RED have become a very influential and respected digital camera brand, especially in Hollywood with RED camera equipment being used in the majority of Hollywood films productions. Spiderman, Pirates of The Carribbean, Resident Evil: Retribution, The Hobbit, are just a few recent productions that have utilised RED digital camera equipment to full effect. RED’s EPIC 5K camera was its flagship product which really established itself as a game changer and contended Canon’s dominance in the film industry.
The latest offering the RED Scarlet-X was announced over a year ago, and got journalists very excited at the prospect of seeing a great advancement from the EPIC camera. Although, RED’s line of thought was different, a cheaper version of the EPIC camera that was just as capable of doing the job as pervious models. RED realised that many of the high-end specs with the EPIC camera went unused, so what they did was to create a baby EPIC that could be manufactured at a reasonable cost and the result was the Scarlet X.
RED cameras are very distinctive and this I think is part of their appeal. They are certainly a lot more robust than your average Canon or Nikon DSLR. Indeed, both the RED EPIC and Scarlet-X look and feel very similar, and that they could just about survive any kind of rough treatment and sill emerge from it unscathed. The Scarlet-X certainly doesn’t deviate away from what has become part of the brand recognition, and at 3.5kg (with the battery inside) it’s certainly not a light camera. When you have all the PL mount set-up and other accesories it definitely becomes a weighty rig.
Although, the Scarlet-X lacks the more advanced features of the EPIC such as high-speed 5K and 4K video it’s still a very capable camera. At 5K resolution the Scarlety X will shoot 6fps which is suitable for high quality stills photography and has a similar resolution to Canon EOS 7D etc. At 4K the Scarlet-X will shoot 1 to 24fps which is suitable for film making, and at QuadHD it will shoot 30 fps. You won’t find any deviation from the EPI also when it comes to the camera block (brain), inputs and outputs and also the various RED accessories will fit both cameras. But, what really stands out and makes this an awesome digital camera is the lens mount. The Scarelt-X comes with a Canon EF mount with autofocus support, or you can use the standard cinema PL mount. This is cetainly not possible on the C300, and just this alone provides a good enough reason for purchasing.
In terms of output it also outperforms Canon, providing 4K RAW for processing in RED’s compreshensive and free software. Furthermore, if you buy this camera now with RED’s modular system you’ll have no problems keeping the firmware and software up to date. Basically, it will be easy as pie to upgrade everything, and this is something Canon would never offer as it completely goes against their business model. Finally, the battery last about 30 minutes and charging took about 1hr and a half. On set you’ll have to have lots of spare batteries and a few 64GB memory discs, which goes into the side module, as each 64GB of memory discs will hold about 20 minutes of data. It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to recharge the batteries, so you’ll need 4 to 5 batteries and at least 2 chargers to continuously run the camera. The camera also incorporates the RED Touch LCD Touchscreen to view footage, but the only downside is that the camera cable is very short so you’re limited you want to place the LCD screen somewhere else (unless you have a longer cable)
Finally, the Scarlet-X camera is very competitively priced at US$9,750 (GBP6,000 / EUR7,000) for the Camera Brain plus a SSD (solid state disc drive). For a kit with battery, controller and LCD the cost will be around $14,000 (GBP8,700 / EUR10,000) depending on options.
Are you planning on buying the Scarlet-X we’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below?