Arri, the renowned cinema camera manufacturer, that has won many awards for how long they have been in the business, has now announced a brand new cinema camera with a new sensor - the first in 12 years.
The Arri Alexa 35 is a 4K Super35 cinema camera (opens in new tab) that elevates digital cinematography to unprecedented heights. ARRI’s first new sensor in 12 years builds on the evolution of the Alexa family over that period, delivering 2.5 stops more of dynamic range, better low light performance, and richer colors, the new Reveal Color science which takes full advantage of the sensor’s image quality, while ARRI textures enhance in-camera creativity. Easy operation, robust build quality, new accessories, and a complete new mechanical support system round out the Alexa 35 platform make this a truly new camera for professional cinematographer and enthusiasts alike to get really excited about new technology and video.
The new Alexa 35 measures at 17 stops of dynamic range (exposure latitude), far more than any other digital cinema camera. Having 1.5 stops more in the highlights and one stop more in the shadows than previous Alexa cameras, while retaining the naturalistic film-like highlight roll-off this system is know for is a game-changer for filmmakers. Features like sophisticated stray-light suppression in the camera and lens mounts ensures that the full contrast range and character of each lens are captured by the sensor.
Together, the increased dynamic range and stray light control make it easier to handle any lighting conditions on set, increase flexibility in post, and provide the best source for High Dynamic Range projects. With low noise and sensitivity settings ranging from EI 160 to EI 6400, Alexa 35 is a “High ISO” cinema camera. An optional Enhanced Sensitivity Mode can be applied to settings between EI 2560 and EI 6400, producing an even cleaner image in low 2 light. This exceptional sensitivity, combined with the wider dynamic range and stray-light suppression, allows the new Alexa 35 to capture the most delicate nuances of light and shadow in more situations than ever before.
With its Super35 4:3 native 4K sensor, the Alexa 35 can be used with a vast global inventory of existing lenses - modern and vintage, anamorphic and spherical, Super35 and large format. Filmmakers wanting to shoot with ARRI cameras while having to fulfill 4K mandates now have an immeasurably broader lens choice. ARRI textures is a unique new feature that allows cinematographers to fundamentally alter the way in which the camera records images, should they wish to.
Up until now, Alexa cameras have been pre-programmed with a default texture that determines the amount and character of grain in the image, and the amount of contrast at different levels of detail, perceived by the viewer as sharpness. For the first time, Arri has allowed Alexa 35 to provide the option to choose from a menu of Arri textures, much like selecting a film stock.
I feel like filmmakers will share their favorite "recipe look" to certain project to give the production either a more classic feel or modern sharpness, which is a very interesting thing in the cinema world - much like Fujifilm and its community do with their film simulation recipes .
We must mention that the Alexa 35 is the smallest fully featured Arri production camera the company has ever made, including the Mini LF series, packing the features and processing power of a larger Alexa into a Mini-sized body. Crews will be intuitively familiar with the camera’s simple menu structure; support for 1TB and 2TB Codex Compact Drives; and MVF-2 viewfinder, now with HDR support. Fast and easy operation is assured through a new left-side display, Advanced Color Match, pre-recording capability, and a slew of usability improvements such 3 additional user buttons.
A total of 19 recording formats, incorporating efficient in-camera down-sampling and anamorphic de-squeezing, allow productions to optimize data rate, resolution, and other parameters, based on their individual needs.
Mixed reality and virtual productions will also benefit from this new camera’s ability to record lens metadata in all common standards and output real-time streaming metadata to Arri’s Live Link Metadata Plug-in for Unreal Engine. ArriI has crafted a new line of bespoke Alexa 35 accessories that expand the camera’s capabilities and ensure maximum speed and versatility on set. These closely integrated electronic accessories offer additional power outputs or extended audio features. A complete new set of mechanical support items also provides flexible options for any shooting situation, scaling quickly and easily from a small and lightweight setup to a full-blown production rig. The Alexa 35 is supported by Arri’s full suite of online tools, as well as free-of-charge standalone apps like the iPhone/iPad Camera Companion App, ARRI Reference Tool, and ARRIRAW HDE Transcoder.
It goes without saying that when THE NAME in Hollywood cinema cameras produces something new, the whole industry should take notice, and Arri have done just that, they have taken a long loved system for the past 12 years and transformed it for the modern age of filmmaking, while keeping to the companies traditions of producing the best possible image, not the highest resolution camera (opens in new tab).