Thread: Seeking advice for buying my first RED

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  1. #1 Seeking advice for buying my first RED 
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    Hi everyone!

    I am currently looking to enter the RED universe and finally pull the trigger on buying my first RED camera, and I would like to get advice from people who have more experience with these cameras in order to help me make my decision, so any help would be greatly appreciated!! So I'm looking at the Dragon-X 6K but I was wondering, since the Dragon sensor is kind of on the older side (and that DSMC2 is getting old), do you think it's still worth it in 2021? Considering that I'm coming from mirrorless cameras, will I still feel a difference with what I'm used to work with (apart from the fact that it shoots raw)? Also, I am aware that the Dragon-X is not super good in low light, but when compared to standard mirrorless cameras, how does it perform? Is it really that bad or will it still feel like an upgrade? I must say that I mostly work in in non controlled environments, run and gun style with available natural light. Renting one is unfortunately not an option as there aren't any rental houses in my city... I know most people recommend the Gemini over the Dragon X, but where I live there is a 10K difference between the two kits with the duties and taxes ($28k vs $38k) and so the Gemini is a little over my budget at the moment. I've heard rumors about DSMC3 or whatever comes next might be announced this summer? Does anyone know if this accurate? Do you think I should wait and see if a new kit with better performance and similar price to the Dragon-X will be announced?

    Thank you so much for your help!! :)
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Steve Sherrick's Avatar
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    If you are comparing low light capabilities of say one of the Sony cameras where you can shoot in the dark, then I do think you will be disappointed in the Dragon X. I get that some shoots are very run and gun but you could definitely get away with Dragon X if you are able to even bring some small battery powered lights with you for those times when existing location light just doesn’t cut it. A touch of post noise reduction and you may be good. But any time you have a chance to introduce some light into a dim, muddy location your results will be better no matter the camera. For you I think it may just come down to what you typically shoot and whether there is any flexibility in adding light here and there. Those little Aputure MCs can make a world of difference without weighing you down. They even have a magnet do you can attach to a bunch of places without stands. If you want RED, you need some light. Gemini does better for sure, and Monstro too but images can still be meh without decent lighting. Or if you are lucky with locations that have a good lighting scheme to begin with.
    Steve Sherrick
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  3. #3  
    If coming from the mirrorless side of things and entering now, then my advice is to get a komodo. Getting a DSMC2 this late in the cycle is a bit risky. Sure the DSMC2´s are and always will be very capable cameras but likely as you write quite soon DSMC3 will be announced and those will likely come with far better features and cost less. Likely they will not be out for quite some time but still they will likely push down the prices for used DSMC2´s quite a bit already when they are announced.

    Already you can see that dealers are selling battle tested monstro´s quite cheap. I have no insight but, there is quite a big propabilty that they have and that they want to clear their inventory before the DSMC3´s are out. 23 something K USD for monstro as new would then be some sort of tell tail sign what prices and performance we can expect from DSMC3.

    Komodo on the other hand is what it is and will likely be improved a loti in terms of software so geting such, as I see it, is a smaller risk in a lot of ways and you can always upgrade later.
    Björn Benckert
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  4. #4  
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    Awesome, thanks a lot Steve and Björn!! I will definitely think about getting some small lights that I can carry around whenever I need extra lighting, great idea, thank you! As for getting a DSMC2 this late, I think you make a really good point! To be honest I've havent really considered the Komodo as it doesn't offer high frame rates, so I guess I'll wait for DSMC3 to be announced and see what they offer. Thanks again for your input! :)
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  5. #5  
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    My two cents on this.

    If I needed a camera now, I would not hesitate on one of the DSMC2's, but would be looking probably at the Helium, Gemini or Monstro.

    Yes DSMC3s might be in the horizon, but these cameras provide everything one needs for at least 5 more years of filmmaking (specially Helium and Monstro) . The Resolution, frame rates, color depth, etc. They are also cameras with proven workflows, cameras that most major post houses work well with, and you can actually get excellent deals in used gear.

    Obviously its a big investment, no doubt, but if you need a camera now and have the budget, I would say, don't hesitate to go on the big brothers vs going with the Komodo- which is also an excellent choice, but much more limiting in terms of frame rates and resolution (again, compared to Helium and Monstro) .
    Sérgio Perez

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  6. #6  
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    Might be worth looking at a BUMP12k -- it does 12k/60 and 8K/120 (more fps at 2.4:1 crop, which could be cropped to 16:9 for ~6k [6060x3408 up to 160fps, aka double Dragon-X at 6k and more resolution, since Dragon-X 6kHD is only 5568x3132]), and will be close in price to a Komodo, and require less horsepower in post (even at 12k).

    In terms of strictly low-light, none of the cameras mentioned will be as clean/bright as mirrorless. Sony mirrorless *start* at 1600ISO, which is more or less where Dragon-X would tap out. Gemini would get you to 3200 in LL mode, but that reduces the DR by a bit and as you say costs ~$10k more than Dragon-X (and less resolution), which itself is almost ~3x a BUMP12k (for a shootable Dragon).
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  7. #7  
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    Hi Sergio, would you recommend getting a used Helium or Monstro? Or should I get it new? If used is a good idea, how many hours would be considered good? Is 800-1000 too much?
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    Might be worth looking at a BUMP12k -- it does 12k/60 and 8K/120 (more fps at 2.4:1 crop, which could be cropped to 16:9 for ~6k [6060x3408 up to 160fps, aka double Dragon-X at 6k and more resolution, since Dragon-X 6kHD is only 5568x3132]), and will be close in price to a Komodo, and require less horsepower in post (even at 12k).

    In terms of strictly low-light, none of the cameras mentioned will be as clean/bright as mirrorless. Sony mirrorless *start* at 1600ISO, which is more or less where Dragon-X would tap out. Gemini would get you to 3200 in LL mode, but that reduces the DR by a bit and as you say costs ~$10k more than Dragon-X (and less resolution), which itself is almost ~3x a BUMP12k (for a shootable Dragon).
    Thanks for the info Mike! I'll take a look at the Ursa 12k!
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Mark A. Jaeger's Avatar
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    Phillippe: Just so you know: RED frequently has "battle tested" cameras that are fully functional and may have very low hours. They sell these for quite competitive prices. Before you come to conclusion IMO you should contact RED to see what is currently available. You may be pleasantly surprised.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark A. Jaeger View Post
    Phillippe: Just so you know: RED frequently has "battle tested" cameras that are fully functional and may have very low hours. They sell these for quite competitive prices. Before you come to conclusion IMO you should contact RED to see what is currently available. You may be pleasantly surprised.
    Great idea Mark, thanks!
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