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Here's Your First Real-World Teaser Image of RED DRAGON's Amazing Dynamic Range

Mark Toia - DRAGON - red-1We might have gotten our first “real” taste of RED’s new DRAGON sensor all the way back in February, but the camera has been in the hands of professionals for a bit of time now, and the images are finally starting to be let out by guys in charge over at RED. Mark Toia has been doing some extensive testing with the new camera sensor and not only has he shared some of his thoughts, but he’s also been allowed to unleash the first confirmed real-world image of the now-completed camera package.

Mark posted this on REDUser (though I wonder if it’s Saturday in the US or Saturday in Australia):


Night tests completed…. and WOW ! took our little team by surprise. Better results than we had hoped for.
4000ISO is completely useable. Even some of the 6400 iso scenes are good to use. 

Spoke to Jarred today, 
We are good to share Saturday onwards. 

Which is good timing for me, because I have to go through several hundred test shots to find images that can represent the cameras dynamic range properly. 
( Not to mention I have to go back to my real job tomorrow, because I have producers about to kill me if I keep playing Mr camera tester nerd ) 

This thread is done, Im starting a new one Friday / Saturday. 

Here is a teaser image. :) 
Enjoy. 

Mark Toia - DRAGON - red-1

Later he posted this image talking about how good the DRAGON sees:

Mark Toia - DRAGON - night

Mark recently spoke to fxguide about his experiences with the camera. He specifically talked about just how impressive the dynamic range feels, and that there was at least two more stops that he could see with his naked eye without doing any scientific testing. During the interview they mentioned a few times about how the image from the DRAGON seems to match the image from the EPIC MONOCHROME, which is a native B&W sensor camera that starts natively at ISO 2000.

He also hasn’t been using the PL mount much, and instead threw a Canon mount on the camera very early on because the 1.18 crop factor felt very close to full-frame, and he wanted to use glass that better matched up with the sensor, rather than PL which may not cover 6K at all (those are his words before the Super 35mm purists go crazy). Mark also reiterated  in the interview that he felt this thing was the real deal, and that RED had created something that he felt was worth the upgrade price.

More test images (and hopefully footage) is coming soon, but in the meantime, check out more photos from Christopher Probst’s DRAGON shoot (Phil Holland has kindly given permission to use the rest of these pics):

Phil Holland desertDragonShoot_0004

Phil Holland desertDragonShoot_0042

Phil Holland desertDragonShoot_0043

The fxguide podcast is a great listen, so I encourage everyone who is mildly interested in RED to listen to those guys talk about the cameras (since they are using them on big commercial shoots). They also have a great little interview with Ted Schilowitz where they ask some pretty tough questions, including why RED decided to upgrade sensors at NAB even though the camera wasn’t quite done yet.

Things are certainly heating up…

Links:

COMMENT POLICY

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Description image 77 COMMENTS

  • …all I want to see is the shadow noise (blue channel) and high ISO, everything else RED has had nailed for years.

  • Need a side-by-side with a t2i and go pro

  • Wait. So the dragon sensor is physically larger than the epic’s Super 35?

    • Yep, the 5k area is slightly smaller than the MX’s 5k area, but the 6k area is bigger.

      • Ben Corwin on 08.1.13 @ 5:42PM

        Yikes. I didn’t know that. Why haven’t I heard a big fuss about it? Seems like a pretty big issue.

        • Well I think that was part of the reason to shrink the 5k area…so that it would be more compatible with cine lenses than the MX 5k.

      • Yes, curious about that as well. I mean, if the sensor lives up to the hype, then it’s obviously pretty sweet and worth using. However, a 1.18 crap factor will really mess with cinema primes. And I would rather use Zeiss Super Speeds over Canon L glass any day.

        • What on Earth would stop you from shooting 5K or 5.5K instead of full 6K?

          • Ah come on. Some lens company must already be working on a 6K sized lens.

          • Kenneth Merrill on 08.2.13 @ 2:10AM

            Have you cropped a sensor on a Red before? I did; it wasn’t pretty. Granted it was more drastic than a 5k on a 6k sensor (more like 2 on a 5), but it would just be convenient to get the full sensor’s resolution at a regular crop ratio.

          • @Kenneth: I’m intrigued – why is it not pretty? Surely it’s just like cropping in post? Isn’t it just reading out a smaller area on the sensor, rather than changing its binning etc?

          • @Luke – That’s what I thought! I figured, “I shoot 1080p on my 5D all the time, and it’s totally usable. Cropping the Epic to 2K shouldn’t be a problem.” Unfortunately, it turned out that a 2K crop on the MX is much more soft and blocky than even a 1080p image out of a 5D. I’m sure part of this is because we didn’t have time to Black Balance, and we were shooting a relatively high compression ratio (10:1), but I even talked with my brother-in-law who owns an Epic, and he says he never crops down to more than 3 or 4K because it’s too muddy and soft, even at lower compression ratios. I don’t know why this is.

            This is why I feel a little miffed when Red advertise their image as being 4 times larger than regular 1080p. While this is technically true, if you crop the image down to 1080p either in camera or post, it isn’t as sharp or clean as the 1080p we’re used to.

            Has anyone else had different/similar experiences with Red sensor-cropping?

          • It’s not so bad, I’ve gotten pretty solid results with R1 at 2K. You’re cropping into whatever noise pattern you produce, but it’s not much different than blowing up a piece of 16mm film, you just have to be particularly careful with your exposure and choice of lenses. And it seems obvious enough, but if you know you’re going to 2K, don’t compress your footage so much.

          • @jime – you’re absolutely right about the compression. It was my first time shooting a crop sensor, and I overestimated the detail in the 10:1 compression. We also did that compression because we were running super guerrilla and weren’t able to dump cards, plus we were shooting 240fps. We were worried about having enough media so we shot at a higher compression. Simple misjudgment on my part.

        • I do believe Contax Zeiss glass will cover 6k. I assume this holds true for the superspeeds and cp2′s as well.

  • it reminds me of the red mx

  • unreal image, crazy …. this video be a regamma3 and redcolor3?
    The night picture even more crazy, room on the right for brighter highlights, goalposts – empty and stoplights — empty. , SHiiittt …
    We will see other posts Saturday, if you really can shoot images up to 4000iso
    and the dynamic range be increased up to 16 stop and apparently creamy 6k image and the colors are great out of the box RED Dragon will be ‘the best camera.

    I love this camera and just know that I can also shoot slow without noise with a high dynamic range and better colors out of the box makes me shudder.

    RED DRAGON wowow

  • Fire the Dolly Grip. You really should put something on the end of those rails to keep the rig from sliding off ;)

  • What does the f4 and f32 printed on the car image refer to?

    • Its the light reading from a light meter for exposure an exposure setting on the lens in f stops.

      The purpose is to show the dynamic range of the sensor.

  • Marinho Gomes on 08.1.13 @ 6:36PM

    I’m pretty sure it’s the stops. It seems to be marking the darkest spot and the brightest spot.

  • Just curious, what Variable ND were you using?

    • Probably the one inside the camera.

      • The camera itself does not have an internal ND system. It will be coming as part of the Red’s new Motion Mount. The new mount will be available later this year.

  • From F4 to F32… and all the light coming in correct levels of exposure? Even shooting on 250D vision 3 can you do that? Wow!

  • I was hoping for a tad bit more highlight bloom before hitting hard clip, but it’s more than fine and fixable for anyone except anti-”fix it in post” luddites.

    • Well, that’s also what lens filters are for…seems like they get forgotten now that everyone has a “create the look in post” mentality.

  • Gah dang I wanna see footage from this camera!!!!

  • Marklondon on 08.2.13 @ 2:22AM

    Some very odd comments there. Looks fantastic to me.
    I’ll be interested to see some serious work shot with it, and how DOPs plan to use it.
    I’ve already had issues with having to ND a phone screen because that light was too bright on the actors face. :-) Now you’re giving me another 4/5 useable stops?
    I wouldn’t buy it, but I’ll certainly try it as a rental.

  • I would love to see the dragon side by side with a C100/C300/F5 comparison for low light. There are lot of ISO 6400 shots from other cameras. Dynamic range seems to be a plus point of this sensor.

  • I`m finally convinced that I am ready to make my big break through indie movie, this camera has the proper resolution and DR even though I believe that even higher resolution, more fps and more sensitivity will be key to a fantastic movie.

  • The detail in the gauges inside the car is VERY nice. There’s clarity in the numbers and colors. The details don’t muddy together (only slight mud). That puts me in mind of another 6K sensor. But it’s not from a video camera but a stills. The Hasselblad H4D. The sensor is 6132×8176 pixels. I think the 8176 is the vertical number. So it’s 6K (I think). Here’s details about it from their pdf:

    http://www.hasselbladusa.com/media/2658914/uk_h4d_200ms_v3.pdf

    I said that picture from the Red reminds me of that stills camera because of a Hasselblad sample at this link. If the library photo is enlarged you can read the title on some of the books:

    http://info.xitek.com/sampleimage/201206/04-90645.html

    There’s nothing you can do in post to make that happen with images from sensors of lower K’s, or p’s. Now I want to know what images from the 8K ASTRODESIGN / NHK camera from Japan look like. Link:

    http://broadcastengineering.com/cameras-amp-lenses/nhk-promotes-8k-camera-h265-encoder-trial-broadcasts-begin-2016 (thanks for the link DLD)

    NHK is working to broadcast in 8k. Oh yeah, in America we’re all the way up to 720p broadcasting with 1080p in some pay per view, WO WHOO! ;-)

  • Nothing the F65 couldn’t do ;)

  • Big deal … 9 stops. Show me the reported 16 stops and the new color science. Still waiting for the the big breakthough.

    • Bob,
      i hope you’re joking, what is perceived as flat is really just all the extra DR info, ready to be graded in whatever direction you want. You can’t grade back in details that are lost, but you can add contrast and hold details that are captured with massive DR.
      I think we all are so accustomed to seeing contrasty in-camera images that it will take some time to adjust to seeing so much much much much dynamic range.
      Do not worry Dragon reach the 16 stops safely. :)

  • steve duncan on 08.2.13 @ 6:27PM

    what a joke.. this article is such a fluff piece, doesnt ask or answer any real questions. truth of the matter is that this is a huge disaster for RED. after making total fools of themselves at NAB (you remember the engineers in the clean room upgrading the sensors, lol). so basically the owners of those first converts have had their cameras sitting in the closet for 6 mnths, unusable. this article should’ve been titled ‘after 6 months, RED Is forced to admit they still can’t get their cameras to work’.

    infinitely more embarrassing is that they started selling a product no one has ever seen work. in what world does that make sense? imagine Ford pricing and selling a car before they can get it to work? based.on estimated performance? so weird no one calls these guys out for what they are- amateurs. btw, im happy w the scarlet, and im disappointed w REDS repeated inability to live up to what they say they can do. what they’re actually doing is buying an option on your time for free. “don’t look at other cameras, next week we’ll have upgradeable sensors” this company has a long history of not being able to live up to their promise

    • I agree 100%. These tossers don’t even know what they are doing!

      http://www.red.com/shot-on-red

    • @Steve. There are many legitimate reasons to criticize RED. However, posts this angry seem to always be so full of ire they spout inaccuracies and utter nonsense. Where to begin?

      1) There’s a difference between “not quite ready for production” and “can’t get it to work”. You’re changing the facts to suit your rant. You might’ve made a bit more sense 6 months ago but saying it now completely ignores the fact that the cameras are in the wild and being used on actual productions and in real tests, which brings us to…

      2) That’s exactly what this article was about…the one you claim doesn’t offer any useful information. It’s literally telling you the cameras ARE working and being tested. There’s a teaser pic with more in-depth info and pics to come this weekend. So, again, you ignore the facts to make yourself right. That’s just poor form.

      3) RED hasn’t sold anyone a Dragonized camera yet. They’ve taken orders from people who sought to secure their place in line but won’t charge until the camera officially begins shipping in September. We should have quite a few images and footage to look at by then. This is no more than a pre-order.

      4) Where have you been living that you’ve never heard of people placing an order for “a product no one has ever seen work…based on estimated performance”? This has been going on for years in a number of industries. RED posted this image – http://www.redgrabs.com/up/1360380054.jpg – back in February, well before NAB. Granted, it’s not much to go on but it’s no different than pre-ordering an album, after only hearing the first single, from an artist whose previous work you already know and like.

      5) There’s a word for what people have done with regard to RED and Dragon. It’s called trust. Blind trust in some extreme cases, but trust nonetheless. Isn’t that what all companies want to instill in their customers? Isn’t that how all customers want to feel about the companies they buy from? Don’t hate on RED or the people that trust them because you can’t bring yourself to do it. Whatever the Dragon upgrade brings, they trust it will be more capable than what has come before it, based on experience. For them, the good outweighs the bad.

  • Fuck RED. Disagree with them on their forums and you’ll get banned. These guys treat their customers like shit.

  • Patrick Lewis on 08.2.13 @ 10:16PM

    This claim that 20 million pixels is higher resolution than 65mm film is bogus. Oh wait, they only say that it’s more resolution than 65mm scanned at 4K. Of course it is!! 4K is only like 8.3 megapixels! And since basically no projector usually does more than 4k, then this new camera has higher resolution than itself when projected at 4K. What a bunch of spin. 65mm IMAX is easily 60 megapixels. Once you get that high, the lens is the weakest link in resolution.

    There’s also color depth. I bet that film still has better color. Sadly, without all my questions answered, there will still be the voices that say this camera is “The Film Killer”. Hogwash.

    • luigi valtulini on 08.3.13 @ 12:59PM

      Chips on the projectors Sony CineAlta are 3 and each one has 8 mpixel.
      Sony F55 have 11.6 megapixel and Sony F65, have 20mpixel, Dragon have 20mpixel.
      If you do the color whit Davinci on the SRX-R220 4K, I can guarantee that the F65 and ‘much better than the F55 in terms of detail and yet both record at 4k!
      Then Dragon will be ‘a great sensor and can record in native 6k will be’ very nice and funny.

  • Red uses too much LPOF.

  • what a joke.. this article is such a fluff piece, doesnt ask or answer any real questions. truth of the matter is that this is a huge disaster for RED. after making total fools of themselves at NAB (you remember the engineers in the clean room upgrading the sensors, lol). so basically the owners of those first converts have had their cameras sitting in the closet for 6 mnths, unusable. this article should’ve been titled ‘after 6 months, RED Is forced to admit they still can’t get their cameras to work’.

    infinitely more embarrassing is that they started selling a product no one has ever seen work. in what world does that make sense? imagine Ford pricing and selling a car before they can get it to work? based.on estimated performance? so weird no one calls these guys out for what they are- amateurs. btw, im happy w the scarlet, and im disappointed w REDS repeated inability to live up to what they say they can do. what they’re actually doing is buying an option on your time for free. “don’t look at other cameras, next week we’ll have upgradeable sensors” this company has a long history of not being able to live up to their promise

  • this article doesnt ask or answer any real questions. truth of the matter is that this is a huge disaster for RED. after making total fools of themselves at NAB (you remember the engineers in the clean room upgrading the sensors, lol). so basically the owners of those first converts have had their cameras sitting in the closet for 6 mnths, unusable. this article should’ve been titled ‘after 6 months, RED Is forced to admit they still can’t get their cameras to work’.

    infinitely more embarrassing is that they started selling a product no one has ever seen work. in what world does that make sense? imagine Ford pricing and selling a car before they can get it to work? based.on estimated performance? so weird no one calls these guys out for what they are- amateurs. btw, im happy w the scarlet, and im disappointed w REDS repeated inability to live up to what they say they can do. what they’re actually doing is buying an option on your time for free. “don’t look at other cameras, next week we’ll have upgradeable sensors” this company has a long history of not being able to live up to their promise

    • luigi valtulini on 08.3.13 @ 12:17PM

      but you’re crazy!
      What are you saying?!?!
      No user has paid Dragon until now. We do not say crap.
      The delay and ‘was due to improvements to the sensor and Jim has personally apologized to all of us Reduser.
      Maybe you should learn to read and to inform.
      The cameras are ready to give the users, but of course no Reduser wanted to hurry, but better to have delays being the best.
      As you can read from ‘article Toia is working and testing as many others in the field Dragon, tomorrow can look up Reduser, images and the big news.
      So users will finally be able to decide whether to buy and upgrade to Dragon.

  • http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/arris-managing-director-hd-is-578724

    The best is yet to come. Like most DPs, I rent. Why the hell would I want to own a camera body that will be obsolete in 2-3 yrs? Unless you’re a rental house it’s bad economics.

  • Can’t imagine how loud that fan is going to be.

    Or the lack of quality fixes that follow after the fan sounds like a jet engine.

  • Very valid, pithy, suitcncc, and on point. WD.

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