CES 2008 is over and now it's up to us to figure out which gizmos are next on our list of Must Have items. Even though I've been a life-long Canon customer, I was sorely tempted by the Casio Exilim Pro EX-F1 that the company says can shoot 60 still images per second with 6MP resolution. Wow! But what if the action lasts more than a single second? And what if you want 2x the resolution so that you can show off the full capabilities of your new 150" Panasonic TH46PXZ850, with it's 4K by 2K resolution? You need a 4K camera, and that's been hard to find in a consumer-sized format. Until now.
I've written often about the ways technology has changed my life and my perspective, from the clock radio (which introduced me to popular music) to the QWERTY keyboard (a true anachronism, but better than flipping dip switches) to the XO laptop, an integrated marvel that still boggles a mind that thought a 32x32 video card supporting 16 colors was pretty darned cool
But this is 2008, and 30-odd years of Moore's Law have really raised the stakes of what's dazzling. The RED ONE camera sports a 12MP Mysterium image processor that shoots 4Kx2K native resolution with 12-bit color (66dB or 11 f-stop dynamic range). Let's do some math: 12MP * 12 bits/pixel = 144 Mbits, divided by 215 (15 doublings for the 30 years) = 4395 bits. Multiply that by 1 Pixel per 4 bits (of the Cromemco TV Dazzler) and you get 1098 4-bit pixels. If that were square it would be 33x33—the very resolution that dazzled my mind when I first saw video coming from our IMSAI 8080 computer. But there's more to the RED ONE than mere megapixels.
Attach a lens, grips, tripod rails, grab some lights and you are ready to make movies that can be projected on screens 60 feet wide. Get yourself a 300mm f/2.8 telephoto and really capture the action at the next soccer game. After all, if we want our home movies to be remotely cool 30 years into the future, the very least we can do is buy into what technology has to offer today.
I know what you're thinking: that's got to be an expensive camera! And in some ways, yes it is. But in other ways, it's not. At $17,500, it costs less than my Toyota Prius did in 2003. And you could buy three cameras for the cost of a single CD player. Such a deal!
Full 4K resolution @ 30 fps. 100 minutes of RAW 4K with 320GB SATA disk media. 90 minutes of recording time per battery charge. 4 channel, 24-bit audio @ 48kHz. Less than 10 lbs. The big school production is in a few months. If only they had a driver for Fedora right now...otherwise it's perfect, and I want one. NOW!