Got my Epic-M about eight hours ago.
Wow! I'm in love with it. The size is really incredible -- such a different vibe than the Red One. The Titanium mount is fantastic, like butter, and the best Red mount I've used ever. Menu system was super-easy to jump into. Touch interface is nicely done, and the iPhone has created a vocabulary of gestures that transfers easily. For example, to change ISO, I touched the ISO value display and a horizontal bar with the other values appears. My first inclination was to slide the bar right in order to bring the new ISO value into the target area. Sure enough it worked exactly as I'd expected it to. Plus of course, if the value you're changing to is visible on screen, you can just tap it and gets selected.
The settings and menu hierarchy are a little more rationally arranged than they are on the Red One. Overall it doesn't feel any more complicated than the Red One, although there is a fair amount of stuff there that will apply to DSMC still mode and electronic lenses.
The screen layout is a big improvement over the Red One. One of the first things I teach people is to look at all of the settings that could mess up your footage: frame rate, ISO, shutter speed, resolution. All the things that aren't metadata and, if wrong, could result in bad footage. (Note that I include ISO in this list because if set wrong it could lead to accidentally underexposed footage.) All these settings are now along the top of the screen. Changing any of them is a matter of touching them and choosing a new value. Touching the histogram pops up a list of variants like focus, video, raw, etc.
There are some little wrinkles in the UI that will no doubt be ironed out, plus I probably don't quite know all of the rules. But for a device with a lot of settings I was able to use it quite easily without a manual. I will confess to a bit of struggling to find the power button, but after that it was smooth sailing.
What Was In The Case
I got the same sweet little Pelican case filled with all the Epic-M components: Brain with side handle, EVF w/cable and arm, LCD with cable, 4 128GB SSD modules. There is space in there for the charger and new style batteries, but those aren't available quite yet. But they were part of the Epic-M package, they'll just be delivered some time in the future. Outside of the Pelican I got an AC power adaptor, plus an adaptor cable that takes Red One-style power and adapts to Epic-style power lemo. Outside of Red, at Element Technica, I got a little adaptor plate screws onto the base of the Epic and presents Red One spaced threaded holes for a baseplate. I didn't get a top plate yet, as ET didn't have any more in stock.
I haven't really played with the side handle and all of its buttons yet, so that will be something fun for tomorrow.
I don't have anything to share yet. But I have shot some 5K 96FPS and some HRDx stuff as well. Like an MXed Red, the footage is super clean even in the dark areas.
I did one quick experiment with HDRx. I arranged a shot that had a lamp on a table next to a wall. The lamp caused a section of the wall to be completely blown out. I shot it with 3 stops of HDRx protection and then looked at it in Redcine-X. By the way, I couldn't figure out how to invoke HDRx viewing, but the footage in the viewer very nicely alternated the X and A frames. I was able to confirm that the wall, in the A frames, was completely blown out and the texture of the wall wasn't recoverable at all. But the X frames had all the subtle texture of that blown out wall section perfectly captured. I can't wait to try this on the real world situations that we care about.
Oh, also, this was my first time using the SSDs. Very nice feel to them. Substantial but not big by any means. I put one of the 1.8" readers onto my Mac using FW800 and everything just worked. Will try an eSata connection tomorrow and see how that goes and compare xfer speeds.
I tried the HD-SDI out, sent through an AJA HD-SDI to DVI-D box. Worked like a charm. Really made me realize, though, how much nicer the new LCD is, very nice image on it. The LCD, in addition to having nice contrast and colors, can tilt and swivel -- a very welcome addition.
Ok, that's about all I can think of for now. I am absolutely thrilled with it. Although I'm sure there are many a firmware update in my future, I will say this thing is quite a bit more solid than my Red One #14 was the first day I took it home.
As I encounter things that strike me as new information or of particular interest, I'll share here on the forum. I won't promise to share a great deal of footage, but if I get something that I think would be additive to what little is out there I will certainly post it.
On the first morning after I got my Red One, I rolled some footage of my son (then 7 years old) in my living room. I still have those original R3Ds (and Redcine still supports them!) Tomorrow morning I'm going to compose the same shot, but this time the kid will be 12 years old, the resolution will be 5k, and the frame rate will be 96 frames per second.