A sensor designed to be used in space has gone on general release from cinema camera manufacturer Red. The Gemini 5K S35 was originally created especially to work in very low light conditions, but has been adapted to offer dual native ISO settings so it can also shoot in normal conditions. The sensor uses particularly large pixels and features a resolution of 15.4MP on 30.72 x 18mm dimensions.

Red claims the Gemini has a dynamic range of 16.5 stops when used in Standard mode, which makes it good at recording very bright highlights and deep shadow detail in the same frame. When switched to Low Light mode some dynamic range is sacrificed, but in return users get exceptional noise performance that produces footage at ISO 3200 in LL (Low Light) mode that looks the same as movie recorded at ISO 800 in Standard mode, according to the company.

It seems the sensor uses different hardware behind the pixels to deal with each of the sensitivity modes, in a similar fashion to the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s and the EVA1 cameras. The LL and Normal modes are selected in the menu and become active immediately. To maximize the resolution of anamorphic work Red has made the Gemini 5K S35 slightly taller than the standard sensors it uses by adding 300 pixels to the vertical recording area to make a 5120x3000-pixel area.

The Gemini sensor can be bought in the Epic-W body with prices starting at $24,000. For more information see the Red website.

Key features of the EPIC-W with GEMINI 5K S35 sensor:

  • New 5K S35 sensor that delivers optimized low-light performance
  • 15.4 Megapixel Dual Sensitivity CMOS Sensor
  • 30.72 mm x 18 mm (Diagonal: 35.61 mm)
  • Dual sensitivity sensor provides greater flexibility for a variety of shooting environments
  • Seamless switching between Standard and Low Light modes ( no reboot needed )
  • 5K up to 96 fps Full Format
  • 16.5 stops of DR
  • 4K upto 30fps and 2K upto 120fps using ProRes or Avid
  • Simultaneously record REDCODE plus ProRes or Avid
  • Up to 275 MB/s write speeds
  • Interchangeable lens mount

Press release

Introducing The New GEMINI 5K S35 Sensor

Today, RED introduced the new GEMINI™ 5K S35 sensor for the RED EPIC-W camera. GEMINI 5K S35 leverages dual sensitivity modes to provide creators with greater flexibility for a variety of shooting environments. Whether capturing with GEMINI’s Standard Mode for well-lit conditions or its Low Light Mode for darker environments, RED EPIC-W 5K S35 delivers incredible dynamic range and produces cinema-quality images.

The GEMINI 5K S35 sensor provides exceptional low-light performance, allowing for cleaner imagery with less noise and better shadow detail. Operators can easily switch between modes through the camera’s on-screen menu with no down time and experience an increased field of view at 2K and 4K resolutions compared to the higher resolution HELIUM sensor. In addition, the sensor’s 30.72 mm x 18 mm dimensions allow for greater anamorphic lens coverage than with the HELIUM or RED DRAGON sensor.

Built on the compact DSMC2 form factor, the RED EPIC-W 5K camera and sensor combination captures 5K full format motion at up to 96 fps, boasts incredibly fast data speeds of up to 275 MB/s, and provides in-camera support of RED’s enhanced image processing pipeline, IPP2. Like all cameras in the DSMC2 line up, EPIC-W 5K is able to shoot simultaneous REDCODE RAW and Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR recording and adheres to RED’s dedication to OBSOLESCENCE OBSOLETE—a core operating principle that allows current RED owners to upgrade their technology as innovations are unveiled without having to purchase all new gear.

“While the GEMINI sensor was developed for low-light conditions in outer space, we quickly saw there was so much more to this sensor,” says Jarred Land, President of RED Digital Cinema. “In fact, we loved the potential of this sensor so much, we wanted to evolve it to make it have a broader appeal. As a result, the EPIC-W GEMINI now sports dual-sensitivity modes. It still has the low-light performance mode, but also has a default, standard mode that allows you to shoot in brighter conditions.”

Beginning at $24,500, the new RED EPIC-W with GEMINI 5K S35 sensor is available for purchase online and through select worldwide RED Authorized Dealers. Alternatively, WEAPON Carbon Fiber and RED EPIC-W 8K customers will have the option to upgrade to the GEMINI sensor at a later date.