RED has started shipping two new cameras, the EPIC-W and the WEAPON 8K S35. We have previously seen the RED DRAGON 8K VV and HELIUM 8K Super 35mm released in very limited numbers and now the company is offering all RED shooters an upgrade path to the 8K sensor, or the chance to purchase a brand new camera.
The EPIC-W captures 8K at up to 30 fps and produces ultra-detailed 35.4 megapixel stills and offers Super 35 lens coverage. Additionally, EPIC-W is capable of incredibly fast data speeds up to 275 MB/s. The WEAPON 8K S35 features data speeds up to 300 MB/s and the ability to capture 8K (full frame 8192 x 4320) up to 60 fps. The WEAPON 8K S35 can also be upgraded to the RED DRAGON 8K VV.
One of the biggest differences between the EPIC-W and WEAPON 8K S35 is frame rates. The EPIC-W is capable of 8K 2.40×1 at up to 30fps, while the WEAPON 8K S35 is capable of 8K 2.40×1 recording at up to 75fps. On the EPIC-W if you want to exceed 30fps you need to do a sensor crop.
You can either purchase the EPIC-W 8K S35 for $29,500 US (for the camera BRAIN) or choose to trade in your existing EPIC/SCARLET-X DRAGON camera to the new EPIC-W. If you choose to upgrade, you will be able to for $14,500 US. You can also upgrade your EPIC/SCARLET-X DRAGON to a WEAPON 8K S35 for $34,500 US.
The WEAPON 8K S35 is $49,500 US for the BRAIN, or again you can choose to trade in your WEAPON MAGNESIUM 6K for the WEAPON 8K for $15,000 US. If you own a WEAPON CARBON FIBRE 6K you can trade your camera in for $4750 US.
Existing owners of the SCARLET-W 5K can upgrade to a RED EPIC-W or WEAPON 8K S35 for $19,500 US and $39,500 US respectively.
Unfortunately all these upgrade prices are only eligible to people who have taken delivery of their cameras before October 11th 2016.
If you happen to still own a RED MYSTERIUM or MYSTERIUM-X sensor camera you can upgrade to a EPIC-W for $19,500 US – this includes the original RED ONE. As all these upgrades can be quite confusing I have included all the upgrade information at the bottom of this article.
While 8K delivery and broadcast is still a long way off, it is good to see RED continue to offer an upgrade path on their cameras. Many RED owners will be more than content sticking with 6K, certain high end applications will welcome the extra resolution. The big thing to remember here is that 8K is nearly double the data of 6K, which means that you will need a pretty powerful computer, and your edit, render, and grading times will greatly increase. Whether anyone will be able to tell the difference between DRAGON 6K at 4:1 versus Helium 8K at 6:1 when they are downscaled for a 4K DCP deliverable is questionable.
Of course if you are still finishing in HD, 8K is going to offer you a lot of post flexibility for cropping into your image while retaining a lot of detail. Resolution aside, where users may see the biggest difference upgrading to the new Helium sensor is in low light conditions. The 8K sensor looks to have a lot less noise than its 5K and 6K siblings, as well as better colour science according to those shooters lucky enough to already be using one.
Below is a full list of the upgrade paths that are available: