At CineGear 2022, we had the opportunity to get a hands-on look at the brand new ARRI ALEXA 35, and our very own Graham Sheldon gave a quick overview of the new camera. He also spoke with Chase from ARRI about the camera, its features and innovations.
We have already reported on the about-to-be-launched ARRI ALEXA 35 here on CineD, so I won’t repeat each and every feature. Please be sure to read our initial coverage (complete with an in-depth interview) here.
The new ARRI ALEXA 35 was (and is) eagerly anticipated, of course, as for many cinematographers out there, the ARRI brand is the de facto standard when it comes to high-end cinema work. As the saying goes, no one has ever been fired for choosing ARRI. So to build on that legacy, ARRI had to pull some strings and bring something truly innovative to the market.
And they kind of did. Of course, ARRI has to be careful, customers rely on proven and well-known design principles, menu structures, ease of use, durability, and other factors, but most importantly, image quality. And that’s where ARRI has stepped up: 17 stops of dynamic range, as opposed to 14.5 stops on the previous ALEXA Mini.
ARRI ALEXA 35
This is made possible by the use of a completely new sensor, used for the first time in the history of the ALEXA series: the new 4.6K 3:2 Super 35 ALEV 4 sensor marks the beginning of a new era (the ALEV 3 has been used since 2010 – in the original ALEXA).
Another important improvement, or rather change, is the introduction of ARRI Textures. Cinematographers can set the desired, well, texture of the captured material. Since this process occurs before the ARRIRAW pipeline, it can’t be changed in post, making it possible to imbue the footage with a particular look and feel.
This may seem counterintuitive, as it prevents maximum freedom in post-production, but many cinematographers have asked ARRI to implement something like this to make these on-set decisions more permanent – much like the choice of film stock in days gone by.
The new REVEAL color science is also worth mentioning, as the entire internal structure and image processing pipeline have been reworked. The new ARRI ALEXA 35 inherits many insights from the larger ALEXA models, but packs it all into a MINI-sized package while offering much more internal horsepower.
That’s why you have, for example, 2 12G SDI outputs that can be configured fully individual. Speaking of 12G SDI, the whitepaper Graham mentions in the video above about SDI safety can be found here (PDF).
All in all, the new ARRI ALEXA 35 seems to be a workhorse and a ballerina at the same time, offering plenty of power on the inside while being relatively small and light on the outside.
Since we’re talking about a real cinema camera here, the ALEXA 35 is probably more of a rental item, as the ALEXA 35 Production Set costs close to a cool $80,000…
What do you think? Have you ever shot on a ARRI ALEXA? Share your experiences in the comments below!