September 16, 2015

Here's Why ARRI Cameras Are So Popular with Professional Cinematographers

Arri Alexa
It's no secret that ARRI's cameras are a staple of Hollywood productions. But with so many high-end cameras on the market, why is ARRI so dominant?

While that question is perhaps a bit biased — I'm sure there will be plenty of people claiming so in the comments — it's hard to argue with the lists released after every major festival and awards show that detail which cameras were used on the films. Without fail, the higher budget films are almost always shot on Alexa, with some occasional love for Sony and RED cameras, as well as film.

A video recently released by ARRI at IBC 2015 might offer some answers as to why this is. Of course, this video is an advertisement, but it's fun to watch and it takes a swing at pinpointing the characteristics that make the Alexa, Amira, Alexa Mini, and Alexa 65 such popular options in their respective categories:

Of course, image quality — both in terms of dynamic range and color reproduction — is at the top of the list of reasons for the Alexa's dominance (more about that later). However, I firmly believe that the last reason in that video, the reliability and intuitiveness, are the driving forces behind why cinematographers (and producers) continually choose these cameras project after project. When you combine the fact that the Alexa is dead simple to learn and operate (at least compared to several competitors) with the fact that these cameras are built like tanks and steadfastly reliable, and then you throw in the superb image quality, it's no wonder why people return to the Alexa time and time again.

And while we're at it, let's take a look at some of the most notable footage from each of these cameras. First up, the most recent showreel of Alexa footage, which was just released at IBC this week.

And here's the most recent Amira showreel:

And here's some stellar footage shot on the Alexa Mini:

What do you guys think about why ARRI's cameras are used so often throughout the industry, despite stiff competition from Sony, RED, and now Panasonic with the new Varicam35? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments!      

Your Comment

87 Comments

I feel like a lot of it goes back to the fact that during the "digital revolution", the Alexa was really the only camera out there with ergonomics and shooting style familiar to the guys shooting film, whilst having an incredible picture. So for all the great DPs that made the jump from film to digital, it was the only real choice and therefore became the benchmark by default. Had the F55 been around or had the Epic had a different form factor, they could well have had a bigger slice of the cake in the present.

September 16, 2015 at 5:48AM

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Samu Amunét
Director
356

This is so on point.

It's interesting where things will go from here though. At least in the midwest, theres a huge divide between the old tired pros with the equipment they like, and a bunch of kids who dont have access to anything like this so they go for the sonys the Panasonics and Blackmagic.

September 16, 2015 at 12:35PM, Edited September 16, 12:35PM

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Stanislaw Luberda
Technical trainer/DP
77

I completely disagree with this. I just wrapped up a 5 week feature on an Alexa XT, then did 3 weeks on an Alexa Plus / Amira gig, then did 3 weeks on Epic Dragon back to back to back. The difference in usability and image quality between Alexa and Epic Dragon is absolutely noticeable. There are a lot of little things, but those little things add up. After working on both systems pretty extensively, it's clear why Alexa is on top.

September 16, 2015 at 1:00PM

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Alan Dembek
Camera Assistant
259

oh my God, this guy again. We get it, you have a hard on for anything with an Arri sticker slapped on the side of it.

September 16, 2015 at 1:21PM

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While I agree that Alexa looks better, I think Samu makes an excellent point. Disregarding the image, Arri are the only company out there that understand what camera-people need in their day-to-day operation: an easy and reliable tool that gives a great image.

I would choose Alexa over Dragon any day of the week, but there's no disregarding what RED have done for digital imaging. But setting up an Alexa and doing simple tasks with it is an entirely different thing than wandering through submenu after submenu on a RED. That, and the fact that it sits on your shoulder and doesn't become a clusterfuck of cables when you attach two monitors to it. The Alexa looks and feels like a camera, whereas RED looks and feels like a tiny computer with a camera sensor attached.

September 16, 2015 at 2:44PM, Edited September 16, 2:44PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

how are two cables a "clusterfuck of cables"? do you have 4 ft lemos attached to it. By that definition, I've seen alexas that have "clusterfuck of cables". At the end of the day Arri seems to have a better social status than Red, just cause Arri is slapped on the camera. They're both great cameras. But back in 2008 everyone gave Red smack when the Red One supposedly resolved 3.8k. That's right RED in 2007 gave a 35mm 4k sensor for $17,000 and people talked bs. But ARRI labels their 3.8k sensor 4k, and every one is just like "oh my god that detail", only ARRI can do these things.

September 16, 2015 at 10:11PM

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Don't waste your breath and time with fanboiz. Seriously, go shoot something good instead and make money.

September 17, 2015 at 2:10AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1071

Out of curiosity, are you calling Nick V. a fanboy or telling him to avoid debate with fanboys? Is that you in the photo?

September 18, 2015 at 2:23PM

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d shay
338

With enough cables any camera can become cluttered, but two to three cables on a tiny dslr-sized body quickly becomes a clusterfuck imo. The Alexa's size makes it much easier to build a nice and tidy camera-rig.

I'm not bagging on RED. Love their cameras as well, but I do prefer working with the Alexa, both from an image perspective as well as a handling perspective.

If the Alexa was a bad camera, I don't think anyone would use it because it had the name Arri on the side. But they did what they've always done: created a no-bullshit-product that's easy to use, simply works, and gives the industry's best image. That's why people are using it. If Panavision would've done the same, I'd bet money people would be using that camera instead.

Have Arri ever labeled their (3.4k btw) sensors as 4k? And has anyone ever argued that the Alexa has higher resolving power/detail than competing cameras? Looking at their website they claim the cameras are capable of "in-camera" UHD and 4K recording. A few lines down, they talk about their 3.4k sensor (mind you, only 2.8k in 16:).

September 17, 2015 at 6:18AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

Actually we were both wrong to a certain degree ;P. Alexa Open gate is 3.2K. With a firmware update or some of their camera models, it magically gets 3.8K. 3.8K is magically 4K according to ARRI. And yes they labeled their 3.2K uprezzed 3.8K sensors 4K. tongue twister, I know. Read "Best Overall Image Quality" tab. People eat this sh*t up like pancakes

September 17, 2015 at 5:05PM

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Really? Open gate is 3392 pixels wide on every site I can find. Then they can upsample to either UHD (3840x2160) or to 4K Cine (4096 x 2636).

Obviously we don't agree on this, but best overall image quality to me has nothing to do with resolution.

September 18, 2015 at 5:17AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

If you want best overall image quality, shoot film.

September 18, 2015 at 5:13PM

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Something we do agree on

September 19, 2015 at 2:49PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

To be honest. The movie feels i little biased towards Alexa cameras ;)

September 16, 2015 at 12:32PM, Edited September 16, 12:32PM

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Johan Salberg
Actor, Writer, Director, Editor
85

I own a RED Dragon and use it on every shoot. The color from it is fantastic as is the form factor and modularity. That being said, I prefer the look of the Arri color. 90% of the time when watching a film I can tell whether or not it's shot on an Arri due to the special sauce they have in their sensor. I feel that more people will choose Arri because of it's color and because the bodies have more functionality built in without having to add a bunch of modules.

September 16, 2015 at 1:00PM

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I agree it's the color. Fortunately, a lot of people have been implementing tweaked ARRI Luts on Red Dragon footage after and (gasp).... it looks identical. I also think it's ease of use. Using both Arri and Dragon, Arri is much easier to operate. Red is way more modular and customize-able, giving the camera team more options. This option of custom-ability, great dynamic range, neutral colors (not teal,cyan, and orange which can be done in post production), and high resolution is why cinematographers like Wally Pfister and Jeff Cronenweth have been shooting on Red. Alexa is a fantastic camera, but people really need to educate themselves on the other brands

September 16, 2015 at 1:31PM

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Pfister typically only shoots large format film. I'd imagine Apple didn't have that sort of budget for their watch commercials.

September 16, 2015 at 2:12PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1166

He also shot a series ofunder armour commercials on Red. The fact that he is using it regularly is saying something. Also, I love medium format film. Not sure why people call it large format. IMAX film is shorter and wider than 6x7 film. check out the behind the scenes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO7T0bcBu9Y

September 16, 2015 at 2:22PM

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Both of them obviously enjoy the red dragon, otherwise they wouldn't keep using them. But I wonder if Cronenweth would have started shooting red if it weren't for Fincher's relationship with them...

September 16, 2015 at 3:06PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

Cronenweth has shot and continues to shoot on Red in other non-fincher productions whether it be films or commercials!!!!

September 16, 2015 at 10:03PM

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Not arguing that. I'm pondering whether or not he would've gone for RED to begin with if it wasn't for Fincher. Part of why the Epic and Scarlet look like they do is because of Fincher (who's had a history of shooting on various cameras until he found RED).

September 17, 2015 at 8:20AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

If Fincher wanted to he could have switched to Alexa or an F55 years ago.

September 17, 2015 at 2:19PM

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Not just Apple comercials, dear. Wally could always shoot F65 for example. Let's see if he'd pick Alexa65 next time.

September 17, 2015 at 2:12AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1071

fo sho

September 16, 2015 at 4:01PM

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Kyle Lamar
Director Producer DP
1094

This is so on point. You really can tell, the Arri color looks great, and sure enough that is a good enough reasons to pick it for some shoots. None the less the RED Dragon really delivers, with its own "special sauce". Having both of them as options in our arsenal, will give us most power.

September 21, 2015 at 4:21PM

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I think its the dynamic range. The way the highlights don't blow out and how they naturally degrade. The way the shadows fall off without any arifacting. It has the most "film like" latitude vs RED, Sony or Panasonic.

September 16, 2015 at 1:20PM, Edited September 16, 1:26PM

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Filip Dobosz
DIT
76

Aside from al the technical aspects who speak in favor of ARRI, they also marketingwise seem just 2 times more classy to me than RED, and less technical than Sony. And in parts that class comes from the simple fact that, yeah, they know they are the best. They are f***in' ARRI.

September 16, 2015 at 1:59PM, Edited September 16, 1:59PM

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Regarding color science: I'm also completely sold on their claim that ARRI cameras are the fastest to grade. It's just so true for me - never have I spent less time achieving the look I wanted than with pieces we shot on ALEXA.

September 16, 2015 at 2:01PM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
290

Alexa looks like film. But I have a hard time believing it's just the color and the dynamic range that does it. There is something else in there that does it. For a long time I believed it was the way it rendered motion, but I'm just not sure.

It could be that this camera is just primarily used by pros (based on company reputation and ease of use) on the upper end of the market. The result is an echo chamber of great images that continue to bring more high end productions into the circle. Cut off from the lower end stuff by its higher price. Even if that's not the whole picture (which I don't believe it is) I'm sure it doesn't hurt.

September 16, 2015 at 2:12PM, Edited September 16, 2:13PM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
769

Is it possible that a lot of older, more experienced cinematographers choose the Arri because that's what they started with many years ago? I feel like it's similar to how we have Canon vs. Nikon people; people tend to stick with the camera brand that they first learned on. Just a thought.

September 16, 2015 at 2:24PM

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Sean Kenney
Event Cinematographer
212

I don't think that's it, but you have a point. The name Arri is a staple of quality and reliability in this business and no one can take that away from them. Everything they make is in the top price tier of every market, but when it means less time spent on set, it's usually worth it on bigger productions. Most of the people who shot Arriflex back in the day, however, probably shot panavision and Aaton as well.

Personally I think it comes down to ease of use, form factor and image quality. The gamma curve, highlight rolloff, shadow detail, latitude, and colour science are still better than anything out there and it's certainly the closest to film.

September 16, 2015 at 2:59PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

I think it all comes down to budget...

ARRI is the "Rolls Royce" of the film world, and if you've got the budget to shoot with ARRI you would be foolish not to. It's the world's best digital camera at this moment in time, and owning or renting the best comes at a premium price.

...For those of us NOT shooting for Hollywood or for a major TV network, the ARRI gear might be way out of our price range, so we have to put of with lesser cameras that still produce a great image but have all kinds of little issues that you just have to get used to.

Great work does NOT require the best gear.

September 16, 2015 at 3:32PM, Edited September 16, 3:33PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32120

To me, the Alexa image quality and ergonomics is the closest thing to a film camera. Skin tones look so natural and organic. Highlight rolloff is just beautiful. Veterans DPs (ASC) have said that unlike the other digital cinema cameras, lighting for the Alexa is just like doing it for a film camera. The wow factor is there, but I don’t feel the same when watching footage from the Amira and the Alexa Mini.

September 16, 2015 at 4:36PM, Edited September 16, 4:36PM

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Hi Mel,

Have you seen this video?
https://vimeo.com/97045916

It was shot with the Amira. Looks great don't you think?

September 17, 2015 at 9:01AM

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Alex :)
234

Oh God, here we go with this crap again. There are two reasons why this is the case. 1. The word Arri is printed on the side of the body. 2. The menus and buttons are a little easier to navigate. I don't care what anyone says about "Arri colors or whatever look better to my eyes", its the placebo effect. Side by side tests have shown that the Red Dragon sensor is capable of producing colors identical to Arri. The fact that many productions intercut the two systems seamlessly proves this fact. Arri gets props because it seems to be a little nicer to faces out of the box but really this is only the case because it is a 3K sensor. I always judge cameras by how they look on the big screen, not on my computer monitor. Arri does look nicer on smaller screens but I'll be honest, I find the picture to be a tad too soft on a 4K projector, it just doesn't have the same pop that Red does in theaters. This is of course subjective but I really don't think there is any magic sauce that Arri has that the Epic Dragon can't recreate.

Think the Dragon is too sharp for faces? Drop a light diffusion filter in the mattebox or use one of the new low con drop in OLPF's. Or do what Fincher does and shoot with a 20% look around area (crop the sensor) which takes some of the sharpness away while giving you plenty of space to perfect your framing in post.

Here is the list of directors who are currently shooting with Red when they could have easily gone with any camera they want: David Fincher, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Ridley Scott, Bryan Singer, Michael Bay, Steven Soderbergh, Tom Hooper, F. Gary Gray, Roland Emmerich, Robert Zemeckis, Neill Blomkamp, Stephen Frears.

So yes, I think most of this is the placebo effect. If your good, your good. Any skilled DP could cut Red and Arri together and you would never know the difference.

September 16, 2015 at 5:10PM

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Also, low-con filters or KipperTie diffusion OLPFs do wonders on Red. Vintage-looking glass helps too, without much overall softness or introducing halation and shit like that. Glass with character also helped F65/55 to shine (e.g. Ex Machina)

Case in point [this is Dragon sensor + Weapon body + KipperTie OLPF] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdneKLhsWOQ

September 17, 2015 at 2:23AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1071

Most cameras intercut pretty well with a decent enough colorist and enough hard work. The fact that loads of productions intercut the Blackmagic Pocket (sometimes even the 5D) with the Alexa, is proof of this. Why not compare with MX if color science is just placebo?

RED Dragon is a wonderful sensor, no doubt, but it's still not quite up there. Disregarding the color science (both are great, but the Alexa is slightly more neutral to my eyes), there's still the matter of highlight rolloff and noise-floor in the shadows which is wherein the Alexa's "magic juice" lies to me. Sure, HBM or Pro-mist help in this regard, but the Alexa looks great out of the box when it comes to this, and the shadow detailing is absolutely crazy.

Here's a great test (http://www.cinematography.net/CML-UWE-tech.html) with accompanying video (https://vimeo.com/125930901) that compares all the high-end cameras in exposure and latitude, and it's all done with the same criteria for noise-floor. If you're picky about noise (and not everyone is), there's only TWO cameras that live up to 14 stops: Alexa and Panasonic Varicam (ironically using Sony's Slog3 gamma).

The amount of directors/dp's who shoot any camera is not really a testament to the quality in my mind, but loads more stand by the Alexa. Funny you should bring up Michael Bay, seeing as how both the Phantom Flex4K and the Red Dragon stand out like sore thumbs next to film in Age of Extinction. The images look extremely unfilm-like. The jeep scene towards the end is a great example of this.

September 17, 2015 at 10:05AM, Edited September 17, 10:47AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

There is really no point in comparing the two systems since there are so different from one another. I'm not bashing Arri. They make a stellar product that I would use in a heartbeat. If I needed to crank out something fast, I would probably go with Alexa Pro Res since it looks great out of the box and is super easy to use. However, If I was able to take my time in post and wanted to tweak my image to my hearts content, I may go with the Weapon because it does offer a lot of flexibility that the Alexa frankly doesn't have. Its a tough call for sure but I feel most of the people bashing Red really don't understand the system. You have to understand where each camera has its strengths and weaknesses. I frankly don't see much of a color difference between the two cameras. If Arri has a slight edge, its just that, very very slight. With a bit more care in post, Red can be just as strong. Red has a definite advantage in resolution, this is pretty evident even of the big screen. I happen to like the sharpness. Played on a proper 4K projector. The images have a clarity that is pretty impressive, Arri is softer, it is a different look, closer to the resolution we saw with film projectors. Red seems like the future while Arri seems more in line with the quality standard we came to expect from film. I do think Arri has an advantage in low light, the Dragon is certainly not a low light king, any time you need to cram smaller pixels on a sensor, low light will take a hit. Still, there is no denying the fact that Red has made a ton of progress with each successive generation of sensors and they will continue to improve and push the tech. Arri is far more conservative and doesn't push the tech development quite as hard, its just in their nature.

September 17, 2015 at 1:47PM, Edited September 17, 1:49PM

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I choose camera based on the project I do. I recently shot on the epic in a way that wouldn't have been possible with any other camera on the market, and I really appreciated it. Having a small camera with that horsepower, and running around with a handle on each side like a fig-rig is fantastic and wouldn't have been possible with say an alexa (well, maybe the mini but it was out of our budget).

If it's narrative and I have a bigger crew, I'd go with the Alexa. If I need the resolution for cropping in post, the choice once again is easily in Red's camp. They, like you say, absolutely obliterate Arri from a resolution point of view.

I don't, however, agree that Red offer more flexibility in post. Depends what you're comparing with. Comparing with ProRes, yes Redraw offers much more flexibility. But comparing compressed Redraw with uncompressed Arriraw is a completely different thing. All XT and SXT models have done internal raw recording and that is a beast of a format. That'll give you much more horsepower in postproduction, and like many have said, it's much easier to use with greenscreens. Redraw is great in that it's not really that much heavier than ProRes 4444 files but still offers the power of raw.

The great thing about red in general is the flexibility in how you can use the camera. You can turn an epic into an alexa-sized monster if you want, or you can shoot it barebones with barely any rig whatsoever. I love both systems, but like I've said before, I don't believe in the name Arri or Red. I believe in their products and what my eyes see. And to me the Alexa image is more pleasing. Simple as that.

September 18, 2015 at 5:26AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

And yet for the past 3 years, the Alexa was the camera that shot Oscar winners for cinematography. Zero noms for a Red shot film.

September 22, 2015 at 11:45PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
664

Some of those DPs on your list used the REDs because of marketing deals.....RED gave them the cameras (and techs) for free...a producer always likes free vs. paying for a chunky rental......just sayin'

November 14, 2016 at 2:48PM

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Jim Martin
Director of Sales - EVS
156

You hear certain things repeated over and over why people prefer the Alexa

- Smooth highlight roll. When you overexpose the Alexa fails gracefully like film. RED etc clip much more abrupt like video.

- Huge dynamic range. Arri is a very conservative company and not prone to hyperbole. When they claim 14 USEABLE stops they mean it.

- Color science that mimics film and the human eye. Saturation is locked after .4 and only luminance increases. The Alexa is very much a digital incarnation of Kodak Vision film stock. This is the result of listening to the needs of DoP and 20 years of R&D that goes all the way back to the Arri Laser Recorder and Filmscanner.

- Easy to grade in post

- ArriRAW and the Alexa color science shoot excellent green screens for VFX work. The supposed resolution advantage touted by RED is a canard. Pulling greenscreens from compressed RED footage is a PIA. Previously you also had to filter RED cameras in a certain way to properly shoot a greenscreeen.

- The Alexa doesn't turn mauve-blue when shooting through heavy IR ND filtration.

- No magenta flare off the OLPF when you point the Alexa into a light source.

- No juggling of OLPF filters to compensate for a noisy sensor.

- Uncompressed ArriRAW offers maximum latitude in grading. Red can only shoot compressed i.e. Cineform.

- Excellent lowlight ability.

- The best skin tones in the business.

- Ergonomics

- Reliability

- Doesn't have a fan that sounds like a blowdryer.

- Sharp, but not sharp to the point of being offensive or intrusive.

- Available with mechanical shutter and optical viewfinder.

- Internal Prores / RAW recoding. No external recorder means less bulk and cables.

- From introduction the Alexa offered Prores444 for a direct to edit workflow. This is one of the main reasons why they own the TV and commercial market.

- Alexa Mini offers the same sensor as the A-Camera in a smaller package.

- You don't have to explain to a nervous customs officer why your 'camera' has the words WEAPON, BOMB and a deaths head printed on the body..

- Made by a company that behaves like grownups i.e. professionals.

September 16, 2015 at 5:43PM

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Film actually mimics human eyes better than digital in general. Not sure if you have seen Dragon vs Alexa footage recently, or have used a Red Dragon. But I think you're still stuck in 2010 like many of the ARRI fan boys. While you guys are praising ARRI for best highlight roll off in digital, everyone seems to not know or have forgotten about the DALSA 4K Origin II.

September 16, 2015 at 10:23PM

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No Nick V. I'm not stuck in 2010. I've worked in high end post production / VFX for almost 25 years and we probably pixel fu** plates even more than DI operators.

Take a look at some of the exposure tests on CML. You can even download RAW files. The advantage of the Alexa is obvious. The Sony F65 is probably the only competitive camera out there for high light retention.

The Dalsa has been discontinued for years and you're comparing a CCD with 10-12 stops to a +14 stop CMOS sensor with dual gain read on each receptor. The dual gain approach allows the Alexa sensor to do a simultaneous bracketed exposure that is combined and down sampled . That's how they get the 14 stops and the smooth highlight rolloff.

And for the record I own a Sony F-series and two 35mm film cameras. The only reason why I don't have an Alexa is because it's beyond my budget.

September 17, 2015 at 1:48AM, Edited September 17, 1:59AM

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I wasn't talking about dynamic range, I was talking about highlight falloff which DALSA's CCD's sensor's produced much better.... and that's fantastic I own an ARRI 435 ES package.... they sell pretty freaking cheap since rarely anyone uses them.... not sure where you're getting at. And CCD sensors were much better in highlights than cmos. CCD sensors were discontinued due to higher costs in R&D, terrible in low light, and slower advances.

In regards to vfx post production, I'm not sure why you're bringing up fan noises, camera ergonomics(yet you're saying how wonderful the mini is), "juggling olpfs"(which btw good luck getting an IR filter for ALEXA). Pretty much issues that happened from 2010-2013, and calling more in depth customization of REDs an issue.

September 17, 2015 at 2:39PM

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I've worked with CCD footage from cameras like the F35 and even owned a Bolex D16 for a while. Yes, in general the highlight rolloff of a CCD is better than your average CMOS sensor, but it is not as good as the dual grain readout of the Alexa. The Alexa does a bracketed exposure that captures more than the 14 stops that end up in the file and this is then down sampled. That's what gets you the smooth shoulder the camera is known for an no other camera does that. It simple math and the numbers are not there in favor of an old CCD camera like the Genesis or F35, even if the base technology has advantages over CMOS.

You enjoy working with a camera that sounds like a hairdryer between takes and is constantly in danger of overheating? I don't.

Multiple OLPF not a PIA and a thing of the past? Really? Some people call it customized optimization. Some people call it bandaids for not getting it right in the first place.

DSMC Skin Tone-Highlight OLPF
DSMC Low Light Optimized OLPF
DSMC H2O OLPF
DSMC IR Pass OLPF (Color)
DSMC Standard OLPF

Geee, which one am I going use today?

>(which btw good luck getting an IR filter for ALEXA).

The IR filter goes in the matte box. Is that so difficult?

September 22, 2015 at 10:23AM

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I agree with Hank, I work in a post production house and Red its a nightmare to do green screen, OLPF just fuck everything, grading with Arri its a lot more easy, the Red Dragon 4K it's a lot more blurred than Alexa 3.8K. With Red you need more time to the DP do his work and to the post do the work. If you have a short dead line, Alexa will do the work a lot more easy.

September 16, 2015 at 10:50PM, Edited September 16, 10:50PM

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yeah, whatever you said man, awesome....

September 17, 2015 at 12:18AM, Edited September 17, 12:18AM

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Alexa sharpens the hell out of it's image with clever algorithms. Red is leaving this option to you. Btw "Easy" is for lazy people.

September 17, 2015 at 2:27AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1071

Yeah getting that inherent green tint that is always on RED footage is never easy. I wish RED would figure this out already, it was prevelant on the MX and still happens with dragon. If they could just figure out white balance (with no shifts to green) like arri then more pros would use it.

September 17, 2015 at 7:18AM

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That's a choice with Alexa as well...

September 17, 2015 at 10:54AM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

Choose a lazy person to do a hard job. because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it

September 18, 2015 at 10:13AM

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>Btw "Easy" is for lazy people.

That's cute, Terma. Did you read that on a motivational poster?

It has nothing to do with laziness and all to do with math. RED only shoots compressed and it is not lossless. Compression means that information is discarded. The keyer in your compositing package does not care that you may think it's 'visually lossless'. All the keyer sees is numbers and there are a lot of numbers missing from RED footage. You can't pull a key from something that isn't there. You can't magically remove compression edge artifacts from a high contrast transition areas. You can't magically bring back several bits of discarded color information with a positive outlook and motivation.

September 22, 2015 at 10:31AM

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You had me at the second to last point.

September 17, 2015 at 4:25AM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1298

"Sharp, but not sharp to the point of being offensive or intrusive."

OK, you make decent points but that one's lame. If you want to hide details, do it in post. Don't make it impossible to acquire those details by choosing equipment with sub-par resolution.

September 21, 2015 at 10:11PM, Edited September 21, 10:11PM

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David Gurney
DP
1396

RED footage is always compressed. The sharpness you think should be there there really isn't.

September 22, 2015 at 10:32AM

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The camera that still looks best to me is the panavision genesis. CCDs sensors look better than cmos.

September 17, 2015 at 3:52AM

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Vincent Gortho
none
523

I think of filmmaking as a problem solving process, which calls on your wit as an individual artist. Choosing a camera will depend on the type of demands of your project. ARRI makes great tools, so does Sony and Canon. I think the choice is open. But If I had to pick one choice (without budgetary concerns), I'd choose the ARRI over the other cameras.

September 17, 2015 at 3:58AM, Edited September 17, 3:58AM

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Oladapo Bamidele
Director/Writer
95

I guy I met on a feature said that people who love filming loves Arri, people who love computers/tech loves the RED.

It's all about the ease of use I think.

September 17, 2015 at 3:59AM

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Viktor Ragnemar
Director/Cinematographer
1126

I definitely see the merits of shooting with the Arri Alexa. The dynamic range and color science are exceptional.

However, at the moment, I’m simply happy to have found an affordable way to resume making films: the Nikon D800. I’m willing to work with the limitations of the camera because it has made filmmaking possible for me again.

I understand that it’s not a low-light camera, and I can live with the fact that I must use an external video recorder such as the Atomos Ninja 2 to bypass internal compression.

In film school, I found shooting on 16mm to be extraordinarily expensive. Buying the film stock, paying for development, getting a one-light workprint, getting the negative cut to conform to the edited workprint, paying a color timer during the answer print stage, and paying a sound mixing studio were all very costly.

Now that the entire process has been compressed and made more accessible through a digital workflow, filmmaking has been democratized. So, I try not to get hung up on whether I can afford to buy or rent the very best equipment.

I would use the Alexa if it were financially feasible, but I’m still happy to be able to practice my craft.

Also, I would like to note that back in film school, I never thought that video would look as good as film. I’m very happy to have been proven wrong.

September 17, 2015 at 2:14PM, Edited September 17, 2:14PM

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Glenn Bossik
Videographer
408

Arri. The Apple of cinema cameras.

September 17, 2015 at 6:24PM, Edited September 17, 6:32PM

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Arri. The Apple of Cameras. Good? Yes. Build Quality? Yes. Overhyped? Yes. Overpriced? Yes Over-Marketed? yes. It's just a brand with insane loyal following.

September 17, 2015 at 6:27PM

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Overhyped and Over-Marketed? Overhyping has been synonymous with the marketing of another camera manufacturer. (Who claim 16.5 stops of dynamic range on their latest cam).
"It's just a brand with insane loyal following." Ask an industry pro which brand has the insane loyal following and guess what he/she will say.

September 17, 2015 at 8:57PM

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d shay
338

Over-priced---to put it mildly. Alexa 6K is $10,000.00 a day to rent. A 100 day shoot---that's $1 million. Obscene!

I don't see people that like Arri complaining about that. That says something about them, no?

September 19, 2015 at 11:01AM, Edited September 19, 11:01AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Realistically, if you are shooting on an Alexa 65, you aren't paying to rent it, you are being paid very well and are the envy of the vast majority of filmmakers/cinematographers.

September 20, 2015 at 12:03PM, Edited September 20, 12:14PM

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d shay
338

So $1 million for 100 days doesn't bother you, in any way?

September 20, 2015 at 12:41PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Why would it bother you? The target audience(Hollywood blockbusters) can afford it.

September 20, 2015 at 1:15PM

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d shay
338

so that exorbitant cost doesn't say something about the company charging it?

September 20, 2015 at 5:28PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

I believe the cost is so high because they haven't made more than a handful. If the demand for 65mm sensors were higher and they'd have to produce them in the same amount as normal Alexas I'm sure they could drive down the costs.

Filming on 65 or Imax isn't a whole lot cheaper if you include the film-stock and that's the only competition out there. The normal Alexa is about the same price as Dragon (and Epic before Dragon came out) so there's no astronomical cost involved there.

September 21, 2015 at 1:36PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

If you rent any camera for 100 consecutive days (or even with breaks inbetween, now and then), you're never paying full day rate price for the whole duration.

September 20, 2015 at 2:21PM

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Elias Ressegatti
Director
263

you might want to have a better understanding of rental prices before you try to make a point... there is a day rate and a week rate is usually 2-3 days and that can be shaved more with a long term (3 months +) rental....so your math is way off.

November 14, 2016 at 2:57PM

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Jim Martin
Director of Sales - EVS
156

I work in fashion and commercials and we rent alexa's but we own sony, red, and blackmagic cameras. red 70%, sony 20%, arri 10%. Our blackmagic is pretty much a dust collector. I use it for fun occasionally on a zero budget or favor shoots.

From a personal subjective standpoint, and ergonomics coming from an eng background i like the arri. I like and prefer the fact that the resolution is only 2k (until the 4k came out). It makes the client and also the creative side lock picture. It also demands for better prepro and rehearsal.

However in commercial, especially in fashion, things are due yesterday and nobody knows what they want. We are always adding movement in post, and repositioning images. We also have a delivery spec that demands 6k. We've shot on 4k and was told it was soft.
There's the right camera for every situation.

Smaller cameras have been good to us on small crew, travel jobs overseas.
Also for increasing gimbal work (we own 2x movi's) we've continuously come back to the red.
We were considering the alexa mini but somebody i know with arri told me to wait.
They're making so many changes to the camera firmware and workflow from feedback from pro users that he thinks an updated model with a new cpu and modules, i/o is inevitable in the very near future.

Can we agree that cameras have got to the point that from a delivery standpoint to consumers have hit a good benchmark?
Now it's mostly the users making subjective decisions. I prefer the alexa, shoot mostly red, but i have no problems shooting on other systems as long as they are reliable.
There's the right system for the job.

September 18, 2015 at 9:05AM, Edited September 18, 9:05AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1158

Have you seen anything from the Red 8K yet?

About the customer usually wanting Red---as the saying goes, the customer is always right. That saying usually carried a negative connotation. But in some cases the customer sees something sooner than the business does. Maybe to them Red just looks better than everything else.

Red does have a great color palette. It's picture is eye catching.

sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhHRIeXEwQ

September 19, 2015 at 10:57AM, Edited September 19, 11:24AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Anytime I have been floored by an image be it in a commercial or film, anytime I've thought wait a minute is this film? is this 4k? is this 65mm stock? It's been some type of Arri digital camera.. Hands down the best image bar none.

September 18, 2015 at 4:53PM

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Vladimir Druts
Founder & Director at Intangible.co
364

I suppose you have to go through some convolution in wording to say Arri is used more than Red. Because, I looked it up for myself, more than once. What I found is Red is used more for shooting movies than Arri.

Red 8K is coming out soon. We still haven't seen footage, or even frame grabs from it, but it will likely look better than Arri 6K.

September 19, 2015 at 10:55AM, Edited September 19, 10:58AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Maybe in another dimension Gene... If you look at Red website. A LOT of films and series they claim were shot on Red are in fact there because Red cameras were used for drones and and gimbals as b cam. This will all change with the Alexa mini

September 19, 2015 at 3:23PM

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Alexis Marcoux
Director of photography
323

Nope, didn't get it from the Red web site. I only verify things through unbiased sources. Look it up for yourself. You haven't, right? I am not doing it again. I'm going to the gym, and enjoying the day. :-)

September 19, 2015 at 3:37PM, Edited September 19, 3:37PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Nice to know your going to the gym..? That said, just curious to know what are your unbiased sources?

September 19, 2015 at 5:56PM

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Alexis Marcoux
Director of photography
323

Um, I'm not going to look them up for you. I've done it for myself, more than once. I've had enough of the argument over which is used more. I know for myself which it is. My time is more valuable than to argue over cameras, especially with people who really don't want to know.

You must already know the sources since you are sounding like you already know Arri is used more.

Back to enjoying my day now. Hope you have a nice day too. It's Saturday!!

September 19, 2015 at 7:34PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Just did a quick survey of imdb. Of the top 50 grossing films of 2015 so far, 4 are are animated. Of the non-animated, 28 (60.9%) alexa, 7 (15.2%) sony cameras, 7 (15.2%) film, 4 (8.7%) red cameras.

September 20, 2015 at 1:25PM

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d shay
338

Sure, you can find a way to say it so it looks like Arri is used more. I already said that above.

Overall, Red is used more.

btw, since you are using IMBD I can see you're new to looking these things up, and hadn't taken the time to be thorough, just did a 'quick survey'. You can trust I went far deeper than a 'quick survey' on 'IMBD'. This is not the first time this has been debated on this web site. It has been done, over and over, for a couple of years now. And that's why I'm tired of it. I had seen the debate, and looked for myself, because I wanted to know for myself. And I found out, Red is used more than Arri in Hollywood.

September 20, 2015 at 5:30PM, Edited September 20, 5:56PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Here is the list. Add it up for yourself. Only really unsure of one movie "The Visit" which may have been shot on a c500 and not a Sony. (Like M Night's previous film)

1 Jurassic World kodak film
2 Avengers: Age of Ultron Arri Alexa XT Plus -
3 Inside Out animated
4 Furious 7 Arri Alexa XT M
5 Minions animated
6 Cinderella (2015) kodak film
7 Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation kodak film
8 Pitch Perfect 2 Arri Alexa Plus
9 Ant-Man Arri Alexa M
10 Home (2015) animated
11 Fifty Shades of Grey Arri Alexa XT -
12 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (animated )
13 Straight Outta Compton Red Epic Dragon
14 San Andreas Arri Alexa XT Plus
15 Mad Max: Fury Road Arri Alexa M
16 The Divergent Series: Insurgent Arri Alexa XT
17 Kingsman: The Secret Service Arri Alexa XT Plus
18 Spy Arri Alexa XT Plus
19 Trainwreck kodak film
20 Tomorrowland F65
21 Get Hard Arri Alexa XT Plus
22 Terminator: Genisys Arri Alexa XT Plus
23 Taken 3 kodak film
24 Ted 2 F65
25 Paddington Arri Alexa Studio
26 Pixels Arri Alexa XT
27 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Arri Alexa XT
28 Magic Mike XXL Red Epic Dragon
29 The Wedding Ringer F65
30 Vacation Arri Alexa XT
31 Fantastic Four Arri Alexa XT
32 Focus (2015) Arri Alexa XT
33 Insidious Chapter 3 Sony f55
34 Southpaw Arri Alexa XT Plus
35 War Room Red Epic
36 Poltergeist (2015) Arri Alexa XT Plus
37 Jupiter Ascending Arri Alexa Plus 4:3
38 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Arri Alexa XT Plus
39 McFarland, USA kodak film
40 The Gift (2015) Arri Alexa
41 The Age of Adaline Red Dragon
42 Max (2015) Arri Alexa Plus
43 The Visit sony?(may have been shot on c500)
44 The Perfect Guy f65
45 The Longest Ride Arri Alexa
46 The Boy Next Door Arri Alexa XT
47 Hot Pursuit kodak film
48 The DUFF Arri Alexa XT
49 Woman in Gold Arri Alexa XT
50 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Sony F65)

September 20, 2015 at 6:36PM, Edited September 20, 6:48PM

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d shay
338

omg, pay attention, because you're not.

yeah, Hollywood only made 50 movies last year. and IMBD is a reliable source for all things movies, especially for all the cameras that were used on the top 50 grossers, (lol).

my last comment

September 21, 2015 at 12:35AM, Edited September 21, 12:38AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
803

Those are the top 50 grossing movies so far this year. Taken from http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2015&p=.htm
I've checked most against the camera information in American cinematographer magazine and they are correct. Could you please give us your source that tells you that Red cameras are the most widely used in Hollywood. If you can't, then you are committing the fallacy called special pleading...i.e you have have to meet the same standard of evidence that you hold others to in debate.

September 21, 2015 at 8:44AM

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d shay
338

BANG!!! On the floor, bleeding :) Is it gonna be K.O? Counting: 1,2,3,4,5.....

Good job D Shay!

September 21, 2015 at 9:18AM

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Alexis Marcoux
Director of photography
323

There is no source for that comment because it just isn't true. Hell, even the festival camera-roundup articles that get posted on this site say Alexa is bigger in the indie-world too.

Here in Sweden, probably 90% of all commercials, short films, features, and tv-series are made on Alexa. Second in line is Sony usually, and then Red.

September 21, 2015 at 1:53PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
855

Red has often suffered from this. They needed an innovative team leader on quality of style of operation. They have had plenty of advice, even from me, which seems to have been ignored to some extent, which only has allowed other competitors to threaten their market share. Do they even employ somebody to run around with the camera thinking how to make operational refinements and stick to figuring those requirements out. That camera would also be an excellent basis for a documentary and new camera, as well as a photo journalist. The original RedOne was on the right path forwards, but the image was so different than the preview images that the camera was to be like, I just walked away till the nonthreatening pocket (my suggestion) which was then upgraded to the oddly resolutioned Scarlet fixed instead of 4k and a s16 or 4/3rds sensor only to be rolled into their not used s35 sensor models. They need to ditch whoever was behind the big budget (the film makers pocket one) move around 5 years ago, and get back to basics rolling every essential feature into the body retail package. You see a number of obsessive enthusiast trolls on forums destroying their image with the rest of us. Ever since they went high end not everything is working out as planned by ? (redray rollout, scarlet fixed, laser projector, 3D firmware update to unmodified bodies in single lens I believe). Every big company that has gotten people who have come up with more and more ideas to make higher and higher profit margins must have come under threat from competitors, as Red and BMD did to Arri, and BMD does to Red. BMD is the company that follows my playbook I've publicly published over the last 10 or so years. If Red had followed it, there would likely be virtually no Arri, or on their last legs, and no BMD competition now, Sony is a different matter.

Dragon finally represents a top image sensor but everything has to he designed round it to be intuitively easy and effective to use and process for the camera man and production crew and the body to save them costs.

The above "opinion" is issued in my state.

September 23, 2015 at 11:02PM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
200

Are the best. Arri knows how to deliver and is a very reliable company. Alexa has great performance in diferent conditions ( I have filmed in hot tropics), Easy menu, robust body, ergonomic, Cinema alike, great image and best accesories, have PL mounth and you can use many vintage accesories, lenses, etc, that already were there. The curve Slog is smooth, the sensor does not goes crazy with filters or UV rays. Has less contrast, you can work a softer look; you can trust in the dynamic range, is smooth and flexible in post. I like also Sony F55 but her menu is tricky, I get anxious with that, takes too much time to change a clip name. Also many cameras promise wider dynamic range but they lie; they just push a crazy iso. As I said Arri is reliable, and its price will not drop from one year to another.

November 14, 2016 at 6:02PM, Edited November 14, 6:02PM

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freidell DoP
Director of Photography
81