Making generous use carbon fiber throughout the 4K cube that will be released as the Arri Alexa Mini, Arri's newest camera takes a direct stab at RED's Dragon, as both feature incredibly similar specifications — even their 2.3 kilogram weight. Of course, Arri isn't new to the game; they know enough to bring some game with the Mini.
The Alexa Mini does something that solves the problems of many things RED owners complain about: it errs on the side of inclusion. Underneath, within, behind, and throughout the carbon fiber shell and solid titanium mounts sit electronics and features for which owners of other camera manufacturers would have to purchase add-ons. A built-in wireless radio allows for control via iOS device of recording features. Remote control of focus is made easier thanks to an in-mount, built-in motor control module that allows direct hookup of follow focus mechanisms for your cinema lenses (it doesn't hurt that Arri's follow focus remote looks pretty badass, not to mention extremely capable). The camera records directly to CFast 2.0 cards to record ProRes at frame rates of up to 200fps. It's hard to say what's best about all of these features, but the Alexa Mini's motorized and iOS-device-remote-controllable built-in ND filters are a nice touch that'll make any cinematographer simultaneously smile and sigh in relief.
Perfect for mounting to handheld rigs or small helicopter drones, the Alexa Mini positions itself as a camera to give Arri system users an easier option for post-production when smaller rigs are needed. Likewise, newer users in the game for RED-level cameras will enjoy the flexibility and built-in features of the Alexa Mini, which will keep its size and weight even smaller when the alternative addition of these accessories in other systems is considered.
Unfortunately, there's no word on pricing. But compact, full-frame, 4K, 200fps, and premium materials don't come cheap. Stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, Freefly Systems is back on Fstoppers with a behind-the-scenes video of Mindcastle's film, "The Balloonist," above, filmed with the Alexa Mini on a MōVI M15 and CineStar 8.