How Does a Large Format Cinema Camera Compare To Other Video Cameras

If you're looking at creating high-end video with a camera, the amount you can spend can vary as much as if you were looking at buying a car. But how much better is a large format cinema camera anyway?

At times, photography can feel incredibly expensive, particularly if you want the newest sensors and fast glass to put in front of it. However, if you start looking into videography equipment — or worse, anything worth the word "cinema" in the name — your pockets might have to be a lot deeper.

In this video, Adorama put six cameras through their paces to see how they perform side-by-side. On the one end, you have a titanic, large format cinema camera, and on the other, you have revered video-centric, mirrorless hybrids. These tests can never truly capture the range and variation in requirements of every type of video shoot, but it's still an interesting indication of what the final image will look like and how much they might differ.

Which camera corresponds with which letter in this video is buried right at the end and you might miss it, so here they are:

As you can see, the large format camera, the ARRI Alexa Mini LF, commands quite the price! Do you think it's worth it?

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4 Comments

Lee Christiansen's picture

Speaking as a DoP, the biggest difference is the person who is behind the camera. Too many times I've had clients who think that two cameramen using the sae camera will deliver the same aesthetic.

That said, there is an awful lot to be said for ease of operation and flexibility. Just how far can images be pushed and pulled in a difficult grade? I've never been a fan of Log, but I would always prefer Raw.

Interestingly when I compared the images, I did prefer the Arri and the Venice.

Alex Herbert's picture

I need to watch it again on my monitor. I watched it on my TV and my eye was drawn to the A7siii every time!

Matt Williams's picture

Arri's sensor tech is still the best out there and I think the main reason is how they've tuned the tonal response. Unlike literally every other cinema camera out there, Arri's dynamic range gives you more stops in the highlights than the shadows. Most others will be like 7 under 5 over and Arri's will be the exact opposite (that's just made up, I don't have their chart in front of me).

This gives a much more natural roll off and is also exactly how film's dynamic range is allocated. Which is the reason Arri is consistently considered the most "film like."

Vincent Rice's picture

Well the Arri has an obvious edge. It just looks 'expensive'. The Sony A7Slll was shockingly good in this company however.