Nikon to Enter Cinema Camera Business with RED Acquisition

Nikon, the Japanese company best known for still cameras, is vaulting into the mainstream of professional moving images with its acquisition of California-based RED Digital Cinema. RED cameras popular among filmmakers and other creators include the RED ONE 4K and V-RAPTOR [X] series. The company also invented the REDCODE RAW compression technology. On closing, RED will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon, which plans to merge “Nikon’s expertise in product development” with “RED’s knowledge in cinema cameras, including unique image compression technology and color science.”

PetaPixel calls it a “massive shakeup of the cinema camera market” and notes Nikon “will be launching itself into the cinema camera market via a popular brand.” RED cameras are often used for feature films, television shows and nature documentaries.

The company has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2017, it received an AMPAS Scientific and Technical Award for designing the RED Epic digital cinema cameras.

“It should be a dream partnership for both parties in more ways than one, and Nikon fans must already be imagining what cutting-edge video features could find their way into the best Nikon mirrorless cameras,” writes TechRadar.

“Nikon will leverage this acquisition to expand the fast-growing professional digital cinema camera market, building on both companies’ business foundations and networks, promising an exciting future of product development that will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in film and video production,” Nikon explained in a news announcement.

PetaPixel notes that “less than 12 months ago, Nikon and RED were embroiled in a lawsuit with RED accusing the Japanese company of infringing on its video compression patents in a firmware update for the Nikon Z9.” In April, the case was dismissed.

The deal — negotiated as a membership interest purchase agreement with RED founder James Jannard and president Jarred Land — is “subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.” RED is privately held, and the purchase price was not disclosed, but Nikon being publicly traded suggests the expenditure will eventually be disclosed.

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