November 30, 2015 at 5:58AM

0

A low cost camera closest to Arri Alexa's Result?

A low cost camera which is closest to Arri Alexa's Result? Blackmagic or Kinemini or Gh4? or anyother?

30 Comments

It depends on what you feel are the best features of the Alexa...

- Wide dynamic range ( 14+ F-stops ): Sony FS7, Sony F5, BM 4.6K Ursa, Canon C300 Mk2, the newer RED cameras

- Over-exposure latitude : Anything that shoots RAW with a high dynamic range

On a no-money budget then it would be either the BM 4K Micro or the GH-4 shooting V-log with an external 10-bit 4:2:2 recorder.

November 30, 2015 at 11:51AM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31509

Hi thank you so much for the reply. Yes its a no money budget. I just wanted to know the camera that is close to the look of arri alexa. I short listed a few cameras;
Kinemini
ursa mini 4k
gh4
bmpc 4k
... the ultimate plan will be to buy ursamini 4k but ill buy a used bmpc 4k if i find a good deal. Do you think these 2 cameras can be close to arri's footage?

Ahmad

December 1, 2015 at 3:18AM

For the price of a new C300 Mk2 you can just about get a used Alexa Classic.

Kenneth Merrill

December 3, 2015 at 12:15AM, Edited December 3, 12:15AM

Don't forget the Panasonic G7 for just 650 USD. Close to the GH4 in 4K quality, except no VLOG and special video options like highlight+shadow adjustment, pedestal etc... The G7 is probably your lowest budget most bang for the buck, 4K camera at this moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luBkHOuWz44

Erwin Hartsuiker

December 9, 2015 at 2:13PM

>>>... the ultimate plan will be to buy Ursa Mini 4k but ill buy a used bmpc 4k if i find a good deal.

The Ursa Mini with the older 4K sensor appears to have the same FPN ( fixed-pattern-noise ) issue that other Blackmagic cameras have when shooting at higher ISO speeds.

Where the Ursa Mini with the new more expensive 4.6 K sensor is expected to be better at higher ISO speeds and have 15 F-stops of dynamic range. I would wait for a proper test of the Ursa Mini with the new 4.6 K sensor to see how much better it will be.

>>>Do you think these 2 cameras can be close to arri's footage?

With good lighting and exposure many cameras can produce a high quality video image that looks like an ARRI Alexa.

The big advantage with an Alexa is that you can shoot in very contrasty light and you can over-expose your image by 4-5 F-stops and still get a good final image. With other cameras you are going to have to be very careful about lighting and exposure to get Alexa-like results.

December 1, 2015 at 12:08PM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31509

Hi thank you so much for the reply. So which cameras do you think can produce high quality image that looks like an arri alexa?

Ahmad

December 2, 2015 at 5:52AM

Canon eos-m with good camera operation and proper exposure, custom white balance.

December 1, 2015 at 10:23PM

0
Reply

I will search more about this cam. Its very affordable. Does it actually produce a cine image to be compared with arri?

Ahmad

December 2, 2015 at 5:53AM

Hello Ahmad. The thing with Alexas, is that when they are used, it's often in a highly controlled film-shoot environment. The look you're seeing...the camera is only doing part of the work. A lot of it is being done in set design, production and mainly lighting. That being said, the Alexa produces a very original image no other camera can "directly reproduce," but one can get close.
To Guy's point, most digital cameras can produce a cinematic image if you put the right stuff in front of it. Anything from a used Panasonic GH2 to a Sony FS7. I think the most important thing to focus on is what is in front of the camera, and who is behind it. That's where the magic happens :).

December 2, 2015 at 1:34PM

0
Reply
avatar
Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1603

Hi ben thank you so much for the reply. I understand you point but i intend to buy a camera so i wanted which camera should i buy which has the closest image to Allexa. My considerations include GH4 bmpc4k bmcc ursa kine mini .... I have to finalize from them the one which has the most comparable image to arri alexa. I hope you understand my point.

Ahmad

December 3, 2015 at 3:43AM

Hey Ahmad, I understand your question but I think what you're finding in this thread is it's not easy to answer. The simple answer is none of those cameras look like an Alexa. The more accurate answer is with the right lighting and production, ANY of those cameras can produce an image similar to the Alexa. Does that make sense?
It really depends what you're shooting. I guess, as far as just the log image goes, go with Blackmagic, because it's a little more flexible with grading (another thing to note. The Alexa has a magnificent LOG image that can be manipulated quite a bit, so you can make Alexa footage itself not even look like Alexa footage!).
So obviously, more information the better on what you're actually shooting and why you need to match Alexa specifically. I guess I would say blackmagic, though. Not 4k, the 2.5k or pocket one.

Ben Meredith

December 3, 2015 at 1:41PM

The Blackmagic Pocket camera or Sony A7s are going to be your cheapest options. Both have their pros and cons (as all inexpensive cameras do).

December 3, 2015 at 12:16AM

0
Reply
Kenneth Merrill
Director
1335

Thanks for the reply. Do you actually think pocket can be truly compared to the giant allexa?

Ahmad

December 3, 2015 at 3:44AM

Why are you pursuing Alexa's image quality so badly. Image quality is like the least important aspect of the movie. Lighting, movement, framing, lenses, set design, grading are all much more important. If I were you I would rather buy cheap camera & a lot of rigs, lenses, lights than spend tons of money on just camera. Camera is not what makes a movie. I would go for GH4 - great image quality for a very good price. You can achieve results good enough to screen your movie in the cinema & it will look quite good.

December 3, 2015 at 6:59AM

0
Reply
Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1226

>>>Why are you pursuing Alexa's image quality so badly

In the absolute sense only an Alexa camera can create an Alexa image, but it's always a good idea to aim as high as you can with the gear that you have as long as it doesn't get in the way of telling your story.

December 3, 2015 at 10:27AM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31509

>>>So which cameras do you think can produce high quality image that looks like an arri alexa?

You can achieve a similar look to an ARRI Alexa with less expensive cameras provided your lighting is matched to the camera you are using.

To try and match an Alexa I would buy a camera with a wide dynamic range and the ability to shoot in RAW format. The cheapest camera to do this would be the Blackmagic 4K Micro, which is just starting to sell now.

If you have a bigger budget then I would look at the following cameras...

- Blackmagic Ursa Mini camera
- Sony FS-700 camera with the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q RAW recorder
- Sony FS-7 camera set-up for RAW recording
- RED RAVEN camera
- Sony F5 camera

You will also have to learn how to expose and grade RAW footage, which takes some practice to master.

December 3, 2015 at 10:40AM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31509

Thank you so much. I just got my question answered. I assume that all blackmagic cameras i.e BMPC 4k are also included in your list. Thank you so much. :D

Ahmad

December 3, 2015 at 2:04PM

>>> I assume that all blackmagic cameras i.e BMPC 4k are also included in your list.

Yes, I just don't know how the sensors compare between the different Blackmagic cameras. Usually newer cameras have better sensors. The Blackmagic FPN ( fixed point noise ) problem is something to be aware of so that you will know the highest ISO you can shoot with and still get a great image.

December 3, 2015 at 2:07PM, Edited December 3, 2:08PM

3
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31509

I'd personally focus more of my energy and money on good lighting, good glass and good skill. With that being said ... as many people in this thread have said, if you've got the skill you can make a Canon 5D MKIII look special. Just ask Shane Hurlbut. Most great DP's are camera agnostic. It's just a tool. It's how you use it. There are expensive hammers and cheap hammers, but a great carpenter can work with either tool successfully.

December 3, 2015 at 5:18PM

0
Reply
Jason Kerschner
Director of Video Content
94

Any of cameras recommended including the Canon T2i which cost now about $100 used are capable of doing what you want. I have to agree with Andy T. It is not the camera choice that gives you a quality image, it is the other stuff. I would include audio with that. The Alexis camera is very capable of giving you terrible image quality. If you light the scene well, if composed well, exposed well and fits the story well. Any of these cameras will work great, however if the lights look bad, composed bad, exposed bad, any camera including the Alexis will look bad. The common denominator is you, if you expect the camera body to give you the "film" look or the "Alexis" look, you are destined for failure, it is up to you not the camera, you are also the solution. No camera can substitute for lack of skill and the answer of course is to invest in yourself and get the skills. Both eoshd.com and learningvideo. com have affordable tutorials that will teach the ins and outs of specific cameras and I also agree with Andy T. to get an inexpensive camera like the Canon T2i or Eos-m and get a tutorial and really learn the camera, then concentrate on lighting and audio, good composition, color correction in post and you will find that illusive film look or Alexis look. Camera can't do it for you, but you can do it for yourself

December 3, 2015 at 7:13PM

0
Reply

Hey mate, people have put forward great suggestions. I would also suggest trying out a few filters to go with your lenses and ND's. Firstly a lowcon, maybe a 1/2 strength. Also a Black Promist 1/8 1/4 or 1/2 depending on your taste and how strong a look you are going for. Those are filters I'd recommend if trying to emulate the Alexa look. Black Promists because they create halation around highlights which gives a bit of a 'roll off' into overexposed areas rather than a hard clip. The Alexa I believe (correct me if I'm wrong someone) has some kind of low-con built into the optical low pass filter in front of the sensor and this is one of the factors contributing to it handling high contrast scenes so well.

December 3, 2015 at 10:38PM

1
Reply
avatar
Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
780

For my 2 cents I'll say the original Black Magic 2.5k camera is the best bet. It has superior color science compared to the other BM cameras and matches the Alexa better than sony or red (which I think are a bit too video-ish to cut). I've used one as a B-cam numerous times and still to this day think the original BMCC is the best looking product they have made and will give you the most cinematic results for the price. Here is an example of Alexa and the BMCC used together...can you tell which shot is which camera? As far as matching the Alexa 2.5k BMCC is the way to go.

https://vimeo.com/62832482

December 5, 2015 at 4:21AM, Edited December 5, 4:37AM

1
Reply
avatar
Jerome Stolly
1st. Assistant Camera
484

Also I agree with everyone else...Learn to light. Even the Alexa can look like a terrible video camera....have you seen Zombeavers? what is it that you like about the Alexa specifically? Can you actually see the difference or did you just hear Roger Deakins say its the best so you are going with that? Watch your favorite films. Study them and then figure out what quality to the image gets you off. Then go on IMDB or ShotOnWhat and see what camera package and lenses were used. It might not be the camera you're after. You might like 3 movies but those three movies might all be shot on different cameras but the same lenses. You might actually be after the "Cooke Look" or really enjoy the characteristics of vintage lenses or some crazy cocktail of lighting and lens and camera. Basically what I'm saying is instead of asking us this question you should ask yourself. Find shows and movies shot on alexa (that info is readily available int he places i mentioned as well as in American Cinematographer) then go look at things shot on BMCC or A7s or whatever you think might be your answer. Train your own eye. You'll be much better off that way instead of taking advice on which camera to buy from a bunch of people on message boards.

December 5, 2015 at 4:23AM, Edited December 5, 4:36AM

0
Reply
avatar
Jerome Stolly
1st. Assistant Camera
484

Hey Thank you everyone for the reply. Got it.

December 6, 2015 at 5:11AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ahmad
205

The Sony F35 comes the closest if not superior in motion - https://vimeo.com/148147598

here's a comparison video too between the two: https://vimeo.com/129045883

December 8, 2015 at 8:57AM

2
Reply
avatar
Ed David
Director of Photography
1583

The reds are much brighter from the F35 than the ARRI Amira, so I'm wondering which camera produced the most accurate reds ?

Guy McLoughlin

December 8, 2015 at 12:30PM

In case you're still looking, you can get a BMCC 2.5k and use DaVinci Resolve's color space transform tool (v12.5) to change the color space to Arri Log-C. And if you edit somewhere else, you could export your clips individually without having to keep making more projects. You could use other cameras to do the same, but the BMCC has a nice highlight roll-off and is the least video-ish than the rest of the cameras (except for maybe the Kinemini but there are little reviews for it). If you do use the BMCC, make sure to decode using clip and change color space to Blackmagic Design and Gamma to BMD Film. DaVinci Resolve is a pretty powerful editor too

July 30, 2016 at 1:05AM

1
Reply
Ricardo Nunez
Wannabe Cinematographer
108

Nice! I want a camera for indoor studio recording, primary special effects like water splash, tint dripping, smoke, greenscreen and etc. But coming across your answer made me think why not a BM Pocket?

Thank you.

JCOecksler

September 22, 2016 at 12:39PM

This is a funny question. No other camera looks at all similar an Alexa. Even different arri cameras look different from each other to a trained eye. People always lie to themselves that all cameras look the same with the right lighting, but each camera has a different look. If you like the look of the Alexa shoot with that camera. If you like the look of a different camera, shoot with that camera instead.

January 17, 2017 at 2:39AM, Edited January 17, 3:02AM

2
Reply
Jerry Nick
filmmaker
23

Great info! I am learning camera operation on floodlight setting

November 14, 2019 at 12:37PM

1
Reply
Jai Shukla
CEO of Burning Desires Motivation
92

Your Comment