RED Ups the Specs for Its New RAVEN, So…?

by Hugh Brownstone14 Comments

If you’re a DSLR or mirrorless ILC shooter, the name RED conjures up images of übermensch camera operators and well, magic (“What about Blackmagic,” you ask? Hold that thought.). A new “affordable” 4K RED – the RAVEN at $6,000 – was news-worthy when we posted about it in September, but now they’ve upped the sensor resolution to 4.5K. What does this mean?

First thing’s first: a $6K RED RAVEN is, according to folks much more knowledgeable than me, really $10K when you add the necessary bits and bobs.

But that might be OK, because this new RAVEN not only shoots in 4K, it shoots all the way up 120fps in 4K with a purported 16.5 stops of dynamic range– and records in RAW or Apple Pro Res. What other camera with Canon EF lens mount touches these specs at the price?

What other camera with any mount touches those specs at any price?

On the OTHER hand, like every camera, it has its limitations including the absence of internal neutral density filters and resolution only up to UHD at a 16:9 aspect ratio, even with the newly-spec’d 4.5K sensor.

But the real issue is: who is this for, since like beauty, affordability is in the eye of the beholder.

If you’re a DSLR or ILC shooter, an easier and more affordable step up might well be the (here it comes) Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K at $4995 with EF mount (also without internal ND however, nor the high frame rates, but it can shoot true Cinema 4K at 16:9), Sony FS5 at $5,599 (with neither full 4K – UHD only – nor the RAVEN’s higher 4K frame rates or EF mount, but hey, it’ll shoot up to 240fps in HD, matching the RAVEN; you can adapt just about any lens to its e-mount; it DOES have ND filters – a cool, electronic infinitely variable ND filter at that; and it has built-in 802.11N WiFi) or the FS5’s bigger brother FS7 which shoots Cinema 4K at 16:9, records at up to 60fps in full 4K and 180 fps in HD, and has as many options as an F22 Raptor.

OK, maybe not that many.

Then again, if you’re already shooting with a higher-end RED or ARRI looking for a B-cam – or you want to to move beyond Blackmagic – well, the RED RAVEN must be a fascinating proposition indeed.

Learn more at

RED RAVEN Will Now Be a 4.5K 120fps Camera Starting at $6K

RED RAVEN Will Now Be a 4.5K

Via No Film School:

Apparently RED's Jarred Land and Jim Jannard came together and worked out a way to squeeze just a bit more resolution out of the camera, by increasing the sensor size from 20.48mm to 23.04mm (a little over 2.5mm wider in the horizontal direction):

So Jim and I just had one of those Epic all-nighters working away in Stage 4…

Now it is morning.
and now Raven has become 4.5k.
23.04mm x 10.8mm
No additional cost to you…. just to us.
Brought to you by the wonderful engineers @ RED.

There's no point going over everything the RAVEN can do as it's already been written in detail in the previous posts (including the fact that this is really a camera costing well over $10,000 when all is said and done), but here are just some of the resolutions that we can expect now with updated specs (there are many more variations possible, including 3K and 2K):


  • Sensor size: 23.04mm x 10.8mm, Diagonal: 25.44mm (Previous RAVEN spec was 4K DCI and 20.48mm x 10.8mm)
  • Max Resolution: 4608 x 2160 (this is roughly correct based on 4.5K 2:1 of the DRAGON sensor)
  • 4.5K up to 120fps
  • 4.5K Full (2.13:1) — 1.62x crop, 4608 x 2160, 23.04mm x 10.8mm
  • 4.5K WS (2.37:1) — 1.73x crop, 4608 x 1944, 23.03 x 9.72 mm
  • 4K DCI (1.9:1) — 1.87x crop, 4096 x 2160, 20.48mm x 10.8mm
  • 4K HD (1.77:1) —1.96x crop, 3840 x 2160, 19.19mm x 10.8mm
  • Price: $6,000 body only, packages including media coming in around $10,000

Read full article at No Film School “RED RAVEN Will Now Be a 4.5K 120fps Camera Starting at $6K”

(cover photo credit: snap from No Film School)


  1. I still think $10,000 is pretty steep for a price. If Red really wants to go after the amateur filmmaking market it should cost $6,000 with a functional kit instead of 10k. Also what is the sweet spot for dynamic range? Visually the Alexa looks amazing at under 15 stops.  Red loves to puff up their specs a bit but they have lost a lot of the major production market to the Alexa. I would rather spend $5,000 for a Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6 with 15 stops that will shoot straight out of the box if you have a lens and CF flash card. I can see the Raven being popular for many but too expensive for me still, even as a rental because there are cheaper options.

  2. The Sony doesn’t deserve comparison with the other two in my opinion, because it won’t record 10 bit 4k internally. I don’t care about bells and whistles – I care about the image. You’ll never get the same image and gradability from an 8 bit image that you get from a 10 bit image. Once again, Sony won’t give you everything because they have to protect their higher end cameras. At the end of the day, the customer only cares about the image, and the Blackmagic has the best image for the money. I haven’t seen the image from the FS5, but if it’s typical Sony, it lacks the richness and skin tones of the Blackmagic.

  3. Steve Huedepohl  I understand. But I also understand that “different strokes for different folks” has stood the test of time for a reason, and of course there can be no unanimity on what’s important. Personally, I’m grappling these days with this question: in an era when most of us are distributing our work through the internet (which compresses the heck out of our footage) and most of that work will be seen on a mobile device with a display capable of no more than 5 or 6 stops of dynamic range, how much difference will the VIEWERS notice? I don’t have an answer yet, but it’s literally keeping me up at night. Of course for theatrical release the story is different, yet as planet5D reader and DP Randy Sellars pointed out to me just today, even a high-end theatrical digital projector only has 8 or 9 stops.  And for many people (changing subjects) grading from a log file is simply infeasible.  So I’m also wondering if we’ve overblown the 10-bit vs 8-bit, 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0 color sampling differences for a huge swath of our projects.

  4. RobertJackson5 Does RED want to go after the amateur market?  I don’t know.  The URSA Mini 4.6K is a very interesting camera, but I don’t think any camera will give you 15 stops “straight out of the box” – won’t it require shooting in log and grading the heck out of it afterward?  I truly don’t know the answer, which is why I’m asking.

  5. HughBrownstone Steve Huedepohl Certainly, your market will determine what quality and look you can afford and offer. However, remember that the public sees TV and movies everyday. That is what drives me to want to produce the highest quality possible. The public doesn’t care what camera you used, but they could immediately tell the difference between a typical youtube video and a TV show or movie, and they will judge your work by those standards. Also remember that a Hollywood movie has a certain look, even if it was played on a VHS tape! (Of course, that has to do with lighting and other factors as much as it does the camera, but they use high end cameras for a reason.) The issue is not what the final delivery format is, but what you need to capture in order to get a great image. A highly compressed 8 bit image gives you a baked in look and leaves you little to work with in post. A 10 bit image with 15 stops of latitude is not at all overkill. Once you sit down with Resolve and see what you can do with the image, it will amaze you. BTW, the best test for a camera is to look at how it produces skin tones. The subtle color gradations in skin tones are the most difficult to reproduce, especially in 8 bit. Canon has certainly done a better job in that area than most others, but you still need at least a 10 bit image to get great skin tones in my opinion. That’s one reason the still mode on a Canon DSLR is 14 bit, not 8.

  6. HughBrownstone BTW, 10 bit has 4 times the information in each channel than 8 bit. That’s why there is so much more information to work with in a 10 bit image. But there is no benefit in taking a native 8 bit image and recording it with a 10 bit external recorder.

  7. Steve Huedepohl HughBrownstone I hear you. But I’m not at all sure that one can ignore the delivery vehicle. In fact I am sure: one cannot. Want to do a test with me? I’m looking for planet5D readers to help me sort this once and for all!

  8. HughBrownstone Steve Huedepohl Sure, I’ll help, depending on what you are asking for and when I have the time. If by delivery vehicle you mean computer, phone, TV, etc., that will of course affect the look. I struggle all the time with trying to grade for all the various devices. You can’t control that.

  9. HughBrownstone RobertJackson5 Hugh, I had heard a rumor that Red was going after the amateur/small independent film folks with this camera. I believe it is because they were kind of losing the cinemas to the Alexa but of course the Dragon is still pretty new so that might be exaggerated a bit.  I think the great thing today is that there are so many great choices. Blackmagic kind of shook up the market with the first cinema camera for $3,000 and now some manufacturers are responding. I think it is amazing that we now have cameras that come close to, or at least compare, to ones that cost $50,000 or more. I do not personally run a production company so even the Ursa Mini 4.6k is kind of overkill for me right now. As a guy who does wedding videography though I might be more likely to grab a C100, despite it lacking in specs, over any of these cameras. I think the type of work you do is also very important to determine the camera choice. In those cases I care more about practical application then bit rates and dynamic range.

  10. But so far we still waiting for the MiniBlack magic and they don’t give any update something may be wrong with it and they still trying to fix it…

  11. Steve Huedepohl HughBrownstone Steve, it’s actually an open call to all planet5D readers: I’d love to see an ungraded log clip; a graded log clip; a REC709 clip; and a graded REC709 clip all at once, where both grades are done as well as possible.  I’ve never seen something like that before. Of course, if anyone has seen something like this, please point us there so we can take a look!  Thanks!

  12. RobertJackson5 HughBrownstone No argument from me! I think the C100 makes a great wedding cam, especially for someone already in the Canon family: it’s familiar, its ergos are very good, and whatever limitations it has in terms of dynamic range or low light sensitivity, these are unlikely to make a material difference to 99% of wedding shots (I still don’t like the EVF, but YMMV).  In fact, I can see how wedding videography would play to the C100’s strengths, including really nice skin tones.

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