It reminds me of the ARRI 16SR — the camera that launched a thousand careers, including mine. The 16SR was designed by Erich Kaestner as a documentary and news 16mm film camera so lightweight and portable that it could fit into an attaché case (that came with the camera–optional extra in those pre-Petrol-Kata-Tenba-Lowepro days) and fit under an airline seat and could travel anywhere. It quickly caught on, for much more than  docs and news, and became one of ARRI’s best selling cameras of all time.

The new ARRI Amira reminds me of the 16SR for the Alexa age. More info on ARRI’s website. Fits comfortably on shoulder, very versatile, comfortable. Lightweight. One of the only digital cameras that doesn’t require a cage, rig or a multitude of mods.


  • 2K to 200 fps.
  •  same sensor as the ARRI ALEXA,
  • records  HD 1080 or 2K onto CFast 2.0 CF cards
  • Rec 709 or Log C ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ or 444

Amira was announced on opening day of IBC, and the crowds in the ARRI indicate a hit of the show. Planned to be available early 2014.

Leave a Comment

19 Responses:

  1. well, the Arri SR lasted much longer than only 2-3 years…

  2. George Leon says:

    The 16SR was the first coaxial magazine camera I shot with since circa 1978, then after I traveled with it shooting and,loading the magazines it in the most primitive places…(and I still own an dog eared copy the SR16 Book by Jon Fauer),,, I am very glad Arri launched this “digital version” making the AMIRA truly the first digital cinematography camera ready out the bag for documentaries and other more “sophisticated” ENG jobs…

  3. Do you have any knowledge of how much will it cost, aprox.?

  4. Andrew says:

    I’m not quite understanding what/who is the target audience for this camera. Its not 4k, its not modular, as in the Sony F5/55, and its likely going to be slightly cheaper than the Alexa whilst bringing much the same in image quality… It doesn’t “appear” that much smaller, it doesn’t bring any wonderful new technologies – the electronic “dial-in” ND filters have been around forever on ENG/EFP cameras. And the resolution at HD/2k is fairly “old-school” these days. All the other “players” seem to be focussing on bringing at least 4k chips to the stage and yet Arri releases a “new” HD/2k camera… am I missing something here? Who are they trying to sell this camera to? At a “first glance” view of the available specs, it would appear that at around the US$20k mark, the F5 is considerably more advanced in design, being modular, and in image quality/resolution etc. And I’m not suggesting that an overall pixel count is the “be & end all” argument, but if one compares all aspects of the F5 vs the Amira, well, its not really fair is it? Surely theres something else to this product that I may well be missing… is there? Somebody…?

  5. Mark de Blok says:

    I used to work with an sr 1/2/3
    We need a s16 sensor, not a s35.
    S16 will give you the right lenses for documentary, the range of s35 lenses is to limited
    A one man band can handle a canon 7/63 or 11.5/165, zeiss 11/110.
    The Alexa sensor is 800 Asa, with today sensors a good documentary camera should at least handle 2500 Asa.
    Brings me to the sony f55, this one will have a s16 window on a 4k sensor.

  6. Lenny says:

    The folks comparing this camera to the F5/F55 are clearly not news folks. Us news folks instantly recognized the value of this camera. First of all, 4k? Who cares. Has 2k slowed down the Alexa in any way? And that’s a movie camera, this camera is for TV. Did you know ABC’s HD is only 720? And that’s when they go HD? Television is like a giant cruise ship, it takes it a long time to change direction. We are still shooting 4/3 safe even when we shoot HD. Relax, 4k is not anywhere near our horizon yet.

    ERGONOMICS is the thing WE look for. And an S16 imager? We already have that, it’s called 2/3″. We have been looking for a S35 imager for our sit down interviews for a long time. We also like to direct the viewers eyes to what we want them to see, not just you film guys. We just didn’t have a camera that could do it. The only people that want more depth of field are the shooters that can’t focus well.

    Sure, it will take two lenses to cover the range than just one lens used to cover, but with Fujinon’s new compact zooms, that doesn’t look so bad any more.

    This camera is for me, and many others like me. From where I am standing, this is the Holy Grail of cameras. (and I currently own or have owned an F65, Alexa, F55, F3, C300, F800, Varicam, HDX900 etc.etc.)

    • Renato Moore says:

      Well said!!!

    • Mark says:

      Lenny, you say ‘us news folks’. I used to work in news (BBC, I quit when they when they went OMB..but that’s another story ). Two (heavy) Cabrio servo zooms will cost you another $80,000!! This camera will find zero market in news and C300 doc shoots. Unless Canon come up with a new range of EF servo zooms, this camera is way too expensive for mid-range docs. That leaves top-end productions: drama, commercials, expensive docs. Unless they want to shoot at 2K, this market is also a non-starter. It’s the holy grail of cameras if and when 35mm lens’ prices, weight and range can compete with 2/3″ B4 mount. But that is a huge IF.

  7. Jim Denault, ASC says:

    I agree with Mark de Blok. And, while the Cabrio is an interesting lens for this camera, 19-90mm is really not a big enough zoom ratio (less that 5:1). What we really need to fill the role of the SR is a 2K camera with a Super-16 sized sensor. With that we can shoot handheld with large ratio zooms like the Canon 11.5-138mm or 11-165mm which are smaller and faster. However, I would definitely be interested in one with Alexa color science behind it, which records to a common intermediate codec like ProRes or DNxHD. That would be a big selling point. I miss Super-16 and it is a shame that there really has not been a viable digital replacement made, yet. It seems the doc field has been abandoned to 3-chip cameras.

  8. Jon Fauer says:

    Interesting comments. You can use your S16 (and B4) lenses with adapters / optical extenders to fill S35 frame. ARRI might consider offering these for Amira. IB/E Optics already has these.

    • Marty Oppenheimer says:

      I see from one of the postings that the Amira will be available in PL, EF or B4 interchangeable mounts. But what is Arri planning for the B4 mount? What happens if you mount an ENG zoom lens to the B4 mount? Is the sensor capable of rescaling so that it can operate as a 2/3″ sensor?

    • Jon Fauer says:

      B4 image will be “blown up” to fill the S35 frame (2.6x extender approx), 2.6 stops of light loss.

    • Mark de Blok says:

      I’m afraid the B4 adapter will cost you at least 2.0 stop; alexa sensor is 800 Asa, leaving you with 200 Asa. No documentary camera at this speed.
      Brings me back to S16, light weight T 2.5 zoom lens.
      The red one windowed to S 16, I used S 16 lenses in 3K with a crop to 2.4 K
      Only camera offering us S 16 in the near future is the Sony F55 with the expected firmware in December.

      Arri would make a real sr 516 by having a s16 sensor 2500 Asa, let’s shoot a documentary !!

  9. Mason says:

    As somebody looking into buying the Sony F5 as a rental very recently, this camera now changes my mind. The way this camera is being sold, as a documentary camera, and all round ENG camera, why would most people care about 4K? Do any of you have a 4K TV? How many watch 4K documentaries in the theater, or even online? The bottom comment on ABC being only 720p is very telling. The local market I’m in only asks for 720p, except one station, which will ask for 1080p every once and a while, and I’m dead certain that is for them to have something for archive. The Amira seems to fulfill what everyone wants, an affordable camera for ENG that has the quality of the Alexa, the depth of field, the DR, but not the post production hell that RAW and higher resolutions bring. Every commercial I’ve been on to shoot, we use these awful rigs for the cameras that slow down the shoot. This only needs a battery, some front rails, and a tripod mount. No more having media recorders, monitors on the camera, wires getting in the way of everything, just a nice and tidy camera that can bring speed to a market that is tired of wasting time and energy on the accessories that come with REDs, Canons, Sonys, you name it. This seems like a good investment for the next 5 years. Until the whole world has 4K in the home at the prices of TVs today, I’ll stick with HD and 2K.

    • max says:

      I think that Amira is a great camera but I hear some of you missing the S16 .
      For that there is the digital mag from Easylook system.
      A true digital mag for arri sr 2 -3 in a 2k resolution with 12 bit raw.
      They are also planning to do an high speed digital magazine till 340 fps.
      I have an arri sr2 Hs and I think that i’ll get this mag to give a new life to my Sr.

    • Jon Fauer says:

      Please tell us more about this…

    • max says:

      You can find more on their site:
      On the web site there is the vimeo link where you v
      can find some footage shot with the divi mag.
      There is more info also on their Facebook page.
      Basically they put into an existing 16 sr mag a 2/3 chip 2k .
      They are selling now the standard version that go till 60 fps.
      The cost of this version is around 10k.
      Soon it will be ready the high speed version that will run till 340 fps.
      This is a great idea because there are a lot of arri sr around the globe sitting now in cases.

Tags: ,