RED's OLPF situation should get much simpler very soon.
Over on REDUSER, Jarred Land just announced the Standard OLPF for WEAPON and EPIC/SCARLET, which is going to sit in between the Low-Light OLPF and the Skintone-Highlight OLPF in terms of ISO sensitivity and highlight/shadow detail. I've been told that 800 ISO might be a fair place to rate this one, with the LL OLPF being acceptable noise-wise at 1250 to 2000, and the SH OLPF being acceptable at 320 ISO, maybe a little higher. This is really the OLPF that should have shipped with the DRAGON originally in 2013 — but better late than never.
If you're totally lost on this, the OLPF (optical low-pass filter) is a piece of glass that sits in front of the sensor and prevents aliasing (the moire patterns that you see with older DSLRs, though the higher the resolution of the camera, the less aliasing there will naturally be). One issue with the DRAGON sensor is that the first version of the OLPF caused all sorts of Magenta flares, and a later version fixed these flares, but decreased the sensitivity of the camera immensely, and therefore made it much noisier at higher ISOs.
Now we've got the Standard OLPF, which as its name suggest, will be the standard OLPF that will be installed in all RED cameras once they have enough of these. This should make it far simpler when renting or buying, as the Standard OLPF should (again, should) be what everyone has by default, and then you'll have the other OLPFs if you really need low-light or highlight detail.
Jarred has posted some insightful photos that show the situation as it stands now, and what these different OLPFs do (click on the images for larger versions):
One interesting thing to note is that when they came up with this interchangeable OLPF system, they actually were able to significantly reduce these orbs and magenta flares. So the Low-Light OLPF is far better than the first OLPF they released with DRAGON in 2013, and on WEAPON, the Low-Light OLPF is even better. Here are some original samples from Phil Holland:
And here's what it looks like now, which is even improved from the EPIC to the WEAPON:
There will be two versions, as WEAPON OLPFs are not compatible with those on EPIC and SCARLET. These are all for cameras with the DRAGON sensor and the interchangeable OLPF module installed, and will be shipping in October. Forged CARBON WEAPON owners will get all three RED OLPFs at no cost.
RED Teases New Camera
Jarred Land posted this picture on Facebook earlier today with the hashtag #4K4ALL.
What does it mean? Well, we can probably assume that some sort of cheaper model is coming out soon, which may be limited to just 4K (though we don't know yet). The picture above shows a camera with a mount that doesn't look like it can be removed (which would indicate that it is lower-priced). The RED SCARLET MX is still technically for sale, but they are likely going to phase it out over the next year or so as everything moves to DRAGON sensors. They did say at one point that SCARLET users wouldn't get left behind, so that could very well be this camera.
I've often been wrong on price with RED, but it would not be surprising if this was somewhere around the $4,000-$7,000 range (body only). The only thing about these prices is that the way RED builds the cameras, you must use their proprietary media as well as some sort of touch accessory or side handle/module to actually control the camera. These accessories can get rather pricey, so just because the camera body itself is priced low, does not mean actually getting a working camera will be cheap. It's not impossible that they would put controls on the body itself, but I won't hold my breath on that one.
We'll see what kind of sensor they use, especially since they probably still have a lot of MX sensors sitting around. DRAGON might make more sense to keep it current, and with the way sensors are made, they could probably use a smaller area of a sensor that's no good at 6K, but works at 4K (or even just a 4K cut of the 6K sensor). DRAGON also makes more sense as cameras in the under-$10,000 range have improved dramatically, and RED is facing stiffer competition from companies like Blackmagic and Sony. Either way, it seems like we won't have long to wait before we find out, as this is likely intended as an IBC announcement.
RED Real-Time HDR Monitoring
Lastly, using RED's Broadcast Module, the EPIC and SCARLET DRAGON cameras can actually output a live HDR image to displays that can handle it:
Another advantage of having so much dynamic range.. with SMPTE-2084 HDR capable monitors you can now view full live HDR while you shoot.
This is another interesting development, though it's not possible yet with the WEAPON due to the modules they are bringing out. It's surprising that they haven't announced modules with tons of SDI outputs and multiple 4K HDMI outputs, especially as all of their cameras are capable of 4K+ resolutions. If you're at IBC, be sure to check this out and let us know how it looks.