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Liam

Is the Alexa still king? (Actual question, not an argument)

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Just curious. Maybe I've been watching too many test videos with the cheap(er) cameras. Of course the specs can't really say how the colors and organic feel are still the best out there. Is the Alexa still everyone's dream camera vs f65, RED Dragon, BM4.6k, Bolex, c300ii etc? Anyone have footage or experience to share to say either way? Obviously a for fun topic, not like looking at a purchase ;)

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Amira is like a lighter, simpler Alexa. Amira is just a beautiful, even the 200fps looks amazing from it, and you can get upscaled 4k that looks better than some native 4K.

here's an unused shot from a shoot on Amira. This is 1080p i beleive 200fps 422HQ in log. Try it out! This link will work in about an hour.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9922139/A002C001_160503_R4SJ.mov

You can move colour all over the place, the latitude is incredible. It's pretty heavy though so not suitable for everything, but in pure image terms I'd give it the number-one spot.

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34 minutes ago, AaronChicago said:

It's still king in my opinion. I"m blown away at how close the UM46K can get though. I think if you pick up any of those cameras you listed, you are good to go. :D

Yeah, yours was an opinion i was hoping to see here, based on some of those images you shared. Wow. But still, frickin Arri, man.

Maybe once it's decided we're only okay with reeeeal 4k, some Alexas will drop down to like the... $2000 range........ :D 

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Alexa is king, Alexa Mini is queen...Amira is the prince.

VariCam is probably one or two generations away from entering the castle with it's sword drawn...but King Arri will probably put stop to that revolting nonsense. F65 is a Knight at the round table

If the big boys stopped waving their resolution and iso performance stats around - and instead worried more about colour rendition and simply a 'nice looking image', then Arri would have a contender. As it is however - nobody understands what a filmic image should be, or how crews are meant to work around a camera - quite like Arri does.

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7 hours ago, dbp said:

There seems to be a legion of folks who really love the Sony F35 image, so that's gotta be in contention. 

Yeah, definitely great stuff shot on that, but also recently heard a certain die hard fan switching to the f65 without blinking. That IS an interesting case though, where most of what everyone is praising about the f35 is hard to really measure. Detail despite actual resolution, organic feel, motion cadence, ccd highlights. A lot like the Alexa "magic" maybe.. though that might be more widely agreed on 

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It depends what you're after. Burger King is still king if you're after a burger worse than MacDonald's but still sort of edible. I feel that the Alexa is indisputably the best general purpose A camera still, but others surpass it (some far surpass it) in specific respects that might tip one's choice in another direction.

But yeah, there are so many ways the Alexa is ahead of everything else in terms of look, workflow, reliability, and Arri Log's saturation/gamma curves that it's taken a while for anything to catch up and nothing has. That said, remarkably few of its strengths can't be faked cheaply with some ingenuity. Professional tools are largely built on reliability and ease of use, but they also require a larger crew to operate but also need to move faster because time is money. One really talented person with a (good) dSLR can do a lot more than one really talented person with an Alexa or Red IMO. But you'd need to be REALLY talented. ;) Remember, Mad Max was using 5D Mark IIs. The image quality wasn't great, but the images were.

The F35 is nice, but it's not even in the same league in terms of DR. Good color, though, very very sharp 1080p. The F35 and C300 have the sharpest 1080p, but due to how they interpolate by skipping Bayer. Film competes with the Alexa but not for workflow, it's even harder to use. I've worked with the Alexa regularly since it was released and nothing has yet to convince me I want to work with anything else. But I work in post, and when I shoot personal videos without much money I always choose a smaller camera.

There's this myth that not having the best camera is getting in the way. That's so wrong. The best camera–say, an IMAX camera–gets in the way the most. The worst camera, say a dSLR or a go pro, gets in the way the least, and lets you focus on content. 

So yeah, the Alexa is best still. But if you're seriously thinking of using one, you'll have the money to run tests hopefully to determine if it's best for your needs. The GH4 and C100 get shockingly close for much less money. The A7SII gets WAY better for low light, and with a good grade and an A7SII you could blow away even Alexa owners. Too bad the colors and codec need work.

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22 hours ago, Tiago Rosa-Rosso said:

My dream camera is a global shutter that is able to record 2868 x 1612 down sampled to 2048 x 1152 for ProRes 2K 16:9. It's as simple as that. That's an Alexa. No 4k, just great color science, wonderful DR, good ISO and proper motion.

A myth. None of the Arri digital cameras has a global shutter. The Alexa Studio (about 100k presumably) has a physically rotating shutter blade that makes it look like a global shutter, check on the Arri site.

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53 minutes ago, Axel said:

A myth. None of the Arri digital cameras has a global shutter. The Alexa Studio (about 100k presumably) has a physically rotating shutter blade that makes it look like a global shutter, check on the Arri site.

True. But it feels like one. The sensor extremely brief readout time, minimises (though not entirely removing) the problems of a rolling shutter.

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I work in a rental house and see Alexas, Amiras and Minis fly off the shelves all day long while F55s and Dragons sit in their boxes. And it's only increased as the attention has turned to the newer models and the original Alexa has come down in price. People who might've once settled for a prosumer-style digital cinema camera like the C300 or F3 can now afford to hire an Alexa, and many do without a moment's hesitation.

It's the only camera that really operates on a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get basis". The Canons come close, and the Reds and Sonys are a hideous mess of LOG profiles, LUTs and complicated menus. And one thing I can say for certain is that the Alexa is the only camera that is dead-on with its ISOs. ISO 800 on the Alexa is a true ISO 800, seven stops over and under middle-gray. The Canons and Sonys are somewhat faster. The FS7 in particular is way off. I would reckon that ISO 800 on that camera is closer to 1600.

Meanwhile, you can take the Alexa out of the box, hit LOG-C on 2K Prores, pull up the Rec.709 LUT on your monitor, light the scene using your light meter like they did in the good old days, and go home with an image that can look good without requiring any special color-correction sauce beyond gamma and color tweaks. And it holds up on a 40-foot screen, And it never breaks or fails. At my workplace, we practically never receive customer support calls regarding Alexas. They come back in perfect condition and our technicians turn 'em around in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, these Reds are making my co-workers tear their hair out.

Simplicity, reliability and raw image quality independent of specs and numbers is where it's at. Arri gets this, which is why they keep winning despite the exorbitant cost of their products.

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1 hour ago, Axel said:

A myth. None of the Arri digital cameras has a global shutter. The Alexa Studio (about 100k presumably) has a physically rotating shutter blade that makes it look like a global shutter, check on the Arri site.

Very cool. I'd much rather have a mechanical shutter than a global shutter

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13 minutes ago, BrooklynDan said:

I work in a rental house and see Alexas, Amiras and Minis fly off the shelves all day long while F55s and Dragons sit in their boxes. And it's only increased as the attention has turned to the newer models and the original Alexa has come down in price. People who might've once settled for a prosumer-style digital cinema camera like the C300 or F3 can now afford to hire an Alexa, and many do without a moment's hesitation.

It's the only camera that really operates on a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get basis". The Canons come close, and the Reds and Sonys are a hideous mess of LOG profiles, LUTs and complicated menus. And one thing I can say for certain is that the Alexa is the only camera that is dead-on with its ISOs. ISO 800 on the Alexa is a true ISO 800, seven stops over and under middle-gray. The Canons and Sonys are somewhat faster. The FS7 in particular is way off. I would reckon that ISO 800 on that camera is closer to 1600.

Meanwhile, you can take the Alexa out of the box, hit LOG-C on 2K Prores, pull up the Rec.709 LUT on your monitor, light the scene using your light meter like they did in the good old days, and go home with an image that can look good without requiring any special color-correction sauce beyond gamma and color tweaks. And it holds up on a 40-foot screen, And it never breaks or fails. At my workplace, we practically never receive customer support calls regarding Alexas. They come back in perfect condition and our technicians turn 'em around in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, these Reds are making my co-workers tear their hair out.

Simplicity, reliability and raw image quality independent of specs and numbers is where it's at. Arri gets this, which is why they keep winning despite the exorbitant cost of their products.

This is why I like the UM46k so much. Set to Film mode with Rec 709 LUT, and shoot. It's nearly impossible to botch exposure or color. 

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1 hour ago, Nikkor said:

Anyone tried the D 21? It also has the rotating shutter and optical viewfinder, but it's more primitive than the alexa.

I shot with the D-20 back in the day when it was flagship new (for a music video)...lovely image and having an optical viewfinder was pretty darn sexy. D-20 is the Alexa's grandfather. D-21 was newer internal board and not a huge leap from D-20.

Saw one on eBay sell recently for the cost of a 5DmkIII.

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