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RED introduces brand new DSMC system

Everyone's been talking about it. Today RED announced its redesigned Scarlet and Epic offerings, thought to be taken back to the drawing board due to the sudden competition from traditional SLR cameras such as the Canon 5D MkII.

At the core of RED's new offerings is the DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) system. You select the "brain" (sensor and body) of the camera and then mix and match components based on your requirements. You need never buy another whole camera again - just upgrade components as and when they are released.

In addition to the previously-announced Mysterium-X sensor capable of recording at 5K, they have developed Mysterium Monstro, which captures at up to 28K. To put things in perspective, IMAX footage is around 10K so that is almost 3x IMAX resolution! It can capture 261 megapixel (MP) still images too, which means that if you printed out an image at 300 dpi, it would cover approximately 77 square feet!

Epic "brains" come in large, rugged cases whereas Scarlet ones come in smaller and lighter cases designed for traveling. The "brains" available are:

Scarlet models

3K - up to 120 fps with lens
* 2/3" Mysterium-X
* Comes with fixed 8x lens
* This is the original Scarlet announced at NAB
* The original price was $3000 but price is now TBD so it could end up lower
* Captures stills at 4.9 MP
* Fall 2009

3K - up to 120 fps
* 2/3" Mysterium-X
* Mini-RED, C, B4 mounts
* Basically the original Scarlet with the ability to change lenses
* Captures stills at 4.9 MP
* $2,500
* Summer / Fall 2009

5K - up to 30 fps
* S35 Mysterium-X
* RED, PL, Canon, Nikon mounts
* Captures stills at 13.8 MP
* $7,000
* Spring/Summer 2009

6K - up to 30 fps
* FF35 Mysterium Monstro
* RED, Canon, Nikon mounts
* Captures stills at 24 MP
* $12,000
* Winter 2009

Epic models

5K - up to 100 fps
* S35 Mysterium-X
* RED, PL, Canon, Nikon mounts
* Captures stills at 13.8 MP
* $28,000
* Summer/Fall 2009

6K - up to 100 fps
* FF35 Mysterium Monstro
* RED, Canon, Nikon mounts
* Captures stills at 24 MP
* $35,000
* Winter 2009

9K - up to 50 fps
* 645 Mysterium Monstro
* RED, Medium Format, Mamiya mounts
* Captures stills at 65 MP
* $45,000
* Spring 2010

28K - up to 25 fps
* 617 Mysterium Monstro
* Linhof, Alpa mounts
* Captures stills at 261 MP (!)
* $55,000
* Spring 2010

But what on earth do you capture that amount of data to? Well, you have a choice of internal memory, special high-speed DSMC CF or SSD modules (most likely a ton of regular CFs or SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration) or, intriguingly, wireless or ethernet transfer. I'm guessing those last two won't be an option for larger resolutions but hopefully you will be able to send out a proxy version for previewing.

Oh, and you can also link two together for stereoscopic imaging which is unbelievably awesome. The image shows two Scarlets in stereoscopic configuration but it's not stated whether or not the Epics can do it too (particularly the huge 28K one). That'd be interesting to know.

The idea behind the camera is that you swap parts so you could buy a Scarlet and gradually work your way up to a higher model over time without having to re-purchase any extra equipment. This is perfectly possible but it is worth mentioning that some of the models have different lens mounts, and Mysterium-X lenses will not work very well with a Monstro as they are designed for a sensor that is considerably smaller.

The only downside is that Scarlet was originally scheduled for release in January 2009 (I forget when Epic was supposed to be released) so these dates have been pushed back. But I think we can all agree it will be worth it in the end.

Read more at RED's site.
Posted by Jon Chappell on Nov 13 2008 to Cameras, Indie, Indie