RED comes full circle with the Ranger: a non-modular, rental-only, high-end cinema camera.
Lensrentals has just published an interesting take on the new RED Ranger and how it fits into the RED product line. After a long wait, the Ranger should soon be appearing at RED authorized rental houses, so let's dive into its configuration and when you might consider using it.
The Ranger is available for rental only, a first for RED. Currently, the camera alone is available for a $4335 weekly rental. By making it available for rental only, the Ranger is in the company of heavyweights like the Arri ALEXA 65 or Panavision's Millennium DXL2. The Ranger shares the same 8K Monstro sensor with the DXL2 and RED has been working closely with Panavision on developing their most recent cinema cameras.
This is not your daddy's owner-operator Red One.
It is a camera designed for demanding, higher budget studio work. RED has focused their design fully on these users. Let's take a quick look at how that shakes out practically.
The Ranger does share some components and accessories with other RED products. Most importantly, the Ranger uses the same 8K Vista Vision sensor as the DSMC2 Monstro. Here is a quick summary of other similarities to the DSMC2 line:
- internal processing
- color science
- codec options
- max resolution (8192 x 3120)
- max frame rate (300fps at 2K 2.4:1)
- shared OS
Additionally, the Ranger shares some hardware with the DSMC2 line:
- RED mini-mags
- RED Touch LCD monitors and LEMO adapters
- DSMC2 OLPF's
The biggest difference between the Ranger and the rest of the DSMC2 line is that none of the current expander modules are compatible with the Ranger. Whereas previous REDs were built for versatility, taking a brain and custom-building the camera with expansion modules to meet your needs, this camera is single-purposed. The task-specific modules needed to make the Ranger a high-end studio camera are built-into it and the camera is fully functional on its own.
One other major difference is the PL lens mount used on the Ranger. Other DSMC2 brains use an internal back-focus adjustment that allows for swapping with other mounts. The Ranger has more precise internal shimming that is designed for, and only compatible with, PL mount lenses. RED wants the camera to be packaged consistently at every authorized rental house, This is consistent with traditional models for higher-budget rentals, a DP is going to know exactly what they're getting whether it's in Singapore, Shanghai or Chicago.
The Ranger seems like a natural progression for RED as a company. It gives users who have come up shooting on various RED configurations and are familiar with the workflow, color science, etc. a package to use on larger-stake projects that demand consistency, reliability, and performance. The Lensrentals blog post is worth a read for more details. The Ranger is also available for preorder there.