Hands-On with the New Carbon Fiber ARRI ALEXA Mini
At this week's BV Expo, ARRI introduced a smaller, sleeker carbon fiber ALEXA with internal ArriRAW recording called the ARRI ALEXA Mini.
This new form factor is aimed directly at people who need a smaller ALEXA for aerial or gimbal work to match a bigger ALEXA A-cam (and don't want to mix cameras). It's clear that this is going to take some work away from cameras like the Canon C500/C300 and RED EPIC, especially if it's a fully ALEXA show. The Mini can do 2K ProRes up to 200fps and 2.8K ArriRAW up to 30fps — all recording to internal CFast 2.0 cards. If you use the Codex recorder, you get up to 60fps at 4:3 and up to 120fps at 16:9.
Dan Chung and Newsshooter got an early look at the camera at BVE, and talked with Product Designer Michael Jonas:
cinema5D also got their hands on the camera at the show, and talked to Jonas as well:
We've already got most of the specs here, but the videos add some important details. First off, battery consumption is going to be around 50W to 70W depending on external conditions, frame rate, and codec. In terms of battery mounting, while they used dual lock velcro (the heavy duty plastic kind) in the video above, they will also be producing cages that will let you mount the battery wherever you'd like. Since you can't really have mounting points on the carbon fiber itself, they've put the mounting points on the sensor carriage which is made from Titanium. These ARRI and 3rd party cages will also give you many more options for mounting other accessories.
At a weight of just 5 pounds, the camera is balanced right in the middle so that it can be easily mounted in any direction. There are many different options for changing settings, but it seems like the LCD/viewfinder is going to be the easiest way to control all of the functions (even though you can control basic functions through WiFi and through the few buttons on the camera itself).
Audio can be sent into the camera through the 4-pin Lemo on the front — though it doesn't have phantom power. While an internal mic for scratch audio would have been great, I think between timecode and the Lemo port on the front, people will figure out enough solutions.
The price for the body-only starts at €32,500 (I've also seen €32,000), and the ArriRAW and 4:3 will cost €2,950 each. If you want the viewfinder, that is apparently going to run about €6000. This puts a full package closer to $50,000 when you consider all of the external accessories necessary.
Obviously you don't need all of these options for every shoot, so if you don't want the viewfinder and don't need the RAW and 4:3, you can get into a package for under $40,000. Regardless of price, it's going to be a rental for most people because it's a specialty camera, though that doesn't mean it's not usable as an everyday camera, especially with the built-in NDs and the internal RAW. We'll have full prices next month (camera is shipping in May), so we'll know then exactly how much it will cost in the US to get in on one of these. Rentals will probably be competitive with other cameras in this range (including the Amira).