Based on feedback from the field, ARRI has undertaken a major upgrade of its D-20 film-style digital camera. The ARRIFLEX D-21, announced today at NAB, has significant improvements to the image processing engine, an improved image quality, simpler operation and new accessories. New output options include a 2K raw data output mode and the use of anamorphic lenses.
The ARRIFLEX D-21 is a film style digital camera that combines the immediacy of digital cameras with high-end film style functionality and creative options. Based on ARRI Imaging Technology (AIT), the D-21 produces outstanding images with a cinematic look and feel. Through its single Super 35-sized CMOS sensor, the D-21 uses the same lenses as 35mm film cameras. It also has the same cinematic depth of field and can be used with anamorphic lenses. It has a bright optical viewfinder, is capable of variable frame rates and is compatible with ARRI film camera accessories. The D-21 outputs either the raw sensor data for a 2K workflow or a standard HD signal.
While the D-20 has already received accolades for its image quality, D-21 images have an improved color saturation and increased sharpness. A higher MTF was achieved by rewriting the down-sampling algorithm from scratch and by carefully fine-tuning the interaction of the optical low-pass filter to the down-sampling algorithm. A cleaner signal path, improved internal power management, the correction of defect pixels through Defect Pixel Correction (DPC) and the elimination of various artifacts have also led to improved low-light performance. Color Management Look Up Tables (LUTs) for 100, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500 and 640 and 800 ASA are now available.
Great strides have been made toward a feasible method for recording raw data. The newly minted ARRIRAW format contains the raw sensor information and can be used up to 30fps. It can be transported via the HD-SDI link, embedded in the standard RGBA 4:4:4:4 transport protocol.
Close cooperation with manufacturers of data recorders ensures a method of recording and previewing the ARRIRAW format. ARRI software tools that are currently in beta testing can process the ARRIRAW files through advanced debayering algorithms. The ARRI software can output either an HD image or a 2K data file. 2K data files are similar to the files created by a scanner, and so as easy to grade as scanned data. Thus the D-21 can supply image content for the existing 2K workflow.
Since the raw data format transports all pixels of the 4:3 aspect ratio D-21 sensor, the D-21 is the only digital camera that allows plug-and-play use of standard anamorphic lenses, expanding the creative choices of directors and cinematographers who choose to work with digital images.
A number of new hardware pieces complete the picture. A new shoulder set S-5 has been created specifically for the D-21, and new ground glasses for the 1.33, 1.78, 1.85 and 2.39 formats are now available.
All D-21 cameras will come equipped with the FEM-2 addition, which provides a built-in radio for wireless lens and camera control. The FEM-2 also contains motor drive electronics, so the ARRI Controlled Lens Motors (CLM) can be plugged directly into the camera without any annoying extra boxes.