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ARRI AMIRA: Same ALEXA Sensor in New Lower-Cost ENG-Style Body, Shoots 2K & Up to 200FPS

09.13.13 @ 1:38PM Tags : , , , , ,

ARRI AMIRA Side 1ARRI just announced a brand new camera at the IBC conference in Amsterdam they are calling the AMIRA. Not to be confused with the budget ALEXA HD that was just recently announced, the AMIRA features the same sensor and similar recording resolutions as that camera, but is housed in a completely new body design designed to be more ENG/TV/Documentary-friendly. Check out their intro video below:

More on shooting with the AMIRA:

ARRI AMIRA Side 1

The specs:

  • Super 35mm 16:9 Sensor (Same Exact Sensor as Other 16:9 ALEXAs)
  • 2K/1080 Rec 709/Log C using ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ, or 444 codecs
  • Up to 200fps
  • Records to CFast 2.0 (New Compact Flash card standard)
  • 1280 x 1024 OLED Viewfinder and Separate LCD Monitor
  • Internal ND filters
  • 4-Channel PCM Audio: 48KHz 24-bit
  • Selectable 3D LUTs can be recorded
  • Aimed at Documentary, TV Magazines, Trailers, Corporate, Factuals, Live Events
  • Interchangeable Lens Mounts: PL, PL Broadcast, B4, and Canon EF
  • Shipping: Sometime before or near NAB 2014
  • Price: TBD, but said to be well under the ALEXA (but which one?)


The Canon C300 and the Sony F3 were huge steps up for TV and Doc work that had previously been using DSLRs. With better resolution and ND filters — and in the case of the C300 almost no rolling shutter — they made getting the shot that much easier. There is a market between low-end (under $10,000) and high-end (over $40,000) that wants a camera with some of those features, but also the ability to expand if possible. The Sony F5 and F55 fit that market perfectly, but with expansion are actually aimed for high-end cinema as well. AMIRA doesn’t quite fit that market perfectly, but their goal is ultimate image quality at 2K/1080.

ARRI is not positioning the AMIRA that way because they are satisfied with their high-end solutions, and they would rather not introduce compromised versions at the lower end with 4:3 sensors and 2.8k ARRIRAW (that’s what the big boys are for). Many like the ALEXA look, and obviously ARRI saw an opportunity to try to get that look into more hands on less predictable and more run & gun shows. They’ve made the AMIRA weather-sealed internally. This means that as long as your lens can hold up, you can use it basically anywhere under any conditions. It goes without saying that weather-sealing is extremely helpful for Doc or TV work.

ARRI AMIRA 4-Channel PCM Audio

ARRI AMIRA Side 2

The AMIRA will have interchangeable mount options, including PL, PL Broadcast, B4, and Canon EF (that last one will be huge for smaller budget productions). There is absolutely a huge market who are going to eat this up. How much though, will come down to price. If ARRI wants to hit C300 or F5 owners, it has to be somewhere closer to $20,000. Otherwise it’s just going to be too big of a jump for many owner-operators. I would be surprised if ARRI can get the price under $30,000, especially with the ALEXA HD featuring similar specs starting over $40,000. If they hit $20K for a working camera it will literally sell by the truckloads.

If the camera becomes a relatively inexpensive rental, somewhere around $500 a day (give or take a few hundred), it’s going to find its way on a lot of film sets and music videos, especially with 200fps capabilities (even thought they aren’t necessarily aiming at that market). 14 stops of dynamic range, ND filters, gorgeous colors, and 2K resolution will be perfect for lower budget productions that can’t quite afford the big ALEXA, but could still benefit from the image and don’t really need anything more than Log ProRes. I know that I would rent one for a short or feature without even blinking if they can keep the price down and make a rental comparable to a C300 or F5.

Unfortunately, much like Sony does with their cameras, it will require completely new media. SanDisk is one of the first out of the gate with what is known as CFast 2.0, the next standard of Compact Flash technology. These cards are capable of much higher write speeds as they are closer in nature to SATA SSD drives, but are much smaller and use less power. These cards are not backwards compatible with older hardware, but ARRI is making CODEX adapters to use them in the new XT/XR recorders.

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 120GB Card

CFast to CODEX ARRI Adapter

The AMIRA is a smart move for ARRI, especially since plenty of TV and Doc work will continue shooting well under 4K for some time to come. Getting that ALEXA look is now looking to be even more affordable, which means we have even more choices for how we want our projects to look.

What do you think? Where do you think it will be priced? Would you buy one? Rent one?

Links:

Related Posts

  1. NAB Video: Sony F65 >4K Camera and New ARRI ALEXA Models
  2. Can You Tell the Difference Between the ARRI Alexa and Canon C300 in This 'Game of Thrones' Test?
  3. ARRI ALEXA Hits 120FPS with Software Update

COMMENT POLICY

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  • Many who have tried to say that IBC is about 9 kg in weight 4kg against f55′s full. Epic Dragon with 5kg.
    Too Heavy. Only in the shoulder or on a tripod …
    No movement, no Octocpter ….. always with large luggage and bulky ..
    The ergonimia I like, comfortable and balanced, but 1080p and native iso 800, if you do not like Alexa goes beyond the ISO 1200 otherwise too much noise, I want to see 200 fps in low light …. For documentary where you are working in difficult conditions also is not ‘the best, in fact, many use a c300 or c500.
    All with a high price ..
    I’d rather have a backpack C500. and a RED Dragon at this time.

    • Daniel Christensen on 10.30.13 @ 7:44PM

      Who, on any doc shoot, is going to use an Octocopter? This camera is meant for the shoulder or the tripod, maybe a Wally Dolly or something of that nature, which is ultimately still on a tripod. Break this baby down and it’ll fit in a backpack. A C500 can’t do high speed and has a DSLR sensor. I’d much rather have high speed and THE BEST sensor to ever be put into any camera. Yes, I think Alexa looks better than Dragon, especially on skin tones. And I don’t see any RED camera doing 200fps at full sensor size. This is the “baby Alexa” we’ve been waiting for,

  • sounds really great, I wonder about the showreel though…really unimpressive did they shoot rec 709 or with a high contrast grade looked lacking in latitude.

    I wonder about the weight and the price.

  • On the ARRI booth they where saying around 4kg for the body.

    The fujinon cabrio lens alone weights around 3,5kg…

    So, the light weight setup will be EF Mount and some compact canon lens.

  • are we talking the same image quality as the alexa?? omg!

  • I just bought a F55 and i have a F3 since a couple of years. If i knew that Amira was coming i would definitely gone for the Arri instead. The F55 i a really good camera but it has some major drawbacks compared to the Alexa. The menu system is complicated and slow to work with. No audio control on the camera is not a good thing for run and gun style. The ergonomics, quality and weather seal is also much better on Arri´s. So far the 4K raw isn´t something my customers have asked for either so 2K is enough for many years to come. Good work Arri!….Bastards ;-)

    • Yes, the AMIRA external design and ergonomics is clever and beautiful but remember, the Sony F55 has a “Global Shutter”, which means, no partially exposed frames, no wobble (jello-cam) or skew.

  • This is such an awesome move by Arri , I am totally geared up for this . 2K is more than sufficient for TV commercials and doc work especially with 4:4:4 and 200 fps . This is definitely worth going hyper and saving up for :P . The price will be very important for this camera .

    • Karen, studio pictures have been mastered in 2k for 20 years and still are to this day. 4k isn’t important unless you’re Fincher and you like to have the option of reframing everything in post. 4k should never be a selling point on a camera.

  • There is no way this camera will ever hit the $20k range, ever. That’s not ArrI’s game. They aren’t trying to compete with C300 or F5 owners, and they never did nor probably ever will. Just off the specs of this thing, it should be almost identical in cost to the Alexa, there’s no reason for it not to be (same sensor, same dynamic range, 2k capabilities), plus this one boasts a higher frame rate option, not to mention its designed for more extreme temperatures. Arri has always prided itself in being the highest end, and because of that, they aren’t trying to compete with a more consumer market, the Alexa wasn’t made for indie filmmakers, or owner/operators, it was made for serious films that want the best possible image quality. This new camera is just to bring in those high level docs and shows who don’t want as complex as a setup with the Alexa, but still have the money to afford the rental of a piece of equipment so good. Would I love the day that Arri makes a budget camera? Yes, but this surely isn’t it. As aforementioned, the Alexa HD version still will run someone $50k with all of the necessary accessories, and that’s the only Arri camera that is really limiting anything (No Raw).

    • Their marketing manager was asked about the price and all he could say was, “Less than Alexa”. Which sounds like it’s going to easily run $50K or more. For comparison, AbelCine Alexa “starter” kit is $80K.

  • We are now so used to getting a lot of picture for little money, that we tend to forget the top-end 2/3″ ENG market is long used to 5 figure pricetags. If you shoot some DC documentary for a couple of weeks, you probably buy rather than rent. So besides ARRIs traditional rental market, I guess they finally want their share of the owner/operator market. So, I wouldn´t be surprised about some more aggressive pricing sth slightly above 35k.

  • if i can buy it for £3500-4500 i d get it instantly

  • sweet looking piece of kit…most definitely gonna be pricey.

  • Daniel Mimura on 09.20.13 @ 12:08AM

    Wow! the thing I’m most impressed with is the egos…specifically that the whole thing slides fore and aft…both for handheld as well as steadicam. WIth so much AKS nowadays, balance of shoulder mount cameras are are basically screwed b/c there is no way to shift for the load without just adding dead weight (ballast) or operating out of balance, so this is perfect. It’s nice that the eyepiece slides left and right too.

    One drawback though, I think is that the monitor isn’t located above the eyepiece, so if you are using both (as I do all the time when I’m mounting external monitors on cameras that also have eyepieces)…you can’t see anything except thru the lens b/c the flip-out screen will be covering your left eye as well (I think.)

  • It’s lovely. Completely suits my work – TV, commercials.. No need for a rig – so that’s a couple of grand saved – fairly robust codec. Uses the collection of EF lenses most of us now have lying around – but also B4 for those totally KBS shoots, and PL for those times we get to shoot something actually pretty. Great slo mo – great colours, in camera grading.

    It seems someone has finally ticked 9 out of 10 boxes for my market… But will they tick the last?

    ‘Affordability’ (it’s a relative term obviously) I’d sell a stack of kit to buy it if it was circa 20k. 30k and I couldn’t justify it.

  • I find that this camera is well into the right areas of where the target market is going to be. I find that the thing lacking in news productions is low quality sensors. everyone has been used to the same small chip cameras that stacking them next to each other hasn’t done a thing but give a illusion of a better picture. No offense to anyone on that, but when news reels still shot on film they would use the Arri-S 16mm cameras and would record audio with tape deck recorders. What Arri has done is keep up to that style and make the highest quality chip, camera and media package that pushes the envelope for television production that will make everyone go back to looking at broadcast the way it was always intended and not the low end version that it is now. The only thing I am waiting for in the case here to call up the Arri headquarters and put the deposit down is the price range. I do not like the C300 for the almost no rolling shutter and Sony has made another complicated system with the AXS recorder. I have always longed for simple to make better and am glad Arri is there once again to make it happen. I love shooting on the Alexa, Alexa Plus and Alexa Studio and I am sure the Amira will just add to the line of Arriflex cameras that will keep pushing creativity into the future.

  • It looks too big and too expensive for many self shooters on low budgets. Arri need to be more radical.

  • MUKESHOTHENAN on 10.11.13 @ 2:26AM

    A great aproching …….ARRI

  • Amazing move from Arri.
    Being an epic owner, telling you now, this is freaking awesome!
    And the internal nd’s ! That is so good. All is there, no need to buy anything. Yeah yeah the lens. You got me.
    But really, got buy an epic and see how much extra money you gonna end up spending.

    Love it. I would buy it. WIll see how much that is gonna go fort. But that ain’t gonna be cheapp !!!!

  • Billy Shears on 11.17.13 @ 6:59PM

    I hope that it’ll be priced approx 18/20.000 USD. I think that it’ll be priced approx 30.000 USD.

  • Billy Shears on 11.17.13 @ 7:07PM

    @ian potts
    I’ don’t think that it is too big, some others competitors is smaller but if you want to go on shoulder you need a rig, Amira is simply ready and well balanced for everything, you just need to put a lens (and if you want or need to be more cinematic a pair of 15mm rods a follow focus a matte-box and onboard monitor).

  • Dominik Belancic on 01.22.14 @ 3:07PM

    Even though I shoot a lot of fast moving action/adventure films, I think that this is just awesome for that kind of stuff and since I almost always shoot on a rig, having a camera with this image quality where you don’t need to buy/make a rig is just pure awesomness. I hope I’ll be able to get one of these.

  • John Hopkins on 02.14.14 @ 1:43PM

    My Sony F3 shoots S-Log with about the same specs at 1080, being ProRes 444 with the recent free upgrade to our PIX240, for about 24k for everything, with one stop more with EI for less than half the price of this new Arri at 50k. You have to build the camera and there is no 2k or 200fps. For 25k less, yep, no problem. Our doc system with rocks with the Shape BP7000/handles. With the Alphatron EVF it focuses super sharp now without using peaking. 15 stops of dynamic range. Option to use Nikon lens with the Optitek Nikon ProLock on a budget or Duclos re-housed ZF Zeiss lenses for a 11k for a whole prime set. And you can own it all and pay it all off in half the time, and rent it for less if you wish to do that, and more often. Was excited about the Arri, but the price point has killed this option. If they brought it down to 25k or even 30k they would steal the entire market for the F3/F5/F55, C500, C300, the works… they would make a great profit from quanity of sales with a lower profit margin. The pricing at 50k for ProRes 444 makes this camera fall through t he trap door. Not a recommended by at that price point. We shot in all kinds of adverse conditions with the F3, out to sea, in storms, cold/hot and it works flawlessly still and the images are truly cinematic, flesh tones lovely, at a killer price. Up the ante by using PL lenses of any flavour/quality. Arri hope you are listening. You need to bring the camera down to 25-30k or this camera will be admired but not used in today’s market with the options which exist.

  • The Amira is marketed as a 35mm doc camera. Ergonomics are everything here, and whilst the camera looks well designed, in order to work properly it will need a lens. Put a PL mount servo zoom on and you have over doubled the price. A Cabrio zoom is around $40K and that wont even get you the range doc shooters are used to. Unless PL servo zooms can come in at the same price as hd b4 zooms, there is no doc market here for this camera.
    So what about EF lenses? Much cheaper, 35mm, but no servo-zooms on the market.
    That leaves B4 lenses. If Arri can get their mount to include an optical re-scaler to fill the sensor, with little or no f-stop rise, then this will give this camera a chance in the doc market. Its a big IF though.
    For this camera to work in the intended market, we need to see a new range of 35mm, servo zoom EF lenses… over to you Mr Canon

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