In a series that will never end, we now have a side-by-side comparison between the Canon EOS C70 and the ARRI ALEXA Mini LF. Or, to put it another way, we have $6,000 up against $75,000. Both are incredible cinema cameras, though they have very different operating procedures and vastly different audiences.
I must admit, though, that checking out this seemingly ridiculous comparison is a lot of fun. This one was handled by DP Griffin Conway, who has a good track record of performing cameras tests on his channel. Hit play if you want to see affordable versus the industry standard.
Image quality is the first test and this is a simple setup with a person to judge skin tones and a basic background. You’ll immediately see there is a huge difference with how the cameras choose to handle color in the scene. There were also some over and underexposure shots thrown in for good measure.
You can certainly tell the difference if you are at all familiar with the types of footage they produce. The Canon has a strong magenta tint while ARRI leaned green. There is a little bit of preference in there as to what looks better, but the ARRI footage tends to be what everyone prefers when you start working with it. It also feels a bit more natural.
Now, as for operation, the C70 is clearly better suited for run-and-gun productions. It’s smaller and designed to be operated with minimal accessories. It also has options for shooting 4K up to 120 fps using the full Super 35mm sensor. The ARRI is a fair bit heavier, but produces an incredible image.
The large-format sensor has a much different look, though it is more limited with cropping required to get to 4K 60 fps and no option for 4K at 120 fps.
One of Griffin’s favorite things about the ARRI is that the menu system is incredibly sensible. It also has options to record in ProRes, which is incredibly friendly for editing. A taller sensor and open gate recording even make life easier if you are trying to do some recording for vertical aspect ratios.
Another thing is that ARRI cameras just look more professional. It shouldn’t matter all that much, but for clients and outside observers, it makes an impact when you show up on set with a serious rig.
Even though we now have a ton of amazing and relatively affordable options for cinema cameras – many of which can compete with ARRI – it should be said that there is a reason that ARRI cameras are still as expensive as they are and totally worth it. That difference becomes more important when you go to theater instead of just YouTube, too.
What do you think about these two cameras?
[source: Griffin Conway]
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