RED Will Continue to Support Canon RF, But Nikon is ‘Considering’ Making Cine Optics

RED with Canon RF

Less than a week after Nikon closed its acquisition of RED, the company tells PetaPixel that it has begun moves to advance its position in cinema and leverage its new partner.

A panel of Nikon and RED executives spoke at length to PetaPixel and addressed multiple topics regarding the future of both RED and Nikon products including that Nikon is already considering designing its own line of cinema lenses.

“We have also begun considering Nikkor lenses for cinema. We are actively considering lens development that is in demand in the cinema market,” Keiji Oishi, from Nikon’s Imaging Business Unit and RED’s new CEO, tells PetaPixel.

“We are aware that many [cinema camera customers] use the [legacy] Nikon lenses (like F-mount lenses) [and that] they are converting to PL mounts,” he continues, indicating the company knows that there is value in Nikon lenses for use in cinema applications even today.

Speaking to the perception that Nikon does not currently support video shooters with many lens options, Oishi says that the company believes that several of its current options are excellent for video production.

“The f/1.8 prime lens series has a unified color balance for smooth post-production and unified size allows for smooth lens changes and easy operation in the field,” Oishi says.

“The 135mm f/1.8 Plena is also a good choice for impressive portraits as well as the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S because it has Inner Balance Technology which reduces readjustment of balance when zooming on a tripod.”

While Oishi stopped short of confirming a Z-mount RED camera, he didn’t dismiss the possibility either.

“The development of a professional digital camera with the competencies of both companies will [now] begin, but it will take a few years,” Oishi says.

Filmmakers shouldn’t expect it to come immediately as this acquisition is so new, but there is clearly reason to be hopeful. In PetaPixel‘s experience, the average timeline for a new camera from development to release is typically around three years. It takes far less time to just change a mount on an existing camera.

But since there won’t be a Nikon Z-mount RED camera in the near future and because it wants to keep current RED customers supported, Nikon intends to retain Canon RF lens mounts on its current RED cameras.

“We will maintain the RF mount. A Z-mount RED camera will not be available for a while. So you can buy the present lineup comfortably,” Oishi says.

“We don’t have any plan to change the relationship with RED’s customers, dealers, or whatever anyone has done with RED to this point. We are focused on the most important thing: customers. So we will maintain the same experience they have come to expect such as warranty, customer service, and the structure and anything related to the product. We want to keep the entire customer experience as it is.”

Oishi could not speak to the details of the arrangement with Canon to use the RF mount and therefore couldn’t speak to how long filmmakers could expect RF support to continue. However, there was no indication that the company believes it will end any time soon — if at all.

Image credits: Nikon/RED