Last Thursday I took a drive to the airport to pick up our camera directly from the friendly FedEx crew. Back home two hours later, I genuinly enjoyed putting together all the bits and pieces. No mentionable problems there. Love the fact that RED uses paper, not plastics for wrapping. Very green & cool.
Am again surprised at the high built quality of everything. Solid feel, not too heavy (maybe going to the gym in preparation for delivery has helped, too).
Because of the sudden rise of the dollar, we had to slim down our package, one of the things that went out was the ET Arri base plate. Having read about the wobblyness of the shoulder dovetail, I was very happily surprized at just how steady it did connect the camera to our Sachtler Video 20 III head. As a light-weight setup, I would see no problems using this on paid work.
The 7" Pro LCD (the only thing I have splashed out on -- besides the camera) is gorgeous, lightweight - and I love the ability to be able to control camera functions from it. Would love the function to re-assign the two brightness buttons to something more usable. Some banding, but I can live with that.
(In the background you see our kid´s previous-day construction.)
Since Birger turned out not deliver on his promise, I am glad to have ordered the Nikon mount. This came not installed, but thanks to Douglas´ youTube video, installation was a breeze (one of the many benefits of having kids is ready availability of balloons; and yes, I did use a red one). The only change is that now you have to unplug the i-cable connector.
Besides my lovely set of Contax Zeiss primes, that I cannot yet use, I have a cheap, old, dusty, crappy, plasticy Nikon zoom with stuck aperture blades. But heck, I could throw it on. Did a few pans around the room, and could already enjoy just how better the camera handled the hightlights and contrasts than any camera I could afford before. Would love the option to have the histogram displayed while changing the shutter angle.
By now it was Time For Some Sleep.
Next day in the office I updated to Build 17. Turns out you need a magazine to do that. Luckily an hour later the friendly postman dropped by with 4 8gig cards from Lexar. On the first attempt at updating I got the rocketio error. Remembering that this might be connected to the CF module (all the hours on reduser were not wasted), I took out the CF card and re-insterted it. Now it worked. Bootup is 10 seconds faster than on build 16. LOVE the 1:1 zoom function. Occasionally, when switching modes, the screen turns black.
When I tried the black shading, the camera just eternally displayed the Matrix screen (nice touch, btw) until the battery died half an hour later. Through trial-and-error I found out that you have to format the magazine at first. Suggestion for build 17 release: before black-shading, check that the magazine is formatted. Even better: when an unformatted magazine is inserted, give automatically the option to format it right away - heck, I would love the option of automatically formatting whenever the magazine is empty. (I know I will get scolded for this suggestion...) Another suggestion: in the maintenance menu, display the date/time of the currently used black shading functions.
The same postman also brought an adapter cable that allowed me to hook up the camera to one of our 24" dell editing screens. Not perfect colours, but great for the director.
Finally I could do some recordings. Even with my crap lens, the picture quality is just light-years ahead of what similarly priced cameras can deliver. I am soooo thankful that we could skip the HDV crap.
When we went from a small miniDV camera to a fullsize DVcam camera, that step was evolutionary. Two years back I thought the next evolutionary step would be an HD camera. Then I heard about RED. First it sounded too good to be true. Glad it wasn´t. Very, very, very glad.
This camera loves power. The electrical one. It sucks a battery that would´ve lasted half a shooting day on the DSR570 empty within an hour. So I ordered some more batteries.
Also ordered a 2.8ghz MacBook Pro, but that will take 2 weeks. Anecdotal evidence proved that a MacBook air is not suitable for field-use :o)
Well, that wraps up my first and second impressions of this ***-kicking camera. Thanks for reading.
Jim - for making his vision a reality. It really shows that this camera was not made by a company whose goal is to make a profit, and does so by making good cameras. RED is about making awesome cameras and then (and only then) turning it into a profitable business. And having fun along the way.
Redheads - everyone at RED for building this revolutionary (pronounced "badass" in Jarredian) camera. I don´t know you, but I command you! Thank thee! Keep it up.
Jarred - for Reduser. Without it I would not only be flabbergasted, but wouldn´t have met all the people I already have. Thanks to everyone participating on this forum.
Justin J. - for keeping up with my "occasionally" changing order. Thanks for all your help.
Douglas Underdahl - for (still) being the only one that actually delivers an alternative, non-warranty-voiding mount. Douglas went further out of his way and sent me a GDX (sp?) mount without before I sent him mine, thus avoiding my camera sitting around for 2 weeks. His mount arrived today, installation was a breeze and the original mount is sent off today.
Brandon - for jumping to my rescue and sending me his better Nikon lens. Arrived yesterday and our RED rocks even more. I can only imagine what it will be like with the Contax lenses.
Gunleik - for letting me play with his RED and thus sealing my fate. We reserved our camera a few days later. Enthusiasm does rub off.
Are - for tipping me off about the contact at FedEx that not only sped up the import (all paperwork was done and all fees paid while the camera was still in transit) but allowed me to pick up the camera from the airport, thus giving me a whole weekend to play with the camera.
Hunter - for making this light-weight solution for the battery. I finally can put it to use :o)