RED has announced that its entry level camera, the RED RAVEN, will be available exclusively from the Apple store. If you go to the RAVEN page on RED's site and click on "Shop now" it now doesn't take you to RED's online store, but instead to Apple's. It's a major move for the camera manufacturer to abandon its own online sales channel and go exclusively with Apple for the small 4.5K Canon mount body. The $15,000 package comes bundled together with all the accessories you need to get shooting fast, including a Sigma zoom and 2 V-mount batteries.

For filmmakers, it will not be the most useful place to buy your camera. 

But why?

As odd as the placement seems, it makes a lot of sense from RED's perspective. As hard as it might be for imagine to film industry people, there are still a lot of folks who haven't heard of the company because it doesn't have a lot of consumer offerings the way Panasonic, Canon or Sony do. This is a way to help promote the RED brand to an audience that might still be unfamiliar with the platform. Some particularly wealthy consumers might be inspired to buy it as a Christmas gift for a budding filmmaker in their lives. Some corporate decisions makers will be reminded that there is a RED package out there at what is for them a reasonable price point. Apple stores are beautiful, well thought out, get a lot of traffic, and there are thousands of them all over the world with the accompanying shipping and logistics infrastructure in place. All of these factors work in RED's favor.

Red_raven_batteryCredit: Apple

For Apple, this is an odder choice that smacks somewhat of desperation. The RAVEN will be a "halo" product in the store, attracting foot traffic customers who might've only heard of RED if they saw the name in the credits while waiting for the secret scene in a superhero movie, or saw an article about it in the paper and are curious to see it in person. They'll look up from shopping for shoes and see the camera from across the aisle of the mall, in a big plexiglass case, and wander in to look at it, then maybe stay to play with an iPad or an Apple Watch.

It feels desperate because, until now, Apple products have always been the halo unit in an apple store. Buyers came to see the Mac Pro and stayed to buy a watch, or came to get an iPhone and browsed cases and speakers. Apple needing a "halo" product to bring people in is a major admission that the company's own products don't have their previous magnetism. Nothing else in the store is going to inspire people to just stop in and look because nothing else they currently sell feels "new." On top of that, the package just doesn't feel very "Apple-y," with the tall V-mount battery sticking up above the camera body in a way that would make Steve Jobs' flesh crawl. Couldn't Apple have found a way to at least bundle with something designed for that size body, like the Core HC9 minis?

Red_raven_kit_broken_outCredit: RED

For filmmakers, it will not be the most useful place to buy your camera. Yes, the package itself is not insanely priced, and comes with Foolcontrol bundled in for iPhone control of your camera, which is a nice touch. And being bundled together with everything you need to get going all in one case is convenient. The Sigma Art lens is a popular choice, but in this package it's literally your only choice. It comes with Final Cut Pro X, but that might not be the NLE of choice for many filmmakers who could just get Resolve for free.

Here's the thing: under "recommend" accessories the only thing on offer is Beats headphones. No tripod. No rain case. No other lens options.  For such a major purchase, the ability to explore tripod and other mounting options and play with accessories that you get from your local camera dealer or rental house is sorely missing here.

Hc9-slider-1Batteries that look good on a shorter body do exist.Credit: Core

Available now from for $15,000.

Tech Specs:

  • RED RAVEN 4.5K camera BRAIN
  • RED DSMC2 Touch LCD 4.7" Monitor
  • RED DSMC2 Outrigger Handle
  • RED V-Lock I/O Expander
  • Two IDX DUO-C98 batteries with VL-2X charger
  • G-Technology ev Series RED MINI-MAG Reader
  • Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art
  • Nanuk heavy-duty camera case
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • foolcontrol for RAVEN Camera Kit