Differences between the ARRI XT Studio and other cameras

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  • #170446

      Hi Mr.Deakins

      I read some articles online saying that you shot ‘Skyfall’ of the 007 franchise with an ARRI ALEXA XT Studio, which has an optical viewfinder and a mechanical shutter. I have always been curious about the experience of using analog structures like these on a digital camera, and whether they have an impact on the image coming out of the camera when compared to normal digital cameras. Does the identical optical structure bring a different image? (e.g. different looks of motion blur or sth.) Is there a particular reason why you chose to use the Studio? What does it feel like when using a machine that combined optical structures with a digital sensor?

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    • #170452
      Roger Deakins

        I had asked Arri if it were possible to create a digital camera with an optical viewfinder as the electronic finders were then so tiring on the eye and really not that good.  The XT Studio was the result. There is no alternative to an electronic finder for any small digital camera so the optical option simply no longer exists.


          Keep in mind, for cameras up to the Mini; there was significant latency to the EVF. ‘Significant’ in our experience is 40< ms or more significant.

          Keep in mind a camera is taking in signal, so a sensor readout which isn’t instantaneous even for a global shutter, converting it to digital, applying matrix/WB/EI math, OETF to LogC, LogC to Gamma transform (display) to briefly describe all the functions that need to take place for every pixel singular and then three channels of value before being displayed in the EVF (which in itself also has additional latency).

          In the world of video tap, we define this as cumulative latency. Our links may be two-scan lines or two-frames of latency, but once you throw in-camera processing, display processing and genlock (non-applicable in this instance), it’s generally greater.

          This introduces severe strain to the operator; with modern computation advancements, latency has decreased. Also, display technology has advanced.


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