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posted by - Thursday, 23 July 2015


RED’s WEAPON 8K camera, announced at this year’s NAB show, has many people excited. RED has always pushed the boundaries of digital cinema, and the WEAPON 8K is another great example of this. The most interesting, and perhaps confusing, aspect of this new camera is the size of its sensor. The WEAPON 8K has a 40.96 x 21.60mm sensor with a resolution of 8,192 x 4,320. While amazing, it has many people asking what lenses will cover this sensor. To give you an idea how big the sensor is, the diagram below shows various sensor sizes including the new WEAPON 8K sensor.


As you can see, the WEAPON 8K is wider than a Full Frame 35mm sensor, but not quite as tall, leading to the confusion over what lenses would cover it. Jon Fauer over at FDTimes posted this diagram that he received from the folks at RED:


The diagram above shows the image circle of a lens designed to cover Full Frame, with the RED WEAPON 8K sensor in orange and the Full Frame sensor size (24×36) in yellow. As you can see, the image circle just about covers the full 8K 20 x 40mm sensor area. This means that many Full Frame lenses will easily cover the full sensor. To know for sure which lenses will cover does require some testing, but most longer Full Frame lenses will work while some wider lenses may have issues.

The good news is that there are plenty of cinema lenses that will do the job, including Zeiss CP.2 lenses, Canon Cinema PrimesXenon FF lenses and several others. As for zooms, Zeiss was able to test their Compact Zooms CZ.2 lenses at NAB to confirm they cover as well, making these the only cinema zoom lenses that we know to cover the full sensor area. No Film School caught up with Zeiss at NAB to discuss this unique combination. Check out their video below:

Of course the WEAPON will also allow you to record various other resolutions. Doing some simple math, we can see that the pixels are 5 microns wide, which equals 200 pixels per millimeter. That means a 24 x 18mm (Super 35 image area in green) would give you a resolution of 4800 x 3600 pixels. RED will enable various resolutions as they’ve done in the past – 2K, 4K, 5K, 6K, etc. Also take note of the blue 18 x 22mm area in the image above; this is a standard for the anamorphic full height format. This means that the WEAPON 8K can produce a full anamorphic image without cropping. So all available anamorphic lenses should work well including Zeiss Master anamorphics, Cooke anamorphics, Angenieux anamorphics, and the wide variety of others out there. I recently wrote an article in HDVideoPro called “Go Wide” where I compared anamorphic results from various cameras. Below is a diagram showing how the WEAPON 8K compares to the DRAGON.

RedDragonvWeaponVerticalNotice that the WEAPON has no crop compared to the original film format, where the DRAGON has a 1.4x crop. Also the resolution of that area would be around 4400 x 3600, higher than any other camera sensor recording anamorphic 4:3 today, which makes it a great option for those who love the look of anamorphic. With its large and versatile sensor, the WEAPON 8K will no doubt be deployed in a wide range of applications.

Want to learn even more about working with RED cameras? Our Fall REDucation dates are now posted!

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