RED Reveals Komodo Will Have Touchscreen Phase Detection Autofocus
Is the RED Komodo inching closer to its final release?
Over the weekend Jarred Land of RED posted on Instagram about the phase detection autofocus capabilities of the Komodo, saying the firmware build is "coming along nicely" but RED engineers still have "miles to go to make this new AF perfect."
Judging by the clip, it's already in a pretty sweet spot.
RED first teased Komodo back in July of 2019, but there's no doubt plans for the camera have been well underway for much longer.
Since the initial series of Facebook posts, specs about Komodo have trickled in, including its 6K sensor, display, global shutter mode, anamorphic support, and its wireless video module, among others.
The Steven Soderbergh feature Let Them All Talk used Komodo, and it has been in the hands of many other high profile filmmakers. More recently, the short clip above of Brad Pitt was shot with Komodo. But the biggest hint that it could be coming soon is that RED released the dimensional drawings for third-party developers.
Here's what we know so far at Komodo:
- It will not replace DSMC2
- It does not have a Monstro, Helium, Gemini, or Dragon sensor
- It has a new 6K sensor
- It's not full-frame or large format, but similar to Kodak's Super 35mm 3-Perf
- 4K SDI output (either 12G or 6G)
- No XLR ports but 3.5mm audio inputs for a microphone and a headphone
- Will not record to proprietary media
- Will record CFast cards
- There will be a wireless video module
- The display is touchscreen
- Phase Detection Autofocus
- Features a Canon RF mount, no fixed lens
- Box design, no dimension longer than 4 inches
- Cost will be around $5000
While autofocus was planned for Komodo, the video confirms the display will be touchscreen and will integrate phase detection autofocus. The Komodo will be RED's first camera with autofocus, which may not seem like a big deal to some, but adding autofocus to REDCODE RAW is going to make this camera interesting. Building an autofocus system from the ground up can't be easy, so I can see why Land mentioned RED still has miles to go.
The video showed the autofocus took about a second to focus on one image to the next, so there is some room for improvement. Though I kind of like the lag. It's doesn't have that digital feel to it. It seems more natural as if a hand did the rack focus over a processor. But Land, if you're reading, what lens are you using? The focus breathing on the lens is noticeable. I'm hoping that it's the lens and not part of the autofocus system itself. Tell us below?
You can also see in the images above the icons for Komodo's dual battery system, the wireless video module, and that its 6K will be a 17:9 aspect ratio, similar to Canon EOS C500 MK II. Not sure why the dual battery system is not being talked about more, but I think it's a great feature. One battery to power the camera, another to power accessories through D-tap. Hot-swappable without powering down. All solid features if part of the release.
In the mirrorless world, the major players are somewhat known for specific things. The Sony alpha series is good at full-frame IBIS, Canon is exceptional at autofocus, Nikon has great glass, Panasonic has robust internal codecs, and its S1H can just about do everything well. That's what I'm hoping for with Komodo – a camera that Frankenstein's what each camera manufacturer does well and adds RED's compressed RAW with a battery that doesn't die in 30 minutes. The fact that it's Super 35 doesn't bother me. ARRI will be releasing a new Super 35 camera soon, and it's still my preferred shooting format unless a client specifies otherwise.
It would be surprising not to see Komodo come out in 2020, but at this point, your guess is good a mine. What do you think of latest Komodo specs? Tell us in the comments below.