ARRI makes the best cameras. That’s not even hyperbole. ARRI’s cinema cameras have long been the choice of professional DPs who are working on award-winning films in nearly every category.
The ALEXA Mini is a testament to ARRI’s excellence as even now at 8 years old (and with a sensor that is even older) it remains one of the best cameras you can find and use today.
The original ALEXA Mini is still in high demand and the Mini LF is still a current offering so it isn’t unthinkable to try and pick one up for yourself. If you are on the hunt then filmmaker Josh Herum has some knowledge to share.
ALEXA Mini Primer
If you aren’t wholly familiar with the ALEXA Mini already here’s a quick primer. It was a relatively compact cinema camera featuring ARRI’s ALEV III sensor.
This was a well-loved Super 35mm sensor for its color and overall image quality – though it didn’t even shoot true 4K.
This camera continued to realize ARRI’s beautiful image quality. It was a bit more cinematic or organic feeling than many other digital camera offerings.
Now, considering the original ALEXA uses the same sensor and generally the same image quality for much less money why would you still consider picking up a Mini?
Josh decided on the Mini and its much higher cost due to its rentability and ease of use. The smaller form factor is in huge demand and makes life easier if you are an operator yourself.
Since renting was a key reason for Josh to choose the ALEXA Mini let’s talk about the rental market. In his market it was renting out for $1,000 days.
It may be very expensive up front at around $50,000, but with regular jobs and rentals you can make that money back.
When Josh was looking he found a specialty broker to help with the sale. This seems like a very safe way of doing things if you are looking outside of the usual sales channels or proper camera shops.
As for his cost in May 2021, well that was around $45,000 for the body. He tacked on a $2,000 warranty and added about another $5,000 in accessories.
You are going to need to rig it out a bit. Things like batteries, plates, grips, etc. will add to your cost.
Getting into the practical matters, Josh was able to make about $10,000 off the camera in the first year after the loan payments on the camera. This is a combination of rentals and personal jobs.
Going into the second year the rental market has dropped off a touch, which may be in part due to the release of the ALEXA 35.
The ALEXA Mini is still in demand and is a cheaper option than the newer ALEXA 35.
If you are looking at the ALEXA Mini for yourself then you’ll need to be careful about your market.
If you are looking at it as an option because you think you’ll be able to rent it out in your area and find projects to work on then it might work out for you.
Now, if you just want an ALEXA Mini cause you think it’ll start getting you more work then you should probably reconsider. Owning a particular camera doesn’t exactly just start getting you gigs.
These cameras are expensive and to cover them you will need to think about this from a business perspective.
[source: Josh Herum]
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