We’ve been shooting with the Epic for more than two months and have shot many different kinds projects with it: commercials, network promos, music videos, scenics, and a PSA. Having used the camera in a wide variety of circumstances and environments, I feel qualified to say that the Epic is truly revolutionary. The Epic represents a paradigm shift: it’s small and light…which opens a slew of doors to creative freedom, without the technology holding you back. But what matters most, at the end of the day, is how the images look. To be honest, when I ordered the Epic-M I was expecting subtle image quality improvements over the Red One with MX sensor (which was no slouch). But surprisingly, or perhaps shockingly, the pictures produced by this camera are a significant improvement upon its predecessor:
Skin tones: look natural, transparent, healthy, and inviting.
Dynamic Range: Improved. Plus, with HDRx, we can dial in from 1-6 more stops to cover any imaginable scenario. This enables working faster to not have to force-fit a scene (that you may have no control over) into a predefined bucket.
Flares: No more weird magenta casts. Flares look normal and pleasing.
Feel: Rich, smoother, less electronic looking
Slow motion: Up to 120 frames per second in 5k. Switching from 24fps to 120fps is fast, and the lensing doesn’t have to change. The 5k slow motion looks as good as the 24p. As a bonus, Epic can shoot 300 frames per second in 2k.
Resolution: I couldn’t complain about Red One’s 4k resolution, but Epic one-ups it in this area as well. I don’t believe resolution to be the be-all, end-all determinant of image quality, but high-resolution imaging is certainly an asset that affords flexibility for the future. Whether pushing into a shot, stabilization, compositing, creating print collateral from still frames, or future proofing material to be screened years from now, 5k gives you more versatility than other high-def cameras.
Raw: Think about shooting stills on your favorite DSLR…RAW or JPEG? It’s a pretty easy decision. RAW allows you to get the shot in the field, and tweak the color (including white balance), contrast, along with myriad parameters later. It’s almost like shooting negative on set: set the stop, focus, and shoot. Working this way is extremely fast…and you also benefit from seeing instant results on the monitor.
Size and weight: Speaking of fast, the small, five-pound Epic allows us to approach jobs more efficiently, and I believe will open up the world of documentary filmmaking that the Red One struggled in. Handheld is much easier and doesn’t wear the operator out. There is enough heft to keep out the consumer handycam shake, but the camera is very easy to manage. It’s definitely the best handheld camera I’ve ever used.