ALEXA SXT Introduction Video
ALEXA SXT Overview
The Arri Alexa Classic EV has been a favorite among many cinematographers because of its rugged construction and excellent features. But what if you’re looking for more than what it could offer? Well, if this is the case, you’ll want to look into the Alexa SXT 4K cameras, namely the Alexa SXT EV, Alexa SXT Plus, and Alexa SXT Studio.
These three cameras, which were released in 2015, are designed to be future-proof. That is, they’re built with today’s technology but have the capacity to adopt hardware and software that would be released in the coming years. So, once you get one of these cameras, there’s no need to upgrade to a new model every now and then since your camera stays relevant for a long time.
One of the best things about the Alexa SXT 4K cameras is that they’re similar in layout and design to the Arri Alexa Classic EV and other versions. So, if you’re familiar with these older models, you won’t have to face a steep learning curve when using Alexa SXT 4K cameras, and you can proceed to enjoy the features that they provide.
Design & Features
The Alexa SXT 4K cameras have retained the 3.4K ALEV III sensor, which gives them excellent image quality and is the basis for their many useful features. Through the sensor’s unique tall design (with dimensions that are almost similar to a 35mm film image), the cameras can faithfully render the optical qualities of anamorphic lenses in digital image, producing maximum resolution and maintaining the field of view of these lenses.
Along with their high-quality sensor, the Alexa SXT 4K cameras come with two new sensor modes: 6:5 and 8:9. The 6.5 sensor mode promotes faster and better recording of anamorphic images and, compared to the old 4.3 sensor mode (which is also available in the cameras), it results to higher frame rates and minimal resolution loss in ProRes. It also paves the way to a more efficient post processing, requiring fewer steps for both ARRIRAW and ProRes.
One thing that makes the Alexa SXT 4K cameras stand out is that they combine some of the best components from Arri’s product line. Specifically, they’re built with electronics and image processing hardware from the revolutionary Alexa 65 camera, along with noise reduction and color management elements from the documentary-style AMIRA camera. With this combination, you’ll have access to tools that allow you to create the clearest, sharpest images with minimal optical noise.
On top of these, the cameras have the ability to do in-camera ProRes 4K recording, both for 4K UHD (3840×2160 pixels) and 4K Cine (4096×2636 pixels). The former works great for TV productions, while the latter is ideal for 4K DCI cinema.
How Are They Different?
Basically, the Alexa SXT EV, Alexa SXT Plus, and Alexa SXT Studio have the same backbone and features. However, the latter two have additional features that are not available in the “basic” Alexa SXT EV. The Alexa SXT Plus, for example, has four monitor outputs instead of three since it has an additional clone for MON OUT 1 (MON OUT 1b, a clone of MON OUT 1a). It’s also compatible with the cmotion cvolution lens control systems, which allow you to control your camera using a handheld unit.
The Alexa SXT Studio has most of the features that the Alexa SXT EV and Alexa SXT Plus have, but it adds more to the list. For one thing, it comes with an optical viewfinder, which portrays natural motion with sharp full-color images, excellent white balance, and accurate color fidelity, along with with zero delays and artifacts. It also comes with an internal motorized ND filter that’s sealed behind the lens, along with a rotating mirror shutter (which portrays film-like motion, minus the artifacts that are present in electronic rolling shutters).
Pros and Cons
As mentioned above, the Alexa SXT 4K cameras have the potential to handle future upgrades to hardware and software. This ensures that they’ll stay relevant for years and perhaps even decades, reducing the need to upgrade to newer models.
-Wide range of recording formats
With four sensor modes (16:9, 6:5, 4.3, and Open Gate), two recording file types (ProRes and ARRIRAW), and several recording resolutions, it’s no surprise that the cameras have the ability to record in 14 formats. Its recording resolutions include HD, 2K, 2.6K, 2.8K, 2K anamorphic, 3.2K, 3.4K, 4K UHD, 4K Cine, and 4K Cine anamorphic.
-Flexible on-set monitoring
The Alexa SXT 4K cameras come with four independent monitoring outputs, which can be distributed among the director, camera operator, and other filming staff. Each of these outputs come with independent settings that cater to each staff member’s needs, allowing everybody to do a great job.
-High price tag
Compared to other professional film-making cameras, the Alexa SXT 4K cameras come with a steeper price tag. This makes them too expensive for ordinary consumers and amateur cinematographers but, considering the outstanding features they offer, you can say that they’re worth every penny you spend.
While the Alexa SXT 4K cameras aren’t the cheapest products out there, they do give you give you excellent value for money. If you have the budget and are willing to invest in a cinematographic camera that can last (and stay relevant) for a long time, you’ll want to get the Alexa SXT EV, Alexa SXT Plus, or Alexa SXT Studio.
ALEXA SXT Studio Technical Data
|Camera Type||35 format film-style digital camera with an optical viewfinder, a 16:9, 6:5, 4:3 or Open Gate switchable active sensor area, built-in support for the ARRI Wireless Remote System and the cmotion cvolution lens control system, built-in filter holder, Lens Data System, integrated shoulder arch and receptacles for 15 mm lightweight rods|
|Sensor||35 format ALEV III CMOS sensor with Bayer pattern color filter array.|
|Operating Modes||Mirror shutter on or off. Switching takes approximately 3 seconds.
16:9, 4:3, 6:5 or Open Gate sensor modes. Switching takes approx. 60 seconds. All sensor modes available in ARRIRAW and ProRes.
|Frame Rates||Mirror shutter off
0.75 – 120 fps
0.75 – 96 fps
0.75 – 96 fps
0.75 – 90 fps
Mirror shutter on
0.75 – 60 fps
0.75 – 60 fps
0.75 – 60 fps
0.75 – 60 fpsAll speeds adjustable with 1/1000 fps precision. Some limitations based on recording media or recording format apply.
For a detailed table of frame rates for ALEXA XT Studio with Mirror Shutter off click here
For a detailed table of frame rates for ALEXA XT Studio with Mirror Shutter on click here
|Shutter||Rotating mirror shutter: 11.2º – 180.0º. Shutter angle setting precision: 1/10 degree. At some frame rates mirror shutter needs to be less than 180º.
Electronic rolling shutter, 5.0º – 358.0º up to 60 fps; 5.0° to 356° above 60 fps. Shutter angle adjustable with 1/10 degree precision.
|Filters||Permanent filters in front of the sensor: optical low pass, UV, IR. Includes a sealed behind-the-lens motorized filter mechanism that provides an optical flat or ND 1.3 (4.3 stops).|
|Exposure Latitude||14+ stops for all sensitivity settings from EI 160 to EI 3200, as measured with the ARRI Dynamic Range Test Chart (DRTC).
For a graphic of how the exposure latitude shifts at different EIs, click here
|Exposure Index||Values behind the exposure index are the number of stops above and below 18% grey.|
|White Balance||Presets for 3200 (tungsten), 4300 (fluorescent), 5600 (daylight) and 7000 (daylight cool). Automatic calculation or manual white balance for 2000 to 11000 Kelvin, adjustable in 100 K steps|
|Color Correction||While white balance changes the red/blue hue of the image, color correction changes green/magenta. Adjustable range from -12 to +12 CC. 1 CC corresponds to 035 Kodak CC values or 1/8 Rosco values.|
|Sound Level||Under 19 db(A) while recording ProRes 4444 16:9 HD @ 24 fps and ≤ +30° Celsius (≤ +86° Fahrenheit) with lens attached and fan mode set to ‘Regular’, measured 1 m/3 feet in front of the lens. Silent operation at higher temperatures possible with fan mode set to ‘Rec low’.|
|Power In||Three possible inputs: BAT connector, optional battery adapter back or optional battery adapter top. All inputs accept 10.5 to 34 V DC. Approx. 90 W power draw for camera and EVF-1 in typical use recording ProRes at 24 fps to an SxS PRO card at room temperature, without accessories. Initial power draw during power up is higher.|
|Power Out||12 V connector: limited to 12 V, up to 2.2 A. RS, EXT and ETHERNET: input below 24 V is regulated up to 24 V; above 24 V: input voltage = output voltage. RS and EXT connectors combined are limited to 2.2 A. ETHERNET is limited to 1.2 A. Maximum power draw is also limited by the power source.|
|Weight||ALEXA SXT Studio body with PL mount: 8.2 kg/18.1 lbs.
ALEXA SXT Studio body with PL mount, electronic viewfinder, viewfinder cable and handle: 10.3 kg/22.8 lbs.
|Environmental||-20° C to +45° C (-4° F to +113° F) @ 95% humidity max, non-condensing. Splash and dust proof through sealed electronics. System cooling through radiator/single fan.|
|Lens Mount||54 mm stainless steel LDS PL mount, Super 35 centered. 52.00 mm nominal flange focal depth without FSND filters.|
|Viewfinder||Bright, high contrast optical viewfinder OVF-1 for through-the-lens viewing with low distortion, accurate color fidelity and no delay. Rotates to left and right of camera body and telescopes closer/farther from camera body. Automatically keeps an upright image with an optional manual image rotation. Includes a flip in ND 0.6 contrast filter and de-squeeze optics for 2x anamorphic lenses (1.3x de-squeeze module also available). Includes Basic Insert Module BIM-1 for RGB frame glow. Compatible with 8x and 10x 435 eyepieces, 435 eyepiece extensions and all ARRIFLEX and ARRICAM heated eyecups. With the optional ARRICAM Eyepiece Adapter AEA-1, the OVF-1 can accept the 8x ARRICAM Studio eyepiece or ARRICAM Studio Viewfinder Extension Medium. Not compatible with ARRICAM Studio Anamorphic Extension, ARRICAM Studio Viewfinder Zoom Extension and Lite Universal Eyepiece. ALEXA Studio ground glass and frameglow holder are compatible to the ARRICAM system, but only ALEXA Studio ground glasses and glow masks provide exact alignment of framelines and captured frame.
The OVF-1 can be replaced with the ALEXA Electronic Viewfinder EVF-1 with an Electronic Viewfinder Adapter EVA-1. The EVF-1 is a high quality, low latency (≤1 frame delay) electronic color viewfinder with a 1280 x 784 F-LCOS micro display.
|Assistive Displays||For OVF-1: Warning LEDs for REC (recording), BAT (battery low), FULL (media full).
For EVF-1 and MON OUT: preset and custom frame lines, user rectangles, surround view, 180º image rotation, camera status, false color exposure check, peaking focus check, compare stored image with live image, RETURN IN video and anamorphic de-squeeze. For MON OUT additionally: Reel & clip number.
For a graphic of which false color indicates which exposure level click here
|Control||Camera right: Main user interface with a 3” transflective 400 x 240 pixel LCD color screen, illuminated buttons, button lock and jog wheel. Camera left: Operator interface with illuminated buttons and button lock. Camera acts as a web server, displaying the ALEXA Web Remote on web browsers of computers connected to ETHERNET connector. MIRROR PARK buttons: VIEW/GATE. Optional accessory Remote Control Unit RCU-4 for cabled remote control via camera ETHERNET connector. Optional accessory Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 for wireless remote control (UMC 3A or UMC-4 required).|
|Recording Codecs||Uncompressed and unencrypted ARRIRAW or compressed and unencrypted QuickTime/ProRes recording. All formats include embedded audio, timecode and metadata.
For more details click here
|Recording Media||SxS PRO or SxS PRO+ cards (requires SxS Adapter 2)
CFast 2.0 cards (requires CFast 2.0 Adapter 2)
XR Capture Drives (requires XR Adapter)
SXR Capture Drives (requires SXR Adapter)Note: XR Capture Drive Docks require Codex Production Suite to read XR Capture Drives recorded with ALEXA SXT.
|Supported Media||SxS PRO 64 GB (SBP-64A)
SxS PRO+ 64 GB (SBP-64B & SBP-64C)
SxS PRO+ 128 GB (SBP-128B & SBP-128C)
LEXAR 3600x CFast 2.0 cards 256 GB
XR Capture Drives 512 GB
SXR Capture Drives 1 TB
SXR Capture Drives 2 TB
|Monitor Outputs||4x MON OUT BNC connector for uncompressed 1.5 G HD-SDI video: 1920 x 1080 (16:9), 4:2:2 YCbCr; legal range HD video at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, or 30 fps. MON OUT 1b is a clone of MON OUT 1a. Embedded audio, time code, metadata and recording flag.|
|Image Processing||16 bit linear internal image processing in full ALEXA Wide Gamut/Log C color space. Target output color spaces: Log C, Rec 709 or Rec 2020. An ARRI Look File (ALF-2) containing the name of the target color space, CDL values and a 3D LUT can be applied to ProRes or MON OUT images and will be saved in metadata. Optional horizontal image mirroring.|
|Synchronization||Master/Slave mode for precision sync of settings, sensor, processing, HD-SDI outputs and ARRIRAW or ProRes recording for 3D applications. PHASE user button for shifting camera phase to move phase artifacts out of frame, i.e. when shooting a CRT monitor or rear screen projector (works in Rec Run TC mode).|
|Playback||Playback of ARRIRAW or ProRes recorded material visible on EVF-1 and MON OUT. Playback audio available over headphone jack and embedded in the MON OUT signal.|
|Audio||1x XLR 5 pin AUDIO IN for 2 channel, line level, balanced audio. 24 bit/48 kHz A/D conversion. Uncompressed PCM audio recording to ARRIRAW, ProRes and embedded in all HD-SDI outputs. Only available with same project/sensor speed at 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps. Max of 2.5 dBm output from AUDIO OUT headphones connector.|
|Connectors||1x media slot
4x BNC monitoring out HD-SDI, 1.5G MON OUT
1x XLR 5-pin analog audio in AUDIO IN
1x BNC return video in HD-SDI, 1.5G RET/SYNC IN
1x LEMO 16-pin external accessory interface EXT
1x Fischer 2-pin 24 V power in BAT
3x Fischer 3-pin 24 V remote start and accessory power out RS
1x LEMO 2-pin 12 V accessory power out 12 V
1x LEMO 5-pin timecode in/out TC
1x TRS 3.5 mm headphone mini stereo jack AUDIO OUT
1x custom LEMO 16-pin electronic viewfinder EVF
1x custom LEMO 10-pin Ethernet with 24 V power ETHERNET
1x Fischer 5-pin Lens Data Display LDD
2x Fischer 5-pin Lens Control System LCS
1x Fischer 12-pin for CLM-2, CLM-3, CLM-4 or later IRIS
1x Fischer 12-pin for CLM-2, CLM-3, CLM-4 or later FOCUS
1x Fischer 12-pin for CLM-2, CLM-3, CLM-4 or later ZOOM
BNC connectors are designed for fast exchange without camera disassembly. These connectors require a special tool (ALEXA Plus BNC Removal Tool, K5.72915.0).
|SD Card||For importing and storing of ARRI Look Files, camera set up files, frame line files and user pixel masks and custom lens tables for the Lens Data Archive (LDA). Stores frame grabs in ARRIRAW (.ari, 12 bit), TIFF (.tif, 16 bit), DPX (.dpx, 10 bit) or JPEG (.jpg, 8 bit) format. Stores log files. Also used for installing Software Update Packets (SUPs).|
|Upgrades||The Storage Interface Module can be exchanged for future storage modules. The Electronics Interface Module (available as either regular ALEXA or ALEXA Plus versions) can be exchanged for future control electronics. An easily exchangeable lens mount allows other lenses beyond LDS PL mount lenses to be used. Simple camera software updates via free of charge Software Update Packets (SUPs).|
|Software Tools (apps)||ARRIRAW Converter (ARC)
ARRI Color Tool
ARRI Meta Extract
|Software Tools (online)||ALEXA Camera Simulator
Lens Illumination Guide
ALEXA Frame Line Composer (AFLC)
|Note: Technical data based on SXT Software Update Packet SUP 1.0. All data subject to change without notice.|
Unboxing the Alexa SXT