Having the Dragon in my hands was privilege… and a curse !
Hundreds of emails from people wanting me to do tests for them, people wanting to know if there lenses will still work on it, people wanting to fly down and help out... crazy stuff going on in the back ground. (and sorry not to respond to you all )
To say that I'm not not flattered is an understatement, but knowing that the world is watching I wanted to be true to my testing.
I'm going to be pretty straight forward with my results as a "No bullshit" clause comes with this test. So sharing exactly what I think is best for RED and all of you.
Jim and Jarred have not pressured me in anyway (surprisingly enough) which was great, because if they did start to control me, I probably would have told them to keep it.
I don't need the pressure from both sides of the fence, as I'm not being paid for this test, I'm just cracking it out under my own steam and have nothing to loose. So you if the is a problem or it did not meet my expectations, then I decided I would share good and bad.
So I'm glad they left me alone and a credit to them for trusting me with there baby.
I started to type up a lot of fluff and carry on, tying to explain what we saw with our own eyes, and about how bright and contrasting certain shots were, but unless you were standing next to me to actually see the extremes we were shooting into, then…. you just wouldn't believe me. So you all have to dig deep into your minds and remember all those times you shot in a rain forest and it looked like hi contrast shit, and the trying to shoot that shiny silver in bright light, but only to get an underexposed shot due to the hight taking over or vise versa. Well… Those days are gone ! Long gone !
I think its best I just share with pictures as you will all have your own ideas, expectations and opinions and I'm not going to defend anything I've done to get the exact results I wanted out of this test. I just pushed and pulled the camera from one end of the spectrum to the other, including RCX. Shot dead into the sun with a 600mm (sorry Jim) then shot into pitch black… I just wanted to smash this thing and see where we ended up.
I didn't worry about lighting, reflectors or fill, no fancy props, on gorgeous models… I did not want to cloud peoples judgement with beautiful contrived over lit, over stylised shots then turning this test into some sort of wanky showreel. The images are just normal real world situations without any aids.
This is as basic a test as you can get, so there are no manipulated images, nothing has gone into Smoke, AE, or FLAME for any touch up's or masking, nothing went to Resolve or any other grading program (other than RCX) No power windows where used to lift or push down certain areas, no colour keying, no noise reduction, no nothing… This is as basic as it gets, straight out of the camera then into RCX for a very basic curve which was applied to a RED LOG film setting. And some shots are directly out of the camera using the default RG3 settings.
I can only imagine what a talented colourist within a powerful grading tool could do with all this extra information.
The two main areas I wanted the camera to perform in are :
HIGH CONTRAST information, just how much is hiding on the shadows and highlight. And secondly, Just how far can I push it in the dark. What is the most usable ISO without the aid of any noise reducing plugins.
Data was also big question for me, I'm a laptop warrior, I travel the world with RED and MAC.. I don't need anything slowing me down. So the question was, Just how long are these cards going to last… So my idea of testing lower compression rates to save space, and then to push the limits of the ISO into 17:1+ compression to see if it fell apart. The simple answer is no… Dragon @17:1 looks like MX @8:1. So we are all saved, none of us have to run out to buy more cards.
Skin tests, filter tests, IR tests, were also done.
Ok.. Thats all said, my feed back as follows.
The Red Dragon sensor has 3 F STOPS more than before. 1 in the hight lights which rolls over wonderfully !, 2 solid extra stops in the darks…. maybe 3 once the colour science has been perfected.
But there is still noise, but nothing like before. I ran some 250d 2k film rushes next some of my 4000asa stuff, And silly as it sounds, it looks like film grain, not noise. Don't ask me how, as I wouldn't have a clue. But it looks great !
Red Dragon now has the best highlight fall off I have ever seen from any digital camera. Beating film! Big call I know, but after shooting film and pushing it around in telecine chains for more than a decade, I can categorically say that this new sensor has a better range than film ever had.
Single still frames compared to a top of the line professional 35mm Digital stills cameras, I'm going to say that the EPIC matches, if not betters most. Don't ask me how they do it, but every single frame from the DRAGON is 109meg !! @16bit when saved as a tiff from RCX. and at 100 Frames per second, I tell you this… someone has sold there soul to the devil.
If you are a pro photographer, you are mad if you don't have this camera in your tool box. You quite literally will never miss a single shot.
Is Dragon better than 65mm Film…. (with good lenses) YES. No shit…
The images out of the Dragon are so smooth now… so so smooth, like low asa large format film.
The Dragon is more stable than my current MX EPIC's.
The SONY F65 I rate as having the best sensor in the market for a production cine camera. Yes.. it's better than the EPIC- MX. (I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons).
Even Jim knows that Sony have done very well with the F65 sensor and that was obviously pissing him off, because his new Dragon sensor has just given the the F65 notice.
All the F65 SONY purists out there will dispute this. But I have Sony files here with me, and I'm looking at both side by side… and Dragons grain (noise) structure is cleaner and it has more range.
Dragon is now the King. (AND… I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons). or did I ..ha !
The single one sentence i can say that can sum up everything is this..
It's the first camera ever that I have used that captures exactly what I see with my own eye.
Never have I seen this before. !
Jim... You done good man, Real good ! The world of digital cinema owes you a big thanks.
You have know more to prove.
Go and retire !
RED TEAM, phuk !!!! ! Seriously dudes... ! Great work, your the "A" team !
Thanks Jarred. Lets get dunk!
Ipad RETINA recommended.
Sharing is caring.
Please excuse the grammar and spelling, I'm typing so fast here to get this all out to you… Ive broken a nail !