RED cameras have a reputation as having respectable pricing for the features until you start adding up the costs of all the required accessories you need to start shooting. It’s either unnecessarily complex or nice to have the option on how to build out your camera.
The KOMODO 6K seeks to change that by being ready to shoot out of the box – just add a battery and card and hit record. Is that actually the case once you factor in some basic usability?
Filmmaker Justin Phillip picked up a KOMODO and doubled down on the minimalist nature of the beast, looking to put together the smallest cinema rig possible with the system. This doesn’t mean using any accessories, just the bare minimum.
Per Justin, the going rate for a KOMODO kit is rumored to be about $10,000. That’s a notable bump over the $6,000 retail for the brain. He wants to make the argument that it doesn’t have to be close to that high.
No matter what, that $6K is your starting point.
As for bare minimums, there are the batteries, which are standard Canon BP-9 series. For size, Justin likes the BP-955s and two will power the camera for 3-4 hours. Plus they are hot-swappable. RED only officially supports a few select brands, but that doesn’t mean you can try some cheap generics and do just fine. Justin averages the options to about $300.
The second mandatory component is media. Again, RED has some selected picks that are officially supported which may raise the price a little. Still, not the place to cheap out. The KOMODO uses a single CFast 2.0 card slot and the first approved were the Angelbird AV Pro CF line (hint: Angelbird appears to make the RED-branded cards too). A couple of cards will run you around $400 at least.
A side note from Justin is that he prefers having multiple smaller cards instead of one giant one. If you keep rotating them and backing up the media on the go you’ll have safer storage of the footage. Plus, on the off chance, there is a media failure, instead of everyone on one, your losses will be limited.
Now is the time for more convenience-based accessories for handling the camera. And a handle is a priority. There is always the RED Outrigger Handle, which even has record start/stop controls, but it runs at almost $500. It’s still fairly minimal and great if you want a handle. However, there are cheaper and smaller options available.
SmallRig makes a good, standard Outrigger NATO Handle you can use for ~$60. Add a $12 NATO rail to the top of the KOMODO and you are set. There are no tools needed after the rail is installed, making this easy to pack away.
Not mentioned under the mandatory accessories were lenses. While they definitely are needed, I feel this is so personal most people already know what they are planning to do with their lens kits. If you are looking for a compact recommendation, Justin uses a (now discontinued), Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens with the EF-EOS R Mount Adapter. That only totals $300.
If you want my recommendation and have the money to spare, I would upgrade to the EF-EOS R 0.71x Mount Adapter, which is a speedbooster that will give you the “full-frame look” with the KOMODO. It’s just a little pricey at $600.
Looking at ND filters, which is perhaps the one drawback of the KOMODO compared to similar offerings, you’ll need some for the front of the lens. Justin goes with Firecrest NDs from Formatt Hitech. They are a good pick in my experience as well.
Monitoring is another piece of the puzzle and with the top NATO rail mentioned earlier you can pick up a compatible tilt/swivel monitor mount for ~$60. Add on a JOBY GripTight ONE Smartphone Mount for $20 and you can roll.
The reason for using a smartphone is due to KOMODO’s RED Control app. It’s great for monitoring and control and this position is likely better than the display at the top of the KOMODO. It even includes touch to autofocus.
Price for the basic kit? Just under $7,000. Only $1,000 in accessories is on par with plenty of other camera systems if not cheaper.
Any accessories you would add or swap out?
[source: Justin Phillip]
- RED KOMODO 6K Cinema Camera (B&H)
- Canon BP-955 Intelligent Li-Ion Battery Pack (B&H)
- Angelbird AV Pro CF CFast 2.0 Memory Card (B&H, Amazon)
- RED KOMODO Outrigger Handle (B&H)
- SmallRig Outrigger NATO Handle (B&H, Amazon)
- Niceyrig Quick Release NATO Safety Rail (B&H, Amazon)
- Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens (Amazon)
- Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R (B&H)
- Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R 0.71x (B&H)
- Formatt Hitech Firecrest ND Filters (B&H, Amazon)
- SmallRig Swivel/Tilt Monitor Mount with NATO Clamp (B&H, Amazon)
- JOBY GripTight ONE Smartphone Mount (B&H, Amazon)
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