ARRI ALEXA Mini LF is shipping now. Guenter Noesner and Michael Best kindly hand-delivered one to FDTimes the other day for the first FDT hands-on and fashion shoot. Only a confirmed camera geek like me could call it a fashion shoot. It was really a day of product shots on a white milkglass sweep.
The report of the Mini LF in April 2019 (FDTimes Issue 93- 94) mostly showed renderings of the camera. And, although Johannes Polta is one of the best in the business at creating fabulous renders, there’s nothing like getting ones eager hands on the real camera itself.
The ALEXA Mini LF is thoughtfully designed and meticulously built. Usually the measure of a camera’s goodness is to count how many petty peeves you wrote down to send to the engineers. The fewer the better. This time, the page was blank.
Setting up Mini LF from bare carbon fiber camera body to fully fitted handheld mode and then to complete studio configuration takes mere minutes. It’s intuitive, logical, fun and brings out the erector set or Meccano mechanic of your youth. This is not a “minor assembly required” affair. It is not fussy. The beauty of the system is how you can add or remove elegantly crafted modules that enhance the experience of each shooting scenario. You customize your camera in ways that would bring tears of joy to the King of the Kustomizers, the California custom car character in Tom Wolfe’s Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. This concept drives directly to the core of what cinematographers crave, which is to have cameras and lenses that feel “bespoke,” tailored and unique to a personal style and technique.
So let’s take a quick tour of some of the Mini LF configurations. A more complete guide will follow in the months ahead after another visit to the ARRI factory in Munich.
ALEXA Mini LF Favorite Features
• Carbon fiber body and LPL lens mount weigh a mere 2.6 kg.
• New, small, affordable Codex Compact Drive 1TB media.
• Large Format ARRI ALEV III (A2X) CMOS sensor.
• Sensor size: 36.70 x 25.54 mm
• Adjustable EI 160-3200 in 1/3 stops; EI 800 base sensitivity
• LPL lens mount with LBUS connector; 44mm FFD.
• Recording media drive bay is on the camera left side.
• Motorized Large-Format FSND filter slider (Clear, ND 0.6, ND 1.2, ND 1.8)
• New connectors: 12V 2-pin; 24V RS 3-pin; SYNC IN
• New MVF-2 Viewfinder with large 4″ flip-out monitor displays the image or menu.
• New VF cable using easier, flexible CoaXPress (up to 10m/33ft).
• Viewfinder has a built-in eyepiece lens heater/defogger.
• Camera works with 12V and 24V batteries (11V to 34V)
• Power draw at 24 fps with viewfinder is similar to ALEXA Mini, which is about 65 W.
• 6 buttons on the camera left side.
• New 6-pin AUDIO connector (2 Ch LINE IN + 12V).
• Recessed Timecode connector.
• 2 built-in microphones.
• One LOCK button each for camera and viewfinder.
• Additional external WiFi antenna.
• ARRIRAW license included.