February 20, 2014

RED DRAGON Camera is Getting A.D.D. & General Upgrades May Start in the Next Few Months

No, it's not the A.D.D. you're thinking of. RED has developed something new for RED CINE-X called Advanced DRAGON Debayer to squeeze even more quality out of the image in post, which is in addition to the new Optical Low Pass Filter on the DRAGON that gets rid of an ugly flare and in the process helps increase dynamic range. There is word more improvements are coming, but if you're wondering about actual cameras, the general upgrades for all EPIC users is almost here, which will mean DRAGONs for every EPIC owner that wants them.

First, it's probably worth sharing some work we haven't shown that gives even more of what the DRAGON can do (these were all done with the old OLPF):

Same clips, different grade:

http://vimeo.com/82804086

http://vimeo.com/82720143

And more from the man who posted the first DRAGON footage:

http://vimeo.com/85924267

And for the new updates, here's what Jarred Land said on REDUser:

A.D.D. is a new hyper-debayer algorithm for Dragon that spends a ton of time analyzing every single pixel and creating the best frame possible. It doesn't pull any punches, it processes everything at the highest degree possible and squeezes out every last ounce buried deep inside Dragon R3Ds.

It is incredibly expensive computationally... each frame will take seconds to process. The results are absolutely phenomenal. 

For all you guys using the Dragon to pull stills from motion, it truly can't be beat.

More from Jarred:

A.D.D. needs the extra information that only the Dragon sensor provides.. including the invisible bits. 

There are enough tests out now that shows the Dragon is the best camera that we have ever made... better color, better DR, and of course better resolution. But I am telling you, this is just the beginning. A.D.D is just one example. 

I am thrilled that everyone that has an Epic ( or Scarlet ) has the opportunity for this upgrade and to jump into the Dragon deep end.. you are in for a wild swim. For all you guys waiting to get into the pool.. I know this news probably sucks even more with the addition of A.D.D. Sorry for that... but It's worth the wait.

It seems clear that the power of software/firmware updates means that there is even more performance locked away inside the camera, just like with the previous models. It was mentioned in the forum that the new debayer method doesn't need any special hardware, it's simply a more advanced version of the software debayer that already comes with RED CINE-X. Jarred also gave word about where we are in terms of upgrades:

If I had to field a guess.. and don't hold me to it.. I would say we should jump into the second priority group at the end of March / first week of April.

If that does happen, things should speed up considerably, as the second priority group includes all current EPIC owners who want to upgrade. I don't see most people with a DRAGON upgrade until at least the summer based on numbers and speed, so SCARLET DRAGON will likely be even later (and new EPIC DRAGON purchases after that).

Two years since the original announcement is a long time to wait, but RED has been heavily criticized for letting users Beta test their cameras for them, so I suppose they are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. Getting the thing to be rock-solid with as much performance as possible seems to be a priority, and I can't be alone in thinking this is a good thing with so many products being released into the wild relatively unfinished.

Read more about the updates over on REDuser.

Link: Dragon Update + A.D.D. -- REDUser

Your Comment

61 Comments

What, are comments being deleted now? Even tongue 'n' cheek/comic-relief ones? Geez. I love this site, but relax guys, it was just a joke. Sorry.

February 20, 2014 at 8:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Johnny

Text lacks tone so it's easy for conversations to turn into hate fests even if people are joking, which they are bound to do anyway, but at least preventing it early on is preferred.

February 20, 2014 at 9:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Joe, you're completely right. I didn't see it like that. Sorry! And for what it's worth, keep up the good work :) This is still the first site I check when I get up, and last before I sleep :) Many thanks!

February 20, 2014 at 9:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Johnny

Checking NFS first thing in the morning and before going to sleep? And I thought I was the only one...

February 20, 2014 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Raul

+2

February 21, 2014 at 5:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Lloyd

+1

February 21, 2014 at 11:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Here's to saying it the way it is. RED has a 'look'. I won't like that look, no matter how many K's they add or how cool a name they call the sensor. And that look can best be summed up as having no personality. Sony is similar. Watch anything shot with an Alexa. You all know exactly what I mean....

February 27, 2014 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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tunabreath

Nobody gets to jump ahead in the line...unless you're an evangelist for the company. Yeesh, what a debacle this has been.

Maybe they'll be upgrading cameras at NAB again...awkward.

February 20, 2014 at 8:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thom

It's not just Red. Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Design have been guilty of delayed schedules. The technologic developments seem to be the comparatively easy part. "Mass" production (as if a few thousand units would qualify as mass production in any other market) appears to be the hard part.

February 20, 2014 at 9:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Tzedekh

Those companies don't take as much pre-order money as Red does up front though. You really can't make that comparison.

February 20, 2014 at 11:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gordon Casey

I bet they do. Volume adds up.

February 20, 2014 at 11:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Pat

RED does not actually charge your account when you pre-order. Otherwise, it would be called an order. When they're ready for you, a rep contacts you to make sure you want to proceed with the transaction and the order is correct, THEN they charge you. The pre-order merely secures your place in line, like every other company's pre-order process.

February 20, 2014 at 12:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Dude! What are you talking about? Small deposit is all you put down. You're charged when you send it in for upgrade.

February 22, 2014 at 1:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Paul Watt

Comparing this to the bolex example is wrong. at least they didn't release some unfinished cameras, they just delayed the production so their products would be released in their final stage. Comparing to the blackmagic that is appropriate but don't drag bolex for trying to give you their best product and not some beta one.

February 20, 2014 at 9:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Francisco

Personally I don't mind the wait. My epics doing okay, and the longer I can milk it the better. So for me, waiting is pretty chill

February 20, 2014 at 10:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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brian merlen

But who doesn't want a cow that gives more milk? ;)
I don't think anyone has to blame Red... Not one other company made sure people could upgrade from an old camera to the newest for such a low amount of money (compared to new). If your alexa/Canon/Sony/... Is outdated and a new model is release, do you get the newest camera if you pay 1/3 of the newprice?

February 20, 2014 at 10:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Henri De Vreese

Well, the upgrade for Scarlet-X is 6/5 of the new price.

February 20, 2014 at 11:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jesper

That is certainly true for Sony. Nice cameras, but no hardware upgrade path. The F65 could potentially be the exception to this in terms of hardware upgrades, but then again they did nothing for F35 owners.

I spoke to a guy at Arri and he swore up and down that when the time comes, one will be able to upgrade the Alexa hardware to the next best thing. We'll have to wait and see.

So, I'll give Red credit for getting that part right. Not cheap, but you can upgrade, if you really want to.

February 20, 2014 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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123

Well, the other side of the argument is that one could buy-to-own (rather than to purely rent out) an Arri Alexa and then sell it when the new 4K Arri unit comes out. The used camera is unlikely to keep much of its original value, especially given the technological advances of the intervening years, but both new and old cams will have a perfected combination of sensor quality, processing power, recording media accommodation, etc. It's yet to be seen whether everything from the three year old Red cams will work exactly as intended on their new cameras or whether combining a new sensor with an outdated microprocessor is really a worthwhile upgrade. For example, for the price of the Dragon upgrade, one could buy an entirely new 4K camera (FS 700 with Odyssey Q7 monitor/recorder will run about $13K combined for a 4K Raw acquisition and the NAB should bring a slew of other announcements).
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PS. This product cycle is likely to end soon. Once 4K gets established, the 8K may be a decade or even further away. Then a well-made 4K camera can last quite a while, even as its competition will be offering a similar level of performance for a significantly smaller sum.

February 20, 2014 at 12:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

From what I understand, the Epic Dragon's processors aren't any older than the Dragon sensor itself. The camera basically has entirely new guts, including a new custom ASIC. To refer to the microprocessor as old but the sensor as new is inaccurate, methinks. As far as the FS700 goes, if you don't mind carrying around a bazooka, it does make a cheaper alternative, but not nearly as elegant.

February 20, 2014 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Yes they are replacing pretty much everything inside the cameras, which is part of the reason I believe the price went up for the upgrade.

February 20, 2014 at 2:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Okay, I forgot you mentioned the Q7. However, I don't think the FS700 in that config is going to take that many higher end projects from RED than it does now.

February 20, 2014 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

FS 700 is not intended to play in the same leagues as Red per se. Howevah ... if you can get a 4K Raw, including Q7, for ~ $13K, then the combo becomes very suitable to a small/no budget production. And, if the image is anything like Sony's own FS 700 + AXS-R5 recorder, then the differences under most circumstances will be minute if any. The price difference will still be huge.
Sony FS-700 4K into AXS-R5 [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm6YXLtoS2o ]

February 20, 2014 at 2:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

February 20, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Stu Mannion

We shoot on and own an Epic and are waiting for our Dragon update. So yes, I do like the camera (that isn't to say it doesn't have a great deal of flaws that come along with it).

That said, I sometimes wish RED would be less of a tabloid-hype kind of advertiser. I don't need to know about potential upgrades to a camera when we all know that if they want it done right the first time, it may well be at least a year away. Rather tell us once the product is _actually_ ready and a month away from launch.

February 20, 2014 at 12:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Samu Amunét

I don't know, I like being kept in the loop. I like knowing that a company is continuing to innovate and improve upon their products.

February 20, 2014 at 1:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ian Mora

I agree that it's nice to be in the loop, but I think said "loop" ought to be a little tighter. I prefer a friend that promises little and delivers more, than the guy that talks over the moon and doesn't deliver. Sure I enjoy the rumours and slight toying, but a little secrecy wouldn't hurt either :)

Informing is always nice, and would I want RED to be as tight as, say, Canon? Certainly not. I suppose the goal would be to keep the community involved and excited while remaining adequately professional and reliable in the process.

February 20, 2014 at 1:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Samu Amunét

Ya, I can see that. Almost seems like they let their own excitement get the best of them at times. It would probably be more annoying for the consumer actively waiting on said improvements. I'm operating on a non-existent time-table lol.

February 20, 2014 at 2:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ian Mora

In part, is a fight to stay relevant and feed into their userbase. At times, I don't even think they do it because they want to. They do it because they have established a culture and can't get out of it without being called on it. Plus their userbase follows them blindly, why would you want to piss them off, keep feeding them and they will continue to cough up the dough.

I marvel at their gear. I've used used some of it, solid stuff. Unfortunately, it's a bit out of my range. Gotta keep working hard.

February 21, 2014 at 10:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Unless you're somehow contributing to the financial well-being of this site, that's a silly thing to say. Your rights entitle you to express whatever you want, but NFS isn't obligated to host any particular sentiments. Sites can definitely police comments to their own detriment, but give me a break. This isn't censorship.

February 20, 2014 at 12:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Michael

Red's are just too expensive - I still wish they had kept their promise and given us 3K for $3000.

February 20, 2014 at 12:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Ed Wright

Always the 4K bmcc for $3K

Cost less than the media for a red scarlet.

February 20, 2014 at 2:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Greg P.

You can get a red one m or mx package used for around 6-7k.

February 20, 2014 at 4:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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john jeffries

After the RED Dragon take a beating from Alexa in the last test at cinematography.net They see with this. I need to see to believe.

February 20, 2014 at 1:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jonnes Dornelas

Can you send a link? I'd like to see this.

February 20, 2014 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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February 20, 2014 at 1:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Thanks for the link Brian
Wow Sony and Arri did phenomenaly well. Canon and Red.....not so much.
Stunned!

February 20, 2014 at 2:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Greg P.

Really? You think the F55 outperformed Dragon? Hmm. They're close, but…

F55 squeaks out an edge in color saturation in the bottom left of the chart in the last exposure but does not do so well with the crossed grayscale steps or the Macbeth chart. The best way to judge is view the files in their native RAW viewer and adjust the ISO to see just what was actually captured and what can be recovered. Geoff Boyle even suggests this in case he made any errors in converting to TIFF. You can also load them all into Resolve and have a go grading them to see just how malleable and robust they are.

February 20, 2014 at 3:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

You can compare F55 / Red stuff as much as you like, but when doing real cinema work the F65 is the so called Sony yardstick.

And considering the first proper test results outside the Red fan circle... Well, Red does not have Sony F65 killer. Of course, I am talking about pure tech stuff, market share and "production politics" are other thing.

And when it comes to Arri... If they soon put out 4K camera (NAB ?) with Alexa color and at least the same DR (or some more), Red will not gain anymore market share. All the conservative big boys will simply continue with Arri, no need for vulgar americans.

February 20, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

if you download the raw, you can see that Alexa and DRagon are extreme winner, certainly not the F55.
The best thing is DRagon color and low noise, if you take the exposure base you can try to use Resolve to do the grading and you can see the large elasticity of DRagon.
Of course Alexa is still on top of a stop sign, but from what I can understand from rumors Dragon has reached Alexa.
So having said that by colorist, if I had to choose now would take DRagon and certainly not an F55 or an Alexa.
In this high range you choose Alexa and Red DRagon others are now out of the game.

February 20, 2014 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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nandos

If I'm not mistaken, the Dragon used for this test belongs to a RED user and Reduser moderator, who was involved in the test, so there goes your conspiracy theory. As tested, it was not a "finalized" unit, as was reported by NFS here - http://bit.ly/1jNzNxi - regarding the latest updates. Geoff Boyle plans to test the latest Dragon update as well as, I believe, the F65, so we'll see what's what then.

It's interesting you blame "production politics" as, I'm gathering, an excuse for the lack of widespread adoption of the F65 among the major players. If those "big boys" are going to continue to favor Arri over RED, they'll surely also continue to favor RED Dragon over the F65 because of the same politics, no?. You can't have it both ways.

February 20, 2014 at 5:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Big boys are gonna favor one camera over the other. Most like in order Arri -> Red -> Sony F65. In cinema work that is.

In documentaries, broadcasting, sports etc. Sony has good reputation and F5 / F55 will continue to see more use.

February 20, 2014 at 5:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

Personally, I think that "quality" tests are virtually useless. Most directors, producers and DP's will go for the price, the workflow, the dependability and the ease of operations (and perhaps weight, under some circumstances) IF the image quality from these various products is within a reasonable proximity to each other (and they are to me ... though, as was noted, I may change my mind with a real 4K monitor playing a less compressed 4K footage). And, to pour more gasoline into the fire, I don't think that camera is out there yet and may not be for another year or so. Once it does come out, it will have HEVC compression/small files of 150-200Gig per hour , Log/gamma curves and a sufficient dynamic range (12 will probably be deemed good enough) and resolution (4-5K). It will be roughly F5 size, priced at ~ $20K and built like brick ... but it won't brick as often as Red. And it will likely carry a familiar global brand name too.

February 20, 2014 at 10:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

The Alexa is one tough customer. However, the Dragon that was tested was already "obsolete" (please, note the quotes) in the sense that it had the old OLPF and didn't have the extended DR calibrations in the highlights or color tweaks. Those improvements will be in the cameras shipping en masse in the next 6 weeks or so. Geoff Boyle has already said he'll add the newest Dragon improvements to the tests when he gets hold of one (and some time to do it).

February 20, 2014 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

I don't understand the vitriol that people bring to camera related posts. I don't understand it one bit.

February 20, 2014 at 4:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Coty

Its because its an extension of our penis and if you knock our choice of extension then look out!!! Sony make the best extensions tho ;) And while the name Blackmagic implies a big extension they often have smaller sensors. And watch out for the Red extensions. They can be buggy...

February 22, 2014 at 10:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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So, right after less flattering outside camera comparison is released, again new Red breakthrough news item is released ....

One has to be kinda envious for Red marketing / brand. And I am being serious.

If for example Sony had pulled exactly same moves for product development. / marketing / release etc. say during last three years, they would not have any customers left.

February 20, 2014 at 5:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Juhan-i

Juhan-i, I do love our exchanges. Your timeline is all wrong.

1st) Phil Holland posts RESULTS of his tests with the new OLPF and sensor calibration on 2-4-2014 (meaning, RED made the changes BEFORE that date):
http://bit.ly/1o4cQZZ

2nd) Geoff Boyle CONDUCTS camera tests on February 6 & 7, 2014:
http://bit.ly/1nRqNro

Unless time travel was involved, I think you have things a bit confused.

February 20, 2014 at 5:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Okay, I must be slipping. You were referring to the A.D.D. My bad. Well, that has been in development for a while as well. I don't see anything suspicious about the timing, but I'm not looking for any suspicious activity.

February 20, 2014 at 5:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

Is Red still claiming 16-20 stops of range for the Dragon?

I mean that as a serious question, not to stir the pot, because I don't see Dragon delivering much beyond 13 stops in the CML test. If anything the Alexa seems to just surpass it and Arri claims 13.5 stops, 14 on a good day.

Too bad the F65 wasn't in there.
I'd also throw the Bolex D16 (RAW) in there just to see what $3500 buys you.

February 20, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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???

I hate that I'm the only one answering here, but oh well…

I don't think RED ever claimed the finished camera was going to be 20 stops. That was a result of people misreading the chart. From Jim: http://bit.ly/1mfDOvR

On a related note, there's this from Phil Holland that might help explain that chart further:
http://bit.ly/1jO5pTv

With the latest improvements to Dragon, that 4 stop increase over MX is right where Jim said it would be back in January of 2013.

February 20, 2014 at 7:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

I forgot to add this to the last post: http://bit.ly/1cvCnX8

February 20, 2014 at 7:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brian

After shooting a bit with the Dragon, I'd say it has a ridiculous amount of latitude. Stunning.

February 22, 2014 at 2:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Paul Watt

with HDRx its above 20 stop if you need it.Tell me any other camera with 20+ stop?
Also first Dragon lack of COLOR and MX skintones! new olpf fixes those!

February 20, 2014 at 10:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Kemalettin

Michael

Just to clarify:

That comment wasn't made by me. There is someone using my ID to express anger toward Joe Marine. The commenter has also been following me around this blog for weeks. He has gone by the name Marcus, Hygiene, and a few other names. He has some kind of anger issue with 4K.

I also want to make it clear I am glad for mediation over comments. There's been too many comment threads that get derailed from being productive and turn into feeding frenzies. There's some smart and experienced people reading this blog and I want to learn from them. Most are very generous and want to help others. I have learned quite a bit here. I would be more than happy to see unproductive comments, and even comments not intending to do harm but appearing to be that they are (to some people), thus sparking flame wars, be stopped.

February 20, 2014 at 11:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gene (not the 3...

Back to the Topic: Are there any direct comparisons of the old and the new debayering using the same raw material?

February 21, 2014 at 9:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

None yet so far. I believe we'll see some tests performed next week when it's supposed to be released.

February 21, 2014 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Anon

Joe - Kopterworx were not the main guys for the aerials on the Samsung TVC.
DCF media filmed the aerials with our 6K Carbon Dragon, Octocopter and Cablecam, here is the proof;
Making of
http://vimeo.com/81123351

Our Vimeo Link
http://vimeo.com/85761531

Thank You
http://digitalcinemafilms.co.uk

February 21, 2014 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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porn will be the biggest beneficiary of the RED DRAGON

February 21, 2014 at 11:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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MenAtWork

Porn is actually suffering these days (over and beyond the California condom law) because it can be shot with anything. Major porn companies are trying the "high gloss" films, comedies/parodies, etc. to distinguish themselves from a cheesy amateur quality videos but it's often a tough go.

February 22, 2014 at 12:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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DLD

Here’s to saying it the way it is. RED has a ‘look’. I won’t like that look, no matter how many K’s they add or how cool a name they call the sensor. And that look can best be summed up as having no personality. Sony is similar. Watch anything shot with an Alexa. You all know exactly what I mean….

February 27, 2014 at 3:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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tunabreath