DSMC2/RANGER - Sensor Calibration Methods

This article explains sensor calibration and covers which calibration method provides the best image quality across a wide range of exposures for each sensor in the DSMC2 camera lineup.

Sensor calibration, also known as black shading, is a process during which the camera optimizes image quality by ensuring that pixel sensitivity remains consistent throughout the sensor. The technique has been used for a variety of high-end applications in digital capture over the years. Calibrating the sensor generates a calibration map based on system and environment settings. After calibration, the sensor shows a uniform noise profile over the whole area without any falloffs on any side.

Different RED cameras offer different sensor calibration methods. For example, cameras in the DSMC2 family offer sensor calibration via both Manual Calibration and Auto Calibration.  

For more information, download the corresponding operation guide for your camera. See full details and examples of Black Shading Calibration on the RED 101 Article: BLACK SHADING CALIBRATION

Sensor Calibration Methods


RED recommends using Auto Capture for the DRAGON 4.5K, DRAGON 5K, DRAGON 6K, and DRAGON-X 5K sensors.

Auto sensor calibration (Auto Capture) allows users to select exposure times from 1/8000s to 1/8s without calibrating, which provides a wider operating band for sensor temperature.

Although auto sensor calibration can require up to an hour for the entire process, it provides the best image quality across a range of exposures compared to manual sensor calibration.


For HELIUM 8K S35, MONSTRO 8K VV, and GEMINI 5K S35 sensors, the performance of auto sensor calibration does not have the same benefits as it does for DRAGON. RED recommends using manual sensor calibration (Manual Capture) for these sensors, because it provides the best image quality across a range of temperatures, and requires significantly less time for the entire process.

Summary Table

The table below summarizes the recommended calibration methods for the sensors in the DSMC2 camera lineup:

Sensor Recommended Calibration Method
DRAGON 4.5K Auto Calibration
DRAGON 5K Auto Calibration
DRAGON-X 5K Auto Calibration
DRAGON 6K Auto Calibration
HELIUM 8K S35 Manual Calibration
MONSTRO 8K VV Manual Calibration
GEMINI 5K S35 - Standard Mode Manual Calibration
GEMINI 5K S35 - Low Light Mode Manual Calibration
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