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Red teases Helium sensor with 8K resolution, incredible pixel density

High-end camera manufacturer Red has casually announced that it will soon introduce a new 8K Super 35 image sensor under the Helium name.

Not much technical information about the sensor has been shared by the American camera manufacturer, but it appears as though the new Helium sensor will be a more compact version of the company’s 8K Dragon sensor.

The new sensor measures in at 29.9 by 15.77 millimeters, a great deal smaller than the 40.96 by 21.6 millimeter Dragon sensor. Despite the smaller size, the Helium sensor will offer the same resolution of 8,192 by 4,320 pixels, meaning an increase of roughly 35,000 pixels per square millimeter — approximately twice as dense with each pixel being only 3.65 microns.

Although the Helium sensor comes in a bit larger than the Super 35mm format, the smaller size will enable cinematographers and photographers to use a much wider range of lenses. This should make it more enticing for creatives who don’t mind exchanging a bit more pixel density for versatility.

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Red will also benefit from the new sensor. According to CEO Jarred Land, the Helium will help “take pressure off our Dragon sensor lines and allow those lines to completely focus on Raven and Scarlet-W sensors.” Red’s VistaVision-sized 8K Dragon sensor has proven challenging to produce and deliver in a timely manner, so offering a secondary 8K option should help lighten the manufacturing load.

No exact date was given for the official release of the sensor, but Land noted in the company’s July update on the Red User Forums that it will be available in the “coming weeks for those that know where to look.”