ARRI made a big splash a few months back by announcing the ARRI ALEXA Mini, a scaled-down version of their larger camera with the same image quality but the addition of internal 4K (and of course plenty more). We talked with Michael Jonas at NAB, who served as the product manager for the Mini:

Here are just some of the basic specs of the camera:

  • Same Super 35mm 3.4K Sensor as other ALEXA cameras (which is then upscaled to 4K)
  • ProRes: 1920x1080, 2048x1152, 2048x1536, 3200x1800, 3840x2160
  • ARRIRAW: 2.8K 16:9 2880x1620 & 4:3 2880x2160
  • Codecs: ProRes 4444XQ, 4444, 422 (HQ), 422, 422(LT), ARRIRAW
  • Frame rates: ArriRAW up to 30fps, ProRes up to 
  • 14 stops of dynamic range
  • 800 Base ISO
  • Built-in motorized ND filters 0.6, 1.2, 2.1
  • Built-in Wireless Control
  • Lens Mounts: Titanium PL mount with L-Bus connector and LDS, EF mount, PL mount with Hirose connector and LDS, B4 mount with Hirose connector
  • CFast 2.0 memory cards
  • 2x HD-SDI out 1.5G and 3G: uncompressed HD video with embedded audio and metadata, SDI-6G interface to external CODEX recorder 
  • Audio Lemo Input
  • Weight: 5 lbs. with PL Mount
  • Available Now
  • Price: Starting at $45,000, and goes up from there depending on options selected

You can watch some of the recent work shot with the camera here (though what's interesting is the way it's being used, as image quality should be pretty similar to the old ALEXA models):

The camera has started to ship in some quantities, but due to the incredible demand, it's not really possible to order one and expect it to come tomorrow (and if you pre-order right now it could be quite a wait). As far as the price, it will all depend on what hardware and licenses are added to the overall package. A fully tricked-out Mini will run up into the high 50s/low 60s, so certainly it's approaching the territory of their bigger cameras. In the end though, the vast majority of folks will be renting as opposed to buying, but when there are more available I have a hard time believing these are going to be in stock for very long anywhere, especially with how gimbal and drone work is increasing every day. If you would like to purchase one, you can find them for sale at places like AbelCine.

An interesting discussion surrounding this camera has been the price. From conversations I've had with people close to the company, part of the pricing decision had to do with the rest of ARRI's product line, and also the state of the camera industry as a whole. They don't believe that the current race to the bottom, with some manufacturers halving the price of their current cameras in a year, benefits the industry. Their goal is to make sure that if you buy an ARRI camera, not only are you going to get stellar service from them (something that gets harder with greater volume), but you also know they aren't going to cut the price in half in just 6 months, making your investment worth a lot less than it might have been otherwise. Of course everyone would buy an ALEXA if it was less expensive, but the economics of this are tricky, and above all, ARRI has gained the trust of rental houses and owner-operators, something that might be shaken if they turned around and offered a camera like the ALEXA Mini for a fraction of what it currently costs.

Whether or not you're on ARRI's side when it comes to this discussion, there is no question that camera cost has had a huge effect on the industry, and will continue to do so.

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2015 is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock.

No Film School's coverage of NAB is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock


ARRI ALEXA Mini — AbelCine