September 23, 2015

RED's New RAVEN Camera Will Start at $6K, Shoot 4K Up to 120fps

RED RAVEN Teaser Image Front of Camera
The RAVEN camera might not be officially announced until Friday, but RED's Jarred Land has announced many crucial details. 

I did say I was only going to update this previous post on RAVEN and not keeping posting new info, but there is a lot to talk about, and expectations need to be reined in. First off, here's what we know so far:

  • RED RAVEN uses a DRAGON Sensor, Shoots Max 4K
  • Sensor Size: 20.48mm (smaller than APS-C, slightly bigger than Micro 4/3)
  • Assuming it's the same pixel size, crop factor compared to full-frame 35mm is 1.87x
  • 4K Up to 120fps
  • 4K 23.98 at 5:1 Compression (at least)
  • Takes Mini-Mags
  • Same body as WEAPON, but lighter (and made of some kind of metal)
  • All WEAPON modules work
  • There is at least one model with Canon EF mount (likely fixed)
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Built-in Scratch Microphone
  • Price: $5,950 Body only
RED RAVEN Teaser Canon EF Mount

The sensor size is kind of small compared to true APS-C, though it is slightly bigger than Micro 4/3. This is going to be a downside compared to the other RED cameras, especially if you're trying to take advantage of full-frame 35mm still glass. It doesn't seem like there would be any way to have a Speed Booster attached to the camera (that would require something like an E-mount or MFT mount), so this will likely be the biggest sensor size you can take advantage of on RAVEN.

He's posted a number of teaser images, which I'll post again throughout.

What RAVEN Will Actually Cost

This may be a $6,000 camera body, but it's going to cost far more to get it actually shooting. I'm assuming this camera will only come with the mount (presumably Canon EF to start), and the Mini-Mag Side SSD Module. If that $6,000 price doesn't include the SSD Module, then they'll have to start selling a WEAPON SSD Module in the store, and the price will go up — but let's just say it is included in the price for now.

At this point, you need a few things to make it work: media, card reader, a touchscreen monitor or switchblade, batteries, and if you want to connect any other kinds of monitors, a module with HDMI or HD-SDI. You could theoretically just use WiFi to change settings, but that's honestly not a long-term solution, and really more for when the camera is in a hard-to-reach-spot. This is what a barebones RAVEN will look like without power or external outputs:

RED RAVEN Teaser Foolcontrol
  • RED RAVEN Body: $5,950
  • RED Touch 4.7": $1,450
  • 2 x RED 120GB Mini-Mag: $1,700
  • Mini-Mag Card Reader: $195
  • Total: $9,295

If you ever need more than the RED touch, and want to connect a monitor with HDMI or HD-SDI, you'll probably want this module, which also has timecode and more:

  • WEAPON Base Expander: $1,750
  • New Total: $11,045

What about power? This one is a bit tougher, especially since you can choose to bring your own V-Mount or Gold Mount bricks, and you might get some good deals on third-party or cheaper versions of these batteries. You could choose RED's power system, but it's not the most versatile and the batteries will only ever work with RED's cameras. The best use I've had so far with REDVOLTs has been as a way to hotswap batteries without powering down. I got some good deals on Dynacore bricks, which are a little cheaper than Anton Bauer and some other companies. With 3 230wh AB mount batteries, I can essentially shoot all day. All together that was a little under $1,500, so if you add that to the price, now you're looking at over $12,000, though at least you could take the batteries with you to your next camera.

We don't know if RED will offer a special RAVEN-only package that sells for cheaper than if you bought the accessories separately, but if they did, that could change the above numbers quite a bit. 

What RAVEN is Not

RAVEN will not be the budget camera you want it to be. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I've bought into the RED system and still own and use their cameras. I like the images they produce, and I like the flexibility of compressed RAW, where I can save on hard drive space significantly, especially if I'm only shooting 4K. RED can also work on many different computer systems, even older ones (as long as you're not trying to edit full Debayer).

But that doesn't mean any of their cameras are cheap. The best deal they've had in a long time was the RED ONE MX for $4,000. The RED ONE, unlike the rest of their cameras, can be controlled via the body without needing additional modules, and already comes with external ports like HDMI and SDI for viewing the image (and even XLR). That is truly a budget RED camera, even if it does take a minute to boot up. 

RED RAVEN Camera

RAVEN is at least a $10,000 investment, even if theoretically it seems like you could pay less. Maybe you're buying it only to put on a gimbal or drone and you're fine with changing settings through WiFi. In that case you probably can get by with fewer accessories. For the vast majority, however, this isn't going to be as cheap to get going as a Sony FS5 or URSA Mini 4.6K (and it should be reminded neither of those actually exist in the wild yet). 

What Happens to SCARLET?

According to Land, RAVEN isn't replacing SCARLET, RED's previous lower-end model:

The Raven doesn't replace Scarlet, It's a new category in our line up. Raven is a younger, hungrier, more "spirited" member of the RED family with a bit of a chip on his shoulder ready to take on the entire sub-$10k market with images that you will be incredibly proud of.

Realistically it's not taking on the sub-$10K market, it's taking on cameras that are in the $10K-$15K range. The original SCARLET may have debuted just under $10,000 (and the price did rise shortly after that), but it was not a sub-$10K camera either, in fact, it was closer to a $15,000 to $17,000 camera or more. 

At this point you might be saying, "But no camera price includes media and whatever else it takes to make it shootable." That may be true, but plenty of these budget cameras come with a battery and have a built-in LCD and buttons on the body. Generally media has been cheaper than what RED has offered, or at least it has come way down in price over time — something we will continue to see with CFast 2.0. Lots of cheap cinema cameras exist in this range, and some of them even do RAW. The biggest difference is that for the most part, they don't need a ton of proprietary accessories just to get going. 

RED 4K for All Jarred Land

Generally speaking, the SCARLET is using technology from 2009-2010 when the EPIC was being developed. The sensor is pretty old by today's standards even if it does still produce fantastic images. It's time for RED to make the SCARLET the real budget camera. If the price falls off the face of the Earth, they'll have a true competitor on their hands. To really be a budget camera in the $4-7K range where I think RED wants to be, the SCARLET would have to come down to $2,000 to $3,000 for the body with Canon EF mount and Side SSD (And at this point it should just sell with the Mini-Mag, since they are phasing out the old mags and modules). 

Does that sound crazy? To RED I'm sure it does, and it's very possible they can't drop the price that much, but if they really wanted to make a "4K4All" camera, that's where the general public would really start to take notice. Otherwise people are more than happy to look at the other cameras in the $3K-$5K range that can shoot 4K essentially out of the box. 

The other SCARLET camera, the SCARLET DRAGON, is in kind of strange spot since it's nearly three times the cost but is limited to 60fps at 4K (whereas the RAVEN can do 120fps). The SD does have certain advantages like being able to shoot 5K up to 48fps, removable lens mounts, and removable OLPFs, but for a lot of what people need, RAVEN might have made more sense as an upgrade and at much lower cost. SD does have a bigger sensor at 4K, but it's unfortunately missing those higher frame rates and abilities like WiFi that RAVEN has, not to mention compatibility with the newest WEAPON modules.

Advantages for RED

With all of that said, there are still major advantages to getting into this system. If you're doing mostly cinema work or controlled-environment shooting, it's tough to beat the image quality and flexibility of DRAGON. Sure, RED can be shot run-and-gun style, but it doesn't have built-in ND filters, and it doesn't come close to the low-light abilities of any Sony or Canon camera in this range. We don't know if RAVEN will have ProRes, but if it does, that is a huge advantage — though it's still not a camera you can just turn on and shoot — you've got to know a little bit about how it works. 

RED's biggest asset is compressed RAW and it's workflow. At this point it's pretty rock solid, and it's supported by basically everyone. REDCINE has gotten much better, and the control you have in post with a RAW camera like RED is exceptional. Having compressed RAW helps save on space quite a bit, and even though some other cameras are capable of compressed RAW, nothing really comes close to the way it's been implemented on RED's cameras. 

The official announcement should be coming on Friday, September 25th, and hopefully we'll find out more about where RED has decided to position RAVEN and if SCARLET will get any sort of price drop (and what they plan on doing with EPIC MX cameras).     

Your Comment

51 Comments

Honestly, I feel like the fixed EF mount ruined this camera for a lot of people. That crop factor coupled with impossible-to-speedboost makes it useless for me (until some obscure company in China decides to buy a boatload, saw off the EF and replace with MFT or PL).

September 23, 2015 at 7:50AM

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Samu Amunét
Director
398

Interesting. In all seriousness though RED doesn't need to give a damn about 'the general public'. These cameras are not made for 'the general public'. They are cinematography tools. If someone wants to mess around with a 4k camera go get a sony prosumer model.

September 23, 2015 at 8:05AM

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Ryan Mackfall
Director / Producer
91

All cameras are cinematography tools.

September 23, 2015 at 12:27PM

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Elitist nonsense...

December 19, 2016 at 6:49AM

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Kayode
1093

I wonder how many people are canceling their orders for URSA mini when they read this? I'm guessing not many.

September 23, 2015 at 8:59AM

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d shay
377

Not me :D

September 24, 2015 at 2:56AM

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Samu Amunét
Director
398

GH4...........

September 23, 2015 at 9:18AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
940

Best thing. m4/3 sensor, C4K, Vlog-L - 1250$. So why buy the RED RAVEN for 6K without any equipment if you only have a slightly bigger sensor and only max. 4K res.

September 23, 2015 at 9:26AM, Edited September 23, 9:26AM

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Nico Saiger
Indie Filmproducer
244

Better image.

September 23, 2015 at 10:28AM

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uh...RAW? one of the biggest reasons for shooting on a RED.

September 23, 2015 at 12:30PM

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Matthew Emmanuel
Camera Operator
564

And that's compressed RAW too, one of the, if not THE best compressed RAW currently in the world.

September 24, 2015 at 9:52AM

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Jason Han
Cinematographer
272

to avoid tired 8bit video. I'd shoot with a blackmagic pocket any day of the week to avoid their 8bit look and mediocre color science. but hey, it's 4k!

September 23, 2015 at 1:35PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1000

I agree. You can instantly notice the colors and flexibility in the image when in post. The A7s is great, better then gh4 IMO and still doesn't compete because of the 8 bit. Codecs are so important. Not resolution.

September 23, 2015 at 5:53PM

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Brad Watts
Filmmaker/Creative Director - Redd Pen Media
491

GH4? Huh, that no good, dirty, 4:2:0 lipstick only goes so far in painting up that H.264, 8-bit hooker. Half the reason people love ARRI?... color baby... sexy, gorgeous color.

September 23, 2015 at 10:42PM

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Razor
VFX Colorist
481

So you add on a $1,200 4K external recorder to your GH4 and shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 V-log that uses almost the identical LOG curve as ARRI log. You can even apply ARRI LUTs to V-log footage and the results are quite good.

September 24, 2015 at 12:31AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30863

V-log as good as ARRI log?... Maybe you are just talking about the logarithmics but GH4 color science is no where near ARRI level, not even close. Not only that but 12 bit ARRI RAW & 4444 ProRes. 14 stops of DR vs 12.... Why are we even talking about GH4 vs ARRI this is just silly.

September 24, 2015 at 10:07AM

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Jason Han
Cinematographer
272

The size sensor is a shame, it will be tough for the wide shoots.

September 23, 2015 at 10:00AM, Edited September 23, 10:00AM

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Eloy Zecca
Director of Photography
139

It's all relative to what camera you're coming from. Obviously, no one is selling their Epic MX or Epic dragon to run out and buy a Raven. It's specifically designed to hit the sub $10K market. If you're a DP with $20K to drop on a camera, you're probably not interested because you can get better features if you have that kind of money to drop but for those with around $10K (A market Red has never been able to tap into in the past and a HUGE market at that) you're probably seriously considering this over the URSA Mini, especially if they can actually deliver on the 120fps in 4K. That's a feature BM seems to be reneging on in their most recent spec revisions.

September 23, 2015 at 8:37PM

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Asher Vast
DOP
159

Why would I seriously consider this over the URSA Mini? Higher frame-rates?

September 23, 2015 at 10:56PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
1071

Reliability mostly, along with all the quirks you deal with on a BMC. The main concern I have with the Ursa Mini now is that nasty moire & FPN I saw on the 4K footage. They say FPN will be fixed with 4.6K, but I doubt they can fix all of their other issues. But I'm hopeful that it's actually as good as predicted. I originally thought that the RED raven would completely destroy Ursa mini, but having heard of their sensor size I am now not very interested. 4K 120fps is nice, but I don't think it's necessary, filesize of that would be enormous. The Ursa has it on HD so, just hoping to see some 4.6k footage.

September 24, 2015 at 10:15AM

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Jason Han
Cinematographer
272

Is there actually a point to buy this instead Ursa Mini ? I don't think so.

September 23, 2015 at 10:22AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1259

because of high frame rates up to 120fps?

September 23, 2015 at 10:48AM, Edited September 23, 10:59AM

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Urs
81

The URSA mini has 120fps.

September 23, 2015 at 12:02PM

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Joseph Lindsay
Director of Photography/Motion Designer
272

…. in 1080, not 4k.

September 23, 2015 at 3:13PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1620

BM actually pulled all official documentation for everything over 60fps on the URSA and URSA Mini. Currently, there's no official word of if it will ever be available in future firmware releases.

September 23, 2015 at 8:14PM

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Asher Vast
DOP
159

No they didn't, on their website it's listed under the "High Frame Rate Recording" section on the Ursa mini page (just below the sensor description).

September 23, 2015 at 11:33PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1620

Because of Redcode. Far and away the best reason. A much better compressed raw.

September 24, 2015 at 5:15AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
674

So why would I buy this instead of a Sony FS-7 ?

I could buy an FS-7 and an external 4K monitor/recorder for about the same price as a kitted out RED Raven.

September 23, 2015 at 11:35AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30863

but it wont look as good.

September 23, 2015 at 1:37PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1000

How do you know it won't look as good ?

RED is producing a camera with a bit of an odd sensor format, and I'm not buying any of the hype until I can see back to back real world tests of the RED Raven against a Sony FS-7.

September 24, 2015 at 12:27AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30863

You're looking at about $10K for that package, with the FS7 + external recorder and that doesn't include all the media you'll need to actually record 4K raw on that external so the FS7 will actually cost you more than the Red.

September 23, 2015 at 8:17PM

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Asher Vast
DOP
159

But that's only when you want to shoot RAW, and you could always rent a recorder when you want to shoot RAW.

Otherwise the 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 high bit-rate ProRes is nothing to sneeze at. I have big doubts about this new RED camera outperforming the FS7, so I'm looking forward to some real world tests to see how the two cameras stack up.

September 24, 2015 at 12:25AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30863

Joe, I am pretty sure on the cost issue you have at least one thing wrong? Absorbing that thread that Jarred weighed in on is a bit confusing, but he said when one person asked, whether the media would be included with he basic brain, he responded "Yes. Including media :) I think I just heard Brent's truck crashing through my gate..." At least that's the way it looked to me.

September 23, 2015 at 11:44AM, Edited September 23, 11:44AM

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Scot Yount
Director/Editor/Photographer/Motion Graphic Artist
399

This is the whole thing in context: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?136117-4K4ALL&p=1546571&view...

What he was responding to was his own statement about RAVEN competing in the under $10K range, which means that yes, including media, you can technically get a RAVEN package.

He said the price of the brain was $6K, so that wouldn't include media or anything else, hence the pricing information above.

September 23, 2015 at 2:02PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Jared's talking about the package pricing. Just like they have it now on Red.com, you can buy just a brain, or an entire package.When Red sells a brain, you're only getting the brain. Media is NEVER included with the brain pricing.

September 23, 2015 at 8:19PM

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Asher Vast
DOP
159

I would love to own one of these... But will I spend that kind of money just to get a RED camera, probably not.

September 23, 2015 at 12:46PM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1079

So much for 4k4all.

September 23, 2015 at 1:39PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1000

It should have been $6K4some people...maybe?

September 23, 2015 at 4:05PM

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You'll also need a $220-$240 LCD Cable to go with the Red Touch 4.7" that may or may not start shipping in early 2016. Unless the touchscreen directly connects to the camera without a cable.

September 23, 2015 at 3:50PM, Edited September 23, 3:54PM

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Dan Fredley
After Effects Artist
117

I'm assuming it will attach directly since WEAPON and RAVEN are the same body essentially. That whole setup I think is another step backwards, requiring an adapter if you want to mount the touch anywhere except directly on top.

September 23, 2015 at 4:05PM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Indeed, I just noticed the $780 Weapon Lemo Adaptor Collection.

September 23, 2015 at 4:19PM

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Dan Fredley
After Effects Artist
117

I've owned 3 reds now and I've never owned a touch screen. It's optional, you can use any non touch HDMI or SDI montior and a $10 cable.

September 23, 2015 at 8:22PM, Edited September 23, 8:22PM

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Asher Vast
DOP
159

I was ready to sell my FS7 for this bad boy but damn... that sensor size is the only thing that concerns me. 1.87x is way too much crop... Not sure why they couldn't have made it Super35
Ursa mini is suddenly looking good... just hope that 4.6k sensor fixes all the BMC bs

September 23, 2015 at 7:05PM

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Jason Han
Cinematographer
272

Great article Joe! Very informative and enjoyed reading your thoughts about "what the raven isn't" and "what happens to scarlet." It will be very interesting to see where red will go. I personally would like to see red come out with a camera that is priced at 5k with everything in the box ready to shoot. And have at least 4k @ 120fps and 2.7k or 1080 @ 240fps for high frame rates. But hey one can dream.

September 23, 2015 at 7:52PM

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Bert Beltran
Filmmaker | Editor | Motion Graphics | Drone Op
197

I agree with you. But seriously, I'm so over Red. Their biggest thing they got going for them is compressed RAW and High Resolutions. Both of which don't mean a lot to me. Most cameras with good dynamic range are easy enough to color correct if you did you job on set and anything above 4k is overkill, I don't care if it makes a sharper 4k downres. There is Netflix shows (requires 4k) shot on the Dragon at 4K, not at 5k or 6k. I think Netflix doesn't take array UHD but I would love if they did, Arri cameras are so much more fun to work with than Red's.

September 23, 2015 at 9:18PM

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Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant
425

Weird. This is such a tempting option because it uses a Dragon sensor. But such a weird choice for sensor size! I'm curious to see footage out of this bad boy but I have a feeling that the Ursa Mini 4.6k (once it's released) and FS-7 are going to outshine in sales.

September 23, 2015 at 10:55PM

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----
319

Fancy seeing you here ;)

If I hadn't already invested in a Scarlet MX, this would be a huge temptation. Primarily because of the Dragon sensor and the weight.

Raven Package + Sigma 18-35mm + Easyrig Mini Strong. That's $14000 for a pretty killer run-n-gun Red Dragon rig.

Unfortunately for the old bodies, you need a real Easyrig...

September 24, 2015 at 1:19AM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1264

This is three times too expensive, it breaks the $5000 price point for a full configuration.

BMD is the real competition here. It needs to be an all in one camera at $5k that is intuitive to use with Dragon quality. They have gone a different path since RedOne.

If they want a modular system they need only make a processing module an interface module and maybe a sensor module (the case they go in is like a module itself) shipped with the camera. So at any time, one of these can be swapped out by the user for repair or upgrade.

September 23, 2015 at 11:39PM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
260

4K on dragon is noisy. More than on MX. People should be aware of that. There is some red noise in the shadows also. Most users are staying in the 5K-6K territory on dragon because of that. At higher framerates things are getting even worse.

September 24, 2015 at 2:13PM

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JoachimV
510

You're joking. That is a shocker. I gave up going there as they seem to can anything I wanted to buy and were going up market (apart from some of the people hanging around on the forums)so have not heard about this. So $2-3k camera performance? Even if it was configured and priced against the ursa mini 4.6k, I would have a hard time justifying it against the ursa with that sort of thing which is why Im not intetested in the 4k mini. Or is this image stuff small unless you ate shooting a large budget production?

Joa, is that 4k they are trying windowed out of the sensor, or using the whole sensor. Are these images from preproduction test sensors ot finale production?

If only bmd would go the last mile and drop $1600 off the mini PL and throw in the EF mount and a eye viewfinder etc. Well at nab bmd will probably have a 4k pocket camera (oh the misery of that 8bit 4:2:0 low bit rate DVX200 in this hdr tv age).

September 25, 2015 at 11:32AM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
260

13:1 compression at the high frame rates? Is that right? I wish they had built in ND filters.... those are a must for people who are on the move. This camera has great specs but does not fit my needs. I am not sure what gap this was suppose to fill. It is still coming in pricey.

September 14, 2016 at 2:20PM, Edited September 14, 2:20PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1168