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You Can’t Afford This Expensive Hollywood Camera Gear

Mike Maher

Unless you have hundreds of thousands in the bank, you probably can’t shoot with these pro cameras without renting them.

We took a look at the cameras and lenses used on the latest Oscar nominated films, but what would it cost if you decided to buy one of these camera bodies instead of renting them?

Well, there are two categories here. These cameras are either so expensive you can’t even buy them, or if they are available to purchase, you’re going to spend tens of thousands of dollars just getting the body, without any ability to do things like record footage. So, while your starting point in the $50K range may seem more affordable than you thought, don’t forget you easily need another $50K in accessories, then lenses on top of that.


The Cameras Are So Expensive You Can Only Rent Them

The cameras that only the biggest movies in the world work with.

IMAX Cameras

IMAX Camera
Not only are they expensive, the IMAX cameras are rare, therefore you can’t buy one. Image via IMAX / Paramount Pictures.

For starters, the IMAX cameras are so expensive and rare that you can’t buy one. You can only rent these cameras for allegedly around $16,000 per week, but that’s likely for the body only. Don’t forget the entire camera package and the film itself.

How expensive are these cameras? Well, IMAX won’t tell, but Christopher Nolan and crew have damaged at least three IMAX cameras in the productions of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and Dunkirk. Each time, the camera has been insured for around $500,000.

ARRI ALEXA 65

ARRI ALEXA 65
The ARRI ALEXA 65 body can’t be sold individually, it’s a package deal. Image via ARRI / Warner Bros.

Again, so rare and exclusive that you can’t buy one. IMAX partnered with several camera manufacturers to create a new “Filmed in IMAX” lineup. The ARRI ALEXA 65 is the company’s flagship camera with the industry-leading capture technology.

The camera body can’t be sold individually, as it requires the entire ALEXA 65 system and workflow to work, meaning the camera body alone is easily around $150,000. For a camera package rental, you’re looking at around $10,000 per day.

The ARRI ALEXA 65 was used to capture films like The Revenant, Joker, Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and Captain America: Civil War.

Panavision Millennium DXL2

Panavision Millennium DXL2
Panavision only rents their cameras. Image via Panavision.

Panavision doesn’t sell any of their cameras, they’re only available through their rental service. The latest flagship camera is the Panavision Millennium DXL2, which was a collaboration between Panavision and RED’s Monstro sensor. This is Panavision’s response to the ALEXA 65, and also earns the “Filmed in IMAX” moniker.

It’s said the camera body rental rate starts around $1,000 per day, with insurance rates of $300,000 in equipment and $1M in liability.

The Panavision Millennium DXL2 was used to capture films like Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, IX, Midsommar, Extraction, and F9.


Expensive Cameras Available to Purchase (If You Have the Cash)

What if you wanted to own the camera, and maybe even rent it out yourself? Here are the top Hollywood cameras you can actually purchase.

ARRI ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF

ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF
The ALEXA LF and ALEXA Mini LF are often used together. Image via ARRI.

ARRI’s newest and wildly popular ALEXA Mini LF (large format) and ALEXA LF are the current top consumer-level offerings from the German camera manufacturer. These cameras you can actually buy, if you have the budget.

The ARRI ALEXA LF body only starts at $98,200 USD, going up as soon as you want to start adding things like capture drives and memory cards. For the more compact ALEXA Mini LF, prices start at $58,760 USD.

The two cameras are often used together on sets with the ALEXA LF in the A-cam role and the Mini LF as the B-cam, often used on stabilizers or in tight fight sets. The cameras captured the Oscar-nominated films Judas and the Black Messiah, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and News of the World.

RED RANGER MONSTRO 8K VV

RED RANGER MONSTRO 8K VV
The RED RANGER MONSTRO 8K VV is top-of-the-line tech. Image via RED Digital Cinema.

The MONSTRO 8K VV (Vista Vision) sensor is RED’s flagship product, so technically advanced that it’s a crucial part of Panavision’s Millennium DXL2. If you wanted to own that tech for yourself, the current top-of-the-line body from the manufacturer is the RED RANGER with a MONSTRO 8K VV, starting at $59,950. If you wanted to save a few thousand, you can go with the MONSTRO on the DSMC2 body for $54,500. Again, that’s just the body.

The DSMC2 MONSTRO was paired with the Millennium DXL2 on Extraction, and is featured in the viral behind-the-scenes shots of director Sam Hargrave‘s vehicle stunts.

Sony VENICE

Sony VENICE
The Sony VENICE is a versatile camera, good for capturing both film and television. Image via Sony Pro USA.

The Sony VENICE is the flagship camera body of Sony’s CineAlta line. While developed for film and television, the camera has become much more of a television go-to camera, capturing limited series and select seasons of shows like Ozark, The Crown, The Boys, and Bridgerton. The camera body alone starts at $49,000.


For a look at the cameras used on this years Oscar nominated films, swipe through this list or check out the article.

For more gear tips and advice, check out these articles:

Cover image via IMDb.

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