January 17, 2016 at 12:11PM


Red Raven as a first camera?

hey there,
Is the new RED RAVEN a good camera for a photographer who wants to get into film? I use Phaseone for photography, and I want to start doing fashion videos; mainly using natural light. I also heard that I can extract stills from the RED's footage, does this apply to Raven as well? Please advice


The RED RAVEN should be a fantastic camera after it starts shipping (expected March 2016 as per http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?140189-January-2016-update). Due to heavy demand, it may take RED months to meet all the current preorders (maybe through June or July).

Its sensor tops out at 4.5K x 2160p (over 9MP), which is good, but not great, for fashion stills. If you are shooting PhaseOne (with 40MP-80MP), simple maths tell you that you're going to have 1/4th to 1/9th the resolution of your existing camera. Or, equivalently, a full-frame RAVEN image is going to be like a 200% - 300% blow-up of your PhaseOne images. If you regularly dig that deep into your images and are happy with the results, then the RAVEN image might make you happy. And because it can capture images at 30-60 fps with reasonably low compression, you might even be happier getting fewer pixels that are timed better than you can get with a Phase One. Closer to the price of a PhaseOne is the RED WEAPON Mg (19.4 MP). That's a lot closer in terms of resolution to your PhaseOne as well.

All that said, you should seriously test the idea of shooting fashion videos in natural light before spending $10,000 on a RED RAVEN and many thousands more on lenses and other accessories. It's not just the sheer amount of light that video cameras need, but the quality, character, and cut that good lighting provides. Good lighting separates the pros from the amateurs by a wide, wide margin. A pro can light a scene so well you will think it's all natural light (or even nighttime). But just try and capture that scene with natural light, and nobody will think its any good at all.

There are, of course exceptions: if you are shooting surfers 100+ meters from shore, you use natural light. If you can afford to work only during the 20 minutes of "magic hour" at dawn and dusk, you can get away with natural light (assuming you have good backgrounds to your east and your west, and that the weather cooperates).

I would strongly recommend renting a RED SCARLET or EPIC for a day or three and try out your fashion/lighting plans. If those cameras give you a good result, a RAVEN will give you a fine result as well. If you cannot get a good result, I would recommend questioning your lighting and your approach rather than the camera hardware.

January 17, 2016 at 5:06PM


If you shoot 30fps, your shutter will be 1/60. At 60fps 1/120.
At 25fps 1/50.
In most cases normaal filming speeds will give you a too slow shutterspeed for proper stills when people move.
Get a camera to make great videos. If your main goals is extracting still it might become a disappointment. Like Micheal said: the proof is in the eating of the pudding.
Rent a RED to try it :-)

January 18, 2016 at 9:10AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

If all you care about is extracting still images from the video stream then you can use any shutter speed you like. The video might look odd but the individual frames should be fine.

Guy McLoughlin

January 23, 2016 at 8:45AM

There are a lot of other great options with high frame rates and 4K. Maybe look at the Sony FS5 and FS7 (similar price range). The Canon Cinema line also produces great cameras with some of the best colours in my opinion - however if you want 4K you'll need to spend more.

January 19, 2016 at 3:37AM

Sebastian Kammonen

plus buy a set of Cooke lenses for it.

January 20, 2016 at 9:36AM



John Haas

January 20, 2016 at 7:01PM

If you can handle the workflow and think you can handle the camera itself go for it. This might help: Post Production Workflow – Understand it or DIE! - https://www.indiefilmhustle.com/post-production-workflow/

January 21, 2016 at 9:08AM, Edited January 21, 9:08AM

Alex Ferrari
Director / Producer

Don't listen to this guy. The raven can shoot prores if you don't want to shoot RAW, and if you have the space to shot RAW, but a weak laptop you can always use the prores as a proxy for editing, very easy stuff.

Only get a raven if your down to learn the dos and don'ts of the camera. More people misuse red then people who shoot correctly.

Indie Guy

January 23, 2016 at 5:23AM

The Red Raven looks to be a great camera but the workflow is not the easiest. It's a professional camera witch demand time and knowlage to be well used, so I don't think it's a good idea to have it as a first camera.
If you are serious about filmmaking then it's a great camera but be aware that there will be a learning curve and that using it will be very time consuming.
If you want to do video on the side of your main activity and do something quick and nice then I think there are easier option out there like the sony fs5 or fs7 that give a nice image out of the box and that you can put strait in your editing software without having to transcode, make proxies, colorgrade, etc, before starting to actually use them.

January 22, 2016 at 5:32AM, Edited January 22, 5:35AM


I would really not suggest the Raven as a first camera, especially if you are going to take stills from video. Yes, the Raven is an exceptionally excellent camera, but it's not great as a first camera and is relatively expensive for what you'll be using it for. The menus are also not the easiest to navigate. I would suggest a Canon 5D Mark III, only because its way cheaper than the Raven and you'll still get great quality images and videos. The menus are user friendly, you can put Magic Lantern on it for even more control over video and stills, and it has a wide range of great lenses available for it. Yes, the 5D III doesn't shoot 4K or crazy high frame rates. Who cares? It's just more data and time when editing. Also, as Michael Tiemann said in the first comment, natural light is thing that's going to kill your shots. You'll need to have fast lenses so you aren't jacking up the ISO and ruining any potentially good video.

January 22, 2016 at 4:15PM

Jon Cibella
Director/Director of Photography

Jon, welcome to the NFS community. I think your answer misses every mark of the OP's question.

The 5D3 is an over-priced, underperforming camera. I have two of them, and I stopped using them for video as soon as I got my first RED. Their video is good for a DSLR, but for fashion photography where you want to pull stills? No.

The Canon menus for video may be simpler than RED, but that's only because there's so little you can do with the 5D3. And to suggest putting Magic Lantern on the camera as somehow easier than navigating the RED menus?! Boggle.

The fashion videos I have seen, more often than not, are shot at high frame rates that are usually slowed down. Yes, Magic Lantern enables the 5D3 to shoot 1080p60, but the fact you have to go so far off the reservation to get the job done is an indication of the 5D3's inherent weaknesses. Ditto shooting RAW with the risks of overheating the sensor and having to stop your recording while you wait for the camera to cool down. It's just not a pro tool for that purpose. The RED RAVEN's 140MB/sec data rates feeding a 512GB or a 1TB card is a workhorse!

As for lens availability...the RED RAVEN ships with an EF lens mount, so it's not like the 5D3 magically has a wider range of lenses available for it than the RED RAVEN. Moreover, on the subject of fast lenses, the RED RAVEN sensor area is about 1.6x smaller than the 5D3. Which means that you can use a 200 f2.8 lens on the RAVEN to get the same field of view (and only 1/4 the total pixels) as a 300 f2.8 lens on the 5D3. And it means you can use a 200 f2.0 lens on the RAVEN to get the same field of view (and only 1/4 the total pixels) as a 300 f2.0 lens (which does not exist in a Canon mount) on the 5D3. You can shoot shorter, faster lenses on RAVEN with better results than the 5D3.

Finally, the OP states that they use a PhaseOne camera today (see https://www.phaseone.com/en.aspx if you don't know what a PhaseOne is). A 5D3 shooting *stills* is a step down from that camera. On second thought, its at least two steps down. Why on earth would the OP want to degrade their stills-taking ability just so they can wade into the shallow end of the video pool?

It's wonderful that you are so enthusiastic about your 5D3. I wish I were as happy with mine. But I think it would be a poor recommendation for the OP's intended use.

Michael Tiemann

January 23, 2016 at 7:04AM, Edited January 23, 7:04AM

If you want to dip your toe into 4K filmmaking without spending too much, you might want to take a look at the Panasonic GH4 camera that features a special "4K Photo Mode" optimized to create 4K still photos from the camera's 4K video stream.


January 23, 2016 at 8:51AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

i would jump and go for the scarlet w.
As it is more compatible with professional lenses.
If you are shooting on a phase one back.
You won't be happy with the crappy canon lenses.
Still grabs are not good enough in my opinion.
I shoot a lot with fashion photographers and commercial photographers and two things i constantly find.
The color science of the RED cameras are the minimum to co-exist with medium format digital backs.
The workflow and photographic approach is somewhat closer to a raw/capture one workflow than other cameras.
I recommend Red cameras for photographers as there is a familiarity and a larger margin to work in post.
i think scarlet-w is a good choice for your situation.

Of course we are comparing apples and oranges, and tho the sony fs7 is a great camera. i don't think the dynamic range and color space holds as well.

January 24, 2016 at 7:36PM

Kazu Okuda

Rent another RED Camera first, especially as your first video camera.

See if the rental company will also let you hire someone to operate so you can get some understanding of how it works. Take it out on a shoot and then make a decision.

Also what somebody mentioned about pulling stills is exactly my experience, it's generally unusable unless you're shooting high-speed, which brings about another set of complications. YMMV but I wouldn't plan on it.

January 25, 2016 at 1:53PM


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