Well, this is probably the biggest camera manufacturer shake-up that we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Nikon has sent out an official statement this morning announcing their agreement to “acquire 100% of the outstanding membership interests of RED.com, LLC,” and that “RED will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon.”

We don’t have a ton of details just yet about what this acquisition will ultimately look like for both brands, but suffice it to say that RED will 100% become part of Nikon’s company and plans moving forward in most likely a very huge, and direct, capacity — particularly when it comes to RED’s cinema camera manufacturing capabilities.

Here’s what we know so far, and what we can guess for the future.

Nikon to Acquire RED

From the official statement from Nikon, it sounds like a “Membership Interest Purchase Agreement” has been reached with RED founder James Jannard and its current president Jarred Land.

Nikon goes on to add that this agreement was reached as a result of “the mutual desires of Nikon and RED to meet the customers’ needs and offer exceptional user experiences that exceed expectations.” A merger of strengths for both companies you could say.

Nikon also shared that they plan to use their expertise in product development and image processing to better utilize RED’s knowledge of cinema cameras and their unique image compression technology and color science.

\u200bNikon's future with RED

Nikon's future with RED


From Nikon’s Perspective

Obviously, from Nikon’s perspective, this acquisition makes sense. Nikon made great strides in the camera-for-video market over the years with their latest flagship mirrorless options. However, Nikon has seemingly always lagged behind Canon and Sony (and even Panasonic and Blackmagic) with their cinema camera offerings.

RED’s cameras and technology will immediately (and much more in the future) make Nikon a bigger player in the cinema camera game. And, speaking personally, I am excited to see what Nikon will be able to produce with RED technology now fully at their R&D fingertips.

The acquisition cost might be astronomical here, but for Nikon, it’s most likely irrelevant as with their market share, brand name, and R&D power, they’ll likely make the acquisition cost back over the next few years.

\u200bRED Digital Cinema's future

RED Digital Cinema's future


From RED’s Perspective

Now, from RED’s perspective, unless you have inside information into what was going on with RED as a company lately, this seems a bit more perplexing.

Founded in 2005 by Oakley founder Jim Jannard, its goal was to deliver an affordable 4K digital cinema camera to the market, which it did when the Red One was first introduced in 2007 as Red Digital Cinema's first production camera.

Since then RED has built a legacy on its cinema camera technology and its proprietary RAW compression tech. RED’s cameras have earned Academy Awards and have been a popular choice by Hollywood productions to the run-and-gun needs of independent filmmakers and cinematographers across the world.

Yet, and again—without more insights—it would seem that RED was in a position where it felt like it could no longer operate as its own entity up against the bigger players in the cinema camera space. We’ll wait and see how the news of this all shakes out, and what RED leadership has to share in regards to what this means for current RED camera owners, RED camera staff and brand champions, and the cinema camera marketplace overall.