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D-21 vs Alexa


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#1 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:12 AM

Hi everyone,

I'd be very interested and grateful if any professionals with experience in both these cameras would let me know their thoughts regarding how they compare.

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Marc Roessler

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 02:41 PM

Alexa: lighter, smaller, much higher EI, less noise, on board recording, on board battery possible (Bauer mount). Integrated 15mm rod mounts which is very nice (already liked that about the Aaton Prod). No optical viewfinder but a nice temperature compensated (and thus color stable) digital viewfinder. Easy to use on-board display for control, vs. the D20/21 where you needed an external PAL display for changing the settings. Easier to remote-control via Ethernet (via www browser... the D21 can do this via remote text console).

I see really no pros for the D20/D21, besides having the OV and being totally noiseless because of the fan-less cooling system. The Alexa fan is also very quiet, though. And the Alexa already seems to be easier to rent, they are popping up in just about any rental right now whereas the D20/D21 always was a bit rare.

You can find most of the info on www.arridigital.com

Greetings,
Marc
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 02:46 PM

If you are shooting in anamorphic and can record ARRIRAW, then the 4x3 sensor of the D21 is an advantage.
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#4 Marc Roessler

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 05:13 PM

David is right... how could I forget the beloved anamorphics! A 4:3 version of Alexa is planned though.
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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 06:45 PM

Thanks Marc and David.

What about the mechanical shutter in the D-21? My understanding is that this obviates the issues associated with the sensor's rolling shutter, giving a smoother, more film-like motion capture (at the expense of halving the EI). Is this seen as an advantage or is the gain in motion smoothness not worth the loss of sensitivity? What about the benefits of an adjustable shutter angle?

For feature work with a larger lighting budget is the 200 ASA base sensor rating on the D-21 not regarded as fast enough? I had thought the low light capabilities of Alexa were more useful for TV work where the lighting budget is more restricted.

I guess I'm curious to know whether the industry consensus is much like Marc's response, that there are no real advantages to using the D-21 over Alexa, other than an optical viewfinder, no fan noise and full resolution retention using anamorphic lenses.

Please forgive any ignorance in my questions, my background is mechanical, but I'm trying my hardest to get my head around the digital stuff.
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#6 John Sprung

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 07:56 PM

is the 200 ASA base sensor rating on the D-21 not regarded as fast enough?


Basically, yes. Unless your show is all day exteriors or something. With the Alexa available, the value of the D-21 is dropping like a stone.





-- J.S.
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#7 Ravi Kiran

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:59 PM

What is the advantage of the optical viewfinder?
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 12:45 AM

Bright high resolution image, with an overview area. Works without electricity, so you can start setting up as soon as the camera's built. No distracting text overlays.

The downside is, it's hellish expensive to build.




-- J.S.
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#9 Marc Roessler

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 05:21 AM

I love optical viewfinders... Last month I shot an S16 short which took us three days, and we had to change batteries once and that was on the last day. Quite impossible with any non-OV digital camera at present.

But besides the higher price, don't forget that an optical viewfinder also makes the camera much heavier. Nevertheless I'm all for an OV model of Alexa. It's just the question how this goes together with ISO 800 and upwards...

The mechanical shutter has some advantages with regard to rolling shutter as you wrote - whether that's an issue depends on the type of scene you are filming. On the other hand you can open the digital shutter to > 180 degrees, but that gives you a different rendition of motion which I don't like as much.

I like shooting from the shoulder (if it fits the scene), so I'm a bit biased for the lighter Alexa vs. the heavier D21.

Greetings,
Marc
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#10 J Costantini

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 09:38 PM

another advantage is that because of the optical shutter, the d-21 is able to black balance the sensor at each 'black' between frames. it also controls the temperature of the sensor degree per degree to keep it stable and parasite free... it's a complete different camera system and Arri knows that, that's why they're not preocupied in releasing the Alexas, even one with optical viewfinder and variable frame rate (coming soon)... and of course there's the 1.37 sensor and MSCOPE possibility for anamorphic...
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#11 Jerry Murrel

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 06:50 PM

What is the advantage of the optical viewfinder?

No one here has mentioned the most obvious advantage to the Optical viewfinder.

It's much easier to do critical focus with an optical finder, and it's much less eye-strain.

 

Another point being overlooked here, is that you're not going to find any working Alexa's for

under $10K, including the viewfinder.  I think the Arri D-21 is an excellent choice, and some

DPs feel that it is the most film-like of all the digital cameras, even more so than the Alexa.

 

Arri in Munich still services these cameras, and they can be dropped off at Arri CSC or

Arri Burbank and the Arri folks will ship them to Munich for you.  If you can afford the lighting

package needed for interiors due to the 200 ASA, then I think it's an excellent choice.

 

-Jerry Murrel

Little Rock, AR


Edited by Jerry Murrel, 29 July 2014 - 06:54 PM.

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#12 Jerry Murrel

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:22 PM

Here's an impressive video shot with the Arri D-21.

This was lit properly, and was well graded in post.

 

 

-Jerry Murrel

Little Rock, AR


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