The RED EPIC camera has had all the right and proper chart, resolution, noise, contrast range, frame rate tests etc, etc, etc done already. You know what the EBU (think the old BBC camera tests) gave it a broadcast television stamp of approval. Yep long before it was sadly mistaken for a cheap long overdue, sensor problematic, infinity focus fark up of a camera; the RED EPIC was given the coveted official EBU approval. Tested according to the EBU Tech 3335 specs the RED EPIC camera was considered to qualify in 5k mode for the LS (Large single sensor cameras) category because the noise level is considered acceptable at ISO 800 and the sensor size a little larger than 1 inch. In 4k mode the RED EPIC camera could also easy qualify for the LS category. But….. go below 3.7K and you run into different issues that make the whole camera package qualify for the SP (Specialist or special effects cameras) category.
The EBU Conclusion:
The RED Epic is different from other cameras. It deals with images differently, and has to be treated differently to get the best from it. When set to 5k HD or 4k mode, it makes very nice pictures with content up to about 3.7k, but when making 2k pictures directly it is a little disappointing except that the frame rate can be raised dramatically.
The noise and contrast range are, effectively, the same as the best of the current HDTV cameras, but contrast can be handled rather differently (HDRx mode), requiring considerable post-production effort but achieving a higher contrast range (not tested). Nevertheless, the performance is as expected, given that all HD cameras use the same materials (silicon) in the sensors, and that it is the photo-chemistry of silicon that defines the limitations.
Although not assessed here in any detail, the HDSDI feed appears to be fit for live recording for programme use at 1920×1080.
It is difficult to place this camera within the tiering structure of EBU R.118. If it is used in 5k mode, it qualifies easily for the LS category since the noise level is acceptable at ISO 800 and the sensor size is a little larger than 1”. Arguably, the 4k mode could also qualify for LS.
However, in the lower-resolution modes, the image format size reduces proportionally, thus in 2k mode, the image format is only 10.39×5.84mm, only slightly larger than the conventional ⅔” format of 9.6×5.4mm, and the resolution is little better than 1360×810. Therefore, it properly qualifies for the SP tier, Special Purposes, where reduced resolution and noise are traded for high-speed shooting.
For full details and all the proper testing of the RED EPIC camera please see the EBU PDF.
Category: Camera Test