Is RED working with Nikon?


I received an interesting email from a reader - I could not find any links connecting Nikon with RED, so this remains a speculation for now:

"AF-S 24-105/2.8 VR:
No I don't came up with this just because I think it might be a nice lens, I actually found a hint where I would not have guessed.
RED, the manufacturer of digital movie cameras, hat announced a 35FF camera that uses a 24x36 mm sensor. The sensor has aprox 24 mp. For that camera they also announced a few AF lenses. This is something new to cinematography. So far there have not been any AF lenses as we have them for our SLRs.
The lenses they announced are a 15-25/2.8, a 70-200/2.8 (stabilized), a 300/2.8 (stabilized) and 1.4 & 2.0 extender. Those lenses sound very familiar to SLR lenses and the 15-25/2.8 actually looks very very much like Nikon's 14-24/2.8. RED is most likely working together with Nikon for those lenses. It is a known fact that Nikon has provided the design and glass for most Panavision lenses in the past. So it is not something new that Nikon has been working with a movie camera manufacturer.
Now here is the interesting part. Among those lenses RED announced is one that Nikon does not have: a AF 25-100/2.8 (stabilized).
Considering that fact that is very likely that Nikon is working together with RED this could be a hint that Nikon is developing a lens like that (and is also licensing that one to RED).
There is no way to be sure, but considering all these things I think there is a good chance that we will see this lens sometime this year. 
if you go to RED's web site you can see the details yourself. 
Why 25-100 and not 24-105? For movie productions, quality is way more important than a little more range. I assume the lens is developed as a 24-105 but RED prefers to stay away from the extreme ends for quality reasons."

The question is: does RED design their own lenses?

Thanks David.

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Lance

    If the sensor is the same size and the distance from the mount to the sensor is the same, it would seem to make sense for Red to colaborate with an SLR camera manufacturer (think of the lens choices available!). BUT, with no reflex mirror in a video camera (?) why would the distance from the mount to the sensor be the same??? I thought this distance was one of the key limiting factors of SLR design cameras as far as resolution performance goes?

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, just thinking out loud here.

    • markdphotoguy

      You are correct, that’s why RF (rangefinder) lenses are typically better than SLR lenses for a given size. An SLR lens can be as good as a RF lens optically but the size will have to be substantially larger than the RF lens of the same focal length. RED cameras already use Nikon lenses through an adapter but I’m not sure if infinity focus is preserved or not.

    • RED makes iots own glass and the current model (‘One’) also allows for Nikon *and* Canon glass. The new line (‘Scarlet’ and ‘Epic’, each with multiple models) is of course much more diverse but many people – incl. me – on the Scarlet Users forum have long asked for the same inbterchangeablibily. So one reason is that Jannard’s potential buyers *asked* that this happen. I’ve got lots of Nikon glass and have been buying with a future RED purchase in mind (specifically Scarlet FF35), so all I need to do is bring along a Scarlet body and I have huge variablity for motion – continuous from 14-300, fisheye, macro, 500 and more. So far, Jannard seems to take his (existing and) potential community very seriously and is on the boards personally. Hope that helps.

  • Anonymous

    definitely not nikon lenses because RED uses their own lens mount and will not change the mount type.

    you can use nikkors by attaching the lens mount plate with nikon F mount onto the RED-one body then put a nikon lens on. not possible to put it directly onto the body.

    the new FF35 “mythsique” brain ((aka body)) can accept nikkor lens without any need of a mounting plate.

    • Pete C

      Wrong, they offer a mount that REPLACES the PL mount. It’s not an adaptor. So once this is done, you DO mount them directly on the body.
      You’ll notice that it’s the ONLY mount they offer.
      Not even Canon EOS or FD is offered as an official alternative by RED.

      And when have Nikon ever said they’d never make lenses with different mounts?
      They make loads.

  • Tom

    If RED and Nikon work together, how come there’s no 24-70 in the RED lineup ? It would seem pretty dumb for RED to miss out on one of Nikon’s very best zooms.

    • Anonymous

      actually, RED and nikkor lenses are in classes of their own. RED’s lenses are far the superior performer on video camcorders. we can’t really compare RED and nikkor lenses together because 1: different mount, 2: different optical coatings, 3: one designed for cameras and one designed for videography, 4: manual focus control program inside RED’s lenses while nikons don’t.

      so, don’t try compare those two.

      • Tom

        So it seems the whole premise upon which a possible 24-105 VR f2.8 (which I shall refer to as the Yeti – huge and mythical !) is flawed ?

      • Alex

        Its a perfectly reasonable comparison..
        plenty of people shoot REDs using nikon lenses, nikon mount is the only first party adapter, plenty of people adapt nikon lenses for PL mount, geared focus and smooth iris control..

        There are some issues with lenses that breath more then others during focus, which is an issue for moving pictures, but apart from that a lens is a lens is a lens…. (well, lets ignore VR for a minute)

        They are comparable a plenty of people use nikon lenses with the Red One everyday, that line is only going to get blurrier with scarlet & epic

        • Tom

          So I imagine the 24-70 must be pretty popular for a RED body as it is one of Nikon’s best ever ? So why make a Yeti ? I don’t see a need. Am I missing something ? Maybe it could be an f2.8-4 like an extended 24-85 with VR ?

          It seems like an unlikely lens and a somewhat tenuous premise to base a rumor on.

        • Pablov

          what do you exactly mean with “that line is only going to get blurrier with scarlet & epic” ?

      • Sloaah

        The main reason why still lenses are used more for filmmaking is that they breath when focusing; objects tend to get larger/smaller as you rack focus. Re-housing the lens should solve this problem, so Red can use a Nikon design in their own, superior housing.

    • Pete C

      No Aperture ring on the G lenses.

  • drpeters

    Nikon can still make the glass and design the optics, even if the mounts and uses are different. That being said, I have no idea who is making/designing lenses for Red.

  • canapé

    design cannot be the same
    photography uses f-stops, video uses t-stops
    photography lenses usually change focal length when focusing (afaik), video lenses don’t…

    • Sloaah

      F-Stops can easily be converted to T-Stops; one only has to factor in light lost through transmission.

      While photography lenses do change focal length when focusing (breathing), this can be significantly reduced in re-housing the lens. Furthermore, some past Nikon designs breath very little.

  • Daniel

    Stop your ramblings.Nikkor lenses work very well on Red, and there are several dedicated threads on about lens tests, as well as Nikkor mount adaptors for Red cameras.

    …So I don´t find this rumor that incredible, really…

  • Tom

    Thanks for the link.

    To quote one post there :

    “I just had to buy a new nikon-mount because my old broke. That showed me, that the whole construction isn`t solid enough. Probably Red is not seriously interested in this nikon-lenses solution. …….They want to sell their own lenses because that`s gonna be (or already is) a solid market for red. And that`s understandable…”

    After reading the posts on RED User, I think this “rumor” is actually nothing more than contentious speculation.

  • Jeff-c

    Unlikely from Nikon.

    Last time I heard RED’s lenses are manufactured by Sigma by RED’s specifications and shipped to RED for final assembly.

  • Fred

    In a down economy, I would expect to see more collaboration between companies like this. Only good can come from it.

  • Chris P

    Another thing that makes me think that we won’t see a Nikkor 25-100 f2.8 is that, if my optical theory holds up, to increase the focal length at the long end by around 40% while leaving the short end roughly the same, i.e. 25 mm to 100 mm, the front element would have to be approximately 1.4x the area of the existing 24-70. The area of a 77mm front element is 4,657 sq mm, this x 1.4 is 6,520, the square root of which is 81 mm. A 25-100 f2.8 with a 82 mm filter size is going to be pretty big and heavy. Then again mounted on a D3x in a photographic studio it would give a near ideal range of focal lengths and would weigh no more than a Hasselblad fitted with a portrait lens. Hmmm, perhaps there is food for thought here.

  • Chris P

    Re previous post, trying to do maths early in the morning is not a good idea. The front element of the 25-100 given above should be 91mm not 81, I forgot to allow for pi when calculating the new diameter; the filter size would most likely be 95mm and I think the weight would be about twice the existing 24-70.

  • Not true about NIkon producing the glass for most Panavision lenses. Most Panavision lenses came from Leica in their Midland, Ontario, Canada plant. Production moved to Southern California when Leica sold that plant.

    That being said, a 24-105 2.8 VR lens would be perfect! But I doubt it.

  • David

    Chris, it doesn’t matter what size the front element will be, the lens is being produced. That’s a fact, RED lists it on their web site as part of their lens line up for the 35FF camera. So all the speculation that this is unlikely because it would be large and heavy is pointless. The question is not if the lens is made (it is!), but the question is who is developing and producing it.

    RED is definitely not making their own lenses. Looking at the electronic 35FF lenses they all look very much like SLR lenses. The fact that their 15-25/2.8 resembles the design of Nikon’s 14-24/2.8 so much make me believe Nikon makes it (of course modified to integrate into the RED system).

    The 25-100/2.8 will have AF and will be stabilized. That narrows down the possible manufacturer quite a bit. Only Nikon and Canon (and maybe Sigma) have and can produce that kind of lens for full frame sensor size. I find Nikon the most likely candidate, but then that’s the rumor part of the whole story 🙂

    • Tom

      I disagree – excessively large and heavy are excellent arguments why the lens won’t appear for DSLR use.

    • Pete C

      From the horse’s mouth.

      Last Updated at Apr 29 by admin

      RED has taken upon itself to offer optics that are as revolutionary as the camera they attach to, both in price and performance. To achieve this end, RED has searched the world for the best partners to meet this goal. Suffice to say, when RED puts their name on a lens, it is a design specific to RED and not available from anyone else. It is more the rule than the exception that camera companies in the rarified world of Digital Cinema, be it HD, 2K or 4K, go to the experts in optical design and sources are always held in confidence.

      • Lars

        Sounds like marketing blurb. What they say is “We won’t tell you anything.”

  • alex

    RED is again all about 3d renderings and 0 real products.

    they announce something each month, publish a new render, but never get anything done. what i really think is that Red isn’t selling as much as they like. probably because of the rolling shutter which is not acceptable for hollywood.

    they’re doomed unless someone actually implements the global shutter.

    Red rumours are just crappy marketing. i don’t understand why nikonrumors has them. a waste of time.

    • torax
    • Sloaah

      I guess you haven’t realised that Red was around before the “DSLR-killer” hype. The RedOne was used in Che (directed by Steven Soderbergh) and has been used in scenes for Wanted, among other films.

  • Mr Sheldrake

    Panavision Primo lenses have been designed and made by ELCAN in Canada. ELCAN stands for Ernst Leitz Canada aka. Leica (Germany). ELCAN makes optics for the defense industry and most of it’s work is classified (think spy satellites.). Leica no longer owns ELCAN.

    In the past Nikkor lenses have been popular in the movie business for shooting the Vista Vision format. Vista Vision is primarily used for visual effects work.
    But in recent years Leica R (SLR) glass has taken over this task, because Nikon has neglected their prime lens line up. You simply can’t cut footage that was shot with an old Nikkor 2/28mm against modern cine lenses from Cooke and Zeiss and not see a ‘pop’. The Leica R glass is a lot more expensive, but you get what you pay for. The barrels are also very heavy and you still get full manual control of the aperture.

  • Mr Sheldrake

    >RED has taken upon itself to offer optics that are as revolutionary as the camera >they attach to, both in price and performance. To achieve this end, RED has >searched the world for the best partners to meet this goal bla bla bla….

    RED glass is relatively cheap and in the world of cinema the performance is average. None the RED glass can hold a candle to something like the Cooke S2, S4 or Arri Masterprime series.

    • Pete C

      Agreed, but the reason I quoted their site was:
      “when RED puts their name on a lens, it is a design specific to RED and not available from anyone else”

      Here people are thinking that Nikon and Red might be sharing a lens.
      I won’t dispute that they might get glass from Nikon, but to continue their quoted principle they wouldn’t sell a lens under there banner that is identical to Nikon. The problems arising from price differences would be horrible.

      Anyway, aside from Nikon’s PC-E lenses, anything Nikon is making is less desirable for RED ONEuse as the G lenses don’t offer aperture control.
      Their new Epic range may use electronic and even G lenses, I don’t know, but their adverts display the 15-25mm with no aperture ring and electronic contacts.
      They don’t really say if their FF35 lenses are for use with cinema or just still but I’d imagine many lens pullers being disatisfied with no manual control of aperture.

      • Sloaah

        The lenses will definitely be re-housed. They will be in a different chassis, which offers better focusing with less breathing (changes in focal length) among other things. Many people rehouse their Nikon lenses for this purpose, and it adds a lot of cost.

  • To date, AFAIK, no camera manufacturer has produced a f/2.8 lens with a zoom factor of 4x. Therefore, I think this lens will either have a stellar price, or it is a mythical beast.

    • Digitalux

      Closest, afaik, was Tamron 28-105/2.8. Not that bad though closed at 5.6. I still use it regularly on a Kodak DCS Pro 14nx.

  • On the most latest concepts like EPIC brian (body) declared support S35 / FF35 for Nikon Mount

    for Mysterium Monstro 645 / 617 – from Nikon just not any lenses (yet)

  • 24-105 IS / 2.8 ? That’d be a DREAM-LENS!!!!

  • Pablov

    Do the RED cameras use CMOS sensors?
    How did they slve the rolling shutter issue ?
    (I read they didn’t get rid of that issue completely, would be right?)

    I add this question to the topic:
    Does RED design and build their own sensors?
    Maybe they can share that technology with Nikon if they work together somehow

  • Jeff

    I would just like to point out how stupid the pretense of this is. Ultra-wide-angle lenses share a similar form factor. They have large diameter, though not very long petal hood with lots of corner room, A large from element that is vaguely part of a sphere, and then have a focus ring then a distance scale, then a zoom ring (or not if its a prime), then they mount. They have a severe taper after the front element, and a gradual one from there. That is all SIMILARITIES between the RED 15-25 2.8 render, but upon close inspection the lenses have very different from factors, namely in length to width ratio through out, with the RED lens appearing somewhat squatter than the 14-24 2.8. Oh, and by the way, if you change the focal length AT ALL you have to redesign the optics. So at that point Nikon, who is the pre-eminent world leader in 35mm wide-angle glass (they invented the fisheye, nuff said) would be hired by RED to design and possibly produce components for a lens that is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT, though admittedly similar to the 14-24 2.8. Which does not mean that Nikon designs all of RED’s optics. It also doesn’t man that if RED lists a 25-100 2.8 stabilized that, even if Nikon designs it, Nikon can re-body the design into a 24-105 2.8 VR, unless 5% is an OK margin of focal length error for you (its about twice what I tolerate), and oh yeah, It would be massive, absolutely massive, especially to support corner sharpness at the bookends of the focal length. BTW, this post isn’t a rumor its just you looking a pictures and numbers without paying attention to details.

  • BBBBBSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

    The most laughable part is how they’re talking about “only” going to 100mm instead of 105mm. Do you REALLY think the 24-70 stopped at 70mm for no reason at all? (and it’s already pretty hefty. To extend the range to 100mm, and maintain sharpness, AND add VR… currently impossible…


  • Anonymous

    “Do you REALLY think the 24-70 stopped at 70mm for no reason at all? (and it’s already pretty hefty. To extend the range to 100mm, and maintain sharpness, AND add VR… currently impossible…”

    Ok, let’s repeat this once more: This lens exists! The only question is whether someone is going to built it with a Nikon mount or not.

  • Back to top