Camcorder Wars: Red vs. DSLRs

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Digital SLR cameras from Canon and Nikon have Rocked the video world, but cameras from Red Digital Cinema will turn it upside down.

Photographers turning to video like the DSLR’s for their familiarity and they can use the same lenses. They produce stunning quality even at low light levels. They provide the “Film look” of selective focus because of the larger sensor. The Nikon D90, to select one, records in 720P at 24 FPS. The price is under $900. One problem is that the CMOS sensor will show action or panning as “jelly movement” The chip is scanned in lines by a rolling shutter from top to bottom. As you pan across an object like a light pole the bottom of the pole is scanned later than the top thus it is skewed diagonally down the frame. Recording quality sound is harder because it lacks XLR inputs. XLR cables for audio are balanced so there is no hum. Also none of the DSLRs are capable of recording for longer then 12 minutes. Excess heat buildup on the flash card can add artifacts (noise). The Canon 5D mark II sells for $3,300 for the body only.

Red Digital Cinema will release the 3K Scarlet this spring. It has been reworked to better compete with the video-capable DSLRs. Red calls their line DSMC, digital still and motion cameras. Yes, the Red will shoot high quality stills also. The Scarlet records in uncompressed raw, whereas the DSLRs record in compressed JPEG. The proprietary CMOS sensor doesn’t show “Jelly movement”. The Scarlet brain only will sell for $2750. This is the basic sensor and lens for “run and gun” shooting. A package will sell for $4750. the quality it delivers is worth many times that. All Red cameras are modular. All the accessories for the scarlet will fit the 5K Epic, to be released later this year. The accessories, such as A/V module, RedMote, and battery pack, are added to the back of the camera. Nikon and Canon lenses can be attached with an accessory ring however there will be significant cropping due to the smaller sensor area (2/3″) in the scarlet.

The Red Mini Prime lenses will sell for $950 each. they are cinema grade and fast, 1.5.

Their flagship camera, the Red One, is the first video camera to replace motion picture film cameras from Ari and Panavision. This will eliminate the costly and time consuming telecine process for converting film to video for editing.

More info at www.red.com

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