RED Dragon-X DSMC2 Cinema Camera Review

RED Dragon-X DSMC2 Cinema Camera Review

(rock music) – Hey guys, I’m Patrick. I’m the Lead Editor and
Producer at LumaForge, and today we’re talking
about the RED Dragon-X. Now, here at LumaForge,
we shoot on RED Ravens, we’ve been using them
for a number of years. And the thing I love about the Raven, is the fact that it comes
in a ready-to-go kit. So this allowed us to
immediately go out into the field and start shooting, which was awesome. Thankfully, the Dragon-X also comes with a kit. So the question is, is it time
to upgrade to the Dragon-X? So when we got our hands on one, the first thing we found
out was that the sensor size is actually larger than
that of the RED Raven. You’ve got the ability
to shoot a larger image with the exact same lenses, and, because I’m working in a
faster body, the DSMC2, I can write more data to
the card at any one given point in time, which
means that I can shoot at higher frame rates at lower compression, or I can shoot at regular frame
rates at lower compression. All this means that I have
the ability to shoot with less artifacts from compression, and I’ve got the ability to see more detail and texture in the image for the same image size and composition. Next, we discovered that
the Dragon-X actually has an interchangeable lens mount. The RED Raven comes with
an EF Mount built in, but with the Dragon X, we
have the chance to move to things like Nikon
or PL if we so desired. One of the hidden benefits of having interchangeable lens mounts
is the ability to change your OLPF, or Optical Low Pass Filter. So the question is, what is an optical low pass filter, right? Well, it’s a little
piece of glass that fits between your lens and your
sensor that does two things. It prevents dust from
getting to your sensor and it filters out UV and IR light, which is ultra-violet and infrared light. Now, if you didn’t have one of
these in front of your sensor you would have all sorts of weird colors that your eye, as a human,
is not used to seeing, hitting the sensor and being
processed on a computer. It just looks really, really weird. So you need to, need to have
an optical low pass filter in your camera, in fact most cameras come with them built in. So why would you want to change them? Well, we get to play with
three different OLPFs with the RED Dragon-X. The first one is the Standard. The Standard is very
good in many situations. For the most part you aren’t
going to want to change this one out most of the time. However, there are situations,
like we’re in right now, where you’re working with high contrast and you’re in a low light situation, and the Standard may not
allow enough light in without causing noise, so
there’s the Low Light Optimized. The Low Light Optimized
gives you less noise and actually opens up
more light to the sensor than is available on the Standard, by having a sharp cutoff on the IR portion of the light spectrum. Now, the way that they do
this is by reflecting light off of the OLPF, which
can cause all sorts of lens reflections back onto the sensor. The Skin Tone-Highlight filter is great when you’re in abundant
light and you’re wanting to get your colors as
accurate as possible. The Skin Tone-Highlight is
called the Skin Tone-Highlight because it requires an abundance of light, but it does reproduce skin tones in a way that the other two just don’t. Now, believe it or not,
the Skin Tone-Highlight used to be the standard
across all RED cameras, but, because it requires so much light, it actually increases the
noise floor of the sensor. So if you don’t have a whole lot of light, you are going to see
significantly more noise with the Skin Tone-Highlight than with the Standard or the Low Light Optimized. Now, a cool thing about the
Skin Tone-Highlight is that instead of reflectivity,
it uses absorption to prevent IR and UV light
from hitting the sensor, which means that you have
less reflection artifacts from the lens, with a direct source. So just like the OLPF
give you creative control, RED also gives you
creative control over color using their brand new IPP2 color pipeline, now built directly into the Dragon-X. IPP2 gives us a new life that we never had with any previous sensor
in any previous body, because we have new debayering algorithms which change how texture
and detail are perceived. Additionally, you can
control how the contrast is mapped for the entire image. And we’ve got new algorithms
for how highlights are handled. And, while you’ve got
the access to both the highlight roll off and contrast controls, you can also bring in
creative LUTs into the camera alongside your IPP2 controls. So, whereas on the RED
Raven you can either have a camera LUT, that brings
you from log to rec. 709, with the Dragon, you can
go from log to rec. 709 using IPP2, and then bring in a camera LUT to do any sort of flavoring of
the color that you want to do right there, inside of camera, you don’t have to wait to post. It’s really pretty awesome. Thanks to IPP2, we now
have the ability to do color graded dailies inside the
camera right out of the box. With the RED Raven I could record proxies, but I was limited to 2k
and I had no ability to burn in any other sorts of
color pipeline information. It just was what it was. Now, with the Dragon-X, I can
record in 4k from my proxies, or I can record in 2k
and I can burn in either just the log image using IPP2’s controls minus the 709 conversion, or I can do IPP2 with
my rec. 709 conversion, and any sort of CDL changes or creative LUT that I’ve
applied to the camera. That all can be burned in
directly into my dailies, which means that when I go into post, I’ve got exactly the DPs and
tints baked into the image, for the producers to see. I don’t have to worry
about doing any grading to make the image look right. Now, the beautiful thing
about working with RED is that I can, at the end,
re-link back to my R3D files and I’ve got full control
in the coloring process. So the question is, is the
Dragon-X right for you? If you’re budget conscious, you might still go with
the RED Raven just because you can get that full
blown kit for $15,000. But the Dragon kit is only $20,000. And, if you’re still on a tight budget and you don’t need all of that stuff, you can get the Dragon-X
brain for the same price as the RED Raven kit. So what do you think about
the features in the Dragon-X? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to like,
share, and subscribe for more LumaForge goodness. Thanks so much. (rock music)

Randy Schultz

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34 thoughts on “RED Dragon-X DSMC2 Cinema Camera Review

  1. LumaForge says:

    Which features for the RED Dragon-X are you most excited about?

  2. OPPMEDIA TV says:

    cant afford but is bad ass camera

  3. OPPMEDIA TV says:

    Cannot afford but is bad Ass Film camera

  4. cinIALVEspO w says:

    I'm glad to hear you pee pee as well. Was worried there 😉

  5. vitejose says:

    Some really great content coming out of this channel! Makes me wish I had the money for a Jellyfish. One note: as I understand it, the main reason for an OLPF is actually to prevent moiré at the cost of resolution/apparent sharpness. Cameras like the Nikon D800E remove the OLPF to squeeze out that extra little bit of resolution. Red is fairly unique in that it offers various OLPFs that affect exposure and color rendition (and cut IR/UV), but the primary function is still to prevent moiré, no?

  6. Trevor Horton says:

    I’ll take 3. Digging the new aspect ratio dude!

  7. Alex The DP says:

    Great review, considering Red for a long time and now it looks like Dragon X is a best deal! And btw what the name of the song in the intro?

  8. Allan Sh says:

    It doesn't even support 8K.
    8K resolution should be the bottom line, just like 44kHz sample rate for audio.

  9. Timothy Thompson says:

    Anyone got the name of the intro song?

  10. Albin Sjöberg says:

    Great review! I thought the sample footage from REDs site had so much noise even in bright daylight, is this anything you have noticed as well?

  11. Eric Tidmore says:

    The flamethrower omfg

  12. JS_filming says:

    I think that I'll stick to my BMPCC4K cause I simply doesn't have the money

  13. Thib says:

    Something bothered me, why spend all this money on the camera but you still using shitty lens ?? Sorry but for me you should invest in great lens before in great camera.

  14. Daniel Aguilar says:

    I soooo want it 😅

  15. VISION0STUDIO says:

    yeap guys, the Dragon kit is ONLY 20K yeap only 20k ohh by the way its in USD lol

  16. David Moreno Belmonte says:

    I can get a EPIC W or a DRAGON X both for same price…. what should I do…? Damn! Any advice?

  17. Jim Skinner says:

    It’s maddening that Scarlet-W owners have to upgrade to Dragon-X to stay on upgrade path but it’s the SAME sensor (as Scarlet). RED basically came up with a $6k fee for existing owners and we have to pay it (to stay on upgrade path). Welcome to the upgrade treadmill.

  18. SAVAGE SHUTTER says:

    ya they started taking low pass out to allow more light

  19. Dean Paauw says:

    I think im going to save for the 15k$ kit, with the 18-35 and then ill buy also a 50-100

  20. Dean Paauw says:

    whats the intro song?? btw very very good video

  21. Christian Santiago says:

    Just dont understand how anyone can justify dropping 20k on the same exact specs as a URSA Mini Pro G2. Black Magic's image quality is fantastic and the value is so much better. Plus you don't need to get roped into Red's proprietary ecosystem where you're paying 300 bucks for a cable and 1800 dollars for a hard drive.

  22. Sandhuproduction Lambra says:


  23. Trevor Whiting says:

    I want one

  24. shourya kapoor says:


  25. alex dison says:

    hello sir is the red dragon x is right for beginners like me? or the raven is?

  26. David Moreno Belmonte says:

    So sad nobody gives an opinion T_T…. Dragon X 5k or EPIC W what to choose, both in the pipeline IPP2 DSMC 2, both for 13k….. what you guys think?

  27. Branson Cusack says:

    Great video. Do you know if the standard OLPF comes with the red dragon or do you have to buy it separately?

  28. Thomas says:

    That's not what an OLPF does!
    Red provides OLPF to filter out IR and UV light as well, and modify a bit of color acquisition. But in essence, an OLPF is tasked to filter out high spatial frequencies in the image (basically the most fine details, that the sensor can't record as details, and could record as aliasing).

  29. Codak Chris says:

    this kinda wasn't a review you just talked about what you like not really about the camera and features and usage and differences

  30. Codak Chris says:

    mine came yesterday

  31. Anderson Sousa official says:

    THIIIIIIIIS.. is a tutorial !!! congratultions…

  32. Viewfinder Media says:

    An overpriced pocket 4K.

  33. Md Shovon says:


  34. jdotvisuals says:

    Great review. I'm really loving my Dragon X, check out some of my latest uploads.

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