t afford a RED. But if I could, why not? I’m just happy with I got now. I just can’t understand detractors.

        • If you read the Red support forum there are more detractors there than anywhere I’ve seen.

          And Janard’s comment about what they were doing at NAB is BS. It was a pure publicity stunt with zero upgrades done which they claimed to be what they were doing at the time.

    • Love my Reds, love my Canon.

      Holding off on the $9,500 upgrade opportunity to see how things pan out. If this thing breaks major ground, then maybe it’s worth it. It’ll be a long time before Dragon is available to the general public…who knows what other technology will be announced/available by then…maybe a hacked 5D Mark IV or 1-DC Mark II will make more sense!

    • Love my Reds, love my Canon.

      Holding off on the $9,500 upgrade opportunity to see how things pan out. If this thing breaks major ground, then maybe it’s worth it. It’ll be a long time before Dragon is available to the general public…who knows what other technology will be announced/available by then…maybe a hacked 5D Mark IV or 1D-C Mark II will make more sense!

  • Which elitist RED user will tells us that anything not shot on a RED in 6K will not meaningful content. I guess they’re to busy sh!ting on the new Alexia thread on reduser.

  • Jesus, look at the past couple camera threads, commenters why must you find something to complain about in only time where there is nothing to complain about.

  • Chris Lambert on 07.9.13 @ 11:33AM

    native 2000 iso… time too start buying those lottery tickets again methinks

  • What amazing camera …
    6k resolution .. Crazy …
    6k to 100 fps .. Crazy …
    Variable Frame rate 1 to 400 fps .. crazy ..
    16 stop latitude .. Crazy …
    Time laps with integrated noise reduction to 6k .. crazy ..
    Modular … crazy ..
    New skin tone .. crazy ..
    RAW, ISO variable in post production, and white balance, and 2000 iso “native” without noise … crazy ..
    New Pl mount with 8 electronic variable ND .. Crazy …
    New proxy module proress … shit … Crazy …
    Pre-recorder up to 30 seconds … crazy .. “I love this option”

    But it ‘s crazy this camera …

    RED is doing a great job.

    I have to save money for it :))))

  • Red official Jarred Land from reduser:

    6K is incredible. I know the rest of the world has just (finally) landed at 4K… but 6k motion and the stills pulled from Dragon are remarkable. O the stills. And talk about oversampling for 4k motion delivery. It’s hard to go back.”

    Except that there several lenses, that will not cover the Red Dragons oversized sensor fully. With these lenses, it results a image that is less than “6K”.

    Sony F65 is almost exactly Super35 “6K” camera WITH ALL THE PROPER LENSES and has been for over a year. This “6K” is used to supersample the final “4K” ouput. Just like with Red Dragon.

    So Red Dragon is only about 1,5 years late, when it comes to resolution.

    Overall the whole “6K” talk is useless, because there is no display / projector that can show real “6K” images. So all the material is going to be dispalyed at max “cinema 4K” anyway.

    • Resolution loss from the bayer patten means you get a “real” 4K image from a 5K sensor. It’s not about projecting at 6K. And quite frankly I think 99% of RED shooters are more excited about the dynamic range, ISO, and better color science than the jump from 5K to 6K.

    • Juhan-i, you crack me up. You read Reduser way more than I do and I own one. To make statements like you have about 6K just goes to show you don’t understand the concept or benefits of oversampling. You’re also willfully ignoring the deliberate use of 6K motion with the express purpose of pulling high resolution stills, something that has already been done to great effect with RED cameras going back to the R1MX.

      I can totally understand if someone dislikes RED cameras because of their image quality or a few other reasons…different strokes and all that. But I don’t understand why you would HATE them. They’re just cameras for crying out loud.

  • Jannard exaggerates everything, and then makes a low key retraction/ correction. Wasn’t the Dragon apparently tested for 18 Stops of Dynamic Range (I also read at places, that it was apparently 20 Stops). I wonder if a camera can even do more than 14 stops of usable dynamic range (rather than some number, arrived at, under some ridiculous methods of testing).
    The guys at RED should stop dreaming, and let actual users state the facts.
    RED has an impressive history of bringing good motion picture cameras. I just wish Jannard would stop exaggerating everything. It makes me throw up.

    • The 20stops is from an engineering bench mark test. Essentially a linear image that lifts the blacks so you can see what the sensor does. That doesn’t mean all 20 will make it through. 16stops was the estimate, and is apparently about accurate.

    • Red has only ever said 16…they released an image of a dynamic range chart and a bunch of people misinterpreted what would actually be usable dynamic range, and that’s where all the other numbers came from.

      • 16 stops is entering in the HDR realm… Probably the highlights will have an amazing rolloff with so much usable image… And also 2000 ASA. You can probably go over 4000 and have low noise.

        Pushing to 4000 and an F2 lens. Get lost heavy HMIs! lol

  • Sounds great. Look forward to shooting with it!

  • Yawn ….

  • Funny how camera talk turns grown men into children.

    This camera will be incredible, there is nothing on the market that even compares. Just like when Arri releases a next generation Alexa it will be incredible, and definitely 4K+.

  • Congratulations to RED.
    A good team a good camera.
    That ‘what I like:

    The Increased latitude of the Dragon Is not just in the bottom. The Increase is Also at the top.

    So you get the same 16 + stops of latitude at 200 asa as you do at 2000 with the Dragon. No penalty latitude when you finish a lower ASA. Which means when you finish are shooting outside, less ND filters. Less IR issues, better images.

  • Arthur Genk on 07.9.13 @ 7:26PM

    They are really silent about the new color science. Jim Jannard said today “This comment sorta bugs me. It is a soundbite that has been marketed throughout the industry. LightIron and Company3 have easily matched EPIC color (including skin tones) to film and the Alexa. “. If it’s that easy, why not offering the nice alexa and film colors to any epic & scarlet owner right out of the box? The argument “look, the best color correcting company in the world matched the epic to the alexa” is not very valid imho. I don’t want to paint my images for hours to get something another camera can get without doing anything.

    • I’ve seen plenty of stuff that looks like shit shot on Alexa as well. You don’t get beautiful images for free just by using a particular camera.

    • I agree with Gabe,
      I have Alexa and EPIC, the quality ‘of’ image is a good group.
      Alexa for the cost ‘in the hands of more professionals, while RED has a range that goes from Skater to great directors.
      If you try to give an Alexa in the hands of “normal” people do disasters.
      Obviously ago nice to say: I shot in Alexa.
      However, on my own I’ve never been a trouble of skin on the EPiC. even on Alexa, those who make these comments did not understand absolutely how the Epic or vice versa.
      You just have to complain about the fact that you can load a Lut 709 camera to give to an external monitor, and this’ something important is missing in Epic.
      I congratulate still with Team RED. Now we have to enjoy the movies of DRagon.

  • wOooooooWww
    Red is a bomb…
    Nice work Red Team .
    At this point this is my next camera to buy.

  • Native 2000 ISO? How can anyone shoot outdoors with a wide open lens?
    I hope camera manufacturers implement an electronic ND system so the camera can go down to 10 ISO without needing ND glass.

    • If you read what Jarred said above, it can also shoot at 200 without any penalty in dynamic range. As for the electronic ND system, RED announced it at NAB, called the Motion Mount, and it also acts as a global shutter.

  • Will buy it in 10 years for less then 1000 bucks, to make vintage movies…

  • Just a general comment: looks to me that RED is creating exciting technology with new 6K Dragon chips.

    If I were an American (I’m an European actually) I would be proud of a US company like RED. It keeps amazing me that people are so easily polarized versus a camera brand that they don’t own. I owe various camera’s of various brands, and they all have their pros and cons. Let’s be glad that there are companies like RED pushing technology forward…RED surely did so for the development of 4K digital cinema.


  • Give me that dragon right now and cut the small talk !

  • Owning a Red Camera is a fools game as you keep paying and paying and paying for these upgrades every couple of years. If you don’t after a few years your camera will no longer be supported by their tech support and no more firmware upgrades. Also every time they upgrade the value of your camera hits rock bottom. At the beginning Jannard promised “Obsolescence made obsolete” …..he lied.