As well as having a 5K sensor, the Epic also has a slightly-larger-than-S35-sensor. It’s something which you need to be careful with when selecting your lenses for a shoot, not only to make sure they cover the full 5K sensor, but also that they’re giving you the field of view you expect.
Generally the larger the sensor a camera has, the larger the field of vision is for the selected focal length. For example on a 2/3” broadcast camera, a medium sized chip, a 25mm lens is a fairly long lens. For a Canon 5D with its full frame sensor, a 25mm is a wide angle. However, if you’re used to working with the Alexa or Red Ones then be warned that your 18mm lens will give you the field of vision closer to a 16mm lens. At the longer end the same is true; a 100mm lens on an Epic will feel more akin to an 85mm lens. It’s worth noting that the depth of field will feel different too as the Epic’s larger sensor gives the camera a slightly shallower focus for any given lens.
The flip side to this is that not all Cine lenses are designed to cover a sensor as large as the Epic’s. Some lenses will vignette at various stops and focal lengths, some will vignette heavily, some lightly. I’ve been testing various lenses with the Red Epic at S+O Media recently and S+O’s Ultra Primes seem to work fine, as do CP2’s and Red Pro Primes. The Optimo DP 16-42 has a very slight soft vignette and one of my favourite lenses, the Cooke 20-100, doesn’t work at 5k on the Epic. I’d expect the Arri Master Primes to work without issue on the Epic.
Luckily Red have already thought about this problem; if you get stuck with a set of lenses which give you issues you can switch the camera to 4K mode. This crops the area the sensor records so it matches the original Red One.
The point here is to make sure that you always test the camera with your favourite lenses before you turn up on a shoot. This is true for any piece of kit. I’ve heard rumours about Cooke S4’s, having trouble on the Epic, especially at wider focal lengths. I’ll be trying to do a test with them in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
Benedict Spence has been working as a lighting cameraman for nine years and a director of photography for the past three. Ben will be dishing the dirt on his experiences with Red’s new Epic–M, on behalf of broadcast and crewing facilities company S+O Media.