Nikon agrees to purchase cinema camera maker Red less than a year after lawsuit



In brief: Nikon has agreed to acquire Red Digital Cinema, the high-end digital cinematography company based out of Foothill Ranch, California. Financial terms of the deal were not shared, but Red will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon once everything has been finalized.

Red Digital Cinema was founded in 2005 by Jim Jannard, the entrepreneur behind the popular Oakley brand of sunglasses and sportswear. Jannard set out to revolutionize the industry with a digital movie camera that could match the richness and detail of analog film and according to many, he was successful.

Red’s headquarters is still located in Foothill Ranch, and they have expanded to reach nearly 220 employees.

In its announcement, Nikon said the acquisition was the result of the companies’ mutual desire to meet customer needs and offer an exceptional user experience that exceeds expectations. Namely, Nikon’s expertise in product development, reliability, optical technology, and know-how in image processing will blend with Red’s knowledge in cinema cameras, unique image compression tech, and color science, to pave the way for the development of new products in the pro digital cinema space.

This is not the first time the two companies have crossed paths. Back in 2022, Red sued Nikon over claims that a firmware update for the Nikon Z9 introduced data compression technology patented by Red. Less than a year later, the lawsuit was dismissed and Nikon was allowed to continue using the tech in its camera.

Perhaps acquisition talks started during this period and the suit was dismissed to clear the way for the buyout?

Nikon has been keeping busy as of late. Earlier this month, the Japanese optics specialist announced a partnership with NASA to develop the first mirrorless camera for use on the Moon. Should everything go according to plan, the camera – dubbed the handheld universal lunar camera (HULC) – will be ready for the human return mission to the Moon (Artemis III) scheduled for no earlier than September 2026.

Image credit: TopSphere Media, Jakob Owens


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