I am not a "fanboy" either, but my Scarlet paid for itself in the first 45 days, and has been consistently making me money ever since ... that's all I really care about. (My clients like it too.) It is a creative tool. Nothing more ... nothing less. It is too bad that you apparently have had issues with RED. I agree. Their ordering system leaves a lot to be desired ... but, all in all, it has generally worked for me. (I have an excellent relationship with my Bomb Squad Rep. ... maybe that helps?) However, like most things in life, YMMV.
As to the new Dragon sensor, "time-will-tell." I am perfectly happy with what I have. I will just have to wait and see how the upgrade program works. However, I can tell you, having owned professional cameras from Sony, JVC and Panasonic, I can't recall any of those companies ever offering the type of trade-in or buy back program that RED has offered in the past. It will be interesting to see what they offer to us Scarlet owners.
When we started shooting dv I'd have given anything for a larger sensored film like digital camera and RED delivered at a price that you could accept.
Dealing with RED is not bad, just weird.
Our studio manager who's the most buttoned down person on the planet deals with our RED rep and regardless of voice, e-mail, voice, e-mail 2 out of three transactions get sent to the wrong address or just come out wrong.
When we bought our second R1, we needed it in less than a week so RED required $22,000 in "cash" . . . no other payment. Our studio has an incredible financial history and we buy goods and services around the world. We had multiple ways of securely paying RED, but we had to stop, order cash from the bank, drive it to Orange county and stand there an hour while they verified the cash. It's was so silly.
Anyway, everybody has different results and if yours are good that's great.
In regards to the dragon sensor I don't care as nobody is asking and our RED's work perfectly. Personally I like the R1 100 times better than the Scarlet. I think the Scarlet footage looks too smooth and I loathe the reflective screen. It's virtually impossible on some sunny days to track a subject using the screen. We've added the bomb viewer to bypass the screen. Same with the i/o sound contacts. Those awaful little input jacks crack and pop so it's another $3,750 for the pro in and out module.
But, ONCE AGAIN, I do very much like RED's product and could only ask for a few more things. I wish the R-1's booted up faster and I wish the Scarlet would really autofocus. We have the Canon and Nikon mounts for the Scarlet and autofocus only works for locked down static subjects.
Autofocus may be a dirty word in feature film world, but for a documentary style production to get that "reality" look about half our creative briefs call for makes autofocus a godsend.
Anyway, I think RED is a very good, but very strange company that does themselves no service by making all of these advanced claims until they have product on the shelf. Their forum is so weird and cult like when you try to get real information and all of this kind of creeps me out. I don't care about bashing either as that does no good, but rah rah on every announcement is also very strange.
They also do themselves no service when they constantly change position on products. One day they say they'll keep the R1's in service for a long time, three days later they drop the line and fire sale out all of their R1's. It doesn't build confidence and this equipment is expensive so you want some assurance that when a company says they'll continue selling something, then they will.
Yes we've made money with our cameras and yes they continue to work fine though . . .
I buy equipment to use, not join a club, but as you say YMMV.
P.S. Not to go off topic but I think the DV world is where still digital was 8 years ago. Everyone is bouncing around trying to find a standard. Prosumer to professional is somewhat blurred. Look at the Scarlet. It's really an Epic with a few electronic brakes put on it, to make the Epic more attractive.
It is a build your own, business model where the camera and viewfinder are quite cheap in film world standards, $14,000, but once you add a eye viewfinder, a proper i/o box, batteries that run for any length of time, SSD recording modules, your back up to around $25,000 for the low end model.
The other end are the Sony's and Canons that shoot 2k or will shoot 4k but no real direct path to what file format that is, how you easily grade or convert it, what is the standard for file delivery and no offered grading suite.
The new 4k Canon dslr is a head scratcher because it only shoots 24p, which disregards European production at 25p, won't do 30p in 4k mode, etc. etc.
The Sony's new 4k isn't 4k yet and the e mount lenses are still very limited.
What amazes me is if you go back a decade the xl1 was so close to being a great camera for what most of us use a motion camera for. It had great servo lenses and autofocus, went to 12db easily, was a perfect weight and shape, had a large cottage industry of accessories and the only drawback was it had a tiny "film" frame. That camera with a super 35mm frame that shot a native prorezz file would have perfectly slotted into the market.