Some of the First Footage from RED's Epic Dragon

Recently director Moark Tola got the chance to spend 2 days testing out RED's Epic Dragon and has shared the results with all of us. I'm not going to lie, I've always been afraid that the day would come when a videographer could pull any frame a video and call it photography. Now you are only $29k (the price of an Epic Dragon brain) away from being able to do just that. Then again, I suppose you could use it to make kick-ass videos. This video shows the capabilities of Red Dragon's 6k sensor. Enjoy and drool.


Mark Toia:
“The Red Dragon sensor has 3 F STOPS more than before. 1 in the hight lights which rolls over wonderfully !, 2 solid extra stops in the darks…. maybe 3 once the colour science has been perfected.
But there is still noise, but nothing like before. I ran some 250d 2k film rushes next some of my 4000asa stuff, And silly as it sounds, it looks like film grain, not noise. Don't ask me how, as I wouldn't have a clue. But it looks great !
Red Dragon now has the best highlight fall off I have ever seen from any digital camera. Beating film! Big call I know, but after shooting film and pushing it around in telecine chains for more than a decade, I can categorically say that this new sensor has a better range than film ever had.
Single still frames compared to a top of the line professional 35mm Digital stills cameras, I'm going to say that the EPIC matches, if not betters most. Don't ask me how they do it, but every single frame from the DRAGON is 109meg !! @16bit when saved as a tiff from RCX. and at 100 Frames per second, I tell you this… someone has sold there sole to the devil.
If you are a pro photographer, you are mad if you don't have this camera in your tool box. You quite literally will never miss a single shot.
Is Dragon better than 65mm Film…. (with good lenses) YES. No shit…
The images out of the Dragon are so smooth now… so so smooth, like low asa large format film.
The Dragon is more stable than my current MX EPIC's.
The SONY F65 I rate as having the best sensor in the market for a production cine camera. Yes.. it's better than the EPIC- MX. (I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons).
Even Jim knows that Sony have done very well with the F65 sensor and that was obviously pissing him off, because his new Dragon sensor has just given the the F65 notice.
All the F65 SONY purists out there will dispute this. But I have Sony files here with me, and I'm looking at both side by side… and Dragons grain (noise) structure is cleaner and it has more range.
Dragon is now the King. (AND… I'm not going to harp on about the size of it or the price comparisons). or did I ..ha !
The single one sentence i can say that can sum up everything is this..
It's the first camera ever that I have used that captures exactly what I see with my own eye.
Never have I seen this before. !”


via [Planet5D]
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Nathan Hamler's picture

what are the decimal values and the ratio values that are noted on each frame? shutter angle? Dynamic range?? cant figure it out......someone enlighten me....

Matthew Wagg's picture

That'll be compression ratios. From Red's site 12 and 16-bit RAW : Compression choices of 18:1 to 3:1

Nathan Hamler's picture

So what are the Decimal values? Like the frame above says 1000 iso / 100fps / that supposed to be 17.1:1?

Jose's picture

I think the decimal in the frame above is just a typo. supposed to be 17:1

Francesco Ferraro's picture

I also don't understand some noted like these:

250iso pushed in RCX to 4000iso 25fps / 8:1 (3.24)

f45 highlight / f22 ambient / f4 shadow - 250iso - 87fps - 17:1 (4.22)

=D's picture

The original footage was shot in 250iso, then pushed to 4000 iso in RedCine X pro (RCX) It was shot in 25 frames per second (FPS).

The highlights (bright areas) were at an f45 and ambient (darker in this case) areas were at an f22 and the shadow (darkest) were at a f4. The camera had the range to capture everything, whereas another would have overblown whites and almost pitch blacks for the highlights and shadows (over exaggeration)

Hope that helps.

Francesco Ferraro's picture

Thank you so much! Very helpful!

Bert McLendon's picture

Holycrap! That is some serious detail. I would dare to say it looks like the equivalent of Phase One detail for video... =) Crazy!

Matthew Wagg's picture

Its 6mp. Regular HD is 2mp, 4k is 4mp and 6k is 6mp. Its got a way to go to measure up with the detail pullable from film which at 35mm can pull 65mp of info off a frame. 120 film, the closest to 65mm film can pull 200mp+ off a good wet mount drum scan. 4x5 and 8x10 film much much more.

As for the dynamic range, the first time its shown its f3.5-f32 Thats only 7 and a half stops. Second time its shown, its F2.8 to f22 Again its only 7 stops. 8 stops on the car but that highlight has no detail in it at all.

What's so impressive about that?

So 21k for a 6mp camera with a 7-8 stop range? If you're telling me I want one of those to pull stills nope. I'd rather spend that kinda money on a Pentax 645D and a couple of lenses. That'd be a much better spend for a stills photographer and at 39mp with a dynamic range of over 10 stops. I wonder which I'd rather buy.
Fanboys and their measurbation...

Nathan Hamler's picture

4k is 8.2mp.....

Jose's picture

actually 6K on dragon is 6144x3160. That is equivalent to 19.4MP

And the range is much higher than 7 or 8 stops lol. You can clearly see that in the video with your naked eye.
They are advertising 16.5 stops but still that remains to be tested. This was an ungraded video (he did a one pass in RCX) so the data in the highlights may still be present in the RAW but need to be brought back into the viewable colorspace

Matthew Wagg's picture

This is what happens when I post a lot tired. I completely missed out the square.

The dynamic range of what they're quoting on the video is what I was commenting about.

taoisms's picture

What program is RCX?

Luke Lee's picture

I'm impressed. The clips are beautifully detailed and I wouldn't really have problem pulling one of the frames out for a fine print.
But I still have doubts for one of those replacing photography itself.
I think we, photographers, had this sort of threat since the beginning (from life-like paintings, digital age to HD, 4K and now 6K) It will just be another generation of creative arts of one kind... I think.

Mansgame's picture

Even with the high resolution, picking out frames doesn't work too well since the shutter speeds are much lower (1/60th of a second or perhaps a little higher). With fast shutter speeds on video, motion doesn't look natural. The midset of a videographer is also different than a photographer where the photographer tries to capture a moment in a single frame while the video guy has to tell the story using multiple frames. In other words, photography is safe.

Anthony N's picture

Can someone explain the two different f #s? (i.e. Highlights f32, Forest Floor f3.5) Two different f-stops at once?

Albert Manduca's picture

They are telling you how bright the two different areas are. The Forest floor is at f3.5 the stuff coming thru is f32, that's 11 stops difference and the camera has no problem showing the detail in the shadows without clipping the highlights. That type of dynamic range is exciting as far as I'm concerned. Being a filmmaker and a photographer, I see this thing as a cinema camera, but I could imagine pulling stills being very useful for some jobs/clients..

Matthew Wagg's picture

How did you arrive at 11 stops?
F3.5 is half a stop to f4. Then it goes f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32.

pheromones's picture

That's 6 1/2 stops difference NOT 11.

Albert Manduca's picture

I'm super impressed. I love the increased latitude, and even in those un-graded shots you can really see the detail retention in the shadows even when the highlights are between 7-11 stops brighter. I still want to see color tests though, how it the color science of the camera going to stack up against Sony F55 and Alexa... We will see, I just hope I get to play with one sooner than later... PS: Sony F55 is amazing, so red HAS to be on point here..

Adam T's picture
Kenn Tam's picture

Fixed it. Thanks for the catch Chillywilson.

Trenton Meador's picture

This is amazing. I can't wait to see some of the final post processed stuff that will come out of this camera.

I am more of a photographer so I am not sure what is RSX & RCX?

Jose's picture

RCX is RedCineX, red's own raw video software where you can do some basic one pass color.

I think RSX was a typo, supposed to be RCX

Joel Devereux's picture

Out of all the places to test, it ends up being Brissy :) woop PS Brisbane has some of the harshest light in the world, so fitting place to test DR :)

Joel Devereux's picture

Out of all the places to test, it ends up being Brissy :) woop PS Brisbane has some of the harshest light in the world, so fitting place to test DR

james martin's picture

all these overloaded "high K" gear that no-mainstream medium can keep up with it's only
killing our pockets

Travis Smith's picture

Someone sold the bottom of a location's shoe to the devil? Interesting.

If i Ruled the World's picture

super cool...