Ever wanted a lowlight capable RED camera? Well, RED has a new option for the EPIC-W cinema camera with the new GEMINI 5K S35 sensor.
The Gemini uses large pixels and is an S35 5K 30.72mm x 18mm sized sensor that RED claims are 2 stops more sensitive than Helium. The Gemini sensor is housed in a custom DMSC2 body and can shoot 5K at up to 96fps. The larger the pixels, the more surface area they have to capture light. Photosite size is referred to as pixel pitch. Large photosites have a large pixel pitch and small photosites have a small pixel pitch. Larger photosites are more receptive to light. They capture more information and have strong signal strength. Smaller photosites gather less light. Transforming their low signal strength into digital information results in more recorded noise.
At 30.72mm x 18mm, the sensor is larger than a RED EPIC-W Helium but smaller than the RED WEAPON Monstro. The crop factor of 1.22x also means the field of view will be just a little bit wider than the EPIC-W Helium.
The RED Gemini S35 low light sensor was originally made for a “very special customer” for use in outer space. That “very special customer” RED is talking about, is undoubtedly Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and lead designer of SpaceX, and co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla. There are not too many people with their own space programs, and it’s probably not NASA, as they been primarily using Canon cameras for capturing video footage in space for quite a few years now.
The name Gemini is undoubtedly paying homage to the NASA space program of the same name. Project Gemini was NASA’s second human spaceflight program, that took place between projects Mercury and Apollo the 1960’s.
RED states the new GEMINI 5K S35 sensor is the highest sensitivity sensor to date with incredible dynamic range and produces cinematic quality images with less noise and better shadow detail.
The sensor is 300 pixels taller than the standard RED sensor to maximize the verticle resolution for anamorphic shooting.
Key features of the EPIC-W with GEMINI 5K S35 sensor
- New 15.4 Megapixel 5K S35 sensor that delivers optimized low-light performance
- 30.72 mm x 18 mm (Diag: 35.61 mm)
- Dual sensitivity sensor provides greater flexibility for a variety of shooting environments
- Seamless switching between Standard and Low Light modes
- Cinematic image quality
- Rated at 16.5 stops Dynamic Range
- Ships with IPP2
- 5K up to 96 fps Full Format
- 4K up to 30 fps and 2K up to 120 fps using ProRes or Avid
- Simultaneously record REDCODE plus ProRes or Avid
- Up to 275 MB/s write speeds
- Interchangeable lens mount
- Future-proofed (accessories can be used with all DSMC2 cameras) and available with RED ARMOR-W
- Full modularity and a small, lightweight design
The low light mode will clip the highlights about 2-stops earlier than in standard mode. When in low light mode the dynamic range shifts about 2-stops as well. This effectively gives you approximately 2-stops more in the shadows. RED states that the images captured in lowlight mode at ISO 3200 will be as clean as 800 ISO in the standard range.
It’s great to see improvements in lowlight capture for all cameras. This year we are seeing more cameras adapt the two ISO standards on a single sensor. VariCam has had this tech for some time and the new Panasonic GH5s also incorporated dual ISO that works very well on an MFT sensor.
The new EPIC-W Brain with GEMINI 5K S35 sensor retails for $24,500.00 and is available now. As far as upgrades are concerned, here is what is currently known.
Upgrade/Sensor Swap options:
• DSMC2 WEAPON HELIUM > Can upgrade or RA-W to GEMINI for $4950.
• DSMC2 WEAPON DRAGON > Can upgrade or RA-W to GEMINI for $4950.
• DSMC2 EPIC-W HELIUM > Can upgrade to GEMINI for $4950.
(Upgrades will start somewhere in that 2nd batch, end of April/May)
What do you think about the Gemini? Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments section below.