Nikon is acquiring RED cameras

Nikon is acquiring RED Digital Cinema, the company founded by Jim Jannard (founder of Oakley) and best known for digital cinema cameras including the RED One 4K and V-Raptor X. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed in Nikon’s press release, which outlined how RED will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the camera company.

Nikon hopes to use the deal to expand into the professional digital cinema camera market, drawing from RED’s “knowledge in cinema cameras, including unique image compression technology and color science.” RED boasts that its cameras have been used to film numerous major films and TV shows, including multiple Marvel productions like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Captain Marvel, nature documentaries like Planet Earth II, and TV shows like Squid Game, Mindhunter, Peaky Blinders, and The Queen’s Gambit.

RED president Jarred Land announced the news on Instagram with an image followed by “Heh heh heh…”

RED was founded in 2005 and currently has around 220 employees, per Nikon’s press release, and has its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, California.

Land shared the following in a press release posted to his Facebook page:

For over 17 years, RED has been at the forefront of digital cinema, introducing industry-defining products such as the original RED ONE 4K to the cutting-edge 8K V-RAPTOR X, all powered by RED’s proprietary REDCODE RAW compression. RED’s contributions to the film industry earned a Scientific and Technical Academy Award, and their cameras have been used on Oscar-winning films. RED is the choice for numerous Hollywood productions and is celebrated by directors and cinematographers worldwide for its commitment to innovation and image quality optimized for the highest levels of filmmaking, documentaries, commercials and video production.

The acquisition comes less than a year after RED’s lawsuit against Nikon for infringing on its video compression patents was dismissed. RED sued Nikon in 2022 for allegedly copying its data compression tech in a firmware update for Nikon’s Z9 camera. Nikon responded by challenging the legitimacy of RED’s patents, and the case was dismissed last April.

Although best known for its digital cinema cameras, RED attempted to expand into the smartphone market in 2018 with the release of the RED Hydrogen One. The phone boasted a holographic display and support for modular add-ons, but was a critical failure and was discontinued a year later.

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