Both RED and Arri cameras are among the top tier of cinema camera companies. But which one makes the better camera? Let’s find out.
In the most epic showdown of the century, Potato Jet pitted a Red Scarlet-W against a Arri Alexa Mini to see which is the better camera. Both cameras are, of course, excellent. Arri is the first choice for many Hollywood filmmakers and RED dominates many TV shows and independent productions. However, there are some key differences that set them apart. Let’s go over those differences and the issues with both:
The look of their images
The video compares the two cameras’ image quality side-by-side and you can see the subtle differences. The RED adds a lot of contrast into the shadows, so it has a natural, moody and dark look. The Arri stays more even throughout and looks more warm, creamy and saturated. Potato Jet says that you could believe they are set to different white balances, but all the settings are matched.
When it comes down to it, both cameras look great. It’s just preference at the end of the day.
Handling the cameras
RED is very particular when it comes to accessories. They want you using their stuff. But one of the great things about RED is that it can be used both as a cinema camera and as a run-and-gun camera. You can choose to pile it with accessories or keep it light. With the Arri, it would be really heavy to use as a run-and-gun camera.
But while the RED is much more versatile, the Arri is a lot more reliable. RED cameras have a reputation for suddenly shutting off and not working. Arri cameras never have any issues.
Problems with Arri
One of the biggest problems the video finds with the Arri Alexa is its viewfinder. It alone costs $7,500 and you don’t technically need it. You can use Wi-Fi control to dial in the camera’s settings. It’s not very fluid to work with.
The viewfinder cost just as much as a good camera, yet it has problems. It’s LCD screen sometimes flickers and one even stopped working for Potato Jet.
The camera does have two SDI ports, but there’s no HDMI port. Often times, though, that’s not a problem because SDI is a much more solid connection than HDMI. Still though, for smaller productions, it can be a nuisance not having HDMI support.
Problems with RED
Doesn’t use full sensor at lower resolutions
If you don’t shoot at the full resolution, you’re not going to utilize the full sensor. It’s essentially just cropping everything out. So, if you shoot RAW on the RED, you should keep it at full resolution so you can use the full sensor.
Harder to learn
While both cameras look daunting to operate, the Arri Alexa is slightly easier to learn, especially if you know your way around a DSLR. The RED is going to take more time learning the settings, navigating the menus and learning things specific to RED.
Which cinema camera would you pick?
There’s no right answer. Both cinema cameras are top quality. So if you could pick one, which one would you go with? RED or Arri?