The RED Monstro VV vs. Arri Alexa Mini LF

Oct 2, 2014 7:38:00 PM

Ambient Skies Productions Blog

Posted by Trenton Massey

 

There's always been a lot of debate across the internet among cinematographers and enthusiasts regarding RED Vs. Arri and which brand is superior. RED DSMC2 Monstro VV and the Arri Alexa Mini LF are headed toward the same debate because they are both large format cameras, but both come with setbacks where lenses are concerned. What everyone seems to agree on is that it all comes down to price and preference and that all cameras have their place for any particular situation or style.

 

                 monstro_sensor_front_1              ARRI_ALEXA_mini_LF_withlens-640x379

RED vs Arri? 

What's the difference and which is better for which budget and production?

When it comes to the higher end camera's such as the Monstro VV and the Alexa Mini LF, if you're looking the get the most out of a large format sensor that covers true full frame 35mm (36x24), then the Alexa Mini LF is going to be your obvious choice as the Monstro sensor size is 40.96x21.6 and is not the classic size we're used to. If you're a DP who loves his preferred lenses tho, especially his Super 35mm collection, then you're going to be running into a lot of vignetting problems with the Alexa Mini LF. Not all lenses fall victim to this, a good majority of PL lenses have been made with full frame in mind. Not too mention a new selection a large format lenses built specifically for the Alexa 65 are available. Thankfully, Arri isn't the only camera system that gets access to these wonderful lenses. Wooden camera just built an LPL adapter for the RED so they don't feel left out of the party. So the point of this tangent is that budget will become a determining factor for sure. With all of it's setbacks with older lenses, you'd be forced to acquire newer (more expensive) lenses with the Alexa mini LF. Not to mention that the packages go out for a little more because you have to purchase accessories (that are more expensive) and more licenses to achieve full control over menu options. The RED Monstro VV is going to give you amazing quality imagery that is equal to the Alexa Mini LF with it's 17+ stops of dynamic range and almost equally large sensor size (35.4 megapixels), for a lower rate.

 

I've witnessed both cameras shot to the length of their ability and love them both. I would have to say that in the past, the Arri Alexa looked closer to what can be achieved on film than the classic RED models did. Although, the RED cameras have come a long way since the release of their first camera the RED one and it's original sensor. I wasn't too impressed with the look of that original camera, but since then they have updated their sensors and firmware tremendously and are now on par with Arri's image science. The highlight roll-off issues get better with every new series as does the issues with shadow detail and noise.

 When I say it mostly comes down to the DP's preference, I'm talking about factors as small as the menu display and positioning or weight of the camera, to larger factors such as the sensors size/science. Other things may play a part in a DP's preference, like the amount of camera's needed for each set-up on production. I think the obvious choice is the RED Monstro VV if you're trying to keep costs down an maximize your coverage. But if price is not an issue, why not get the best of the best.

 When it comes to 8K vs. 4.5K, this really doesn't play a part in determining which camera is superior. Not knowing anything, you'd assume 8K is better -- not the case. Arri's color science is completely different and uses a different approach when designing their photosite technology.  When it comes down to it, the amount of K's isn't a huge deciding factor when choosing the right camera. 

 

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Topics: Video Production Equipment, Camera crew, Camera Packages