Arri has used the BSC Expo in London to unveil a long-awaited large-format 4K version of the ALEXA sensor.
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The complete new camera system comprises the new ALEXA LF camera, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, LPL lens mount, and PL-to-LPL adapter. It is also compatible with existing lenses, accessories, and workflows.
“The larger ALEXA LF sensor has the same optimal pixel size as other ALEXAs, resulting in a 4448 x 3096 image,” said Marc Shipman-Mueller, ARRI Product Manager for Camera Systems. “This doesn’t just add definition, it creates a whole new look—one that is truly immersive, with a three-dimensional feel. The various recording formats and sensor modes make this look available to all productions and satisfy any possible deliverable requirement.”
The ALEXA LF camera features a sensor slightly bigger than full frame. ALEXA LF records native 4K with ARRI’s “best overall image quality.” Arri says flmmakers can “explore a large-format aesthetic while retaining the sensor’s natural colorimetry, pleasing skin tones and proven suitability for HDR and WCG workflows.” Recording formats include ProRes and uncompressed, unencrypted ARRIRAW up to 150 fps.
Accompanying the ALEXA LF camera are 16 large-format ARRI Signature Prime lenses, ranging from 12 mm to 280 mm and fitted with the ARRI LPL mount. Arri says the Signature Primes “render organic, emotionally engaging images, gently softening and texturising the large format. A fast T-stop of T1.8 facilitates shallow depth of field and the smooth focus fall-off gives subjects heightened presence in the frame.”
Thorsten Meywald, ARRI Product Manager for Optical Systems, said: “The ARRI Signature Prime lenses are incredibly lightweight and robust, due to the magnesium lens barrels. They also feature LDS-2, ARRI’s next-generation Lens Data System. What has impressed cinematographers most, however, is the look. Skin tones are rendered beautifully and kindly, while all the detail of landscapes can be captured. Our focus was on the emotional impact of images, creating unique and pleasing bokeh both in the foreground and background.”
The new LPL lens mount has been optimised for large-format sensors. It has a wider diameter and shorter flange focal depth, allowing the ARRI Signature Primes and all future large-format lenses to be small and lightweight, with a fast T-stop and pleasing bokeh— “a combination of features that would not be possible with the PL lens mount.” The LPL mount will also be available for other ARRI cameras and is being licensed to third-party lens and camera manufacturers.
Arri says the new camera will have full compatibility with existing PL mount lenses and ALEXA accessories. A PL-to-LPL adapter offers backwards compatibility with all PL mount lenses, whether Super 35 or full frame. The adapter attaches securely to the LPL lens mount without tools, allowing crews to rapidly switch between PL and LPL lenses on set.
“As always, we want to make sure that our customers get the best possible return on their investments in ARRI equipment,” said Stephan Schenk, Managing Director of ARRI Cine Technik and responsible for the business unit Camera Systems. “Providing compatibility with existing lenses, camera accessories, workflows, ARRI Look Files, lens metadata, and software tools makes it easier for crews to work with ALEXA LF on set and for rental houses to incorporate it into their inventories. We think the system sets a new standard for the future, but it also minimizes redundancies and leaves no one behind.”
The first ALEXA LF cameras will be shipped at the end of March 2018. The initial set of four Signature Prime lenses (35 mm, 47 mm, 75 mm, and 125 mm) will be shipped in early June 2018. The remaining lenses will be available over the course of the year.
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