$80,000 Arri Alexa Kit Vs. Canon 80D Shootout

Is it just me, or is the Canon 80D getting dragged into a lot of comparisons lately? This latest comparison, however, is definitely very interesting and really highlights the gap between the average DSLR and something that costs about the same as a Tesla Model X. Potato Jet, a filmmaker and YouTuber, demonstrates in his video how footage from the Canon 80D compares to the Arri Alexa. It's no secret that the Arri Alexa is the only choice for many filmmakers and there are so many good reasons as to why this is. 

Looking at the footage you can see a very distinct difference between both cameras. Although footage from the Canon 80D is actually very good, the Arri Alexa just seems magical and manages to make the same scenes vibrant and beautiful. That cinematic look is very apparent and this is due to the exceptional dynamic range and incredible colors. The Canon struggles to retain details in the highlights and shadows. Dark and bright areas lack definition and are either blown out or too dark. The clip with Christina and Marlon in the dimly lit room drives this point home really well. The thing that really caught my eye were the colors from the Arri Alexa. It seems like regardless of the lighting conditions, this camera can make the scene look very natural but still very vibrant. 

Of course with the Arri Alexa, you may need a team with you and it may not be the most practical camera. The 80D still has its advantages when it comes to size, usability, and the amazing dual-pixel autofocus.

Check out the video to see the full comparison.

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His comment about Ari being used to film Apocalypse Now is unfair for two reasons. The first being that Ari had zero input on the color output of their film cameras. The second reason being is that Canon has at least the same experience with capturing and color correcting digital images, and likely more.

I prefer more of the footage from the SLR because of the more realistic looking color and the higher contrast. It also looks more like what you would see from movies made on film when it comes to dynamic range. The expanded dynamic range of many of today's digitally produced films turns me off because it tends to accompany lower overall contrast. The footage ends up looking dull. It doesn’t have to be that way. That sickly greenish blue on the Ari in lower light is also a poor attempt to reproduce the blue tinge of tungsten film. Not digging the overly warm look either.

He also makes a big deal about how the footage is not post-processed, but don’t serious film makers work with files that are the video equivalents of RAW?

Overall, from what I can see, it looks like the days of such specialized and expensive motion picture cameras may be numbered.

Kirk Darling's picture

Well, it probably won't be Canon who does in cameras like the Ari, but clearly the technology is closing in on them. An equal camera should not really cost more than twice an 80D--except that the companies that could produce such a camera also have a stake in keeping customers for their "real" movie cameras.