ARRI introduced the ENG-style AMIRA back in September of last year, surprising quite a few people who were expecting a low-cost ALEXA, but not necessarily aimed at a different audience. ARRI sees this new camera as more of a TV or documentary tool, since it is designed to fit more comfortably on your shoulder and has better access to functions on the operator side. Even though it has a max resolution of 2K, it has the same sensor as the ALEXA, which means the footage has that signature ARRI look. Sebastian from cinema5D recently reviewed the camera and shot some beautiful footage with it.
Here is some of what Sebastian had to say:
While weighing almost half of an Arri ALEXA, the AMIRA is still heavy in comparison to most entry-level solutions we’ve come to know: The C100 / C300 / C500 cameras by Canon, the FS700 by Sony, the KineMINI, any DSLR, they are all much lighter in comparison. And that’s why they work with Movi’s, helicopters and small tripods.
So if all your accessories are laid out for smaller, lighter cameras, you can either pass on the AMIRA, or you will need to get new equipment and possibly get a little help carrying stuff on your shoots.
If however your shooting style is handheld, I’m convinced the AMIRA will please you. As soon as its 5kg were resting on my shoulder, the weight actually was a benefit making my shots look more organic and smooth and weight was no longer an issue due to the perfect balance that is easily achieved (given that you’re using small / lightweight lenses).
And here is some great piece shot by Sebastian with the camera:
For this project I mostly (about 95%) shot ISO 3200 on the AMIRA as I used a lot of natural light in the location and also wanted to see how far the sensor can be pushed. There were a few shots where the noise, even though it looks very filmic, was too much for my tastes.
Luckily I could easily remove that noise within Davinci, but of course it did water down the quality of my shots a little.
One of the issues with cameras that are too small or too dense in a small area is that they are difficult to balance properly. If you're shooting a lot of handheld footage, weight is less of an issue than balance, and ENG-style cameras have been perfecting this for quite a while.
The AMIRA is obviously capable of some gorgeous footage, though it's still not inexpensive enough for a vast majority to own (it starts at around $40,000 for a barebones package). While some will be able to throw some money down for a purchase like this, it's going to be a good rental for those who are using the camera in a one-man-band kind of situation and need something that's much lighter than the ALEXA and offers better controls for the operator (and obviously for anyone who wants an image closer to an ALEXA).
For more of his review, check out the links over at cinema5D.