RED Raven or URSA Mini 4.6K?

RED’s hot new camera just got announced, and many are drawing the natural conclusion…. RED Raven or URSA Mini 4.6K? I wondered to ask, which to go for if their body price is the same & you could pick either? (which they’re not! URSA Mini is clearly going to be many thousands cheaper to own)

Clearly the URSA Mini comes out the winner here, as I don’t think the Raven is better specced.
URSA Mini is:
a) has 4K ProRes (Raven doesn’t)
b) has XLR inputs
c) better ergonomics
d) global shutter option
e) sensor size which is a better match for the Canon EF mount (URSA Mini is a little larger than APS-C vs GH2 sized for the Raven)
f) as well as PL/B4 (and more??) mount options available instead
g) cheaper media (and rapidly getting cheaper!! You won’t see the same rate of price drops happen with RED’s media)
h) I half suspect URSA Mini will have the edge over Raven in low light (though not by a huge amount,. a stop or less). I suspect dynamic range to be close too, given how RED overstates theirs. Will have to wait for each to ship however before this can be really clear which way it falls.
i) way cheaper EVF (and better too I reckon)
j) URSA Mini doesn’t have the very heavy 13:1 compression in slow motion that the RED Raven has, instead is lossless raw from the URSA Mini.
k) better input/output options.
l) BMD wins with the higher resolution (ironically so…. as that is RED’s big obsession, resolution)
m) free copy of the industry standard DaVinci Resolve (which you’ll need to purchase if you wish to colour grade Raven’s footage with it)
n) and last but not least…. URSA Mini will ship earlier!! (yes, even with BMD’s record of always being late)

Of course the usual caveats apply with this analysis: nobody has either of these in their hands yet, so specs analysis vs real world use might be far apart!

2 thoughts on “RED Raven or URSA Mini 4.6K?

  1. Just by having a RED on set it is a big +. Often production companies state We want a RED. Nobody ever told me (unfortunately) We want a BMD. I am saying this having 4 BM cameras so I know what I am saying. I will not give up on BM but the Raven will be great to stop companies to have the excuse of the “RED look”

    • Fair point indeed! And if I was to make a list of reasons why a person should buy a RED Raven instead, that “RED factor” (people blindly requesting “a RED”) would be at the top of the list of reasons! (might be a bit cheeky of me to suggest however it would be the *only* reason on this short list…).

      However, least really look into what situations this might happen in:

      a) a very uneducated client who just “wants a RED”:
      Then it probably shouldn’t be hard at all for you to explain/show why your BMD options are superior.

      *OR* you can simply just buy yourself a RED One MX for a few thousands (waaaay cheaper than a RED Raven), which is still a capable (but old) camera, and go ahead and shoot on that for them. Thus giving them the RED shoot they want.

      b) they’re a (slightly) more educated client:
      Thus they can appreciate and understand the benefits of going with URSA Mini 4.6K.

      *OR* they’re not going to be content with “just” a RED Raven, they’ll want instead the Epic / Weapon which they’ve seen/used/heard about beforehand.

      So even if you’re getting a RED Raven just for the “RED name brand” it still struggles to make sense for all but a small niche number of cases? Perhaps just rent instead. As there is a lot a person could do with US$15k instead, such as a heavy lifting multicopter for DSLRs, or a Sony F5, etc… don’t forget to factor in opportunity costs you spend on a Raven instead of something else!

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