I must admit that when I first heard about the RED Weapon I had very little interest in upgrading. Don't get me wrong, I like RED... I just get tired of buying equipment sometimes. It gets expensive and it seems like a never ending process. The big thing for me, though, is the media. To pay for the upgrade and then buy all new media? No thanks!
RED, though, is making it harder and harder to stick with that decision. First they entice us with actually putting connectors where they can be accessed, then they talk about cleaner images, even better low light performance, and better dynamic range.
Now, however, they are indicating that if you put a deposit down for Weapon at NAB 2015 you'll get a $2500 or so discount... which would allow one to buy a 512GB mini-mag.
Whenever RED announces a new camera, upgrade or accessory, there seems to be an extremely diverse reaction. Some people look at the new technology and get excited by the possibilities. Others, though, look at their pocketbooks and freak out.
In some ways these reactions are quite natural, though it does seem to be a rather red-specific reaction.
There was a bit of an uproar when Canon released the C500 so quickly after the C300, but that quickly died down and people continued along as normal. Other product announcements (from Arri, Sony, etc) seem to be just that... announcements. People decide to either buy the camera, or keep with their existing equipment.
Red, however, creates a bit of an environment where things can get a little out of hand...
1. Passion. Redusers are a passionate bunch. They haven't just bought a camera, they have bought into a family... and as such they feel comfortable letting their feelings be known. Especially when the VIPs of RED actually listen and respond. This corporate philosophy is quite unique, and as amazing as it is, it is still a double edged sword.
2. Upgrades. Are amazing. For people who want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest RED makes sure that you are always on the bleeding edge with as little blood as possible. However, there is still blood. With a Canon, Sony, or Arri camera you buy the thing, use it and then sell it or throw it away. It's easy, it's simple and you are always in control. Don't have the cash to get a new camera? Then don't. By offering upgrades, though, Red puts pressure on their customers to upgrade. Since it's only 25% or so to upgrade, it makes sense to do it... even if you can't afford it. Add on the accessories, media, etc, and all of a sudden things can get pricey. Not as pricey as Canon, Arri, etc, but that doesn't make it more affordable to those who don't have the coin.
It's kind of like Adobe's Creative Cloud. You always get the latest and greatest updates... whether you need them or not. For those who would normally upgrade regularly it works out to be a great deal. To those who do not, however, it can be quite the added expense.
3. Openness. It seems like the more you crack open the window to show the inner workings of a company, the more people want to see. It seems to be an insatiable demand. By being open RED has built a community... but by being open the community always seems to want more. As competition has increased RED has had to be careful with information... which has led to some disgruntled folk.
HOPEFULLY that helps shed some light on the drama that is RED and redusers… Regardless, though, I can't wait to NAB 2015 to see everyone and the new Weapon!
Colin Sheldon is a contributor for FKB
Red has announced that the dragon upgrade price will drop back down to $9500 until NAB. So if you haven't upgraded yet do it now! It will cost $3k more after NAB then become unavailable come summer.
Having a dragon before NAB also makes you eligible for specialized pricing on the Weapon upgrade.
Red Weapon - Full details at NAB 2015
What we know:
1. Red really likes to provoke the TSA
2. Will be for Dragon owners only. Cheaper if you've upgraded before NAB.
3. All MX -> Dragon upgrades will end mid summer.
4. Mini-mags will be required.
5. "Current mounts will work on Weapon". Hopefully that means no need to repurchase motion mounts or OLPFs.
6. Timing will be late June... though keep in mind that's June in Red's world... which means definitely not before, but who knows how long after
1. Larger body
2. Higher frame rates
3. Medium format sensor
Watch out! December 1st the price of the dragon upgrade will increase! This is due to the number of dragons being upgraded decreasing significantly, therefore making each upgrade more expensive as the economies of scale wind down...
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