Daniel Haggett

London based Lighting Cameraman / DoP 

Arri recently released the pricing structure for the Amira, so it seems like a good time to look at a price comparison between the brands.

 

Since there is a price difference in terms of what you get with each camera in terms of extras, for the sake of simplicity, here is a rough price comparision for each camera. In each case it includes the camera body and a view finder (if not included in the original price).  All prices in US dollars.

 

Camera Price in USD
Arri Amira 40k/45k/52k
Sony F55  34k
Canon C500  20k
 Sony F5  17k
 Canon C300  14k

(see note on bottom of page of how I got this pricing)

 

I think that the price difference between each of these cameras would also continue to grow as you add on the extras.  Arri are not known for making cheap products, (think about the prices of the matte boxes).  For each camera you are going to need to add on some kind of shoulder mount system, batteries, chargers etc etc and all of these things will widen that price gap a little.

 

I think most cameramen, myself included, would feel pretty excited about shooting everything they do on a camera that shares the same chip as the Alexa (all be it with a different recording format behind it, which could change the look of the picture).  The question is going to be about the return on investment, whether the additional price you would pay for the Amira over the Sony or Canon cameras, equates to working on better projects, or earning more money renting the camera out.

 

The next thing to contend with is the current obsession with resolution.  Even people who don't work in TV come and look at my C300 and say "ooh does it shoot 4k", no and nor does the Arri Alexa that Roger Deakins used to shoot Skyfall or countless other beautiful looking films.  At present, production companies aren't even close to working in 4k, but Sony is pushing 4k TVs hard and so I guess it is only a question of time.  I can imagine that TV editing could become used to using 4k as away of croping the picture as and when they feel like it, and for the cameraman it would be like have a digital 2x extender on the camera at all times, but broadcasting in 4k seems a long way away.

 

When the C300 was first announced I jumped on it and put an order in, as it filled a hole in the market and there was literally nothing else out there I felt I could use that would give me the same results for that price.  In the current situation, I don't feel like I will run out a buy an Amira when they are eventually released.  I am more likely to be dictated to by the demands of production companies: if I start getting a lot of requests for F5, F55 or the Amira, then that is the route I'll take.

 

For further reading here are brief reviews of each of the cameras

Arri Amira

Sony F55 / 5

Canon C300 

 

NB: Here is how I got the pricing for the above table:

Arri have announced that the Amira will have 3 price structures, each one slightly different in terms of slow motion capabilities and recording formats.  

40k USD, 45k USD, 52k USD

In the UK CVP have announced the entry level package at 26,000 Euros, which is actually 5k USD cheaper than the US list price.  Since cameras are never more expensive in the US than Europe I would guess that the package prices are slightly off, or that the US price announcement includes more optional extras.  The 26k package from CVP does include a viewfinder, but not a shoulder mount plate.

Sony F55: 29k USD (body only) + 5k for OLED viewfinder = 34k USD

Sony F5:  16,490 USD (body only) + 5k for OLED viewfinder = 16,990 USD

Canon C500: 20k USD

Canon C300: 14k USD