Panavision hasn't quite neglected digital, but for a long time, it felt like they weren't quite killing it there, until the original DXL came around. The Genesis was an innovator, but quickly got outpaced by the Alexa and RED systems. With the original DXL, though, working together with RED for sensor technology and Light Iron for internal color processing, Panavision showed a truly collaborative spirit and created a camera so busy it barely sits on the shelves, and honestly we can't remember ever seeing more than a couple in the same place.

Now, after the original DXL was announced back in June 2016, comes the release of the Millennium DXL2. If nothing else, the speed of adaptation is a great thing to see and shows us that Panavision is working to stay current in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

The least surprising aspect of the new camera is that it is built around the new RED Monstro sensor. However, considering the native 1600 ISO, the reported 16+ stops of latitude, and the massive sensor size to go along with the earlier DXL, it's a natural fit and a good reason to update the line. Light Iron has also updated the color processing for the DXL2 to Light Iron Color 2, taking advantage of the improvements developed by RED with IPP2 and Red Wide Gamut to make the most of the Monstro sensor.

Nofilmschool_panavision_dxl_2_65_vintageCredit: Panavision

Most interesting is the new integration of an optional Preston MDR into the focus system. When working with the DXL bodies and Panavision's large sensor lenses, focus, iris and zoom motors are built into the lens and controlled through the SP70 Panavision lens mount, which will now also support /i lens data. By opening up that system to work with other follow focus controllers like Preston, new technologies can be applied. For instance, Preston has a laser focus system, Light Ranger, and this new module will allow that system to control the DXL2 lenses, helping ACs keep the exceptionally high resolution and shallow depth of field footage in focus. Compatability with the Preston unit makes switching from handheld to Steadicam and back faster, and hopefully is a sign that more third-party integration is on its way.

In addition, there is a new ProRes4K workflow designed for easy processing in episodic workflows, that creates 4K footage from the full sensor without windowing. It is officially listed as "available for rental now" but if the DXL2 is like the original, it'll be a competitive rental to book.

Tech Specs

  • RED Monstro Sensor
  • Light Iron Color 2
  • ProRes4K Full Sensor Capture
  • Preston MDR integration
  • 1600 native ISO
  • 16+ stops of latitude
  • 8K native resolution