[Nigel Thompson]"Does or did Arri mention anywhere that the Alexa's will be or are upgradable to future sensors?"
Arri has not made any announcements about upgradability of the camera sensor. While other things like the ability to use different media types in the camera have been discussed, Arri has not shown anything publicly.
Arri has made many statements about "pixel quality over pixel count" with the most recent discussing the 4K deliverables for Skyfall from the ARRIRAW acquisition. http://bit.ly/WtFAfq
Post and Production Workflow Consultant
Production and Post Stereographer
The sensor is the main feature of the camera although all the rest matters! Whether you buy the old standard 4:3 aspect ratio type, now a feature of the Alexa Plus not most new models, or whether you consider the wide aspect ratio type as the center of your needs, it is permanent. It is more important to develop new programs, new markets, new programming consortiums or bundles, so that you can save the jobs and wallets of others as you help your own, and so on. Do you have a work- flow that gives you live programming too? Do you have options that let you put passable still shots into publishing too? I think of it somewhat like film. When you buy a film stock that has a rating of say, ISO 200, it means that that is the MAXIMUM (That`s actual) not minimum amount of light and latent image needed to develop maximum quality. Accordingly, this is one of the parameters you mean to sensibly and sometimes fully fill and describe your rectangle. Your camera team`s job is to come back with 19 hours a day, most days, of something that fills the public`s needs and appreciations. For this you may find yourself rich. A camera upgrade out of a present Alexa might be no part of this. Look at your real opportunities.
Exactly what we have been discussing internally. We have been shooting with RED for a while but are breaking into new markets, markets that are asking for the Alexa. We have even done 40-50 ft billboards from stills taken on Ad shoots from a RED one and Epic.
Im intrigued to see the new pricing structure (if there is one LOL) as this new Alexa Xt line up has been announced...
Hopefully when the time comes that Alexa gets a new sensor (as indeed it must), us Alexa owners will not be as unceremoniously dropped as Red One owners.
I'm an Owner/Operatior of an Arri Alexa but last week I worked as "Additional AC" on a commercial Red Epic/One shoot. The DP/owner of the production company was talking at lunch about how when he'd bought the Red One he'd been promised it as being future proof... And then of course when the Epic came out all Red had to offer was a discount on the price of the Epic and a small sensor upgrade. He's still sore about it.
This was of particular maning on this shoot as most of the footage was captured at 90-120fps, forcing the Red One into 2K.
Arri has already done us one better then that. For 15k (not including media) I can upgrade to the XR recording module and have 120fps ARRIRAW or ProRes4444.
To answer your original question though, Arri has made no comment about sensor upgrades except a small hint that upgrading 16:9 sensors to 4:3 may become possible in the future.
"To answer your original question though, Arri has made no comment about sensor upgrades except a small hint that upgrading 16:9 sensors to 4:3 may become possible in the future."
John, Arri already makes and sells the Alexa with both (approximate) 16:9 or (approximate) 4:3 sensors. If you see the wrong sensor then you are buying the wrong model. Buy the right one. There are both anamorphic and regular lenses too. Make workflows that output your real needs.