Now that I gave you a backstory and enough talk about everything BUT the review, I can say it was well worth the wait. I am absolutely satisfied (somewhat) in this camera with no gripes or complaints (sort of)!
I’ll “begin” by explaining how this is RED’s new DSMC2 generation of cameras. DSMC stands for Digital Stills Motion Camera and 2 for it being the second generation of body style. The DSMC2 is more modular, smaller and a lighter solution for RED that allows more ease at user customization, drone and gimbal rigging, as well as overall mobility of the camera. I am a fan of the body style and for those wishing to achieve that “big-budget camera look,” trust me, this thing can be built up as large and heavy as the rest of the bunch if need be!
The camera uses the Dragon sensor, which is significantly improved upon its predecessor, the MX sensor. This sensor allows for higher dynamic range, better abilities in low-light, as well as better managing compression rate ratios in camera, which basically allows you to shoot at higher compression rates without negatively effecting the quality of your image.
RED can be confusing with its name, labels, camera body, sensors, etc. You often find clients asking for a RED Epic, which could mean Epic as in the style and build of the camera, which there is a DSMC and a DSMC2 version, as well as there is an Epic with a MX sensor, and a Epic with a Dragon sensor, as well as an Epic with a 8K Helium sensor known as the Epic-W. You can ask for a RED Dragon, and technically, you may think you mean Epic Dragon, but you end up with a RED Scarlet Dragon or even a RED Raven which is indeed a Dragon sensor! Or you can ask for a RED Scarlet, which could be a RED Scarlet MX sensor DSMC body, or a RED Scarlet Dragon, or a RED Scarlet W, Dragon sensor, DSMC2 body. And now we have the new Helium sensors and can shoot anywhere between 4K and 8K and a RED Scarlet MX can shoot 4K while a RED Scarlet Dragon and Scarlet-W can shoot 5K while a RED Raven Dragon can shoot 4.5K. Are you still following? Good!
The RED Raven is a DSMC2 generation body style with a Dragon sensor that shoots in 4.5K RAW and 2K ProRes! Now, does this camera replace any camera in RED’s arsenal? Kind of yes, kind of no, its kind of in its own league. RED is very strategic in making sure its cameras service a very specific need so as to not obsolete its relative cameras. RED Raven is more advanced than a RED Scarlet MX and it is also more advanced than a RED Epic MX, in some ways, except a RED Epic MX can shoot 5K, while the RED Raven is 4.5K, But the Raven can shoot ProRes, where the original Epic can’t, and the Raven can handle compression rates better, but has a slightly narrower field of view making it slightly less effective in low-light, but technically, it can handle low-light a little better due to the Dragon sensor, as well as handle compression rates more effectively, so technically, it should be able to perform better in low-light than an Epic MX. See what I mean? They perform similar to Apple, where they have a MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro. They know their market, they offer something for everyone, yet just because you get a RED Raven doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a Scarlet-W, and vice versa. So, if you’re reading this wondering which one is best for you, it depends! (And a post comparing the RED Raven and RED Scarlet-W will be coming up shortly in the near future! My business partner recently received his RED Scarlet-W so expect it very soon!)
So, what can this camera do? Let’s get to the long and short of it. (I’ve pretty much already gave you the long!)
-It records ProRes in 2K either stand-alone or simultaneously with RAW recording.
-It has lower compression ratios and handles higher compression ratios better than previous sensor.
-It has auto sensor calibration which means it auto black shades)
-It DOES NOT have 3D LUT support. (they left this feature for its Scarlet-W, Weapon and Epic-W line of cameras)
*The work around I have for this is I own a SmallHD 701 monitor that I load my LUTs on and use that as reference
-It has built in WiFi
-It is lighter! It is smaller! It is modular!
-It shoots in 4.5K up to 120fps! (240fps in 2K)
-16.5+ stops of dynamic range!
-It has a FIXED EF mount. (No PL option here!)
-It has a FIXED Standard OLPF. (No swapping!)
-You know what? You can get all this stuff on RED.com! Go there and read up on the tech specs! Let’s keep moving!