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Film Gear embraces the arrival of the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF

Film Gear embraces the arrival of the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF

Film Gear are very excited at the introduction of the Arri Alexa Mini LF.  The arrival came four years after the original Arri Mini was introduced and is much anticipated.

The industry has been anticipating this new arrival for some time now.  

The ALEXA Mini LF is more of an evolution than a revolution. ARRI has taken everything people loved about the ALEXA Mini and put in a large sensor that solves the problem of not being able to produce a 4K image that isn’t upscaled.

Listed below are the key features:

  • Large Format ALEXA LF sensor in an ALEXA Mini body
  • Netflix Approved UHD up to 60fps.
  • New, cost-efficient Codex Compact Drive for fast and open workflows
  • New MVF-2 high resolution, high contrast viewfinder
  • Internal motorised FSND filters, extra connectors and user buttons
  • Industry-leading image quality with much higher usable sensitivity
  • Wide input voltage range for operation with standard 12V V-Lock and Gold Mount batteries

The LF sensor has now been fitted to a smaller body overall and the associated heat problems have now been solved.

The LF is very close to the current Alexa Mini in terms of its size and it shares the same design and form factor that existing Mini users were comfortable with.  The Mini LF weighs in at 2.6kg as opposed to the Mini weighing 2.3kg making the LF just marginally heavier.

The biggest difference is the sensor size.  Though the form factor is similar to the original ALEXA mini, the Mini LF has a type of module on the left-hand side of the body.

This module is where the recording media goes and where you will find the three new camera user buttons, a total of six, as well as the record button and function lock button.

The camera also has a built-in stereo microphone eradicating the need to attach an additional scratch microphone.  A cooling vent is fitted to the rear of the camera.

As ARRI had to fit a lot of the same functionality as the ALEXA LF into the Mini LF, they did have to compromise on a few things. The Mini LF cant do 150 fps like its larger sibling, and it doesn’t have space for three independent SDI outputs.

ADDITIONAL NEW FEATURES

  • New dedicated, regulated 12V and 24V accessory power outputs

  • New SYNC IN and improved audio connectors

  • 6 user buttons on the camera’s left hand side

  • One LOCK button each for the camera and viewfinder

  • Additional external WiFi antenna

  • Easier access for media,VF and TC connections

The ALEXA Mini LF has a voltage input range from 11 V to 34 V. Therefore, it can be easily powered by any 14.4 V on-board battery as well as by 24 V on-board batteries.

The ALEXA Mini LF draw slightly more power than the ALEXA Mini, estimated currently at around 65 W when recording ARRIRAW at 24 fps with the MVF-2 viewfinder connected. 

The Alexa Mini LF uses the same identical sensor that is found in the ALEXA LF. This is a 36.7mm x 25.54mm sensor that is slightly larger than full frame. It’s 1.5x bigger than the ALEXA SXT, and the ALEXA 65 is 1.5x larger than the ALEXA LF. 

The ALEXA Mini LF’s A2X sensor isn’t really new per se, it’s based on two vertical ALEV-III sensors, which are stitched together to create a seamless large format image. This is the same principle of how they created the ALEXA 65, which uses three ALEXA sensors that are arranged vertically.

Just like the Sony VENICE’s aspect ratio-agnostic sensor, the ALEXA Mini LF has the ability to be used in three different sensor modes. All features, resolutions and frame rates will be available from launch.

  • LF Open Gate – 36.70 x 25.54 mm with (4448 x 3096) @ 44.71mm image circle. Delivers the ALEXA family’s optimal pixel size for highest overall image quality results in a 4448 x 3096 picture
  • LF 16:9 – 31.68 x 1782 mm with (3840 x 2160) @ 36.35mm image circle Maximizes lens options while meeting 4K deliverable standards. Max 60fps – 20mm Ultra prime will cover for example. Also available as internal downscale to HD at 90fps
  • LF 2.39:1 – 36.70 x 15.31 mm with (4448 x 1856 photo sites) @ 39.76 mm image circle. Combines a cinematic widescreen image with high frame rates up to 60fps.

All sensor modes offer reduced noise along with true 800 ASA sensitivity, and the EI values are between 160-3200.

The ALEXA Mini LF records native 4K with ARRI’s renowned image quality. The ALEXA sensor everyone loves retains all of the same characteristics while delivering an immersive, larger format aesthetic for filmmakers. ALEXA Mini LF includes the same exposure latitude of 14+ stops as is the case on all previous ALEXA branded cameras. ARRI claims it features low noise while also maintaining pleasing skin tones for both HDR and WCG workflows.

Recording Resolutions and Media

  • 4.5K in LF Open Gate and LF 2.39:1
  • UHD in LF 16:9
  • 2K 16:9 with in-camera downscale in LF 16:9
  • HD 16:9 with in-camera downscale in LF 16:9
  • Provides Anamorphic de-squeeze for 1.25x, 1.3
Now, even though the Mini LF can take advantage of full frame lenses, you can also use quite a lot of Super 35 glass if you shoot in the LF 16:9 mode which uses the smallest area of the sensor. This LF 16:9 mode is also Netflix approved.

Internal ND Filters

The Mini LF has three internal motorized large format FSND filters. 

  • 0.6
  • 1.2
  • 1.8

An optional extra for the Mini LF is you can purchase a PL-PL adapter for use with existing compatible lenses.  The adapter features black earlobes whilst the LPL mount includes blue earlobes.  The adapter passes LDS protocol and is LDS-2 compatible.

The ALEXA Mini LF has two built-in microphones for capturing scratch audio and features a dedicated onboard WiFi radio which offers wireless camera remote control via the ALEXA Web Remote. It also can handle color management. 

The ARRI ALEXA Mini LF also sports a new viewfinder keeping the same combination of EVF and flip-out LCD from the existing ALEXA Mini.  It may look similar but is actually a new design with higher quality, larger screen.

While it does look similar, it is a completely new design and a lot higher quality than the previous ALEXA Mini viewfinder. It also features a 4″ instead of a 3″ LCD screen.

The connector running from the body of the camera to the MVF-2 is on the left-hand side of the module.  An ARRICAM designed eyepiece offers high contrast and low distortion.

It’s interesting to see that the connector that runs from the camera body to the MVF-2, is located on the left-hand side module.

All in all the ALEXA Mini LF is a great addition and ensures ARRI have a full range of products for all shooting requirements.

 

 

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