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View Full Version : Suggestions to make the DSMC better as a "DS" camera



Lee Jay
11-19-2008, 06:59 PM
I think many agree that the term "DSLR killer" was a mistake, but that doesn't mean RED shouldn't try to make these cameras as viable as possible as high-end (and ultra-expensive) still cameras. To that end, I'll offer some suggestions:

- Make the mount for the "Mount" really, really close to the sensor - close enough that a mirror box and OVF with mount could be mounted there. Such a "Mount" would also include a secondary mirror and phase-detection system. If the electronic-only option allows any shutter speed then fine, if not add a FP shutter to this "Mount". That shutter adds no benefit if the electronic option is operational so don't add it unless it's required to gain full shutter speed control.
- Make the AA and IR filters removable and user-replaceable. Landscape folks are always desperate for resolving power and sharpness, and the AA filter, even a good one with high Q, reduces both significantly. Of course, it's still required where patterns might come in and cause moire, hence one needs to be available. Removing the IR filter is a common after-market mod done to help either IR shooters or astro shooters. Making it an OEM option would be a big plus for a high-end product.
- Offer a true "raw" mode - losslessly compressed sensor data. While Redcode is probably highly desirable for motion because of the high data rates, still shooters want lossless, not lossy raw data. If the frame rate drops in this mode, then that's fine. I'd suggest full DNG support to prevent software makers from having to manually add support for your cameras to a new version. With DNG, any converter that fully supports it will automatically get support, even in previous versions.
- The lower the base ISO of the sensor, the better (well, as long as you don't get it by killing quantum efficiency or some ridiculous thing like that). More light captured = less noise and more dynamic range when sufficient light is available.
- Make the basic system - brain/grip/mount/viewfinder - as light weight as possible to be competitive with dSLRs in the "carry it around your neck all day" area.
- If the Canon/Nikon mounts will fully-control those maker's lenses then great, but if only Red's lenses can be fully-controlled, you're going to have to offer some short (20-135mm), fast primes for the full frame 35mm format. The f2.8 zooms are nice, but the 24/1.4, 28/1.4, 35/1.4, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, 50/1.2, 85/1.8, 85/1.4, 85/1.2, 100/2 and 135/2 are well-used and well-loved options for serious users (and who else would buy one of your products?). You'll have to offer at least a subset of them to interest those folks. Three would probably do it - 24/50/100 or 35/85/135.

Just some thoughts.

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:05 PM
I don't think the term "DSLR-killer" is a mistake. The term is not intended to talk about specifically Scarlet and EPIC, but rather the concept of a system that shoots both stills and motion without compromise instead of "one or the other".

I take exception to the "we need a mirror" suggestion. Until you actually see the viewing options (new ones coming with this system), you don't really know if a mirror will ever be needed in the future. We heard that same argument (with passion) with regards to the RED ONE. No one asks for an optical finder now. In fact, if we offered that option, I don't think we would sell any.

As for lenses... I do agree. And we plan on an extensive lineup. Starting with the 4 we announced. Many more will follow. We have to start somewhere.

As for "true lossless". That means uncompressed. Which camera offers that? As far as I can tell, every company's RAW has a form of mild compression, which we will offer also. For example, Hasselblad's RAW is compressed. Zip files also come to mind.

As for DNG support. The only reason I can think to do this is Adobe. And Adobe has announced full native support for R3D files.

As for filters. Moire is a scourge. So is aliasing. There is never a reason for either. IR/low pass filters used on many cameras are optically clumsy. Ours are not.

How about waiting to use one? If we fall short, then you can trash us all you want.

Just a thought.

Jim

Justin O'Neill
11-19-2008, 08:20 PM
Jim, zip files are true losless compression: when you decompress the data you get back exactly what you put in. From my understanding REDCODE, while being visually losless actually does throw away some data.

REDCODE will be great for me but I guess I an see how some people might benefit from true losless compression.

If I am wrong about REDCODE I apologize.

Joseph Ward
11-19-2008, 08:20 PM
Jim,

You must be a good writer/reader for all the feedback you give us. Ohh wait, you don't sleep! :biggrin:

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:22 PM
Jim, zip files are true losless compression: when you decompress the data you get back exactly what you put in. From my understanding REDCODE, while being visually losless actually does throw away some data.

REDCODE will be great for me but I guess I an see how some people might benefit from true losless compression.

If I am wrong about REDCODE I apologize.

There are many forms of REDCODE. Stills will not have the same compression ratio as motion. Think Hasselblad.

Zip files have compression. If you shoot 4k REDCODE 36 and open up those REDCODE files that have been compressed, they still open up at 4K.

Jim

James Brundige
11-19-2008, 08:23 PM
I don't think the term "DSLR-killer" is a mistake. The term is not intended to talk about specifically Scarlet and EPIC, but rather the concept of a system that shoots both stills and motion without compromise instead of "one or the other".

Jim

Since the DSLR companies are moving toward offering (bad) video capture, I think it's brilliant that Red (who may have inspired that move) is moving toward still shooting. The new design is stunning in its vision. And the ergonomics of the hand held cinema mode show you really thought about that. The viewfinder is in the right place relative to one's shoulder. Since I work and travel in some very far-flung places, the idea of a dual-purpose kit is also really attractive. I'm hoping the camera and lens can talk to each other in either mode. Great work!

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:29 PM
Since the DSLR companies are moving toward offering (bad) video capture, I think it's brilliant that Red (who may have inspired that move) is moving toward still shooting. The new design is stunning in its vision. And the ergonomics of the hand held motion mode show you really thought about that. The viewfinder is in the right place relative to one's shoulder. Since I work and travel in some very far-flung places, the idea of a dual-purpose kit is also really attractive. Great work!

The best news about our viewing systems is that you can move them around anywhere you need them. If you still want to press your nose up against the body... you can do that, too. :-)

Jim

Lee Jay
11-19-2008, 08:30 PM
I don't think the term "DSLR-killer" is a mistake. The term is not intended to talk about specifically Scarlet and EPIC, but rather the concept of a system that shoots both stills and motion without compromise instead of "one or the other".

Okay, fine, but these aren't that. There are compromises.


I take exception to the "we need a mirror" suggestion. Until you actually see the viewing options (new ones coming with this system), you don't really know if a mirror will ever be needed in the future. We heard that same argument (with passion) with regards to the RED ONE. No one asks for an optical finder now. In fact, if we offered that option, I don't think we would sell any.

Zero latency, zero power usage, and the enabling of phase-detection autofocus seem to be issues with EVFs that cannot be overcome through the application of technology. How do you plan to reliably autofocus on an object that moves through the entire depth of field in less than one sensor frame using contrast detection? I take images like that all the time with my dSLRs. 220 feet per second, 9 feet of depth-of-field:

http://photos.imageevent.com/sipphoto/samplepictures/Spit%20reduced.jpg



As for lenses... I do agree. And we plan on an extensive lineup. Starting with the 4 we announced. Many more will follow. We have to start somewhere.

As for "true lossless". That means uncompressed. Which camera offers that? As far as I can tell, every company's RAW has a form of mild compression, which we will offer also. For example, Hasselblad's RAW is compressed. Zip files also come to mind.

Those raw files are compressed losslessly, just like zip files are. Every bit that goes in comes back out. Lossless does not mean uncompressed, it means compressed losslessly.



As for DNG support. The only reason I can think to do this is Adobe. And Adobe has announced full native support for R3D files.

As for filters. Moire is a scourge. There is never a reason for it. IR/low pass filters used on many cameras are optically clumsy. Ours are not.

There is no such thing as a brick-wall filter in the analog world since it would be non-casual. Thus, the AA filter causes a loss of resolution or it doesn't do its job. Yours too. IR filters must be there for many applications, but must be removed for others. That's just how it is. You don't want skin to be exposed in IR. You do want nebulae exposed in IR.



How about waiting to use one? If we fall short, then you can trash us all you want.

Just a thought.

Jim

Not trashing you, Jim, just offering ways for your cameras to do things that existing (and far cheaper) dSLRs can also do, and also other things they cannot. For many still shooters, the fact that they shoot great motion pictures is largely irrelevant, and thus not considered much of an advantage. Compared to the 5DII, I'd pay, say, $50 extra for full-res at 30fps. In fact, I'd pay more for 1280x720 at 60fps that I would for 6000x4000 at 30fps. I'd pay much more for a removable/replaceable IR and AA filter. That which is valuable to existing RED ONE owners is not necessarily valued at all by most owners of dSLRs.

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:38 PM
Our auto-focus system will compete heads up with the very best DSLRs.

How do you know what compression ratio we will dedicate to stills?

Agree to disagree with your filter assessment.

What compromises? The discussion is narrowing. You left off lenses, DNG and viewing.

Jim

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:43 PM
Let me expound a bit on the lenses... USM, optically stabilized (except for the 15-25mm zoom).

On the filters... most companies use filters that cut double-digit % in resolution. Ours are low single digit. Well worth no moire or aliasing. BTW, ours will be removable, but we highly recommend against it for two reasons. 1st, there is no good reason to take them out. 2nd, lens/sensor combos are tuned either with or without them. Ours are tuned with them.

Jim

James Brundige
11-19-2008, 08:46 PM
The best news about our viewing systems is that you can move them around anywhere you need them. If you still want to press your nose up against the body... you can do that, too. :-)

Jim

I frostbit my nose from an ARRI SR viewfinder. (the metal VF at the ambient -30 F). Lost a real chunk of it. I won't miss that experience at all.

Jannard
11-19-2008, 08:53 PM
Lee Jay... I hope you are not taking offense to the healthy discussion.

I have shot more still cameras than I care to think about (I own over 800 bodies alone). We certainly don't have all the answers, but it isn't from lack of shooting experience (35 years of SLR, medium format, large format, panoramic, stereo, DSLR, etc.). I currently shoot a Canon 1Ds MKIII and have every Canon lens available. I just sold the 1200mm (actually, I'm selling everything if anyone is interested). :-)

Jim

James Brundige
11-19-2008, 09:03 PM
I have shot more still cameras than I care to think about (I own over 800 bodies alone).

Jim

This information will help me defend my gear habit. Thanks

spitfire44
11-19-2008, 09:22 PM
I take exception to the "we need a mirror" suggestion. Until you actually see the viewing options (new ones coming with this system), you don't really know if a mirror will ever be needed in the future. We heard that same argument (with passion) with regards to the RED ONE. No one asks for an optical finder now. In fact, if we offered that option, I don't think we would sell any.

Jim


Jim......just a short note on the OVF issue......this is something completely abstract, but for the me the OVF is something more than an view finder. On film cameras, the eyepiece is a place I got to "get away" from the distractions of the set. I really have a chance to be in a different place in my head when I can organically look through and see my framing, lighting, etc....it is almost meditative. I find that any EVF regardless of camera is not the same for me.....and I would bet that many DP's would agree with me. as far as paying for the option of an OVF, I know that would be a sweet nickel or two.

regards,
Eric

Nigel Stanford
11-19-2008, 10:37 PM
Our auto-focus system will compete heads up with the very best DSLRs.
Jim

Jim, do you think this will make the focus puller redundant on motion shoots? I have always thought that having two easily set buttons for focus marks, and a speed slider would cover 99% of focus pulls.

Deanan
11-19-2008, 10:55 PM
I just sold the 1200mm (actually, I'm selling everything if anyone is interested). :-)

Jim

Selling all my stuff too. Don't need them after I get my Scarlet :)

Anyone need mamiya gear, leica gear, or a coolscan 9000?
Gotta start saving up for a scarlet and 617 now...

sander kamp
11-19-2008, 10:56 PM
How about start-up time and power use? One thing I love about my Nikon dlsr is that almost instantly starts up and that I can shoot all day with one or two small batteries. If I compare that with my RED One....

I don't think focus pullers will ever be redundant on all motion shoots. Maybe it will be easier to do with new tools and automatization but focussing is an intelligent decision just like framing and exposure is.

Jannard
11-19-2008, 10:58 PM
Less than 2 seconds startup.

Jim

András Puiz
11-20-2008, 02:35 AM
Zip files have compression. If you shoot 4k REDCODE 36 and open up those REDCODE files that have been compressed, they still open up at 4K.

Jim

Lossless compression allows you to reconstruct the original file exactly as it was before compression. In other words, it won't just "open up in 4K," but also every single bit of every single byte of the original image would be restored.

A lossy compression, on the other hand, uses some approximation. The decompressed image will sure open up in 4K, but the new image will be slightly different from the original. The compression algorythm will use some approximation, some "rounding up," some simplification of data, causing the new image to lose detail and/or be infested with compression artifacts.

I think RED claims to use "visually lossless" compression, but that's a subjective term. I know that some photographers don't want to settle for a lossy algorythm that one can "pass for" lossless: a compression artifact that one guy won't notice may be an artifact that drives the other guy crazy.

On the other hand, a truly lossless compression algorythm would be objectively lossless. Think about a ZIP file containing program code: it needs to be bit-perfect, otherwise the decompressed code wouldn't run. Change one byte in an application, and it may easily crash.

Now, there are photogs who think the same way about their images.

If RED is to address more pro still photographers, I think it would be quite wise to offer a RAW format with truly lossless compression.

Just my two cents.

Daniel Browning
11-20-2008, 03:18 AM
- Offer a true "raw" mode - losslessly compressed sensor data.


I would like this too. However, there is a lot more to "true" raw than the compression. None of the current DSLR provide a "true" RAW: All DSLR except Canon clip the blacks above the mean, instead of preserving the entire noise floor, reducing shadow information precluding stacking and darkframe subtraction. Nikon does a white balance before writing "RAW", clipping highlights and introducing rounding errors. Canon applies "angle of incidence" pushes to the raw for all apertures wider than f/2.8, again clipping data before RAW. Pentax does a slight high ISO noise reduction (27% lower std. dev.) All the cameras clip 1, 2, or 4 stops of highlights for ISO above 1600 by pushing instead of leaving it RAW. Many don't put all of the dark pixels into the RAW file, which could be used to reduce noise. Nikon does noise reduction in exposures longer than 1/4.

I've checked RED on most of these and they got them right; probably all of them. Can't say that for any of the DSLR.


still shooters want lossless, not lossy raw data.

There are a lot of still shooters that want lossless because they think it gives them better quality when it doesn't. There are at least three very easy "visually lossless" compression methods that still cameras could use, but don't. Well, Nikon uses one of them. Removing embedded jpeg, assign bits on a curve, and use less bits for higher and higher ISO settings.

Canon's idea of compression, sRAW, is a joke. It wastes half the file size on embedded JPEG previews and sacrifices a ton of resolution for a very small improvement in file size. If Canon compressed literature like they compress images, they would throw out 9 out of every 10 words and call it "CliffNotes".

That's not even *starting* to discuss compression styles that can be detected by the human eye, such as the wavelet based 9:1 REDCODE that most people cannot distinguish from lossless (RED demonstrated this during development with the Milk shot.)

I would like RED to include a lossless compression option to compare with the "visually lossless" compression and measure for myself that I can't tell the difference. Plus, there might be some very rare circumstances where it can improve quality (e.g. maybe my astrophotography).


I'd suggest full DNG support

I'd much prefer that RED code support into dcraw.c. The latest DNG version isn't featured enough to handle things like camera profiles (e.g. full saturation description), but something would be better than nothing I guess.



- The lower the base ISO of the sensor, the better (well, as long as you don't get it by killing quantum efficiency or some ridiculous thing like that).


Agreed, but I would put it this way to avoid confusion: I want more full well capacity and quantum efficiency. Same things people have been saying since 1985, I doubt it needs repeating but I say it anyway. :)



- fast primes for the full frame 35mm format.


Agreed. My vote here is for a 20mm f/1.4, the FF35 brother of the Zeiss 14mm f/1.2 (for S35). It would be the widest f/1.4 evar and would rarely leave my mount.




- Make the AA and IR filters removable and user-replaceable. Landscape folks are always desperate for resolving power and sharpness

If they wanted resolving power, they would not be interested in poisoning their images with aliasing artifacts. Removing the OLPF will give them false detail, which many people have come to desire (e.g. Foveon shooters). Oh well, no skin off my back. :)


A lossy compression, on the other hand, uses some approximation. The decompressed image will sure open up in 4K, but the new image will be slightly different from the original.


It all depends on the compression and the content. As I mentioned above, the three very simple methods of compression that Canon could have implemented instead of sRAW would result in file sizes just 1/8th the size for high ISO, with no perceptible difference at all. The kind of compression you're talking about can be on top of that.



the new image to lose detail and/or be infested with compression artifacts.


Again, it depends on the compression. 4:2:2 is about the most simple type of compression imaginable, the algorithm can be described over the telephone in 10 seconds. Yet most people can't tell the difference even with their nose up to the screen doing A/B tests. (Can you? On a contrived image? How about a real world image?)

How much more can an advanced algorithm honed for years be visually lossless?

sander kamp
11-20-2008, 08:55 AM
Less than 2 seconds startup.

Jim

Is that for all Scarlet and Epic systems including viewfinders and LCD's? For a digital motion camera that would be great! However for a stills camera it is still kind of slow... I guess that's one of the drawbacks of combing a stills and a motion camera. Would there be a sleep mode with an instant-on? Or any other way not to make you miss that moment without having to have your camera powered up all day?

Isaac Babcock
11-20-2008, 09:18 AM
Less than 2 seconds startup.

Jim

This is the main thing I'm looking forward to.....thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Still dreaming of a sleep function on the RED, but I think someone there recently mentioned you'd all spent hours trying to and it wasn't going to be...still hoping though.

Lee Jay
11-20-2008, 09:54 AM
Our auto-focus system will compete heads up with the very best DSLRs.

How do you know what compression ratio we will dedicate to stills?

Agree to disagree with your filter assessment.

What compromises? The discussion is narrowing. You left off lenses, DNG and viewing.

Jim

If your AF system is that good, I'd like to know its basic technology. I don't believe its even possible to make CD that good because of the number of samples required and the time it takes to collect those samples.

The compression ratio of a raw file is irrelevant because the compression is lossless - *exactly* the same data comes out as goes in - just like a zip file. You need to do the same thing for raw still images.

You only addressed the AA filter by basically stating it's high Q (if true, that's probably acceptable, but an expensive solution). You didn't address the IR filter.

The compromises include cost (seems to be 5-10x once grip, viewfinder, LCD and recording module are included), size/weight (probably double, from your specs), lack of OVF (you didn't address my issues of latency and power usage, and I'm unconvinced about your AF system without a mirror for PD), and lack of a comprehensive system of lenses (5 of my 6 lenses are not on your list of initial availability, though I could suffer a huge weight and cost penalty and reduce that to 3).

Lee Jay
11-20-2008, 09:56 AM
Lee Jay... I hope you are not taking offense to the healthy discussion.

Not at all, I was simply asleep - had a fresh baby 6 days ago. Sleep is to be treasured right now.

Lee Jay