As a marketing ploy, it works: people like transparency. The downside is that tech development always has a moving target, so this approach can open you up to charges of inconsistency. But for those that understand the process, it's pretty refreshing.
Here's the latest "leak from RED: news, apparently, that their new Dragon sensor is capable of an astonishing 21 stops - four or five more than can normally be expected with current sensor technology.
There's photographic evidence as well, although this is so widely open to different interpretation as to be almost meaningless (look at the noise in the five stops towards the right - although bear in mind that this is a noisy JPEG that's been resized and manipulated several times).
Whatever is actually being shown here, and discounting all the hype, what we can safely say is that if the Dragon sensor is anything less than remarkable, a lot of people will be surprised and disappointed.
Here's RED's announcement in full:
Happy New Year everyone... just a bit of an update on Dragon.
There are some people that think RED has been standing still.. Quite the contrary. We just have been a bit quiet with our hands full harnessing the fire-breathing power of the Dragon.
Dragon was born from a brand new pixel design, with a new fab process and a new read out architecture that has resulted in a sensor that is cleaner and that has more dynamic range than anyone expected.
One of our most reserved sensor engineers wrote Jim and I this morning after shooting a test and these were his words:
" First time in ten years that I'm speechless "
Getting Dragon done was one of the most difficult things we have ever done... but it has turned out to be much more than we could of ever imagined.
This much range coming off of a sensor has never been done before.. let alone at over 6k at 80 frames a second.. so we had to beef up the entire infrastructure of EPIC.
This is likely to affect the price of the upgrade a bit.. and its going to close the door on any chance of a Scarlet to be able to upgrade to Dragon.
We are however.. going to be offering a trade-in program much like we did with the R1 for Scarlet customers to get into an Epic Dragon.
So on the last day of the year of the Dragon, I am going to share with you a frame that was taken this morning.
Don't look at image quality here... this is a dirty debayer with no black calibration, no offset correction and no processing on a special 21 stop DR Chart from DSC.
This is from a prototype " Frankie " Epic camera with a really, really expensive engineering lens that really, really sucks at taking pretty pictures, on a non-sealed lens mount ( hence the light bloom ) but it gives you a bit of an idea on just how powerful all your cameras are about to become.
"Real" Images coming soon... ( but not tonight )