February 27, 2015

Hands-On with the New Carbon Fiber ARRI ALEXA Mini

ARRI ALEXA Mini with White Background
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).     

Your Comment

8 Comments

Damn it's sexy

February 27, 2015 at 7:23AM

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matt
882

This is everything I dreamed of in the Alexa - lightweight, built in NDs, alexa sensor, easy to access ports, fan - I am going to preorder this sucker asap.

February 27, 2015 at 8:36AM, Edited February 27, 8:36AM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1462

Hey Ed,

I am considering the NX1 as a main gimbal camera for filming skateboarding on the M5 after seeing how good the rolling shutter, or lack thereof, is in 1080p. Thanks to your video on the subject.

I am stuck with a dilemma at the moment; I purchased an Amira and on the day that the camera arrived at my local dealer, I saw the announcement of the Alexa Mini. I told them to hold my camera.

I am going to do mostly documentary-style work for the next 3 years, but plan to do full features with the camera in the future as well.

The Amira can fit on our M15 with a bit of modification, but obviously doesn't come close to the ease the Mini will provide for gimbals.

Which of the two cameras will be better? I know asking someone for the answer is subjective to said individual's needs but maybe you can point something out that will aid my decision. Any feedback is much appreciated.

Thanks,
André

February 27, 2015 at 12:12PM, Edited February 27, 12:12PM

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André Roux
Aspiring Filmmaker
8

I think you should wait on the Amira. I haven't used either - but I think you need to rent both cameras then decide - do tests. See for yourself. It's a lot of money to put down - why not take it for a test ride first?

February 28, 2015 at 1:59AM, Edited February 28, 1:59AM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1462

Is the Alexa M obsolete now?

February 27, 2015 at 2:02PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
681

It was "the 3D rig" Alexa option as I saw it. Instead of having two bulky Alexas on say 3ality you'd have one "recorder" body and two front parts. I'm sure Cameron/Pace group are (were) happy about that addition.

February 28, 2015 at 9:39AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1339

That is a sexy kid, for sure. Arri knows it's strengths.

February 28, 2015 at 9:35AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1339

Phrasing - boom!

March 2, 2015 at 2:31AM

12
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