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

ARRI 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:

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.


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.

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?


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Your Comment


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.

February 14, 2014 at 10:43AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

John Hopkins

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

March 1, 2014 at 9:53AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM