So many big camera announcements and rumors have been floating around over the last few weeks, and perhaps the biggest of them all came today: The Arri Alexa Mini. For many, this is the camera everyone has been waiting for.
There is no denying that the Arri Alexa has the best digital image quality of any digital cinema camera available today. Even still, cameras like the RED DRAGON have taken a lot of the Alexa marketshare as they offer a smaller form factor and a lower overall price point. While the price of the Alexa mini surely won’t be lower than any RED camera, it’s form factor and overall size will now make it a direct competitor to the DRAGON and other digital cinema cameras with a smaller footprint, seeing as it can now easily be used on gimbals, stabilizers, and drones.
Take a look at these dimensions:
- Super 35mm sensor size
- 4:3/16:9 switchable active sensor area
- Built-in motorized ND filters
- Interchangeable lens mounts: PL, EF, B4
- 14+ stops of dynamic range
- 3.2K and 4K recording options
- ProRes 4444XQ, 4444, 422 (HQ), 422, 422(LT), ARRIRAW recording formats
- Up to 200fps in HD and 60fps in 4K
There are countless other features that I am not listing here, however the few that I am pointing out above are by far the most interesting to me. The fact that you can switch between 4:3 and 16:9 is absolutely amazing for those of us that like to shoot with anamorphic lenses from time to time, but don’t always want to shoot that way. I also think the built in motorized ND filters are a brilliant addition, especially for use on drones or other stabilizers when the operator is unable to manually change the ND settings. The interchangeable lens mounts make this camera even more versatile as you can easily switch between PL, EF and B4… This is huge for shooters that may want to use this as their A-camera with PL lenses for instance, but then throw on some lighter EF or B4 glass when flying the camera on a drone or Movi.
I expected 14 stops of dynamic range from this camera, as well as 4K recording so it’s no surprise that Arri delivered on both fronts. I’m sure some shooters will wish that higher frame rates were made available in 4K mode, but truthfully 60fps is plenty most of the time and I would imagine that in a body this small it would be very difficult for Arri to achieve anything more than that.
Overall, I am extremely impressed by this camera – or at least what I’ve seen so far. Arri always seems to make the right choices with their new products – not necessarily focusing on turning out gear with the best specs on paper, but rather focusing on cameras that deliver the best results and functionality. They have truly rounded off their camera lineup with the Alexa Mini, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store from them this year.
Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!