RED’s digital cinema cameras seem to have a polarized effect on people in the film and video industry. Groundbreaking when first launched almost 20 years ago. Like founder Jim Jannard’s previous company, Oakley, RED Digital Cinema has been about disruption, brand-heavy aesthetics, and opening up a new, budding technology to the masses.

In a recent event hosted by RED at the Austin Film Society, was able to get a hands-on look on RED’s current DSMC2 lineup and get some insights into their top-of-the-line digital cinema camera offerings. While there’s no reason to suggest going out and buying a RED is a necessity for anyone, if you are looking for a certain value camera that can shoot 8K and utilize REDCODE RAW recording, here are the best current options on the market.

The Top of the Line: RED MONSTRO 8K VV


While we didn’t get to go hands-on with the RED MONSTRO 8K in our workshop, RED did show off the impressive list of first run features and series which have been shot on the MONSTRO 8K for Netflix and the like. With a similar sized sensor as the HELIUM (which we did get to try out - more on it below), the MONSTRO boasts up to 17 times more resolution than HD, and over four times than 4K.

  • 35.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor

  • 40.96 mm x 21.60 mm (Diag: 46.31 mm)

  • 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320)

  • 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456)

  • Price: $54,000

The 8K Offering: RED HELIUM 8K S35


After having written about the RED HELIUM 8K’s historic voyage to record the first 8K video footage from space, it was cool to check out the HELIUM 8K S35 in person and try it out. RED to their credit has a brand closely aligned with its core film and video base (which does create fanboys) but also shows how much they put into practicality and functionality with their cameras. The RED HELIUM 8K does offer a pretty useful integrated media bay and wireless control setup which was simple and responsive in the demo.  

  • 35.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor

  • 29.90 mm x 15.77 mm (Diag: 33.80 mm)

  • 60 fps at 8K Full Format (8192 × 4320)

  • 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 × 3456)

  • Price: $24,500

The Flexible Option: RED GEMINI 5K S35


Pegged as the “flexible” option by the RED reps for its dual ISO sensitivity sensor (which does seem quite handy when shooting in less controlled environments). The RED GEMINI 5K S35 hit the closest to home for being a powerful option for documentary-style interviews and run-and-gun shoots. In an already dark studio, the GEMINI 5K showed an impressive low amount of noise when the lights were dimmed. Would need to pull the REDCODE RAW footage into an edit to really get a feel for its flexibility, but was impressed with its performance in the shadows.

  • 15.4 Megapixel Dual Sensitivity CMOS Sensor

  • 30.72 mm x 18 mm (Diagonal: 35.61 mm)

  • 96 fps at 5K Full Format (5120 × 2700)

  • 75 fps at 5K Full Height 1.7:1 (5120 × 3000)

  • Price: $19,500

BONUS: RED Hydrogen One

RED Hydrogen One

We also got a chance to check out the RED Hydrogen One. While we didn’t get enough time with it to offer a proper review (but if you are interested, here are three reviews that haven’t been all that favorable based on some beta samples). For filmmakers, it definitely presents an interesting new avenue for 4K smartphone cinematography, but for many it’s probably not a ready solution - plus while the 3D display is every bit as attention grabbing as advertised, it’s also just as oddly cross-eyeing as reviews have led it to be.

  • OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo)
  • 5.7 inch 3D Display LTPS-TFT
  • 6 GB RAM
  • Rear Camera: 12.3 Megapixel, 4056x3040, LED Flash
  • Front Cameras: 8.3 Megapixel, 3840x2160
  • Video: 4K video recording
  • Price: $1,295