ARRI has unveiled its new Alexa Mini LF camera. The new product combines the compact size and low weight of the company’s popular Alexa Mini with the large-format Alexa LF sensor, and extends the creative possibilities of large-format cinematography with ARRI camera systems.
ARRI’s large-format camera system was launched at the BSC Expo in London in 2018, based around a 4.5K version of the Alexa sensor, which is twice the size and offers twice the resolution of Alexa cameras in 35 format. It also featured improvements on the Alexa sensor’s natural colorimetry, pleasing skin tones, low noise and suitability for High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) workflows.
The Alexa Mini LF now joins the existing system elements: the high-speed Alexa LF camera, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, LPL lens mount, PL-to-LPL adapter, and Lens Data System LDS-2. The combined feature sets and form factors of ARRI’s two large-format cameras encompass an even wider range of on-set capabilities.
Following in ARRI’s long tradition of manufacturing rugged, reliable cameras, Alexa Mini LF is built for a prolonged life of use in challenging conditions. With a hard-wearing carbon body and a wide operational temperature range of -20°C to +45°C (-4°F to +113°F), each Alexa Mini LF is put through vigorous stress testing before leaving the ARRI factory and is then supported by ARRI’s global service centres.
While ALEXA Mini LF is compatible with almost all Alexa Mini accessories, it brings significant enhancements to the Mini camera design. Among them are extra connectors, including regulated 12V and 24V accessory power; a new 6-pin audio connector; built-in microphones; and improved WiFi. Six user buttons now adorn the camera’s left side, and the camera and viewfinder each have their own lock button, while user access to the recording media, and VF and TC connectors, has been made easier.
The Alexa Mini LF allows internal recording of MXF/ARRIRAW or MXF/Apple ProRes in a variety of formats and aspect ratios, and is the first camera to feature the new 1TB Compact Drive recording media from Codex, an ARRI technology partner. With it comes a USB-C Compact Drive Reader that can be used without any extra software or licenses on Mac or Windows computers. In addition, a Compact Drive Adapter can be used in any dock that accepts SXR Capture Drives, potentially more than doubling download speeds.
Another development from Codex is High Density Encoding (HDE), which uses loss-less encoding to reduce ARRIRAW file sizes by around 40% during downloading or later in the workflow, helping to lower storage costs, shorten transfer times, and speed-up workflows. HDE is free-of-charge for use with Codex Capture or Compact Drives. ARRIRAW Open Gate 4.5K can be encoded at 24 fps on a modern MacBook Pro.
At the heart of ARRI’s new MVF-2 viewfinder for the Alexa Mini LF are the same high-contrast HD OLED display, colour science, and ARRICAM eyepiece as in Alexa LF’s EVF-2 viewfinder. In addition, the MVF-2 features a 4” flip-out monitor that can display the image or the camera control menu for different camera configurations. The MVF-2 can be used on either side of the camera and connects via a new CoaXPress VF cable that has a reach of up to 10m for remote camera operations. It features a refined user interface, a built-in eyepiece lens heater for de-fogging, and a built-in headphone connector.
Stephan Schenk, managing director of ARRI Cine Technik and responsible for ARRI’s Business Unit Camera Systems, said: “The Alexa Mini LF is a fantastic addition to our large-format system and will complement the Alexa LF, rather than replace it. The Alexa LF is a great high-speed camera, which is especially important for commercials, where 150fps in 4.5K resolution and full image quality is important. It is, in fact, how an ARRIFLEX 435 still complements an ARRICAM on-set. With the addition of the Alexa Mini LF we now have an answer for all shooting requirements.”
Alexa Mini LF cameras are scheduled to start shipping from mid-2019.