If you’re reading this, you’re probably a camera nerd — and if you’re a camera nerd, you’ve probably heard of this company called ARRI. They’re from Germany. They’ve been around for like, 100 years or so. Us camera nerds know that when ARRI announces a new camera, it’s a big deal. They make cameras that have an enormous impact on how our industry operates — and the new Alexa Mini LF is no different.
Full frame video has been increasing in popularity over the years — it’s hard to say where it started to pick up steam, but the Canon C700 Full Frame and RED Monstro Vista Vision are certainly the big cameras that hit the market first — followed closely by the Sony VENICE and ALEXA LF. We knew these cameras were coming, as lens manufacturers had been posturing for a full frame cinema option for years.
When ARRI released the ALEXA LF, the baby brother of the large format ALEXA 65, we knew that full frame was an official part of cinema. While the ALEXA LF is a wonder of engineering, it is still packaged in the heavy and bulky ALEXA-style body. Great for large scale shoots and multiple operators, but not so great for the everyday indie or commercial setups. This is where the ALEXA Mini has found its footing, with its small scale lending itself well to gimbals, drones, and operators of every stature with its democratizing 5lb body.
Enter: The ALEXA Mini LF. The full frame, 4.5K capable, 5.7lb ALEXA. When going through the specs, one can find themselves wanting to use words like “full frame monster” and “game changer” — or other buzzword camera nerd affectations. There is no need. It’s an ARRI ALEXA Mini LF. Enough said.
The Mini LF can do all the things it’s family members can – but with some added resolutions. Below, a list of the various options for SUP 6.0:
The camera’s size has also remained mostly unchanged, with a few updates on body design to accommodate the newer Codex Media.
Speaking of media, ARRI has chosen to abandon the CFast format (thankfully) and has moved to the newer Codex Compact Drives. Some will say this media choice is expensive – and that’s because it is! Very much so. Coming in right around $2,400 bucks per 1TB card, they’re up there, but no more so than any other professional recording media. Have you met my friend, the RED Mini Mag? Or how about the Sony AXSM cards? Those run over $4,500 per TB!
ARRI is being aggressive with its promotion for this camera, same as the ALEXA LF — listing it’s dynamic range as higher than “any production camera.” A bold claim, but anyone who’s shot with these cameras can attest to its authenticity – these are the closest to film DR you’re going to get.
ARRI has also chosen to remain with their Alev III sensor, assuring that the same ARRI Color Science that has won so many awards over the years is maintained at their higher resolutions. Other updates include higher usable sensitivity with lower noise, new internal ND filters, improved timecode and audio connectivity, two built-in microphones, and a brand spanking new Viewfinder – the MVF-2 HD OLED EVF.
This new model has a 4” flip out monitor, and a newer flexible cable to cut down on wear and tear. The camera is packed full of small improvements which really proves that ARRI listens to their users and is always tweaking their designs to best serve their customers. It gives every camera they make a sense of true professionalism.
The big draw, of course, is the full frame image. There’s something I’ve always loved about the field of view you get when shooting full frame — there’s just something about it. Perhaps it comes from years of taking still photos, or maybe my early career shooting with the 5D (MK II, so you know I’ve got that OG DSLR street cred. Where my AF100 folks at?) Regardless of why, the full frame immersion paired with the ARRI look is a match made in heaven. I very much look forward to seeing some of the amazing films and content produced with this camera — it’s a game changer, and a full frame monster.
Missed the ARRI ALEXA LF and Mini LF along with Signature Primes and accessories at our September Pub Night? Click here for event photos.
– Alex Enman, Engineer