Movie Making Manual/Cinematography/Cameras and Formats/D-20

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Table of Cameras Table of Formats
Model number D-20
Manufacturer Arnold&Richter (ARRI)
Intro date Oct 2005
Category Film-style HD
Price Rental Only
Format(s) 1080p in HD Mode
raw Bayer Data output in Data Mode
Mediums HDCAM SR to Sony SRW-1; DDR using FlashMag, S.two DFR, etc.
Sensor resolution 3018 x 2200 pixels (native)
2880 x 2160 pixels (Data Mode)
2880 x 1620 pixels (HD Mode)
Aspect ratio 4:3 (1.33:1) native
16:9 (1.78:1) readout in HD Mode
Sensor tech CMOS/Bayer Pattern
Sensor manufacturer
# sensors 1
Sensor size Super35 (24.9mm x 18.7mm)
Recording res & fps 2880 x 2160 pixels (Data Mode)
1920 x 1080 pixels (HD Mode)
at 1 to 60 fps
Shutter mechanism ARRICAM style silent reflex mirror shutter
Shutter speeds Electronically adjustable in 0.1° steps from 11.2° to 180°
Luma sampling freq.
Chroma subsampling 4:4:4
Colour model RAW, YUV (YCbCr), RGB
Colour depth 12-bit Raw in Data Mode
10-bit in HD Mode
Low light performance
Available sensitivities EI 300
Lens 54mm stainless steel PL Mount (accepts 35mm lenses)
In-built filters Low-pass with anti-static and anti-reflective surfaces
Adjustable gamma
Viewfinder Arri 435/535 style viewfinder/eyepiece system
LCD size
Dynamic Range > 10 stops
Signal to Noise Ratio
Video outputs HD-SDI
Video inputs
Audio inputs
Audio Compression
# audio channels
audio sample rate
audio quantisation
Digital IO HD SDI, dual HD SDI
Weight 10.36kg / 22.84lb
Notes Uses any HD recording system with HD-SDI inputs


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The D-20 is ARRI's concept of a practical digital movie camera. Like the Panavision Genesis, it uses a single image sensor the same width as a standard 35mm film frame, but unlike the Genesis, this also has the same height as a 35mm frame.

The D-20 uses a custom-designed CMOS sensor rather than the older CCD technology of the Genesis. Instead of the Genesis's RGB stripe filter, the D-20 uses a Bayer Array, similar to that used on digital still cameras. The CMOS sensor's "native resolution" (before the color mask is applied) is 3018 x 2200 pixels, which allows a 1920 x 1080 standard HD output with a resolution similar to the Genesis. Recording can be either on HD Beta tape or a hard disk array.

The D-20 is actually based on a modified ARRIFLEX 435 film camera chassis. It can use any "PL-Mount" cinematography lens, and was specifically designed to be as familiar in operation to a film camera operator as possible. In particular, it retains the rotating mirror shutter/reflex viewfinder that is standard on all ARRI film cameras, which allows the incorporation of a standard optical viewfinder.

This has the advantages that:

  • The optical viewfinder image can safely be used for critical focussing, whereas current model electronic viewfinders tend to have insufficient resolution for this.
  • No power is needed while setting up a shot, nor is there any particular need for a "video village" of monitoring equipment.
  • The camera operator can see outside the frame that is actually being recorded, so (s)he (and/or the focus puller)"can see what's coming". (A major shortcoming of all-electronic viewfinder systems is the camera operator can only see what is actually being sent out to the recording system).

At present (Oct 2005) the D-20 is still undergoing refinement and to date no commercial projects have been shot with it. It has been observed that ARRI seem far less serious about the D-20 than Panavision do about the Genesis, since the CMOS sensor it is based on was principally designed for use in ARRI's advanced film scanner, the Arriscan.

History of the D-20

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Currently, as of during the Sundance Film Festival for 2006, there is only one ArriFlex D-20 located in the United States of America. In about a month from the festival, Arri Rental facilities should have the D-20 available for rent. However, rental prices are still unknown.

Rental Facilities

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ARRI Rental Germany
ARRI Media London
Clairmont Camera, Los Angeles

Films made with the D-20

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