I finally got around to updating the Alexa camera to the latest firmware, 7.0. I wouldn’t normally post about a firmware update but this one was promised by Arri to be something a little more special. Since the release of the camera, this is the first update that is said to “improve” overall picture quality through a new de-bayering algorithm.
I expected the “improvement” to be very subtle, so before I upgraded to the new firmware I shot an interior clip with the older firmware first. Then I upgraded the firmware and shot the exact same scene under the exact same settings and compared the two at 100% size and looked for any differences. Arri’s release notes quote, “The new algorithm produces cleaner high contrast edges and crisp fine detail, which results in sharper images.”
The results were interesting, but subtle as I expected. If I had not shot the original scene under the old firmware there would be no way I would be able to discern any differences. Looking at the two clips side by side does reveal some subtle differences. Overall, the new firmware does provide a little sharper image, and a slightly higher contrast. It also has a more pleasing overall look to the eye, as if the colour science had been modified a bit too. I definitely saw a less green tint in the picture!
Other than that, the firmware redesigned and streamlined the menus a bit and added full 2K pro-res support too. It’s not 5K but I’ll take a bump in resolution. It also added the ability to easily load Arri’s LCC (low contrast curve LUT) to the monitoring path and viewfinder.
A great update all around.