April 16, 2015 at 9:19AM

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Digital Bolex Price

After months of research and debating, I've finally decided that I'm going to make the Digital Bolex my next camera upgrade. However, for the price point, there is now a lot more stiff competition facing the D16 in terms of specs and image quality (especially with the Blackmagic upgrade to the URSA Mini) than there was when the camera first released over two years ago, and the camera's base price has never changed.

I'd love to buy this camera today, but I'd hate to purchase something that is about to see a significant price drop. I haven't been well-versed in the camera market for very long, so there might be no reason for my hesitation. Should I wait, or should I stop whining and just buy the damn thing?

Thanks!

3 Comments

I'd wait. I was in the same predicament, but Blackmagic has a very similar and wonderful image for a lower price. That Bolex is one very cool camera, though. Of course depends what you'll be shooting. I favored the prores codecs and more options for what I'll be shooting.

April 23, 2015 at 1:10PM, Edited April 23, 1:10PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
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I checked into the camera alot, but to use it, you are forced to edit on a Mac and there is no way I will do that, then I have to buy all new lenses. Like most cameras the price is deceiving in that you have to buy all this stuff to make it work and at this stage is too rich for my blood. They are a crowd funded company and so it remains to be seen if they will go into ongoing production. If you have the money and if you like the image and can afford new lenses etc and have a Mac computer and like using it I see no problem with buying one. However like over 90% of the world I use a PC and am not interested in it.

May 27, 2015 at 1:01PM

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I've followed the development of this camera from the beginning. At one point, I was also planning on making it my next upgrade. Now that it's been out for a while and the competition is getting pretty thick, as you say, here are my thoughts:

First, I do not foresee a price drop for this camera. The company behind it is simply too small. They basically have to hand-finish every camera (though maybe that's changing). Too much time and money is invested in the product to cut the prices now. I'm pretty sure they're still not a profitable company yet. I could be wrong! But I think that's one thing you don't have to worry about.

The image is incredible. Sure, it "only" has 12 stops of dynamic range (about as much as most 16mm film stocks), but the color is amazing--deep and rich. And the motion is great. That global shutter really helps. In this regard, I really think the only competitors are Arri and Blackmagic (Red's color doesn't stand up). Obviously the Alexa's and Amira's are a bit out of reach, which just leaves the Blackmagic cameras.

I love the BM image. The color is so nice, so flexible and natural. I think it's as close to Alexa as anyone. What I can't stand are the cameras themselves. Every single one of them besides the Ursa needs to be jimmy-rigged to make it production-ready. The pocket and BMCC have terrible rolling shutter. The BM4K has awful noise issues. The only contender, in my book, is the Ursa. It has a global shutter, the color is great. It has tons of features in a shoot-ready body. The only challenge with the Ursa is the size and weight (you'll need a lot of support for that camera) and the dynamic range. From what I've seen, it's pretty unforgiving.

Now, the Digital Bolex is also fickle. You have to know what you're doing to get that DR out of it. It's an odd shape for a camera. It will also need to be jimmy-rigged a bit to work. And worst of all, I follow the FB group pretty closely still, and it's about once a week that someone posts about a camera lock-up or freezing issue that they can't resolve. People are constantly sending their camera back to the manufacturer for repairs. And the glitches don't show any signs of letting up.

In the end, that's why I wouldn't purchase one. The camera just isn't stable enough. It's coming from a young, under-staffed company that can't seem to stay on top of everything. Hopefully that changes, but I can't afford to risk it.

If I were going to buy a camera in the same price range ($3K-$6K), I would honestly purchase a Canon C100. Either model is great, depending on what you need. Yes, the image isn't nearly as cinematic, but that little body solves so many problems before they even start. You don't need nearly the accessories to work with it. I own a Scarlet, and I'm still checking the classifieds for a good deal on a C100 every day.

If you're really after the cinematic color and image, no matter the hassle or cost, I recommend the Blackmagic pocket. It's the cheapest one but has the best image quality combined with the most consistent performance--without having to get heavy-duty support.

Don't hold your breath for the Ursa Mini 4.6K. They still haven't figured out how to get the software to write to CFast. You probably wouldn't get one until next Spring. And even then, it's going to cost $10K to get everything you need to shoot.

September 7, 2015 at 1:23AM, Edited September 7, 1:23AM

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Kenneth Merrill
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