There are a lot of great cameras for filmmakers to put on their wishlist - the RED Scarlet-X, the Canon C-300, the Canon 5d Mark III.  Now a small outfit with a classic brand name has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new digital cinema camera - the Digital Bolex D16.  The initial specs are quite juicy, and at a planned street price of $3300 ($2500 if you "pre-order" it through the Kickstarter campaign) this item aims to make many people's wishlists.  What does the footage look like, and what are the specs?  Check it out:

This is a trailer for the very first short shot on a D16 prototype:

With a Super 16mm mode that offers 2048X1152 resolution, 12 bit color depth, and raw outputs into Adobe Cinema DNG, TIFF, JPEG image sequences, along with XLR inputs, the camera has great potential.  Now, how is it that they plan to offer these features at such a low price point?  As part of an excellent interview by Philip Bloom, product designer Joe Rubinstein explains:

"The secret behind this is that it's actually technologically, electronically, simpler than a 5d Mark III.  Because it doesn't have any of the stuff in it that does all the compression and everything.  It's what I'm calling technologically transparent -- meaning, it's lens to sensor, sensor to storage, and the camera really doesn't affect the image at all [...] I want to make a camera that is as hands off the image as possible.  So it's more like 16mm film, the way it would be lens straight to film [...] So that's the goal [...]  Let people play with the raw images that their sensors make."

The sensitivity of the sensor allows for ISO equivalents of 100, 200 and 400.  That may not seem like a lot, but Rubinstein explains that because you have roughly 12 stops worth of latitude, its ISO 400 will yield a sensitivity closer or greater to the 800 ISO on your average HDSLR.

That's pretty cool.  Of course, it's also pretty hypothetical.  Personally, I'm not a gambling man, so it would take a bit more for me to drop $2500 dollars on a camera that still only exists as a prototype, no matter how enticing the specs.  Hopefully they will release actual raw files that show how the camera responds in a variety of light conditions.  But I think with the Bolex company behind them, and an experienced camera manufacturer as their partner, there is a good chance this will work as promised.  This time-lapse footage does look pretty great:

Philip Bloom seems to be sold -- he has already placed his pre-order, and as he says at the end of his interview, "If it does what it says on the tin, [they] have a winner there".

Here are the full specs:


Resolution2048 x 1152 (Super 16mm mode) + 1920 x 1080 pixels (16mm mode)
FormatAdobe Cinema DNG, TIFF, JPEG Image sequences
Colour depth12 bit – 4:4:4
File size2 to 3 MB per frame in RAW
SensorKodak CCD: 12.85 mm (H) x 9.64 mm (V) – Similar to Super 16mm
Pixel Size5.5 micron (compared to the 4.3 micron size of many DSLRs)
Framerateup to 32 fps at 2K, 60fps at 720p, 90 fps at 480p
SoundBalanced, 2 channel, 16 bit, 48 kHz via XLR
Viewfinder320×240, 2.4” diagonal, with Focus Assist
Video out640 x 480 B&W via ⅛” video jack (HD-SDI avail in separate unit)
Ports⅛” video, headphone, USB 3.0, Audio XLR (2), 4-PIN XLR
Data StorageDual CF card slots, SSD (buffer drive)
PowerInternal battery, 12V External via 4 pin XLR port
BodyMilled steel and hard plastic
Size (body)Approximately 5”H (without pistol grip) by 4”W by 8”D
Size (grip)5”H by 2”W by 5”D
Lens mountC-mount comes standard; Optional PL, EF, B4
ISO Options100, 200, 400
Also in the boxpistol grip, USB 3.0 cable, internal battery, 4 pin XLR Battery, cable, video cable, transcoder/raw conversion software

For more information check these links out:

[via Philip Bloom]