Picture of an ARRI Alev Sensor.

ALEV Sensors

Image Sensors with the DNA of Film

It Started with A Tall Super 35 Sensor

The custom-developed Super 35 ALEV 3 and ALEV 4 CMOS Bayer sensors used in the ALEXA and AMIRA series of cameras have the same height and width as a 35 mm film frame. This bears several advantages. The Super 35 width allows use of the unparalleled range of spherical Super 35 and large-format PL mount lenses. The sensor's height allows for shooting with Super 35 and large-format anamorphic lenses.

A big evolutionary step for our ALEV 3 came in 2014/2015 and was housed within the ALEXA 65 camera. The “ALEV 3 A3X” is a sensor three times as big as the Super 35 ALEV 3, offering a photosite count of 6560x3100 with the same photosites known from the Super 35 sized sensor. This makes ALEXA 65 the digital camera with the largest digital motion picture sensor on the market. Its image size even surpasses 65 mm film.

Next in line was the ALEXA LF using the “ALEV 3 A2X” sensor. Introduced in 2018, this sensor offers a lower photosite count than ALEXA 65 but introduces “large format” (also known as 35 mm full frame in still photography) to the market. Covering an area of 36.70 mm x 25.54 mm, this format also introduced a new lens mount, the Large Positive Lock mount, or LPL.

In 2022, introduced with the ALEXA 35 camera, the ALEV 4 sensor upped the game: a new Super 35 4.6K sensor with significantly increased dynamic range and higher sensitivity.

Sensor Modes

ARRI cameras offer a multitude of different recording resolutions. At first glance this looks like a confusing charade but quite the opposite. It started with ALEXA using the 16:9 and 4:3 readout of the sensor to offer the maximum possible resolution for a given situation, e.g., TV productions, spherical, or anamorphic capture for cinematic release. Then the desire to use as much of the sensor as possible emerged and brought about a third mode: Open Gate. This allows filmmakers to use the surround view area for capture. The more customers clamored for different modes to increase frame rates, decrease data rates or have time-saving features like in-camera anamorphic de-squeeze, the more recording formats were created.