The Panavision DXL large format 8K cinema camera is the latest gadget by a company that is well-known for their spectacular products. This one is certainly no exception, competing with the recently announced Arri Alexa 65 in the top-end large sensor digital camera arena.
Panavision DXL – the best of three worlds
This camera is special in many ways. Not only is it a very high-end large format cinema camera, it’s also a collaboration between three top-class companies in the moving picture industry. Panavison, Light Iron and RED have sat together in secret meeting rooms and workshops in order to create a high-end working machine for some serious filmmaking. Panavision optics and camera expertise, RED Dragon sensor tech and Light Iron color science: what a marriage! Make sure to watch the introduction video they’ve created:
Almost everything about this camera is impressive. The features range from a built-in motorized lens control for their Primo 70 lenses (yes, without external motors!) to 6 independent SDI video outputs. Everything you need is tightly integrated in a very balanced and ergonomic package, with a very modular body in terms of accessories. Moving from tripod to steadicam? Not a problem. You don’t even need tools. It seems that a lot of real life field-testing went into this machine.
The Panavision DXL shoots 8K .r3d RAW which is fully supported by RED’s workflow, and is even capable of shooting 4K proxy files in ProRes or DNx flavours simultaneously. Let that sink in: this camera’s proxy mode alone outperforms several existing professional cameras!
- Sensor Type: 16-bit, 35.5 Megapixel CMOS
- Resolution: 8192 x 4320
- Sensor Size: Large Format: 40.96mm x 21.60mm (Diagonal: 46.31mm)
- Dynamic Range: 15 stops
- Max Frame Rate: 60 fps at 8K Full Frame (8192 x 4320), 75 fps at 8K 2.4:1 (8192 x 3456)
- Recording Codec: 8K RAW with simultaneous 4K proxy (ProRes or DNx)
- Recording Media: SSD (up to 1 hour on a single magazine)
- File Type: *.r3d (supported in RED SDK)
- Color Profile: Light Iron Color (compatible with all popular gamuts and transfer curves)
- Weight: 10 lbs.
- 6 (!) independent video outputs
- Supports 6 independent 1D LUTs or up to 4 independent 3D LUTs
- Directly motorize Primo 70 lenses through wireless control
- Built-in wireless timecode for genlock (Ambient Control Network)
- Dual menus (Operator side, Assistant side)
- Advanced airflow system for superior temperature management
- Custom cheeseplate with integrated electronics
- Modular and tool-less quick changeover accessories
Although packed full of features, the Panavision DXL camera is a rather light piece of gear, weighing only 10lbs. That’s quite impressive! Cooling is another thing the engineers must have had to think about a lot, as all that processing power and the gigantic sensor are bound to generate a lot of heat. They have come up with a clever airflow system which ensures both sufficient cooling and silent operation.
Pricing and availability
Ok, with all the good stuff out the way, let’s get to the nitty gritty. Unfortunately, this mighty new camera package won’t be available for sale any time soon. It will be a rental-only system just like its competitor, the Arri 65. If you happen to be an A-List DP or someone with a widespread LinkedIn network, you could get your hands on this the first quarter of 2017 at a price that is still to be announced.
Although this camera will definitely be out of reach for most of us, it’s nice to see where technology stands at the moment. If we’re lucky, some of its glory will trickle down to other, more affordable cameras in the near future. In the meantime, we will have to sit tight and see… while being insanely jealous.
Check out their microsite for all the details.