Digital Bolex's Low-Light Ability Tested, and the Results Might Surprise You
For the past several weeks, footage from the Digital Bolex D16 has slowly but surely been making its way around the web. So far we’ve seen that the D16′s RAW footage is eminently gradable, and that the skin tones are on par with, if not better than any other digital cinema cameras like the Digital Bolex. Now we’ve got the first low-light shots from the D16. Despite the fact that the camera maxes out at 400 ISO, these tests might just surprise you:
First and foremost it should be mentioned that the Digital Bolex D16 is NOT meant to be a low-light camera. Its sensor size and internal processing prevent it from going head to head with some of its Super35 brethren, such as the FS100, in the category of low-light performance. However, the Digital Bolex is a RAW camera, and the amount of detail that can be pulled from the shadows is pretty incredible. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out the video for yourselves.
Here are the first nighttime tests of the D16. These were shot at 400 ISO with a vintage 25mm lens. All shots were pushed heavily in post, some as much as a few stops from the original exposure.
Although I can’t say I’m a fan of the grade on some of these shots, it’s impossible to deny how impressively the D16 handles itself at night with only available light. The noise in the dark portions of the images is barely noticeable in most cases, even after being brought up by several stops in post.
And even though the noise itself doesn’t appear to be particularly filmic (in a sense that it doesn’t look like film grain), the grain itself is still aesthetically pleasing, at least to my eye.
Of course, the D16 will never become your go-to low light camera, because it simply isn’t designed for that type of work. However, it’s nice to know that if you find yourself in a bind, and you can’t produce more light or use faster lenses, the D16 and the crazy amount of detail in the shadows might just be your saving grace.
What do you guys think? Are you surprised at how malleable the D16′s RAW image is? Would you consider using it in low-light situations based on these tests? Let us know in the comments!