Sorry, I’ve been a little slow in commenting on the RED Scarlet. Scroll down the announcement page and you’ll find the FAQ’s with answers from the horse’s mouth.
Initial impressions? Depends if what lens you look at it through. If you think of it as a very small RED One with either a Canon or PL mount for 10 grand, then it’s pretty impressive.
If you look at it as rejected Epics, priced after seeing what Canon was doing, cobbled together out of common parts after 3 years of supposed ongoing development, then it’s a little disappointing.
As with all things, there’s a little bit of truth in both views. The good? It shoots 4K at up to 30P, can control Canon DSLR lenses natively (which is more than Canon’s new camera can do), has the same native dynamic range (without HDr) as the Epic, and will get updated software builds at the exact same time as the Epic. Really, aside from low light performance, if you compare only camera specs, why would you buy a 300C over the Scarlet? The Bad? None really, other than perception. Nobody wants to hear that their camera is built out of parts that would otherwise have been recycled 🙂 The other perception problem is one of crushed expectations. Whether they want to admit it or not, RED has either outright said or implied over the years that Scarlet would be a less expensive, alternative camera. 3K for 3 thousand, as it were. The camera announced this week is nothing like that. There are a great many folks out there that want that camera: fixed lens with a reasonably long zoom ratio, RAW recording, easy to handle with good ergonomics, professional audio inputs so they don’t have to do double system sound. In other words, a better EX1. And if it cost less than an EX1, that would show Sony, wouldn’t it? And their faith in the little “Pirate-camera-company-that-could” would have been justified.
RED is facing perception problems on a number of different fronts. When the company I work for ordered our RED One last year, the MX option was just becoming available. We wanted it of course. Rather than modify our order at the factory, we had to receive the camera, and then send it right back to RED to get the MX sensor installed. When it returned, we weren’t able to film with high frame rates and long record times, because we didn’t have the hard drives. It’s not that we didn’t order the hard drives, it’s that they stopped making them. Would you like to upgrade to SSD’s? Sure! OK, but you’ll have to wait. Seriously, what kind of company cancels the primary recording medium of their only product, without the replacement medium ready to go? (OK, given the upcoming Steve Jobs quotes, there’s an ironic FCP X joke there, but I digress…..). The same kind of company that cancels the primary way you see what your shooting, without a replacement ready to go. Viewfinder? Sorry, we stopped making those. If you want a Bomb, get in line. We waited somewhere around 6 months for ours. The RED fanboys on the forum can sniff the throne all they want, but by any standard, that is just unacceptable. So, unless you can get by with a screen and CF cards (and there are a great many situations where you can’t), you’ve just bought a $20,000.00 paperweight. Then there’s the reports from no less an authority than Philip Bloom that his Epic is having epic (sorry) problems:
Steve Jobs supposedly told his vice presidents a story when they made the big time:
Jobs had another quote that is important here: “Real artists ship”. Does anybody doubt that Canon will be shipping their camera in January?
Jim Jannard says the Scarlet-X with a Titanium PL mount will cost $11,200.00 and begin shipping 12 days from now, on November 17th, 2011. If it doesn’t, the reasons won’t matter.