RED Outs a Slew of Upgrades That Include The Newest 8K Weapon System

Built on years of experience with creating the film industry's favorite high-resolution digital cinema cameras, RED now brings the Weapon upgrade in 6K variants due out this summer and in an 8K variant due to ship by the end of the year. There's quite a bit of new information to go with this announcement, but for now, we'll go over the main and most important points.

RED's upgrade processes have always made sense and are more often than not set up in a way that is in the best interest of its customers (rewarding them for earlier loyalty, etc.), but that doesn't mean they haven't been difficult to understand at times.

The RED Weapon system introduce numerous software/firmware and hardware upgrades that begin with a 6K Weapon magnesium or carbon fiber brain (bare camera, for RED novices). The body material is not the only difference in those models, however, as the magnesium model will offer only 60fps ProRes at 2K as opposed to the 120fps that the carbon fiber model will allow.

ProRes? Yes. That's one huge, new feature: the Weapon system will offer simultaneous internal recording of a full-resolution R3D RAW master with 2K ProRes proxies. Both can be recorded onto the internal media at the same time, or one can choose to record the master to the media while sending the 2K ProRes over a tethered Ethernet connection. Needless to say, this will be a DIT's and editor's new best friend, saving countless hours of transcoding to more easily editable formats (for video newbies, this is like having Lightroom Smart Previews shot right alongside your RAW files so you don't need to wait to have them created on your computer. You can edit much more quickly and efficiently with the smaller preview files. It's just like that, only way more helpful for video since you're shooting a minimum of 24 of these per second likely for several hours a day).

RED purchasers that want greater-than-6K resolution can also now opt for an 8K sensor that perhaps more interestingly, if not also quite helpfully, features a slightly-larger-than VistaVision format at 40.96mm x 21.6, which is the normal "photographic" 35mm frame (as opposed to the super 35mm frame size, which has a horizontal width equal to the width of a 35mm frame as opposed to its vertical height). The final output resolution is greater than 35 megapixels at 8192 x 4320 pixels (at a roughly 1.9:1 aspect ratio). While features and specs are scant, we do know the 8K Weapon will be able to shoot a very healthy and still-generous 60fps at its full resolution or up to 75fps at a slightly scaled-down 2.4:1 aspect ratio.

Those who need the upgrade likely already know that today (April 16th) is the last day to order the "upgrade" to a 8K Weapon system for $10,000 in addition to the $49,500 that the base 6K carbon fiber Weapon will cost. Tomorrow, that upgrade price doubles to $20,000. That puts the total future price of an 8K Weapon brain-only system at $69,500. Those that put down the required 50% upgrade deposit (and who pony up the full 6K price) will get a 6K Weapon in the summer to hold them over until the 8K sensor upgrade is ready.

Other Weapon features include dual monitor outputs, the removal of the front fans and better thermal management for less noise, increase in speed to record to media by 50%, integrated/internal wireless control capabilities, integrated dual front microphones, and automatic sensor calibration between 1/8s and 1/8000s exposure times. A new external LCD monitor connects directly to the brain without the need for a cable. For those that want some distance between the LCD or EVF and the brain, adapters and cables are still available.

RED continues to show its commitment toward compatibility across its platform as it promises all of the current accessories will fit relatively cost-effectively either directly within the Weapon system or via additional accessories or adapters. Credits between $2,500 and $22,500 are also available for those upgrading anywhere from the Scarlet to the most recent Epic-M Dragon-series brains.

[Via NoFilmSchool and DPReview]

Adam Ottke's picture

Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out film rentals!

Log in or register to post comments

I guess I'm the only one to disclaim: speechless and extreme sticker shock! Hands still working ;)

Beh, I can still see the pixels. Next!

RED is now fighting the law of diminishing returns. They were the pioneer and are now blazing a trail where few will follow to invest. Good luck to them in the new reality of $995 4K cameras.

Cool skeleton logo aside, I summarily skimmed and article-hopped within seconds

RED has never been competing in the 1000$ range. And they don't need to, they make production cameras. You can't just pick up a RED and start shooting like you can with a GH4. They make sense in a production environment. With a crew, time and operators for a full rig, editors with an editing system that can handle raw footage and more importantly a reason to be shooting at > 4k RAW.

For a photo analogy, it's like a medium format digital camera... it makes sense for very few people, but those that do don't mind breaking the bank.

Yet I can get a Blackmagic Ursa Mini (which is a production camera) and have almost the same exact image for $5000

Says the person who has never shot with a Blackmagic Ursa Mini and probably never used a Red.