Not to be outdone by anyone in the lightweight world, ARRI has released the ALEXA Mini 4K UHD cinema camera. The ALEXA is a 35 format film-style digital camera with a lightweight and compact carbon body, 4:3/16:9 switchable active sensor area, support for ARRI MVF-1 viewfinder, built-in remote control capabilities via ARRI Electronic Control System and Wi-Fi, support for cforce motors, built-in motorized ND filters, interchangable lens mounts and ARRI Lens Data System.
It is an incredibly tiny camera, with a length of 185 mm/7.3″, width of 125 mm/4.9″ and height of 140 mm/5.5″:
Just look at the difference between the new Mini and the original ALEXA:
The ALEXA Mini can be operated in a number of ways: by wireless remote control, as a normal camera with the ARRI MVF-1 multi viewfinder attached, or with an on-board monitor and controlled via the user button interface on the camera body. Light enough to be comfortably held at arm’s length in a hand rig, its compact size and extremely quiet operation also make it ideal for tight shooting conditions.
The symmetrical design permits filming in any orientation, including upside-down and in portrait mode, while multiple accessory points enable highly creative mounting solutions. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s interchangeable lens mount can be replaced with any of those designed for the ARRI AMIRA, allowing the use of B4 video and EF mount stills lenses.
ARRI says their approach is unique in that they does not prioritize one element of image quality over any other. To achieve the highest overall image quality, ARRI uses bigger and better pixels on the sensor, rather than smaller pixels in larger numbers. The result is that ALEXA captures a wider dynamic range, truer colors, lower noise and more natural skin tones than other cameras, whether the chosen output is HD, 2K, 4K UHD or one of the native resolution outputs like uncompressed ARRIRAW 2.8K or ProRes 3.2K. This approach is vindicated by the huge numbers of professional filmmakers who choose ALEXA after extensive real?world comparative testing.
Images from the ALEXA Mini are uniquely suited to next?generation HDR (High Dynamic Range) displays, which are likely to play a role in defining future format standards. In addition, the ALEXA Mini’s camera speeds of 0.75 – 200 fps allow it to be used not just for slow?motion shots, but also for HFR (High Frame Rate) acquisition, which might constitute another strand of future standards.
Built for use in mobile situations, like an aerial gimbal, the ALEXA is compact enough in the lens direction to allow the use of standard PL mount lenses even on lightweight and space-constrained rigs, such as gyro-stabilized aerial systems. The camera’s superb low-light performance makes it perfect for underwater work, and dedicated underwater housings are currently being developed by leading manufacturers. the ALEXA has an integrated lens motor controller which allows new active lens motors to be connected directly to the titanium PL mount, so focus, iris and zoom settings can be controlled from ARRI hand units without an additional external box. Further operational settings can be made remotely when working with the ARRI WCU-4 hand unit.
The video above utilized the new camera, and here is a behind the scenes look at how they made it:
The pricing for the ALEXA Mini is going to start between $30,000 and $40,000 depending on options, so no drop in the bucket. It is scheduled to begin shipping in May 2015, with ARRI taking orders for the ALEXA starting in March.
You can get more information on the ALEXA Mini at Arri.com.