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Georgio Agusto

Is the Arri D-21 any good?

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It doesn't matter how many stops you have; it's what you do with them. Also since you're normally nor looking at flat, ungraded images, the trick is to light for the look-- eg when you're on set you're not looking at the full range of say an Alexa, you're looking generally at a HD colorspace which has much less dynamic range. The extra stops are to save your rear and give a more pleasing roll off. It's much the same with film-- the negative had a lot more dynamic range than the print ever did. And also concur with Stuart; Red often much overstates their dynamic range, especially in real world situations. Charts are well and good; but I haven't even filmed one giving a monologue.

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It doesn't matter how many stops you have

 

To a point. The AJA Cion has a limited dynamic range to the point where it can be quite difficult in some circumstances.

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Haha, Phil now you're just being polite! The Cion is like going back to a DVX100 in terms of dynamic range, unusable except for studio shooting. Was on a car shoot with a few Cions a few weeks ago all over Southern California, horrible cameras.

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the usable dynamic range depends a lot of the noise floor and how noisy stops are still considered usable. I think most of the current cameras have at least 1 or 2 stops less usable dynamic range than the manufacturer claims because of this reason.

(you record the lowest stops and they can be seen below the noise floor but they are so noisy that they are just not usable for commercial purposes and can be very well forgotten when determining the actual dynamic range :P )

 

It's just like with film, you know that it can record, say, 4 stops below middle gray but you know that you can't use that last stop for anything important

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meant to say "over the noise floor" :lol:

 

anyway, I think 14 stops or more is good enough in 95% of cases and very rarely you would need something like 16+ stops.

if you are, for example, shooting high contrast scene with reflective surfaces it may be useful, or with for example drone shots where you can't control the exposure 100% during flight.

We had some drone shots in Spain for example which had backlit water and very high contrast, the water reflection was a bit too much for Epic Dragon which ran 3 stops of HDRx :blink:

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Hey,

I know a lot of you guys already answered the question about the D21, but i also have found a really cheap one 3000$ or 4500$ with a codex 3010 . Is this camera not worthed even at that price? As cinematographers would your rather rent a Black Magic, F5 or C300 instead of the D21 for the same price ?

What are in your experience the pro and cons of this camera?

thank you so much

Andrea

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It's a very different beast to a Blackmagic, F5 or C300. The size, weight, optical viewfinder and external recording all require certain considerations that the others don't have to worry about.

 

The D21 would be a difficult camera to use and operate without at least one camera assistant at all times.

 

It does have the advantage of a mechanical shutter and Arri colour science though, which are both big boons. However it's pretty much two full stops less sensitive than a Blackmagic, an F5 or a C300. Which means you're going to need four times as much light to expose it.

 

On the whole, you'd really want to have a very specific reason (like wanting a 4:3 sensor for anamorphic lenses) to shoot on the D21 over something like the F5, which offers vastly more dynamic range (at 14 stops) a great deal more sensitivity, far better off-speed recording options, simpler recording methods, and a much more easily managed physical footprint.

 

For $3000-$4000 it's so cheap, that it'd kinda be cool to have just as another option for shooting with. Just don't expect to be matching modern digital imagery with it.

Edited by Mark Kenfield

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Hi everybody.

After reading this topic and hunting all the information about D21 online, I can get, I'd decided about one week ago to buy the D21. I've bought it from Arri media UK, they've even changed sensor cover glass for me (and for free) - all in all, for the price €2500 it was a bargain :-)

I've got a lot of cameras (probably like many of you, guys :) ) - SR1, 435ES, Bm URSA

But I really like the optical viewfinder in film cameras, so I wanted to have one in digital too :-)

Anyway, camera've come to me and I've made some fast tests - including this one:

 

 

You can see how it can handle highlights really well.

Shadows, well, that is another story... I think -3 EV is usable, but -4 EV and below, there is a lot of noise.

I'm going to make some noise reduction tests for shadows areas, using NeatVideo. I'll post, when it's done.

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Matej,

What kind of recorder did you use on your d21?

Just the simple Atomos Samurai for recording single stream SDI 4:2:2 to ProRes 422HQ

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It's really a great camera. Real Arri stuff. Everything works just it should. Although you don't have simple MENU for changing parameters, and it don't records sound (anyway, why camera should ?), it's a great piece of engineering.

As ARRI advertised it - "digital film camera", you are shooting with it like with 35mm film camera, rather than like with digital. And THAT is the thing I like :-)

And have I mentioned optical viewfinder ? :-)

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