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Interesting comparison New Arri Vs Venice.. worth a read


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#1 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 05:35 AM

https://www.topteks....,19CEOT,KRXTL,1


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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:25 AM

At the end of the article the author reveals that he is no longer an Arri agent, but is one of a select few agents for the Venice, and so might be just a little biased..

Some of the assumptions are incorrect, you don't have to only use the Signature Primes to achieve 4K, you could just as easily use full frame PL lenses, of which there are many now, and he speculates about the ND filter system without any real basis for his complaints. It's very much an "Alexa LF is old technology, but Venice is new so therefore better" argument, without much evidence to back that up.

The only real complaint that is valid is that you can't use generally available S35 lenses to get a 4K product. Arri claims that in 16:9 UHD mode you can use Master Primes or Ultra Primes from 35mm up (which gives an equivalent field of view to a 26mm lens in S35) so you may only need to supplement a lens set with a few wide angle full frame lenses, but that isn't a great solution. More likely people will just use full frame lens sets and zooms. I don't how big a deal it is to get 4K out of 3840 pixels either, Arri seem to think it's OK.
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#3 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:32 AM

Sure I have no dog in the race myself.. the only thing that did really surprise me is that in 16-9.. its still only 3840.. I know thats TV etc.. but even in my work.. docs and corps..let alone theatre release.. I very often get asked for 4096.. its a fairly common request.. Im not really sure why, except for Netflix corps I ve done.. but non the less it happens a fair bit.. .end of the day .. still in 16-9 its not a 4K camera..as before.. I just wonder.. so actually why not a new sensor .. why the hold out..? .. buy one from Sony and sign some NDA agreement :).. getting this odd size by just gluing two together..?  

 

The whole lens thing is a bit weird when you think about it.. no one wants to be having to daisy pick there kit.. so they dont get vignetting at that level of production.. 

 

Im not sure they haven't dropped the ball a bit.. its sounds good till you look into it a bit.. I guess Sony are relieved anyway :)


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#4 Albion Hockney

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 04:14 PM

The Alexa LF seems more like a slightly cheaper option then the Alexa 65mm for high end productions (its 90k for the body). Productions that can afford the larger format lens options for the actual large format sensors like the alexa 65 and large sensor reds. I think it is a weak offering considering how long the current sensor has been around. It seems they are starting to enter dangerous territory leaving room for something else to come along. Arri moves slow with R&D and this release signifies they have no new sensor and probably won't for awhile.

 

The Alexa LF does seem old - heavy, no internal ND, just barley hitting the 4k marks.

 

that all said I didn't love the test images from the Venice at all. It also only does 60p which is a problem for some.

 

It seems to me sensor tech is at a bit of a plateau when it comes to really giving a better image then the Alexa. The Alexa sensor in this regard is really amazing considering it came out 10years ago!


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#5 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:05 PM

Well its a camera you could buy.. unlike the Alexa 65 .. AFAIK you cant buy the 65.. but its still not a 4K camera in 16-9 (17-9)even the Fs7 is that.. and you still have this lens business... the Venice is about $50,000 I think including the EVF..  any lens you want use, almost literally, with the native E mount..the LF bare bones twice as much.. I know which one I would buy..

 

Im not down on Arri .. who could argue with the success of the Alexa.. I just think they might have dropped the ball this time.. esp if the need for 17-9 4K and/or down sampling from at least 6K becomes a prerequisite for anything close to high end production.. the LF will be a door stop pretty quickly for any buyer and rental houses might think twice before buying at that price too..

 

Why not just come up with a new sensor ..? has to be the question.. if some other manufacturer just kept on gluing multiples of a 10 yr old sensor together.. they would be a laughing stock ..  non ?  


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#6 Albion Hockney

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:45 PM

Why not just come up with a new sensor ..? has to be the question.. if some other manufacturer just kept on gluing multiples of a 10 yr old sensor together.. they would be a laughing stock ..  non ?  

 

I think this is the million dollar question.

 

Considering the release of the LF I think its clear they don't have anything new and won't soon. That said I think there is a good chance the Alexa sensor will still make better images then the Venice - of course subjective, but I do think many DP's will still favor the Alexa based on the test images from Venice.

 

I think Arri would be hoping the next sensor they release will be another major step forward and hold dominance of the industry for sometime and maybe the tech just isn't there yet for that?


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#7 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:00 PM

 

I think this is the million dollar question.

 

Considering the release of the LF I think its clear they don't have anything new and won't soon. That said I think there is a good chance the Alexa sensor will still make better images then the Venice - of course subjective, but I do think many DP's will still favor the Alexa based on the test images from Venice.

 

I think Arri would be hoping the next sensor they release will be another major step forward and hold dominance of the industry for sometime and maybe the tech just isn't there yet for that?

 

 

Yes I dont see a sudden move away from Alexa.. but clearly for good or for bad the 4K/6K down sample thing isn't going to go away.. and they have a 4.4K only with open gate camera ..made from sticking two old sensors together that doesn't work with a whole bunch of lenses..not really much to write home about.... it seems a bit of a strange move.. IF.. the Venice puts out an image as good as Arri.. I think it could take a bite into the Arri dominace of the high end.. that Sony has been clearly trying to achieve for years.. Im sure they are very relieved that Arri have not stolen their thunder..with what can only be described as a bit of a meagre offering .. In my humble opinion ..


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:14 AM

As I've said before; honestly, I'd've rather they put their resources into making the Alexa 65 better with more recording options on it and making more of them into the rental market. I honestly don't see the appeal or the need for VistaVision digital cameras when you could, in theory, make a 65 camera with a vista vision windowed option.


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#9 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:01 PM

At the end of the article the author reveals that he is no longer an Arri agent, but is one of a select few agents for the Venice, and so might be just a little biased..

Some of the assumptions are incorrect, you don't have to only use the Signature Primes to achieve 4K, you could just as easily use full frame PL lenses, of which there are many now, and he speculates about the ND filter system without any real basis for his complaints. It's very much an "Alexa LF is old technology, but Venice is new so therefore better" argument, without much evidence to back that up.

The only real complaint that is valid is that you can't use generally available S35 lenses to get a 4K product. Arri claims that in 16:9 UHD mode you can use Master Primes or Ultra Primes from 35mm up (which gives an equivalent field of view to a 26mm lens in S35) so you may only need to supplement a lens set with a few wide angle full frame lenses, but that isn't a great solution. More likely people will just use full frame lens sets and zooms. I don't how big a deal it is to get 4K out of 3840 pixels either, Arri seem to think it's OK.

 

 

Can you achieve 4K with FF lenses on the Arri.. isn't the sensor bigger than FF.. ? they have invented a new format haven't they with their own lenses to deal with it.. ?  not meaning to be argumentative .. clearly you have probably forgotten more than I know about lenses.. question just came into my head..


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:26 PM

The Alexa LF open gate is 36.70 x 25.54mm, which isn't much bigger than 36mm x 24mm, so I suspect most FF lenses will cover.


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#11 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:31 PM

Just checked your right..  sorry I thought I read it was a fair bit bigger..   still quite a bold move and then have the lenses to cope with it.. I guess its something they are going to stick with for a while then..

 

 

  • 36.7 x 25.54mm maximum sensor size

Edited by Robin R Probyn, 08 February 2018 - 11:38 PM.

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#12 Feli di Giorgio

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 05:29 PM

I'm a little perplexed by the LF. I really was expecting a true 4k s35 Alexa at some point.

 

The LF UHD resolution window can't be covered by most s35 glass. Even Arri's own Master / Ultra primes can only cover it from 35mm onward. How are you supposed to shoot a movie or TV show without wides? What about people who have a lot of money invested in their own glass? What of you need to shoot 4k and want to use vintage glass like Pancros, Super Speeds, Super Baltars etc? 

 

Apparently UHD (3840) is not acceptable to Netflix either. According to their website they demand 4k DCI aka 4096. So, unless you shoot the LF in full frame you're not going to meet their delivery spec.

 

Full Frame has its own quirks. Not everyone is fond of the super shallow DOF. Most s35 movies are shot around T2.8-5.6 and to achieve the equivalent DOF in FF you're going to have to stop down and that means you'll need a lot more light ($$$). Most of the FF glass is modern and maybe not what you really want for your show. From what I have read the Signature Primes aren't even all available.

 

It's weird but, I kind of see Arri's logic here.

 

Because all Alexa essentially use the same sensor you always end up with he exact same picture, if you shoot with a Mini, SXT, LF or A65. The only thing that really changes is the resolution. In theory that is great, if it wasn't for companies like Amazon and Netflix demanding 4k.

 

Apparently Arri learned that a lot of people were shooting the A65 with a 4k window to meet 4k delivery spec, but dodge the massive data footprint of 6k ArriRAW. Supposedly the LF sensor is equivalent to the 4k window on the A65. 

 

But that still doesn't solve that problem that Arri doesn't have a 4k s35 camera. 

 

It's been about 8 years since the ALEV sensor in the Alexa saw the light of day and the world has made a lot of strides in that time in sensor technology. I find it hard to believe that Arri can't design a 4k dual gain architecture sensor that yields performance as good or better than nearly 10 year old technology. But maybe that's it. Maybe Arri is waiting for the 10 year mark to retire the current sensor and replace it with something new?

 

Personally I'm not into the resolution arms race. I'm a firm believer in 'Better pixels, not more pixels'. I have an old Alexa EV and am perfectly happy with it. But the reality is that companies like Netflix are demanding 4k and you're not going to get past that.


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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:03 PM

I honestly think Arri has hit a wall with getting good performance in a S35 4K sensor as good (honestly needs to be better) than the current tech. They also aren't really one to bring out a new camera until it's really been tested--- How long was it from the D20 to the Alexa anyway?


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#14 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:02 AM

I'm a little confused by the ire around this. People banging on about needing the absolute latest in camera technology, but complaining that it doesn't allow older lens technology to keep up with it.

Cooke S7s
Leica Thalias
Arri Signatures
Zeiss CZ.2 Zooms
Angenieux Zooms
Hawk65 Anamorphics
Panavision Primo 70s
Panavision Sphero 65s
Panavision System 65s
Ultra Panavision 70 Anamorphics
Super Panavision 70s
P&S Technic 1.5x Anamorphic Zooms
Sigma Cine Primes
Tokina Vistas
Schneider Xenons
Canon CN-Es
Zeiss CP.3s
Celere HS
Rokinon Xeens

You could not (reasonably) argue that we're limited in high-quality lens choice for Vistavision-sized sensors these days. There are both pristine modern optics and coatings, and majorly funky vintage options available.

And if you absolutely, positively MUST have S35mm coverage with 30% more resolution than Arri's S35mm offerings can give you - there's Sony, Red, Panasonic and Canon to turn to (all of whom have excellent offerings available).

So surely we're spoilt for choice here... or is there something I'm missing here?

As for the depth of field argument, the difference between S35mm and Vistavision is one stop. When you take into account that the LF sensor literally HALVES the size of the noise in your image, pushing the ISO one stop to compensate is unlikely to cause any issues whatsoever. We'll have to test that obviously, but I have a strong suspicion that's going to prove a baseless argument against the new camera.

And as for sensor technology, I think people are forgetting that we work with images, not numbers.

To me, the most startling aspect of Steve Yedlin's recent tests comparing various film and digital formats, was that the Alexa65 actually outresolves 15-perf 65mm IMAX... that's enough negative to sharply cover a screen that completely fills our field of vision (IMAX), and 6k worth of Alexa pixels is enough to actually best it.

That's a big deal, and speaks to the significance of uncompressed image capture.

7 years after its release, there still isn't a better image available for cinematography than that put out by the Alexa's sensor. Its dynamic range and highlight rolloff STILL trumps everything else out there. I think we all get a little too caught up in the notion that everything has to keep changing with digital technology, but when you have a technology that delivers the images you need, for the available mediums that you have to display them, the need to keep pushing changes.

The reality is, that all technology has limits, and I suspect we're already pushing up against them with CMOS technology.

Arri will come out with a new sensor eventually, but it'll come when they can take a quantifiable step forward, not just to add 30% more resolution to existing sensor width because some people are caught up on numbers.
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#15 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:01 AM

I think alot of people would agree with you artistically Mark .. Im more surprised from a business angle if nothing else..Netflix and Amazon are becoming such huge players .. and I guess the rental fees for camera are also very lucrative ..when you have 7 or 8 seasons of the popular shows..  Arri maybe totally correct with their less is more.. but to just make a s35mm 4K camera was such an obvious  move. for Arri... post #12 really just lays it out plain and simple.. how the LF is really such an odd thing to put out..unless its is just a rather hurried answer to the Venice.. being announced just as the Venice is being put into delivery vans..


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#16 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:42 PM

I get why people are asking the question, and why they're guessing what they are as the answers. I just think everyone's getting it wrong because the answer is so much simpler than they're expecting.

Arri has a sensor that everybody loves, but not yet the means to upgrade it significantly enough for their tastes. They also have a huge swathe of customers who have very recently forked out a great deal of money on Minis and Amiras, and would understandably be pretty miffed with Arri if they suddenly obsoleted their shiny new cameras.

They know that by simply increasing the size of their lovely sensor, they get (arguably) the most impressive moving picture camera ever created (Alexa65), with a form-factor and practicality that stomps all over an IMAX camera.

They're also very aware that large format lenses have completely taken over the market, and lens manufacturers' focus, and that people want Vistavision sensors to put these things on.

So the LF gets them the following:
- A true 4K camera that their customers can purchase
- Doesn't piss off any of their existing customers
- Doesn't obsolete any of their existing cameras (though I doubt they'll sell another SXT)
- Leverages their existing technology, allowing for a superfast 12 month development, and presumably a comparatively cheap development cost.

So I just can't see a justifiable reason for anyone to complain. If you need 4K, and want to shoot on Arri cameras you can now, with a huge range of glass, and even your Ultra Primes will work just fine from 20mm onwards (which is ultra-wide anyway on a Vistavision sensor).

If using some specific S35mm glass is non-negotiable for you, and you also need 4K, then you'll have to look elsewhere for a camera. But you can't complain about a lack of lens choices for Vistavision, so I just don't see what the issue is for anyone.
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#17 Feli di Giorgio

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:22 PM

Arri will come out with a new sensor eventually, but it'll come when they can take a quantifiable step forward, not just to add 30% more resolution to existing sensor width because some people are caught up on numbers.

 

 

I think the vast majority of DoP are perfectly fine with the current resolution of the Alexa. If anything there are a lot of people out there  that feel that too much resolution is a bad thing. We shoot people, not test charts and most people don't look very good at 6k, when you can see every pimple and blemish on a 40ft wide screen. 

 

The problem are the beancounters, lawyers and 'spec sheet jockeys' at companies like Amazon, Netflix etc who are writing the checks that pay your mortgage and are demanding 4k. 

 

In all likelihood Netflix and Amazon are demanding 4k, because they don't want to get sued by someone, because they are advertising 4k streaming and the Alexa isn't true 4k. Oh, and by the way Netflix charges more for a 4k subscription, so you better believe they are going to cover their tail legally.

 

Obviously you can shoot on a Varicam, Sony or RED and satisfy their resolution obsession, but if you want to shoot on an Alexa things get more complicated, because your only options are going to be the LF (which didn't exists until a few days ago) and the very expensive Alexa 65.

 

It gets even more complicated if you want to own a 4k capable Alexa and in addition to the $90k for the LF have to pony up a considerable amount of money for a new set of glass.

 

 

PS: You can put me in the 'Better pixels, not more pixels' camp. I have an Alexa EV and am perfectly happy with it. But unfortunately I don't dictate what clients are demanding.


Edited by Feli di Giorgio, 14 February 2018 - 06:32 PM.

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#18 Feli di Giorgio

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:37 PM

So I just can't see a justifiable reason for anyone to complain. If you need 4K, and want to shoot on Arri cameras you can now, with a huge range of glass, and even your Ultra Primes will work just fine from 20mm onwards (which is ultra-wide anyway on a Vistavision sensor).
 

 

I'm pretty sure the Arri rep said that most s35 glass from 35mm up will cover the UHD window on the LF. If it was 20mm and longer almost nobody would be complaining, except that UHD still doesn't meet 4k DCI requirements.


Edited by Feli di Giorgio, 14 February 2018 - 06:38 PM.

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#19 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 08:06 PM

 

I'm pretty sure the Arri rep said that most s35 glass from 35mm up will cover the UHD window on the LF. If it was 20mm and longer almost nobody would be complaining, except that UHD still doesn't meet 4k DCI requirements.

 

It depends on the lens, Ultra Primes have a larger image circle than most, and will cover the 16:9 UHD frame from 20mm up (which in UHD would give the equivalent field of view of something like a 14mm lens in S35).  Leica Summicron-Cs also have large image circles and might cover from even wider, as would Cook S5s. Master Primes will cover from 35mm which gives the equivalent field of view of a 26mm lens in S35. So there are certainly options out there, not to mention all the full frame lenses.

 

As far as UHD being acceptable to a company like Netfilx, we'll have to see if they relax their "true 4K sensor" requirement to include UHD. They seem to use the terms almost interchangeably in their marketing. You would think Arri discussed it with them before releasing a camera with such specs, rather than making a slightly larger 16:9 window that was true 4K. 


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#20 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:50 PM

Well so far they don't except UHD at all..   Ive shot with my F5 at 17-9 for them a few times.. had I turned up with an Alexa all bells and whistles .. would have been sent home..   whether Arri have some inside line that 3840 is suddenly going to be ok .. who knows ..maybe..?


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