RED vs ARRI, a tale as old as… well, a tale as old as RED has been a company. It did very quickly become a common question in the industry as RED stepped in specifically to take on the established players.
Today, there’s less of a question on if RED can compete and more of a question of what qualities does RED have and how does that compare to ARRI.
To answer some of those questions we fortunately have people like filmmaker Blaine Westropp who are willing to put in the work to create side-by-side comparisons. On the testing block today are the RED KOMODO and ARRI ALEXA Mini LF.
There are a few testing environments that will be tried out. One is a controlled studio environment where they will look at where they clip and how the colors differ.
There will also be a shot of Blaine to serve as a human subject, a shot of the city, and a shot of the sun to push the cameras around.
The “studio” shot is well-controlled and has a couple different colored objects as well as a light directly in the frame.
At the same exposure settings on both cameras, he shot the scene and then closed down the aperture on the lens to find the point at which the light stops clipping.
The KOMODO appears to stop clipping when the lens gets stopped down to T16 while the ALEXA seemingly does better by stopping at a T8-11 split. That isn’t the whole story though as it appears the KOMODO warns you about clipping even when the data is recovered.
Looking at the footage tells yet another story. The footage from the ALEXA just is brighter than the KOMODO at the same settings. The ALEXA is about 1-2/3 stops brighter than the KOMODO.
There is also a comparison of the field of view differences since the ALEXA uses a large-format sensor while the KOMODO uses Super35.
Both cameras handle ISO changes the same way with the dynamic range midpoint moving based on what you set the camera to in relation to the native ISO.
Looking at a shot of Blaine with a basic color space transform and a slight grade to get them to match we can check out differences in rendering. It is the same deal with the cityscape and shot of the sun.
Checking out the clips you can definitely see some slight differences but both cameras look very good. I would give the ARRI an edge in the shots with heavy shadow as I think it handles the dark areas a touch better. And, it seems to hold detail in the highlights better.
In Blaine’s take there isn’t much difference between the two cameras if you just want to make sure you have high-quality footage. The main difference is in operation and usability.
The ARRI generally will need a crew to make it effective and efficient on set, though if you have the time you will get an amazing product. The RED, on the other hand, is a much better option for run-and-gun filmmaking or just solo operators as it is smaller and easier to use.
What did you think about the comparison?
[source: Blaine Westropp]
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate partner and participant in B&H and Adorama Affiliate programmes, we earn a small comission from each purchase made through the affiliate links listed above at no additional cost to you.
Claim your copy of DAVINCI RESOLVE - SIMPLIFIED COURSE with 50% off! Get Instant Access!