For those filmmakers fortunate enough to shoot on ARRI day in and day out, they know what makes this the ultimate camera and sensor. Let me try and put into words just what it is like operating this camera, editing the footage and grading the final image.
When we got our hands on our Amira, I wasn’t really sure what to think. I read countless reviews and watched dozens of shorts, music videos and commercial films shot on this camera. Ultimately, it is the cameras unique combination of features, its ergonomics and usability and of course its unbelievably film-like sensor that combine to make this one of the best cameras money can buy.
- ALEV III sensor
- This is THE sensor used on pretty much every Oscar-nominated film over the past ten years, as well as countless Emmy award-winning TV series. Need I say more? If you can’t shoot good images with this camera, you should probably rethink your career choice.
- As ARRI states, this camera was built for single-operator use, so it is equally at home on the shoulder or on sticks. This is a huge factor when considering this camera. It was built to be ENG style with a fantastic EVF, so it actually makes you want to pop it off the tripod and get ‘handheld’ – with no extra rigging required. It’s perfectly balanced on the shoulder, with all menu options available right next to the operator for total simplicity and efficiency.
- This camera is dead-simple to operate. Compared to competitors like Sony, Canon and RED, the menus on the Amira are intuitive and easy to navigate. It also has a fantastic button layout on the operator side, allowing the DP to switch between framerates, white balance, EI and more in seconds, instead of wasting time trying to find the setting in the menu. Seriously, no camera is easier to use than the Amira.
- Our Amira has all available licenses including 4K, looks library and ARRIRAW. Yes, you can shoot RAW with this camera, giving you the ultimate in post-flexibility and making this camera very near in capabilities to the Alexa Mini (sorry, you can’t shoot 2x anamorphic… yet). A super underrated feature that we have put to use on many shoots it the looks library. With the companion app installed on your iPhone, you can preview Arri looks, and apply them to your footage as LUTs in the Amira. These looks were developed in-house by Arri, so if you’re on a tight timeline, or just want a solid baseline of a grade to shoot to, this feature is very nice to have, and we have used it much more than we thought we would.
I really could go on all day about this camera, but ultimately you’ll have to try it out and see for yourself what makes it the best documentary/run and gun camera that money can buy. Slap a set of fast cine primes on the Amira and you now have a Hollywood-level A-camera for narrative content as well. There really are no limits to what this camera can do.
I know what you’re thinking: it doesn’t do TRUE 4K. Yes, this is correct, it upscales from 3.2K in-camera to cheat a true UHD image. My answer to this is so what? The UHD image from this camera is indistinguishable from the ‘true’ 4K from our C500 (yes I have pixel-peeped). So Netflix won’t commission shows shot on the ALEV III sensor? Their loss, as this sensor has proven time and time again that it is THE choice for 90% of Hollywood DPs. Case closed.