Buying a RED Cinema Camera for Under $2,000

As more and more cameras are released, older cameras continue to fall in value despite the chasm between spec sheets shrinking. But how does a 14-year-old RED camera fare today?

I've clicked few videos quicker than this one and that is for two reasons. The first is that I am writing an article about using older cameras. The second is that I have bought several older cameras for a fraction of their original price that used to be top of their field. So, is it worth it?

The RED ONE is a 14-year-old cinema camera by one of the big names in the industry: RED. The cheapest modern RED digital cinema camera that you can get your hands on today is $5,995 for the KOMODO 6K, but that is as entry-level as they go. Many of their range exceed $20,000, boxing out most videographers from ever owning one. However, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter managed to find the RED ONE for just $1,300. But, is it worth it?

I haven't used this camera, so you'll have to listen to Pike's expert opinion on that. What I can say — and again, I have an article coming out soon on this subject with a focus on stills rather than video — is there is a lot of bang for your buck to be had with older cameras. Though digital cameras have been progressing with their technology for decades now, they suffer the same sort of diminishing returns that all technology does. That means (usually) that if you're happy to miss out on the new, shiny features and sacrifice some of your spec sheet, you can come away with some pretty incredible gear.

Have you ever bought older equipment that used to be extremely expensive? How did it go?

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Rory Rafuse's picture

Always worth checking into older quality items. Not related to my photography, but recetly bought a high end vehicle whose original price was $143,000 but I purchased for $28,000. After a few key repairs and some research into various warranty coverage from the manufacturer (not advertised, but available), the thing is like new and will be amazing for years - all I miss out on are a few features around phone pairing and other things I don't care about. I'm sure the same must apply to older phot gear that was well made. Same for music, etc.

Tom Anderson's picture

Still can’t believe you can pick up an old Red for $2k now... the same camera that shot District 9! Yes it’s clunky and you have to baby it in order for to function, but it’s worth it for that MX sensor alone. Great post :)

Stephen Strangways's picture

I used a RED ONE when it was new, and although the raw files are a joy to work with, shooting with a gigantic 20 pound rigged up camera that takes 90 seconds to boot and chews through batteries faster than you can charge them is not something I ever want to go back to.