April 9, 2014

Digital Bolex Announces PL Mount for D16; Goes on Sale Next Month for $995

Yesterday at NAB, Digital Bolex announced their new native B&W camera, the D16M, and today, they have another treat to reveal to fans of the vintage inspired D16 digital cinema camera. Digital Bolex has just announced that the D16 now has a PL mounting option, giving filmmakers more latitude to use professional quality PL lenses to capture the images that work for their projects.

Up until now, the default lens mount for Digital Bolex's D16 digital camera came with a  C mount. The aim was to really capture the design of the original Bolex 16mm film cameras, allowing filmmakers to use vintage 16mm and Super 16mm lenses, but the PL mount will take the D16 up a notch. The DB team has been working on a PL mount option for quite a while, and in their blog post, they explain where the decision to include a PL mount came from:

Since we began our project in 2011, cinematographers have been telling us that to them the difference between a hobbyist camera and a professional cinema camera is the ability to use PL lenses. We agree with this sentiment and made creating an interchangeable PL mount our first priority. We’re happy that our PL mount is finally completed and on display at the Switonix booth at this year’s convention.

Take a closer look at the PL mount, designed by Hot Rod Cameras.

DB PL Mount underside

The PL mount is shimmable. Hot Rod Cameras can install the mount and shim it for you if you ship your D16 to them (or bring it in if you're in L.A.). A little bit more information about the mount was available in a DB forum thread:

The D16 has back focus adjustment, but to protect the integrity of the camera Joe does not want that to be a user adjustment. [The] PL mount is being engineered for the D16 as a dedicated mount, not an adapter --

They go on sale next month for $995 exclusively through the Digital Bolex and Hot Rod Cameras' websites. If you're a Kickstarter backer, the DB team will be sending you more information prior to the release date if you're interested in one.

Be sure to keep up to date with the most current NAB news as we're constantly updating.

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Your Comment

17 Comments

Sorry not to sound ignorant. Is the camera $995 or is it just the PL mount $995?

April 9, 2014 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CC

That's for the mount.

April 9, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

Looks like they might not go on sale next month: http://www.digitalbolex.com/forum/lenses-and-accessories/sorry-to-insist...

Perhaps this was a fluke, but one user who's tried the mount at Hot Rod says that it wouldn't mount properly because of a screw sticking out. Apparently the prototype that Hot Rod had didn't match this person's camera. It could be a fluke, could be something they'll fix before next month, but it does sound like a serious issue.

April 9, 2014 at 6:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

The Hot Rod PL mount exists, but all of the key people are at NAB, so give it a moment.

April 9, 2014 at 7:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PL

It exists, and it fits the prototype that Hot Rod were given to measure to. Just not a D16 that was presumably the more standard production model.

I don't know what the issue is, and it may be an easy fix. Or manufacturing may not have started (hopefully for all involved). Either way, it seems likely that it will take more than a month to fix.

April 9, 2014 at 7:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

There is nothing to fix. Whoever told you that probably tried last year's prototype mount on a production model camera so yeah, not gonna fit. This is finito and we could put it on sale and ship today but we're catering to KS backers first.

April 9, 2014 at 9:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Elle

I hope you're right, Elle, but it was a camera user on your forum. Perhaps you should follow up with him.

April 9, 2014 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

There is nothing to fix with the PL mount. It works and I have handled it personally at the HRC store in Hollywood store. I have one on order and will get it once things settle down after NAB. Those are the facts, not rumors.

April 10, 2014 at 12:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PL

Read my post on the Bolex forum, again. This time, slowly.

I never said that there was anything wrong with the HRC PL mount and was very clear about that.

What I did say was that on MY camera an internal screw was protruding about 1mm inside the body, allowing ME to not be able to attach the PL adapter on to MY camera.

It fits perfectly on the production camera that HRC was provided by Bolex. The screw in my camera has nothing to do with the mount that HRC made.

My camera will be corrected as soon as everyone returns from NAB. Then I will attach the PL mount and shoot.

April 10, 2014 at 12:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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That guy

Thanks for clarifying that the problem is unique to your camera, that guy. I wouldn't be so bold as to suggest that a production camera that allows for that kind of variance will work in every other situation, but time will tell. I hope it really is just your camera, though.

April 10, 2014 at 12:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

The damn camera should already have a PL mount. C mount?!? C'mon.

April 9, 2014 at 7:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

A good PL mount is not a trivial thing to manufacture and would have driven up the cost of the base camera body significantly.

Also if they shipped it with a PL, everyone would be complaining that they can't you their F, EF, M43 and c-mount lenses. PL glass is vastly more expensive and the majority of people buying this camera do not have pockets that deep. But they do have to have the option for the high end shooters.

With the interchangeable front end everyone gets their choice. Personally I would have liked to have seen a PS Technik IMS mount, but they are also very expensive.

April 9, 2014 at 7:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PL

It's a Bolex. That means it must be compatible with C-mount, by law I'm pretty sure ;)

April 9, 2014 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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In the meantime, I got three nice c-mount lenses, among them an Angenieux 12-120, for a price that would allow me to buy something like the Peleng PL mount converted. Well, more or less. I could not afford a camera system that uses PL mount lenses.

April 10, 2014 at 6:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

1000 for a PL mount? Way to spendy. Oh and I thought 4K for Netflix wasn't coming for 20 years... Whoops http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26957001

Shame it to long to make a camera to have it release and be behind the curve already.

April 12, 2014 at 9:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hayden

People don't listen. I have been with the cheap HD+ digital cinema camera developments from the beginning (the sd Andromeda project just reaching hd pixel shift potential at the time). I've been part of putting direct input into the success of a number of commercial cameras. Usually only projects that fail don't listen. I knew that this very credible camera was in for a rough ride, and it was priced high for the resolution. I look at the longterm, what is possible and what could be available, by the time the camera comes out. The real cost of volume manufacture to get an idea of how little the competition can charge, and how much they might be willing to do in competition. The feature and performance list and design, how balanced the design is. Importantly the volume and suitability of, and marketing to, the target and likely markets Etc All basic stuff a CEO and team has to look at. That is why this camera is now so cheap. because the inevitable competition from a true competitor that has forced it. But the problem is that this design is meant to appeal to fans of a particular camera who are already aging and a limited number of buyers, and styling and marketing has to target a bigger audience to maintain volumes. So putting this in the hands of a reviewer to compare real filming style to a BMD pocket is a start, and exploiting real sentiment for the real use of the camera against the competition in marketing is desirable, going as far up the price chain of competing cameras as possible to show real benefit. You might not be able to burn more expensive cameras to rubble. but you can burn their britches and live off the ashes. Reshape, redesign for more market next time, like a Porshe or Ferrari, you can keep some of the styling cues but update it. The biggest market is prosumer and consumer, make it multi-mode to also handle for the elite consumer and video etc markets. You can make it multi-grip positions, different handles, different auto or push to auto set controls. Just go and buy $5000-$6000 prosuner ultra HD Sony's, JVC's and Panasonic's, and expensive professional Eng cameras and SLR's even, and spend time learning what they have and how they work and feel, even for months, and take the best away from them and leave the rest (there will be a number of features not competitive compared to the other cameras). These companies have probably spent ten of thousands of hours on ergonomics of their handling work flows over the decades and it is there for you to learn from, even that Sub $1000 JVC high frame rate prosumer camcorder.

Now the competition, they maybe able to produce their competing camera for half the price. I've looked into my own design for $100 as a consumer camera for large volume production, with professional quality modes years ago. I am considering wherever to partner with a company to produce some of my designs. So don't take the competitions price for granted. The big brands are looking at holographic cameras, so this 2D stuff can drop off the cliff in price eventually. Holographic cinema screens are possible.

Now the PL mount thing, nice. But use whatever mounts that sells the most cameras to satisfied customers. If the average high end cinematographer was serious why not just buy a Dragon Scarlet or Epic. A thousand dollar camera might attract people who like thousand dollars lenses.

Now as far as reducing costs go, why not join with Axiom to use their open source hardware eventually. After all you are mainly about providing a flavour of camera, a common processing platform reduces costs, unless a commodity platform is already used. If a number of manufacturers joined together, a common processing platform could be batched manufactured cheaply near cost, giving a common target for sensor certification eventually. Just customise what you use with it and the software. As far as costs go, it is the other end of town we have to complete with.

April 19, 2014 at 2:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne M

Just went over and reviewed it (being paying attention to limited brands recently). Surprised at the resolution is still the same for that price.

April 19, 2014 at 2:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne M