In space, no one can hear you scream. They also sometimes can't see you, as it can be very dark on the shadow side of celestial objects, requiring a low light capable sensor, but space photography is frequently an area that drives image capture innovation. (Remember when Kubrick famously used f/0.7 lenses that were originally developed for the moon landing here on earth for candlelight photography.)
While RED has been going after the mass market lately with its upcoming Hydrogen smartphone, the company hasn't neglected special purpose and niche products either, coming out with a run of only 6 of their new Gemini sensors designed for ultra low light work in space.
Credit: ShutterstockLikely named after the famous Gemini Spacecraft from the 1960s, the sensor boasts an extra 2 stops of low light sensitivity over the Helium sensor. Coming in at roughly 30x18mm, it's larger than the Helium but smaller than the Monstro, as well as limited to 5K resolution. Of course, 5K is still plenty of resolution, and by keeping the raw K count lower, they are able to have larger photosites on the sensor, leading to better sensitivity.
Considering the popularity of the GH5S and the Sony A7SII, both cameras that sacrifice resolution for low light, it's a bit of a surprise that RED is limiting this to a run of only 6 units (which are all, apparently, sold out). Of course, RED long built its brand around ultra-high resolution, but as they expand the brand with items like Helium, having Gemini regularly in the lineup doesn't seem like a bad idea.
The initial unit was made for an unknown client, which would seem to point towards a certain South African entrepreneur who is launching a spacecraft soon, but considering how much SpaceX loves publicity, it's surprising that they would ask to be unnamed. It could also be NASA, sneaking behind Canon's back, or any of the other competitors moving into the skies.
Available for a "subsidized" $20,000 (but sold out) from RED.
- 30.72mm x 18mm sensor size
- 96fps at 5K max
- 2 stops faster than Helium
- 6 produced