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Arri Alexa or Red epic Dragon? Which to buy....


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#1 Matthew Glover

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 12:45 PM

I am torn between these 2.  I really like the look of the Alexa (it looks more like "film" to me) but the Dragons price is calling my name seriously. The dynamic range is amazing as is the DR of the Alexa. What do you guys think? 


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#2 Guy Bodart

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:17 PM

If you want to look like film, only film can gives you that look.Res Epix or Alexa still digital crap.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:22 PM

Now that it seems like the Alexa no longer has the edge on dynamic range over the Dragon sensor, it seems to me that the Epic Dragon gets you more bang for your buck, unless you plan on mostly shooting to something like 2K ProRes 4444. I think the Alexa is a bit more robust and solid as a camera design, but that also makes it larger and heavier.  But it certainly is fairly reliable.

 

Sort of depends on what sort of work you plan on doing with your camera.  If I were going to be hiking to distant locations with my gear in a packback, I'd probably prefer an Epic, but if I thought I could run out and join some TV show as a C-camera, I'd probably pick an Alexa since so many shows are using them.  Alexas are more in demand in the rental business right now, though things can change, but being more expensive to buy, it may take more rentals to pay for itself... if that's why you are buying a camera.  But if you are more of an independent filmmaker looking to shoot his own projects, I think the Epic Dragon may be more flexible, especially for shooting high-resolution landscape work and aerials, like for stock footage companies or commercials.

 

Both are great cameras, you will do nice work either way.

 

The other thing to consider is if you want or need a 4K+ camera; eventually the Alexa will be replaced by something with more resolution from ARRI, the market has been heading that way for the past few years, there are 4K options for Sony and Canon cameras, and soon Panasonic cameras.

 

You really have to study the market you are entering into.


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#4 Tom Chabbat

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:39 PM

I just find the Dragon ridiculous. I mean, what's the point of shooting in 6K ? So can buy an expensive computer to compress it to HD ? I don't think there's even a cine lens capable of resolving this. I'm tired of this "bigger and better" consumerist point of view, always pushing you to buy the latest crap which will be obsolete next year. I just saw last week in a very good theatre a short I shot in 1080p. Yes, this old HD format everybody already forgot. Guess what, people liked it. I admit, it's not as sharp as a F65, but who really cares ? I think the craft is much more important than the specs, the way you light your scene, frame it, grade it. That's what people really see. A well graded HD footage is really enough for most of big screens. Unless you want to be seen on Imax, but I'm not even sure that your work is to be shown on theatre.

 

If you ask me, I prefer to put as less money as possible on the camera, you can find today some HD raw capable cameras for less than 3000$, that's all you need, and keep your money for good glass, that's what matters most in my opinion.


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#5 Neal Norton

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:44 PM

Hi Matthew:

 

There is a big difference between the Alexa and an Epic Dragon.

 

You can buy or rent an Alexa. 

 

Until an Epic Dragon is available to the market (not hand picked Red folks) it is pretty hard to compare the two.

 

Neal Norton


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#6 Freya Black

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 11:27 AM

Arri Amira maybe?

 

http://www.creativep...ilmmakers/63887

 

Freya


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#7 Justus de Jager

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 11:00 AM

In my local market, the producers are really scared of the Epic, needless to say Dragon, in terms of storage and post especially on features. They all push for Alexa and Prores. I do understand their concerns but i think we are already seeing some great test footage from the Dragon but might be hard to convince them seeing our budgets are considerably less than those in the States. I have been really lucky having a Red one MX, pay itself back many times over and was a well worth investment, and now considering the Dragon. Not sure it will do as well for me as the MX has though.
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 12:40 PM

You're a student and you have money for an Alexa? Nice.  I spent 100K buying my Alexa package, that's what it came to to get a basic shooting package with no lenses of course.

 

And I wouldn't call the Alexa "digital crap" Guy.  If the Alexa was good enough for a mega budget heavy VFX film like, "Life Of Pi."  Then it's good enough for me as well.

 

That said I still love 35mm.  My main issue with RED products is the amount of down time they generate on set. Ask any AC what they think of RED products and they will roll their eyes.  I shot in the woods under all sorts of harsh conditions with the Alexa for 5 weeks and the camera never so much as said boo.  That's a far cry from the endless stories I hear about RED cameras crapping out on set in the middle of the shoot day.

 

What terrifies me about digital cinema is rendering out your final edit on the Mac, and having a 90 min movie come out to 120GB.  Then delivering this on a pocket drive to the post house for colour correction! It's pretty amazing.  I expect in 10 years the 90 min movie will be a file that's 50GB, and it will just keep getting smaller and smaller.....

 

R,


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#9 Matthew Glover

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:44 PM

You're a student and you have money for an Alexa? Nice.  I spent 100K buying my Alexa package, that's what it came to to get a basic shooting package with no lenses of course.

 

And I wouldn't call the Alexa "digital crap" Guy.  If the Alexa was good enough for a mega budget heavy VFX film like, "Life Of Pi."  Then it's good enough for me as well.

 

That said I still love 35mm.  My main issue with RED products is the amount of down time they generate on set. Ask any AC what they think of RED products and they will roll their eyes.  I shot in the woods under all sorts of harsh conditions with the Alexa for 5 weeks and the camera never so much as said boo.  That's a far cry from the endless stories I hear about RED cameras crapping out on set in the middle of the shoot day.

 

What terrifies me about digital cinema is rendering out your final edit on the Mac, and having a 90 min movie come out to 120GB.  Then delivering this on a pocket drive to the post house for colour correction! It's pretty amazing.  I expect in 10 years the 90 min movie will be a file that's 50GB, and it will just keep getting smaller and smaller.....

 

R,

 


Edited by Matthew Glover, 28 October 2013 - 01:44 PM.

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#10 Matthew Glover

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:47 PM

You're a student and you have money for an Alexa? Nice.  I spent 100K buying my Alexa package, that's what it came to to get a basic shooting package with no lenses of course.

 

And I wouldn't call the Alexa "digital crap" Guy.  If the Alexa was good enough for a mega budget heavy VFX film like, "Life Of Pi."  Then it's good enough for me as well.

 

That said I still love 35mm.  My main issue with RED products is the amount of down time they generate on set. Ask any AC what they think of RED products and they will roll their eyes.  I shot in the woods under all sorts of harsh conditions with the Alexa for 5 weeks and the camera never so much as said boo.  That's a far cry from the endless stories I hear about RED cameras crapping out on set in the middle of the shoot day.

 

What terrifies me about digital cinema is rendering out your final edit on the Mac, and having a 90 min movie come out to 120GB.  Then delivering this on a pocket drive to the post house for colour correction! It's pretty amazing.  I expect in 10 years the 90 min movie will be a file that's 50GB, and it will just keep getting smaller and smaller.....

 

R,

Yep reading stories I may just hold off until Arri decides to release a 4k/.  Iv heard numerous things about them also being unreliable.  Honestly how much do you think a 4k would cost and how much would it drive the Alexa up if they do decide to release it?  Do you think they will try to compete with red in terms of price?  I also wonder how long its going to take them until they decide to release it.  The release of the dragon has shown that you can up the resolution and still keep the dynamic range.


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 01:54 PM

If you can wait, then wait... for any electronic device.  No, I don't think ARRI is going to release a 4K camera for less money than their current camera, but who knows.  But their products are aimed at people with deeper pockets, so don't expect them to match Red's low prices.

 

Another option is the Sony F55 and the Canon C500, both of which have a 4K option.  The Sony F55 has a compressed 4K XAVC format, though I believe it is only 4:2:2.


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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 05:06 PM

The RED cameras are just not as well built and as reliable as the Alexa.  You get what you pay for as the old adage goes.

 

You've heard numerous things about the Alexa being unreliable? I'd like to know from who?

 

R,


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#13 Matthew Glover

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 06:12 PM

The RED cameras are just not as well built and as reliable as the Alexa.  You get what you pay for as the old adage goes.
 
You've heard numerous things about the Alexa being unreliable? I'd like to know from who?
 
R,


Sorry I worded that wrong. I ment to say i heard that some red cams are unreliable and run into trouble on set. I obviously don't want this to happen to me. I will most likely wait until arri comes out with a Alexa 4k. Although it will be pricey I know it will be a cam to last a lifetime. How much do u guys seeing it go for? Possibly a double in the price of the Alexa? I doubt it but u never know these days.
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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:13 PM

A 4K ARRI doesn't exist yet -- can you wait for two years, for example, in case it isn't being sold until then? If so, isn't this discussion rather hypothetical?

 

I've shot three features on Red cameras and they didn't have any major problems; I think the reliability issue between Red and ARRI is a bit exaggerated, but I do think the ARRI's are built like tanks.  Of course, that also makes them heavier...


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#15 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:05 PM

 I do think the ARRI's are built like tanks.  

 

Well the Germans are world famous for building the best tanks! Maybe they'll invade Poland with the Alexa next time?

 

R,


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#16 Matthew Glover

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:14 PM

A 4K ARRI doesn't exist yet -- can you wait for two years, for example, in case it isn't being sold until then? If so, isn't this discussion rather hypothetical?
 
I've shot three features on Red cameras and they didn't have any major problems; I think the reliability issue between Red and ARRI is a bit exaggerated, but I do think the ARRI's are built like tanks.  Of course, that also makes them heavier...


You guys have both been awesome thank you for the replies! I have alot to think about ;) both cameras are awesome and I can't go wrong no matter what.
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#17 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 05:28 AM

I think that, once again, we have a thread which boils down to: you may as well rent.


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#18 Sabyasachi Patra

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 09:01 AM

Hi Matthew:

 

There is a big difference between the Alexa and an Epic Dragon.

 

You can buy or rent an Alexa. 

 

Until an Epic Dragon is available to the market (not hand picked Red folks) it is pretty hard to compare the two.

 

Neal Norton

 

If you have deep pockets than you can get a Epic Dragon Carbon brain at 50K USD. That is 21K usd more than the Epic Dragon. However, by paying this premium you get a carbon brain which is 1 pound lighter and this will help you in jumping the queue.

 

It would be better to rent or borrow these two different systems and see how you feel. You can then decide whether to buy or not.


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#19 M Joel W

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:55 PM

Look at what people are renting... what there's demand for. Assuming you're planning to rent.

 

If you're working as an owner/op and want to work purely on the basis of what you deliver (and not on what camera you own), of course it's up to you!

 

I think the market for the Alexa has stayed strong for quite a while but it is finally waning. Seeing some VERY affordable Alexa packages on the east coast for the first time. The Epic is of course a dime a dozen now. Red cameras seem to be very hot while a new technology is unavailable but then the market is quickly flooded, wheras fewer people buy Alexas... so while they are cheap now they didn't used to be.

 

I think with digital cameras it's wise to buy at the beginning of a product cycle if you're looking to rent, wise to buy at the end if you want a fun cheap camera for your own personal use. I would not buy either camera right now, but then again I couldn't afford one.

 

Personally I'm an Alexa fan (and quite like what I've seen of the F55, though I've yet to use one), but the Dragon does look cool!


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#20 Brett Bailey

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 04:04 PM

Personally, I would lean more towards renting a camera.  You have to remember "Moore's Law" in regard to technology.  They are both fine cameras.


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