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Old April 4th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #1
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First impressions of RED One for wildlife shooting

Got my RED yesterday, loaded the batteries and was ready to make first shooting today. Here's my first impression for those considering getting the camera for the same purpose.

Weight of equipment From the day making the order I've been wondering how heavy the system is for wildlife shooting. Now that I have the camera, I can say the camera itself is not that bad, and the LCD is superb. I put the camera on the top of a Manfrotto 510 fluid head and it was just ok. Did not find any problems there.

The batteries, hard disks, the cradle, the so called basic production pack are heavy and managing with those require some thinking. Especially, as the system stands now, starting the camera takes about a minute and it takes a lot of power when it's on whether one shoots or not. Don't know yet what kind of arrangement I'll make to manage, for instance, three days in a hide. What I know, a lot of power will be needed.

Using the camera The camera itself is rather well organized. In fact, my biggest problem was to get the body cap off. I simply was not brave enough to turn the head strong enough and had to ask the technical support for help. Needless to say, felt like an idiot, but their consolidation was, several people have asked for the same thing! Perhaps not a bad idea to explain this in the manual for us dummies.

After putting the camera on, the very first impression was, the LCD is wonderful compared to anything seen with video cameras. I'm one of those who never found the Canon XL-series EVF a practical problem like many others, but the natural color balance of the RED LCD straight out of the box and the sharpness was a new experience.

Once the camera was on, I had to go back and through the manual for ten minutes before realized the joystick can be rotated to make selections. Thereafter I was ready to shoot.

Image quality It's early to say anything in detail of the image quality, but, as you can guess, it's far better than what I've ever seen before with my cameras. Here are three samples. In each case there is a high constrast between highs and lows. In the past either the highs have been blown out or the darks have been really black. If you click the thumbnails, you'll see yourself the bright and dark tones are still there. In addition, the 4:4:4 color space makes all the difference compared to 4:2:0.

More to follow later on. Especially, once I get the Birger mount for Canon EF-lenses.





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Old April 5th, 2008, 09:18 AM   #2
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Interesting reading. I'm guessing the mult factor on EF lenses is going to be very low though due to the big sensor. Thus you'll have to carry BIG glass to get good telephoto reach and even getting to 1000mm is going to be tough!??
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Old April 5th, 2008, 04:01 PM   #3
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Day 2

Mat, the answer to your question depends on the chosen resolution. In the 4K mode the factor is about 1.4. In the 2K mode there's another factor of 2, so a 400m lens in the 2K mode corresponds to a 1100mm lens in a 35mm SLR camera.

More observations:

White balance and tint As RED stores the raw signal the white balance set is just metadata, and thus, insignificant. In addition to WB Red has also Tint. After experimenting with Tint I realized that's what I have missed in other video cameras for years. It's somewhat pity that this is the first camera I own having tint, for in case of RED it's just metadata. But with all the previous cameras I've had it would have really helped in getting natural colors. And that's what I find important in wildlife shooting.

LCD As already said yesterday, the LCD is very very good. Still, it has one shortcoming. The angle of view is quite narrow. I need also to make a sun shield for the LCD. This is not that straightforward as some buttons important for operating with the camera lie on the top of the LCD. Those buttons should not be covered by the sun shield.

User interface In my view The UI of REd is rather nice. The menu system is easy to learn and understand, and from the (wildlife shooting)operational point of view key functions -such as focusing tools and light meters- are easily and quickly accessed by pushing buttons. The impression is, the RED team have spent time designing the UI and making it functional.

Sensitivity The nominal ASA is 320 and in good light the lack of noise is very pleasant. I made some experiments with 500, 1000 and 1200 ASA. As it stands now, setting 1000 or higher reveals noise, but only time will show, what is the final word on this. I have build 13 in the camera and a PC and REDCINE PC-version is very much in beta stage. The tools are not yet really there and improvings are expected to come. I've seen some very nice low noise night shots made with RED, but currently don't know what kind of postprocessing it takes. I wasn't able to creqte similar stunning night images out of the box.

Summing up, RED has met so far my expectations. The really big factor for me was, I was after a camera whose image could be used say in 20 years. There's so much unique material shot over the years, which has become more or less useless. Nobody really wants 4:3 SD images nowadays. But, I can't go back and ask the animals to do it once more in some nice light conditions. The 4K format and 4:4:4 color space yields so much headroom above HD, that it creates a nice feeling the next unique moment captured may still meet the technical requirements in 20 years. There's a trade-off with the mass of the equipment, but I guess, right now I'm ready to take that. We'll see what's the situation later on.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lauri Kettunen View Post
There's so much unique material shot over the years, which has become more or less useless. Nobody really wants 4:3 SD images nowadays. But, I can't go back and ask the animals to do it once more in some nice light conditions.
that's it...that's exactly it...

thanks for the comprehensive review...now i want to go back and play with TINT and see what it does.
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Old April 7th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #5
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Day 3 & 4

Dynamics I've been testing the camera in utmost situations to find out to which extent should I overexposure highlights in high contrast situations. The dynamics of RED is better than anything I've seen before, but still, it seems one should control carefully the balance between highlights in highly contrast situations. Increasing the lows seem to generate noise, at elqast with build 13. Maybe that's one of those things which will change in build 16.

LCD Yesterday when I was shooting I suddenly heard several whopper swans flying towards me. So, I pointed the camera in the direction where the sound was coming from and finally saw the flock. But, for my big surprise, I was not able to find the birds in the LCD. The situation went over in a few seconds and I missed the birds. Such thing had not happened to me after the first years of shooting. But, as soon as the situation was over I realized where the problem was; In all still and videocameras I've had, the viewfinder has always pointed in the same direction as the camera. But in RED, I can set the LCD pointing in any direction. I had set an angle around 30 degress between the LCD and the lens, and for this reason what ever is hardwired in my nerves and muscles over the years was totally confused. I wasn't aware that subconsiously and instinctly I follow the surrounding with my other eye all the time and this helps me to stay on chart! As soon as the LCD and lens did not point in the same direction, I got confused.

Did I already say the LCD is very very nice? In fact, yesterday the colors I saw by naked eye and those in the LCD was so close to each other that for a short moment thought I do not miss an optical viewfinder at all. The WB and Tint is a great tool. Speaking of those, I quite don't understand why there is not a setting in which the light meter did not depend on the chosen WB. If I've processed it right, as long as no pixel is not clipped, one should be on the safe side in post, and this is independent of the WB. Still, have to check I'm not mistaken somewhere.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 01:25 AM   #6
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100 fps demo

Here's a 100 fps demo of tits. It's a rather big Cineform avi file.

http://www.luontovideo.net/SlowMotion1-2K.avi

If you don't have a Cineform codec, you can download the free Neo-player form Cineform's homepage.

A common problem when filming tits is to prevent the white cheek from clipping. Especially, the cheek of the great tits gets easily burned. Here, it's just on the limit.

An observation It has been around +2 to +5C here. It seems the batteries can run the camera quite a lot longer outdoors than indoors. This boils down to the Ohmic losses generated within the camera. Cooling outdoors is more effective and thus less power is transferred into heat.
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Old April 11th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #7
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Hi Lauri

Downloaded cineforms NEO but your file only plays for about 5 secs and stops/corrupts !?

Cheers
Mat
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Old April 12th, 2008, 12:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat Thompson View Post
Downloaded cineforms NEO but your file only plays for about 5 secs and stops/corrupts
There's some unknown problem with the server. I've tried to ask the operator to sort it out, but no change. However, here are two Window media files which are much smaller:

1920 x 1080: www.luontovideo.net/SlowMotion-HD.wmv
1280 x 720: www.luontovideo.net/SlowMotion-720.wmv
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Old April 12th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #9
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wow, the bokeh on these shots is dreamy...I'm having some similar results. This is the best part about shooting with these cameras...and I love the color control of the RAW workflow.

This is a very nice shot. How are you getting such good results outputting to .wmv - you must have a good PC workflow? I don't work on a PC, but I wonder what you have figured out, to get such pretty images? Since there has been so much complaining about the lack of PC workflow, this might be useful info to share.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 01:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Meryem Ersoz View Post
How are you getting such good results outputting to .wmv - you must have a good PC workflow?
The RED raw r3d-files were opened in REDCINE. Then adjusted exposure, colors etc. and exported the output to tif-files. In a Premiere Cineform 2K project imported the files with Import file and Automate to sequence commands. Finally, exported the wmv files with Export -> Adobe Media Encoder.

My plan is to use the Cineform workflow after RED releases the SDK.
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Old February 24th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #11
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Birger EF-mount arrived

After 14 1/2 months after making the order finally got the Birger EF-mount. It's a wonderful piece of work and seems to have some surprises that are not yet announced. I live now in the hope that the bluetooth knob, that will make it possible to set the aperture and focus, will also arive soon. That's going to be very a very useful piece of equipment when shooting from a hide. If the knob is delayed, I'm going to program the same functions into my mobile phone (Nokia E90), for I'll really need this in the spring.

My camera is now in the audio board & i-pin upgrade, so I'm not yet able to give good examples of shots taken with EF-lenses. Nevertheless, I can already say, the image quality with the L-series lenses is just wonderful. Once I get the camera back will also post examples of shots taken with the 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #12
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Filters & Red One in cold conditions

During this winter just by reading the histograms of the LCD I've realized how blue is the light of an ordinary winter day at this latitude. As the natural white balance of the Red One sensor is aroubd 5000K, the blue channel signal is typically at least one stop bigger than the red and green ones. So, to minimize noise in red and green channels it makes sense to filter the blue channel. The easy rule to find the right filter is: The best filter is the one that yields white balance closest to 5000K.

Of course, one should not use the filters if there's not enough light. I mean, filters are useful only when the blue channel clips (enough). If it doesn't, then filtering just added unnecessary noise to the blue channel.

I've been experimenting with 85B, 85C and pure yellow filters and they work out fine. In some cases the 85B&C filters give a gentle and nice "boost" on the red and yellow colors, and the pure yellow filters brighten yellows. For example, I discovered in an ordinary gray winter day, the yellow spots of the Bohemian waxwings (if you don't know the bird, click here) become clean yellow instead of kind of "washed yellow".

Then the other issue. Red One takes about 60W of power, which is quite a lot. Just think of a bulb of 60W. It's the same amount of power generated to heat. However, in the winter time there are some bonuses. First of all, if it's really cold, the camera remains cold and consequently the internal heat losses remain small. So, the same battery that last for 90 minutes in the summer can run the camera up to 2 hours when it's cold.

Secondly, due to the heat the camera body is never that cold, so operating without gloves works out even in very cold conditions for a while. Furthermore, small snow flakes etc. evaporate quickly from the camera. When bringing the camera indoors, I've just kept the camera on, and in couple minutes all humidity disappears.

However, not everything is perfect in cold; The Red EVF does not work in cold. Besides, personally I prefer the LCD over the EVF. In my eyes the LCD has more tones in bright whites, such as on snow fields, and thus find the LCS more pleasant. And in a hide, the LCD is very convinient. Though, one has to make sure one's face lit by the LCD does not appear like a light source for the birds or animals outside the hide.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 04:40 PM   #13
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Now I know the bird, thank you Lauri.

J Paltomaki is some photographer as well. The light in Finland was great in early November '06 (f/9.0 and 1/1000) and the berries were irresistible in the cold .... may have nothing to do with your RED but very pretty pictures of waxwings.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 06:02 AM   #14
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The REDONE has intrigued me since its release and took a serious look at it before I ended up purchasing an EX-3 as I needed a smaller camera for the 'run and gun' style productions I'm producing at the moment.

Very useful user review!

Can you do Varicam-style frame-ramping during a shot like you can with a Super-16mm?

Your footage looks stunning!

Happy shooting,

Paul
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Old March 14th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #15
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In the wonderland of modern electronics

My Red One audio board and i-pins were upgraded so now I have all the pieces of puzzle together.

Since during the upgrade the camera was returned back to release build 18 I wanted to update in back to beta build 18. Once did this all the lens data disappeared from the LCD so had to go back to the menus and switch all necessary options on. But still no lens data. So, I thought it's a problem of build 18 and downgraded back to build 17. Again, no data on the LCD. Next, I thought, ok, let's connect the Birger EF-mount to a laptop and let's see then what happens. But now, the laptop did not find a Bluetooth signal from the EF-mount.

Well, I'm not sure what I did, but eventually got the radio link between the laptop and the mount. Still no lens data on the LCD. Back to the menus and then, toggling the lens data off and back to on finally the lens data appeared after a few second delay on the LCD. (The default is the lens data is always on). Then upgraded the camera back to build 18, repeated the same thing, and yes, everything was ok.

Then once started to go through my lens arsenal founded that all the long tele lenses are dead. No reaction with the camera what so ever. Checked them with an EOS body and everything was ok. So, this revealed the problem is somewhere within the mount and camera. After changing some emails with Birger -so nice that Erik answered immediately on Saturday morning- the source of problem were spotted.

I'm trying to say, these modern cameras are wonderful, but also, at this stage the camera user has to be prepared to some issues. After getting the camera back from the upgrade I've spent about 8-10 hours fine tuning the system and I consider myself pretty good with all modern technology. So, today I started to wonder, if one does not have any background in technical matters, at this point this modern route could be somewhat a challenge. Everything will change and work perfectly after a while but as things are now, we are not yet there.

So, I'm still only planning about posting images taken with EF 600mm lens as I have for almost a year. I did test already some time ago the old Canon FD 150-600mm lens and the image was great.

Please don't read this as a negative comment. Instead, I'm very excited about the camera and the Birger mount. It's a wonderful combo, but I'm saying some patient is needed at this point.
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