RED has introduced the new Monochrome version of its Komodo action camera (aka “little beast”). Now, some footage has been released, and it looks gorgeous. Check it out below.
RED Komodo Monochrome
As RED Digital Cinema CEO, Jarred Land stated back then: “Finally made some Komodo Monochrome sensor wafers, dropping them into bodies now. Camera specs are the same as normal Komodo except for about twice the sensitivity from removing the color filters. Let Clark or I know if you want one, made to order so it takes about a week or two to get after the order. $7500”. So, the Komodo Monochrome is a bit pricier than the original version (for about 20% more). It shoots only black & white. But the blacks & whites are more accurate since the camera is much more sensitive. The native ISO of the RED Komodo is about 2,000. And that’s because it lacks the Bayer layer.
The advantages of a monochrome sensor are valid, due to its simplicity compared to a ‘regular’ sensor. Unlike color sensors, monochrome sensors capture all incoming light at each pixel regardless of color. Each pixel receives up to 3X more light since red, green, and blue are all absorbed. This translates into a 1 to 1.5 stop improvement in light sensitivity. Technically speaking, that sensor lacks the Bayer mask, allowing each photosite to capture the full spectrum of visible light. Hence, if your project is pure B&W, you should consider shooting with a monochrome sensor, since you will get much more beautiful black & white imagery.
Monochrome Cinema Cameras
In an article we published, we asked the question: Monochrome Cinema Cameras: A New Trend of B&W Cinematography? It seems like major cinema camera manufacturers are releasing B&W versions of their flagships. For instance, ARRI Rental has introduced its new fleet of exclusive black-and-white cameras: ALEXA 65 Monochrome, XT Monochrome, and Mini LF Monochrome for any kind of sensor size (from S35 to medium format). The cameras offer enhanced sensitivity, resolution, and contrast over the regular ALEXAs. However, RED has started the game even before, by releasing every model its monochrome version, from Scarlet-W RED Dragon 5K Monochrome to the RED Komodo. And how does it perform? Explore this new footage released by Retail Camera Shop — Hot Rod Cameras:
B&W imagery is really fascinating area. Although monochrome cinematography can be defined as a very small niche, it’s a good thing that the option exists. Furthermore, monochrome cameras offer an increased resolution, better blacks, higher native ISO, and marvelous B&W imagery. These characteristics are valid in case you need some B&W imagery in your project. Instead of lowering saturation to zero, or applying a B&W filter, shooting with a monochrome sensor will grant you outstanding results. On a personal note, I’d appreciate seeing more B&W projects since they seem more absorbing and artistic. Let’s know your two cents on monochrome cinematography.
Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers.
- RED Digital Cinema Komodo 6K
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This will look great on my 6k black and white television.
With the extra $1000 that sunglasses man charges for the same 3-year-old product (except they’ve ticked the box on the order form to get the sensor without the cfa) you can save on a cheap set of Zhongyi Mitakon lenses and all that chromatic aberration will be hidden by the lack of color.
Hey, it’s an extra $1500. Let’s just hope that some of that money goes to Hot Rod’s Camera. If anything, we need more loud vehicles on the road.