ALEXA Classic EV

  • Overview
  • Features
  • Technical Data

The Original

The first camera on the scene remains at the center of the family; it is the keystone of a modular and upgradeable system with exceptional image performance that is simple to operate, reliable in even the most extreme environments and versatile enough to cover a wide range of workflow and budget requirements. Whether your production is destined for the cinema or television, ALEXA will empower you to tell your story in exactly the way you think it should be told, with pictures of breathtaking richness and detail. The original ALEXA comes with a 16:9 sensor and the original SxS Module that accepts two SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ cards for recording in-camera ProRes or DNxHD. ARRIRAW recording is possible with an external recorder.

ALEXA Classic EV Features

BEST OVERALL IMAGE QUALITY
  • Film-like, organic look
  • High Dynamic Range
    • 14+ stops exposure latitude over the entire EI range as measured with the ARRI Dynamic Range Test Chart
    • future proof for High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays
    • 16 bit in-camera processing
    • gentle highlight roll-off
    • low noise floor
    • holds up extremely well when over or underexposed
  • Sharp, natural images in 16:9 for HD, 2K, 4K UHD or 4K Cine deliverables
  • High sensitivity
    • true base sensitivity of EI 800
    • adjustable from EI 160 to EI 3200
  • ARRI color science
    • natural color reproduction, especially for skin tones
    • excellent color separation
    • great at resolving mixed color temperature sources
EFFICIENT AND VERSATILE WORKFLOWS
  • Multiple recording and monitoring options
    • record/playback ARRIRAW, ProRes or DNxHD
    • great choice of 7 recording formats
    • ARRI Look Files (ALF-1) for custom looks
    • flexible on-set monitoring
    • embedded rich metadata in ARRIRAW, ProRes, DNxHD and HD-SDI out
  • ARRIRAW
    • uncompressed, unencrypted raw sensor data
    • maximum image quality from ALEXA
    • greatest flexibility in post
    • best option for future-proof archiving
    • published in SMPTE RDD 30 and 31
  • In-camera Apple ProRes
    • small files through compressed color image data
    • native Final Cut Pro X support
    • ProRes HD and 2K
    • ProRes 422, 422 HQ, 4444
    • pre-recording
  • DNxHD
    • small files through compressed color image data
    • native Avid Media Composer support
    • DNxHD 145, DNxHD 220x and DNxHD 444
    • MXF wrapped files (SMPTE standard compliant)
  • Flexible on-set monitoring
    • two independent monitoring outputs
    • streaming metadata in HD-SDI for immediate use
  • Stand-alone applications
    • ARRIRAW Converter (ARC)
    • ARRI Color Tool (ACT)
    • ARRI Meta Extract (AME)
  • Stand-alone online tools
    • ALEXA Camera Simulator
    • ARRI Lens Illumination Guide
    • ALEXA Frameline Composer
    • LUT Generator
  • Shared code with third parties
SIMPLE AND SAFE OPERATION
  • ARRI Product Quality
  • Rugged and reliable
    • sealed electronics compartment
    • unique cooling system
    • stable lens mount/sensor holder
    • continuous file closing protects footage
    • self-healing metadata
    • three auto-switching power inputs
  • Intuitive, easy to use controls
    • same interface on all ALEXA models
    • on-camera and EVF-1 controls
    • remote control through WCU-4, RCU-4 and Web Remote
  • High quality electronic viewfinder
  • Powerful assistive displays, including
    • surround view
    • false color exposure check
    • smooth mode for better motion portrayal
    • peaking focus check
    • compare stored image with live image
    • RETURN IN video
  • Well balanced, ergonomic body design
  • Global ARRI service network
OPEN, FUTURE-PROOF ARCHITECTURE
  • Compatibility with industry standards
    • Super 35 PL mount and Panavision mount lenses
    • Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD, HD-SDI, SxS PRO, SxS PRO+ cards
    • Gold mount or V-lock on-board batteries
    • 12 or 24 V power inputs and outputs
  • Shared code through ARRI Partner Program
    • ARRIRAW Software Developers Kit (SDK)
    • ARRI Metadata Bridge (AMB) library
    • White papers and information about ARRI color science
  • Flexible upgrade options
    • upgradable in-camera recording module
    • upgradable electronics interface module (Plus side panel)
    • Exchangeable Lens Mount (ELM)
    • free Software Update Packets (SUPs)
    • new features through purchase of license
  • Long and reliable product cycles

ALEXA Classic EV Features

Best Overall Image Quality
A great looking image consists of many parts: the absence of artifacts, high dynamic range, sharp and natural rendering, high sensitivity, low noise and natural color reproduction. All ALEXA cameras provide the best overall image quality with the least amount of fuss. To render images with a film-like, organic look, all components of the ALEXA imaging chain are proprietary high performance custom designs: the optical low pass filter, the CMOS sensor, the electronics hardware imaging engine and the image processing software for full 16 bit linear processing in-camera.

The ALEXA sensor provides high dynamic range images through an unequalled exposure latitude with special consideration given to highlight treatment. Creating a good looking roll-off in the highlights is probably one of the most difficult tasks for any sensor designer and we have spent enormous resources at insuring exceptional highlight handling. ALEXA's wide exposure latitude translates into a 'thick' digital negative; there is more detail information in the highlights and in the dark areas than any of the current display technologies can disclose. This means tremendous flexibility when color grading and makes ALEXA images future-proof for high dynamic range (HDR) display technologies.

Because of ALEXA's great overall image quality, its images can be easily up or down-sampled for spectacular HD, 2K or 4K deliverables. ALEXA's high sensitivity and its ability to retain definition even when extremely under or overexposed make it very easy to work with. ALEXA's unique color processing was developed by the same ARRI color scientists that have been working on the ARRILASER and ARRISCAN; thus they are intimately familiar with both film and digital color science. ALEXA renders natural colors, great looking skin tones and shows great color separation while also showing a fantastic ability to resolve mixed color temperature sources. Efficient and Versatile Workflows ALEXA represents the most efficient and versatile method to capture and then transport images, audio and metadata through the production process. This is achieved with a multitude of in-camera recording options, support for the native codecs of the most popular non-linear editors, complete rich metadata, integrated color management and a pre-recording option. So, disregarding if you want to shoot a low budget TV series or Martin Scorsese's next big Hollywood feature, you can configure an ALEXA for the task at hand. This is also great for rentals, who can use the same product for many different customer demands.

Simple and Safe Operation We know what it is like to try to change frame rate and shutter angle at 4:00 am in the morning in the rain after a long night shoot. We know that a camera needs to be very simple to operate, and everything about its design must ensure that you get a good image, no matter what. The ALEXA user interface has been specifically developed to be easy to learn and quick to operate. The same interface is used on all ALEXAs, so there is no learning curve when using another model ALEXA. The hardware of the camera is designed for the best and most ergonomic use on the set, including the built-in shoulder cut-out, large number of accessories like the Low Mode Support LMS-3, the Remote Control Unit RCU-4 or the Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4. Three auto-switching power inputs (one BAT cabled power in and two optional battery adapters, one on top and one at the back) allow hot-swapping of one battery and will intelligently manage the power from those batteries. But it is also down to little details like differently shaped extrusions (eyebrows) above some buttons so the operator can feel the button’s position even from the other side of the camera or when shooting in low light.

ALEXA cameras are part of a long heritage of cameras from ARRI, and we are very familiar with the sometimes horrid conditions our cameras have to endure in the field. So ALEXAs are built rugged and reliable with a sealed electronics compartment, a unique cooling system and the most stable lens/sensor mount that German engineering could devise. The camera's electronics are housed in a sealed compartment in the center of the body. The heat generated by the sensor and the electronics is transported via heat pipes to a radiator located in a ventilation shaft at the back of the camera. A single, slow running silent fan cools the radiator. If need be, the fan can be easily exchanged. This system ensures effective, active cooling of the sensor and processing boards even in the hottest climates. At the same time it protects the electronics, thereby rendering the camera splash and dust proof.

To further improve the legendary stability of the ARRI lens mount, ALEXA is equipped with a novel lens and sensor mount design. The stainless steel lens mount is attached to a stainless steel distance barrel, which itself is attached to the sensor mount that holds the sensor board. The whole unit is then attached to the camera body. By creating a fixed link between lens and sensor (all the orange parts in the second drawing), a super stable flange focal depth is ensured - even if strong mechanical influences are applied to the lens mount, such as when a heavy zoom lens is not properly supported. Using stainless steel ensures minimum material expansion or contraction during temperature changes.

In order to protect against the vagaries of production, ALEXA will continuously close the file it is recording. In case of a power failure, your data is protected and the media will contain a readable, uncorrupted file. In addition, if any metadata should get damaged, on the next reboot ALEXA will look at the actually recorded frames and reconstruct the metadata accordingly so you can continue to record on that media; we call that 'self-healing metadata'. Open, future-proof architecture The ALEXA system is based on an open architecture, with many industry-standard interfaces and compatibility with third party products. This provides more choice to the filmmaker and ensures that best-of-class components can be used. To protect customers’ investment in ALEXA, a plethora of affordable hardware and software upgrades have been promised and delivered, continually expanding the feature set. Four major components have been specifically designed to facilitate an easy upgrade path and to add new features.

  • First, taking into account the rapid rate of change in storage technologies, the in-camera recording module on the left side of the camera is removable, featuring an SxS Module for ALEXA Classic cameras (which can be upgraded to an XR Module).
  • Second, the Electronics Interface Module on the right side can be replaced with an upgrade such as the Plus Panel, for wireless camera and lens remote control.
  • Third, the Exchangeable Lens Mount (ELM) allows the use of PL, LDS PL or Panavision lenses, further extending creative options.
  • And finally, ALEXA’s processors are based on FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays), a technology that permits the camera's feature set to be completely re-programmed. This has allowed the continuous development of many exciting new features through free-of-charge Software Upgrade Packets (SUPs) and paid-for licenses.

This great compatibility coupled with ALEXA's hardware and software modularity allowed us to keep ALEXA cameras relevant, which translates into a long and reliable product cycle and is part of ARRI's promise to protect customer's investment.

ALEXA Electronic Viewfinder EVF-1 This viewfinder was specifically designed to meet the needs of professional camera operators by offering an extremely low latency image display, high image quality, accurate color reproduction and a number of features inherited from our optical viewfinders, including a peripheral viewing area we call 'Surround View'. It is critical to the camera operator that the action in the viewfinder can be seen at almost at the same time as the action in front of the camera. The extremely fast image display of the EVF-1 has been made possible through the creation of a proprietary high speed connection between the viewfinder and the camera, as well as a shared image processing architecture that maximizes the processing power of both camera and viewfinder. The ALEXA EVF-1 is unique and uniquely suited for work on the set with its image delay of under one frame.

A stable, accurate and high quality image is important for the camera operator. The EVF-1 image exhibits high resolution, high contrast, low distortion and an evenly illuminated viewing area. All this has been made possible through a state-of-the-art F-LCOS (Ferroelectric Liquid Crystal On Silicon) micro display with 1280 x 768 pixel resolution, a high screen refresh rate and an ARRI optical design that employs the highest quality coated glass elements. Reliable contrast and color reproduction at all temperatures are assured through careful thermal stabilization of both the F-LCOS display and the ARRI custom LED light engine.

The EVF-1 has not only been developed to provide the best possible image, but is also specifically designed to fit the ergonomic needs of the operator. Even when using a matte box on a short prime lens, the compact dimensions of the finder guarantee that the eyepiece can be adjusted to a comfortable position for shoulder operation. The small, self-contained unit is easily mounted in different positions: on the left side for handheld, on the right side when the set is tight or further back through a telescoping extension for use with a geared head. Straightforward operation is assured through a plethora of assistive displays in the viewfinder (and on the MON OUT as well), including: preset and custom frame lines, user rectangles, surround view, camera status, false color exposure check, peaking focus check, compare stored image with live image, RETURN IN video and an optional anamorphic de-squeeze (license key required). A number of ergonomically placed buttons allow convenient access to frequently used functions such as zoom and false color exposure check. The viewfinder’s settings, as well as the basic camera settings, can be changed by the operator directly on the EVF-1. Showing their heritage, ALEXA and the EVF-1 have been designed to provide some features that previously have only been available through optical viewfinders. Most important for the operator is the fact that the camera's sensor is slightly oversized to provide an extra area around the primary image in the viewfinder (Surround View). This allows lighting stands, microphones, etc. to be spotted before ruining the shot. Additionally, the size of the image in the EVF-1 has been chosen to equal that of the image in the optical viewfinders of ARRI's film cameras.

ALEXA Classic EV Technical Data

Camera Type
35 format film-style digital camera with an electronic viewfinder, a 16:9 active sensor area, integrated shoulder arch and receptacles for 15 mm lightweight rods
Sensor
35 format ALEV III CMOS sensor with Bayer pattern color filter array.
Photosites
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Operating Modes
Regular or High Speed mode. High Speed mode requires license purchase. Switching takes approx. 20 seconds.
Frame Rates
16:9 0.75 - 60 fps All speeds adjustable with 1/1000 fps precision. To record above 60 fps, the camera needs to be switched to high speed mode. Some limitations based on recording media or recording format apply. Note: some limitations based on recording media or recording file settings apply.
For a detailed table of frame rates for ALEXA cameras click here
For a detailed table of frame rates for ALEXA cameras with the XR Module Upgrade click here
Shutter
Electronic rolling shutter, 5.0º - 358.0º up to 60 fps; 5.0° to 356° above 60 fps. Shutter angle adjustable with 1/10 degree precision.
Filters
Permanent filters in front of the sensor: optical low pass, UV, IR. The lens mount can be upgraded to accept ARRI Full Spectrum Neutral Density (FSND) filters.
Exposure Latitude
14+ stops for all sensitivity settings from EI 160 to EI 3200, as measured with the ARRI Dynamic Range Test Chart (DRTC). For a graphic of how the exposure latitude shifts at different EIs, click here
Exposure Index
Values behind the exposure index are the number of stops above and below 18% grey.
White Balance
Presets for 3200 (tungsten), 4300 (fluorescent), 5600 (daylight) and 7000 (daylight cool). Automatic calculation or manual white balance for 2000 to 11000 Kelvin, adjustable in 100 K steps
Color Correction
While white balance changes the red/blue hue of the image, color correction changes green/magenta. Adjustable range from -12 to +12 CC. 1 CC corresponds to 035 Kodak CC values or 1/8 Rosco values.
Sound Level
Under 20 db(A) while recording ProRes 4444 16:9 HD @ 24 fps and ≤ +30° Celsius (≤ +86° Fahrenheit) with lens attached and fan mode set to 'Regular', measured 1 m/3 feet in front of the lens. Silent operation at higher temperatures possible with fan mode set to 'Rec low'.
Power In
Three possible inputs: BAT connector, optional battery adapter back or optional battery adapter top. All inputs accept 10.5 to 34 V DC. Approx. 85 W power draw for camera and EVF-1 in typical use recording ProRes at 24 fps to an SxS PRO card at room temperature, without accessories. Initial power draw during power up is higher.
Power Out
12 V connector: limited to 12 V, up to 2.2 A. RS, EXT and ETHERNET: input below 24 V is regulated up to 24 V; above 24 V: input voltage = output voltage. RS and EXT connectors combined are limited to 2.2 A. ETHERNET is limited to 1.2 A. Maximum power draw is also limited by the power source.
Weight
ALEXA body with PL mount: 6.3 Kg/13.9 lbs. ALEXA body with PL mount, electronic viewfinder, viewfinder cable and handle: 7.7 Kg/16.9 lbs.
Dimensions
ALEXA Classic EV body with PL mount: Length: 332 mm/12.95”, width: 153 mm/6.02”, height: 158 mm/6.22” ; Dimensional drawings available at www.arri.com/alexa/downloads
Environmental
-20° C to +45° C (-4° F to +113° F) @ 95% humidity max, non-condensing. Splash and dust proof through sealed electronics. System cooling through radiator/single fan.
Lens Mount
54 mm stainless steel PL mount, Super 35 centered. 52.00 mm nominal flange focal depth.
Viewfinder
Low latency (≤1 frame delay) electronic color viewfinder ARRI EVF-1 with 1280 x 784 F-LCOS micro display (image: 1280 x 720, status bars: 1280 x 32 above and 1280 x 32 below image) and ARRI LED illumination, both temperature controlled. Image can be flipped for use of viewfinder on camera left or right. Viewfinder Mounting Bracket allows movement of viewfinder forward/backwards, left/right, up/down, 360 degree rotation and placement on camera left or right. EVF-1 controls: viewfinder and basic camera settings, ZOOM button (2.25x magnification 'pixel to pixel'), EXP button (false color exposure check) and jog wheel.
Assistive Displays
For EVF-1 and MON OUT: preset and custom frame lines, user rectangles, surround view, 180º image rotation, camera status, false color exposure check, peaking focus check, compare stored image with live image, RETURN IN video and optional anamorphic de-squeeze (license key required). For MON OUT additionally: Reel & clip number. For a graphic of which false color indicates which exposure level, click here
Control
Camera right: Main user interface with a 3” transflective 400 x 240 pixel LCD color screen, illuminated buttons, button lock and jog wheel. Camera left: Operator interface with illuminated buttons and button lock. Camera acts as a web server, displaying the ALEXA Web Remote on web browsers of computers connected to ETHERNET connector. Optional accessory Remote Control Unit RCU-4 for cabled remote control via camera ETHERNET connector. Optional accessory Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 for wireless remote control (UMC-3A or UMC-4 required).
In-camera Recording
QuickTime/ProRes or MXF/DNxHD recording onto one or two (Dual Recording) SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ cards. All formats include embedded audio, timecode and metadata. For more details, click here
Supported Media
SxS PRO 64 GB (SBP-64A) SxS PRO+ 64 GB (SBP-64B & SBP-64C) SxS PRO+ 128 GB (SBP-128B & SBP-128C)
Recording Outputs
2x 1.5G or 3G REC OUT BNC connectors for ARRIRAW T-Link or HD-SDI video. Both with embedded audio, timecode, metadata and recording flag. ARRIRAW: 2880 x 1620 (16:9), uncompressed, unencrypted 12 bit log without white balance or exposure index processing applied. Requires an ARRIRAW T-Link certified recorder. HD-SDI video: uncompressed 1920 x 1080 (16:9) 4:4:4 RGB or 4:2:2 YCbCr at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, or 60 fps. Recording other speeds requires a recorder with Variflag support. Legal or extended range signal mapping. For a detailed table of REC OUT options click here For a detailed table of 'REC OUT = Clean MON OUT' behavior click here
Monitor Output
1x MON OUT BNC connector for uncompressed 1.5 G HD-SDI video: 1920 x 1080 (16:9), 4:2:2 YCbCr; legal range HD video at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, or 30 fps. Embedded audio, time code, metadata and recording flag.
Image Processing
16 bit linear internal image processing in full ALEXA Wide Gamut/Log C color space. Target output color spaces for ProRes, DNxHD, REC OUT and MON OUT: Log C or Rec 709. For Rec 709, a customized look can be applied during record and playback with ARRI Look Files. Optional horizontal image mirroring.
Synchronization
Master/Slave mode for precision sync of settings, sensor, processing, HD-SDI outputs and in-camera QuickTime/ProRes or MXF/DNxHD recording for 3D applications. PHASE user button for shifting camera phase to move phase artifacts out of frame, i.e. when shooting a CRT monitor or rear screen projector (works in Rec Run TC mode).
Playback
Playback of ProRes or DNxHD from SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ cards visible on EVF-1, MON OUT and REC OUT. Playback audio available over headphone jack and embedded in the MON OUT and REC OUT signal.
Audio
1x XLR 5 pin AUDIO IN for 2 channel, line level, balanced audio. 24 bit/48 kHz A/D conversion. Uncompressed PCM audio recording to ARRIRAW, ProRes, DNxHD and embedded in all HD-SDI outputs. Only available with same project/sensor speed at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps. Max of 2.5 dBm output from AUDIO OUT headphones connector.
Connectors
2x slots for SxS PRO cards (SxS) 2x BNC recording out HD-SDI, 1.5G/3G (REC OUT 1 and REC OUT 2) 1x BNC monitoring out HD-SDI, 1.5G (MON OUT) 1x XLR 5-pin analog audio in (AUDIO IN) 1x BNC return video in HD-SDI, 1.5G (RET/SYNC IN) 1x LEMO 16-pin external accessory interface (EXT) 1x Fischer 2-pin 24 V power in (BAT) 2x Fischer 3-pin 24 V remote start and accessory power out (RS) 1x LEMO 2-pin 12 V accessory power out (12 V) 1x LEMO 5-pin timecode in/out (TC) 1x TRS 3.5 mm headphone mini stereo jack (AUDIO OUT) 1x custom LEMO 16-pin electronic viewfinder (EVF) 1x custom LEMO 10-pin Ethernet with 24 V power (ETHERNET) BNC connectors designed for fast exchange without camera disassembly have been used for ALEXA since approximately mid 2012. These connectors require a special tool (ALEXA Plus BNC Removal Tool, K5.72915.0).
Audio
1x XLR 5 pin AUDIO IN for 2 channel, line level, balanced audio. 24 bit/48 kHz A/D conversion. Uncompressed PCM audio recording to ARRIRAW, ProRes, DNxHD and embedded in all HD-SDI outputs. Only available with same project/sensor speed at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps. Max of 2.5 dBm output from AUDIO OUT headphones connector.
SD Card
For importing and storing ARRI Look Files, camera set up files, frame line files, feature license keys and user pixel masks. Stores frame grabs from the REC OUT image path in ARRIRAW (.ari, 12 bit), TIFF (.tif, 16 bit), DPX (.dpx, 10 bit) or JPEG (.jpg, 8 bit) format (1). Stores log files. Also used for installing Software Update Packets (SUPs).
Upgrades
The Storage Interface Module (SxS Module) can be exchanged for future storage modules (i.e. XR Module). The Electronics Interface Module can be exchanged for future control electronics (i.e. Plus upgrade). An easily exchangeable lens mount allows other lenses beyond PL mount lenses to be used. The lens mount can be upgraded to accept ARRI Full Spectrum Neutral Density (FSND) filters. Simple camera software updates via free-of-charge Software Update Packets (SUPs) and payable license keys – Anamorphic De-squeeze, High Speed and DNxHD.
(1) When REC OUT is set to 'ARRIRAW', frame grabs are only possible in the .ari format. Frame grabs are not possible during High Speed, 16:9 2K or when the option 'REC OUT = MON OUT Clone' is chosen.

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