Everything You Need to Know About the RED KOMODO-X

Big camera news last week was the release of the RED KOMODO-X. Imagine the compact form factor of the original but with some nice improvements that put it more in line with the bigger DSMC3 cameras.

That means an upgraded sensor, enhanced I/O, and more. The only thing that did change was that the body got a bit longer to fit in the extra equipment.

If you are curious to know all the changes that came to the KOMODO-X then we have CVP as a brilliant resource. Understanding the features might also help make up for the fact that this model is coming in at a notably higher price point than the original.

At first glance the KOMODO-X looks very similar to the original. Even the sensor on paper appears to be the same. It isn’t though. It’s better. The new 6K global shutter sensor in the KOMODO-X has some legitimate technical improvements. Plus, the flare guard appears to be more effective.

As for the stats, the new sensor should deliver about a half-stop improvement to dynamic range which it is gaining in the shadows. Resolution on the other hand is exactly the same at 6144 x 3240. Where that gets better is with frame rates.

RED KOMODO-X ST Cinema Camera

Image Credit: RED

The KOMODO-X is twice as fast as the original KOMODO thanks to new processing. That means 6K up to 80 fps, 4K up to 120 fps, and 2K up to 240 fps. These are all 17:9 ratios as well.

It works like other RED cameras in that the camera crops in to achieve the smaller resolutions and higher frame rates so you can squeeze more out by dropping to the 2.4:1 aspect.

Being shot all in raw the footage is looking good even when it is windowed. That R3D format is great and the advantage of a global shutter remains and means there is absolutely zero rolling shutter on this camera. ProRes is also available again but with the addition of 4444 and 4444 XQ.

RED KOMODO-X Cinema Camera Side

Image Credit: RED

Color science isn’t too surprising here as it matches up with RED’s aesthetic. If you are more precise about things you will see that the colors are more closely aligned with the V-RAPTOR than the original KOMODO. Perfect for a multi-camera shoot.

To check this out they actually took the KOMODOs and V-RAPTORS and put them through some over- and underexposure tests.

The dynamic range tests do show the improvements to dynamic range as the X holds onto color much better than the original. The V-RAPTORs do still beat it out.

This still isn’t a low-light camera as the Super35 size and global shutter design do prevent it from reaching the same heights as other cameras in this area.

Autofocus should see an improvement and firmware will hopefully make it even better. If you remember the original KOMODO had some massive changes via firmware.

RED KOMODO-X ST Cinema Camera Rear

Image Credit: RED

Other changes are better audio preamps and expanded shutter control. There is also a USB-C port but at the moment it is mainly used to update firmware.

Updated wireless connectivity means that it can stream wirelessly at up to 1080p instead of 720p. You can also still connect to RED’s control apps on a phone or computer.

The enhanced processing does actually mean a longer pre-record time of 10 seconds and a black shading calibration that is nearly two minutes faster.

Mentioned earlier, the KOMODO-X is physically very similar to the original. From the front you’ll see that they have the same width and height. Only the length has been increased and not all that much.

They did listen about the tripod threads on the bottom and spaced them out to work with more tripod plates. Could mean that some dedicated accessories won’t fit, but a lot should have no problem.

Up top is the same 2.9” touchscreen and the button placement is the same so it should be familiar. It may even be a little snappier and more responsive.

Alongside the screen is a Pogo pin layout that matches the V-RAPTOR and will support the same accessories, such as a top handle or the DSMC3 monitor.

RED Compact Top Handle

Image Credit: RED

Cooling looks the same, but they swapped the intake and exhaust to go from left to right. There is a new CFexpress Type B slot instead of CFast which is a great improvement.

CFexpress matches up with the V-RAPTOR series as well. These cards are faster and have better performance helping to grant those faster frame rates.

Everything about the KOMODO-X makes a lot more sense now that the V-RAPTORs have come out.

As for lenses, the KOMODO-X keeps the Canon RF mount though with a new locking feature. At the bottom of the mount is a new record button too.

Updated I/O will make a difference to many workflows and it is much more clearly laid out along the side of the rear of the camera. The USB-C port can connect a phone or other control device. A 5-pin LEMO can be used with XLR adapters for a more professional audio solution.

Lastly, there is a compact V-mount battery plate on the back instead of the dual Canon battery plates on the original KOMODO. This makes a lot more sense as V-mount batteries are a bit larger and more common in professional environments.

RED RF to PL Adapter Pack with Electronic ND Filter

Image Credit: RED

There are a couple new accessories to talk about as well. The first is a Compact Top Handle which is nicely sized for the KOMODO-X and has its own start/stop record button.

The other release is the RF to PL Adapter Pack with Electronic ND Filter. This is a much more robust adapter solution and has an electronic ND. This actually allows for camera control over your ND instead of relying on alternate solutions.

A new battery is coming out as well, but I imagine many people will be bringing their own.

You will find the pricing is a bit higher than the original KOMODO as the KOMODO-X now sits between that and the V-RAPTORs. The X will run you $10,000.

If you are looking to pick one up you may be able to find one of the special edition “ST” or stormtrooper white models. More likely at this point is that you’ll need to put in a request to be notified when the standard black production models roll out.

Is this a worthwhile addition to RED’s lineup? Better than the original KOMODO?

[source: CVP]

Order Links:

  • RED KOMODO-X Cinema Camera (B&H)
  • RED Compact Top Handle (B&H)
  • RED RF to PL Adapter Pack with Electronic ND Filter (B&H)

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