October 30, 2013

D16 Camera from Digital Bolex Could Be Released in Just a Few Weeks

It's been a long and tough road for the team over at Digital Bolex, and while they would be the first to tell you that they would have loved for the product to be out and about already, nothing with camera design is easy or simple, and each project faces its own challenges and difficulties. Even RED, with their many millions of dollars spent on development of the DRAGON sensor, has only delivered a small number of finished cameras, most of which are not in the hands of regular users, but instead are being used on huge productions like Transformers and David Fincher's new film Gone Girl. Either way, the D16 project is very, very close to completion, with locked calibration and firmware coming in the next few weeks.

In a blog post over on the Digital Bolex site, Joe and Elle mentioned when we can expect the first cameras to be released, and also posted some photos of the completed paint job and metal work on the camera:

While there were vast improvements with this new generation of parts, there were a few  problems here and there. Luckily the problems are with smaller parts, and don’t affect the functionality, but we want to get everything right on a cosmetic level for our first 100 cameras. There will be a slight delay to produce a new batch, but the good news is, it is a short delay and we are confident we can deliver cameras in the coming weeks, to stay on target of the six weeks ballpark we announced the last week of September.

They have also been hard at work trying to get the camera much closer to a proper color calibration in post. Even though the camera is RAW, some settings still need to be applied to the image in order to see it and begin working with it. They're going to have Tungsten, Daylight, and Fluorescent settings in camera, and those will be much closer to white balanced now when you bring them in post. Here is the before and after of Tungsten calibration:

They've also been tweaking with the HDMI output, making sure that the exposure seen on the display more closely matches what you might see when you begin processing it. Finally, audio has now been implemented, and eventually it will be able to go up to 24-bit and 96K, which means with its solid pre-amps, you'll be able to get fantastic audio recording directly in-camera. You can listen to a sample over on their post.

The biggest thing that is exciting about the camera is that it's not another piece of plastic junk that's going to be obsolete in a year or two when a better model comes. Even though the D16 has a small sensor that won't quite compete in extreme l0w-light with cameras that are slightly more expensive and have larger sensors, it's going to be something that will stick around and take a beating on a real set. The metal housing is built to last, and RAW recording means you'll always be able to go back and remaster however you'd like. It might have taken them a while to get to this point, but they are making the best possible camera they can make, rather than a half-baked product that will be replaced in 6 months.

It looks like we'll be getting to see the real thing sometime before the end of the year, but in the meantime you can check out more of the process over on the Digital Bolex site.

Link: October Update; Mechanicals, Calibration, and Sound! -- Digital Bolex Blog

Your Comment

56 Comments

This makes me so happy. I've got nothing but love for Joe, Elle, and their whole team, and I can't wait to get my hands on one of these cameras.

October 30, 2013 at 7:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4510

Agreed, it's looking great.

October 30, 2013 at 8:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I can't bring myself to taking this cam seriously. I know a lot of people are excited by this... toy, but I'm a pro, so I need pro gear.

October 30, 2013 at 8:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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FabDex

I'm not sure what's "non-pro" about shooting RAW with a completely metal housing and interchangeable lens mounts. Oh, and the ability to record 24-bit 96K if you want it. Those are not toy features. Which $3,000 camera from Sony and Canon can do that?

October 30, 2013 at 8:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

well, fabdex only shoots film of course

October 30, 2013 at 9:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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francis

Psshhhhhh, film is so main stream. I shoot on fruit by the foot.

October 31, 2013 at 12:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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That_Guy

FadDex I think has a point. It takes more than raw and a metal housing (and frankly what camera's don't have a metal housing?) to make it a pro camera. I'm not saying people wont make professional projects with it, but as a device how reliable is it? Do we know yet? Does it have gunlock, colour bars, whats the file management and review like? Focus assist options? Multiple zebra's or just one? Assignable buttons? Ergonomics?

All that stuff that makes working with a camera on a day to day basis easy.

October 31, 2013 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Predictive text turned genlock into gunlock...

November 1, 2013 at 7:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Sounds like you are a douche, so you need douche gear. Did you even read the specs? I doubt you can answer Joe's question, Legs....you have none to stand

October 30, 2013 at 8:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Alan

Nothing wrong with douching. Makes things smell better.

October 30, 2013 at 8:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hugo

Haha epic

October 31, 2013 at 2:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Previous posts of yours also seem to troll hate on the camera. Why ? Since you claim to be a pro, could you give your real name on this occasion please ? What is your current project and what camera are you using ?

October 30, 2013 at 8:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Saied

How is it a toy ? It seems like a good achievement to me.

October 30, 2013 at 9:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Saied

So, with their Raw implementation, they are aiming to be a cinema oriented camera? 2K for $3K or so?
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It's a tough market niche to be in. The big boys have the economies of scale in their favor and a huge advantage in R&D. This is the soon to be released 4K Sony Z-100 ($5,500) camcorder footage -
[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyBzdzD3v5E ]

October 30, 2013 at 8:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

They are not trying to make tens of thousands of cameras, but the big thing about this camera is the sensor size and lens compatibility. Put lenses on it from 50 years ago, or cheap $100 C-mount lenses that still look great. As interesting as I think those Sony cameras are, that's really an Apples to Oranges comparison.

October 30, 2013 at 8:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

Well, of the moderately priced digital cinema equipment - the low end/1080P pro niche will probably go to the Pocket Cam for the time being ($999, including the DV Junior). Aside of BMD's 2.5K Cinema Camera, the $2K market is almost entirely obsolete now (7D, D600/610, GH3) in terms of the processing power and resolution. DB is aiming at the $3K range, which will go head to head with the 5D, Alpha 99 and D800 replacements, as well as the probable VG900 and FS-100 Sony upgrades, plus whatever Canon and Panasonic camcorder lines will provide. Considering that we're two months away from the CES, I'd wait before making a purchase.
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BTW, GH3 was spotted on sale for $799 today. This has to be a sign of something better to come.

October 30, 2013 at 9:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

While I haven't had a chance to work with the DB yet, I can say that the Pocket Cam fills a different niche, even if both of them can take Super 16mm lenses. The DB is more suited to a film production out of the box, and the Pocket Cam is easier to carry with you and fit into small places.

I think people need to look at what they really need, but the Digital Bolex, while priced near those cameras you mentioned, is neither a replacement nor a competitor. They all have their positives and negatives, but I'd say that the DB is not a camera to replace anything. It fills a specific need, and if you don't already know why you'd want to use one, then it may not be for you.

October 30, 2013 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I see this cam as being somewhat like those great old Super 8 cams - easy to pop a lens on it, hold it to your eye, and start shooting - great ease of use! And the picture will be better -

October 31, 2013 at 1:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ed Wright

"They are not trying to make tens of thousands of cameras"

That is apparent.

October 30, 2013 at 10:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

October 30, 2013 at 8:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Will

that footage looked horrible.....seriously...I hope no body pay that amount of money for that camera......and about the bolex I think is getting really interesting....

October 30, 2013 at 9:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jesuan

I keep reading they haven't taken the time to make a quality grade with any footage yet. We do need to see what the camera is capable of after a good effort with post grading is done. We shouldn't have to keep reading it will look better after grading. Show it. They shouldn't just talk. Show the footage straight from the camera. And take the time to grade it and show it too.

October 30, 2013 at 10:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

I was talking about that footage posted from the Sony Z100....DB footage looks awesome....and if you refer to the footage from sony...I don't think any post will help to avoid that consumer video look.

October 30, 2013 at 10:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jesuan

To little to late..... RIP: Bolex

October 30, 2013 at 9:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tim

If you cannot use a GH2, this camera will be a decent alternative i suppose.

- Norm Rasner

October 30, 2013 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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XML

Is there a way to carry it on your shoulder?

October 30, 2013 at 10:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

For some early adapters it will come with a capuchin that can keep it in place

October 30, 2013 at 10:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

LOL

But, for it to be on your shoulder it looks like you'll have to have some kind of this, and some kind of that, and something else, to be able to carry it around all day on your shoulder instead of holding it up to your eye in front of you. It will go beyond $3000.00.

October 30, 2013 at 11:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

:)
It looks like a light camera, maybe it doesn't need a full rig. But you're right. Those rigs can certainly add up the cost not to mention weight. It would be interesting to see them retrofit a gimbal stabilizer.

October 31, 2013 at 5:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

A Zacuto Universal base plate will be a good fit for the DB, and they regularly go for under $200 used. Almost any shoulder pad designed to attach to 15mm rods will work with that base plate.

October 31, 2013 at 1:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marc B

Sounds like a comfortable system. I really like this camera. For $3000, you get excellent pre-amps, nice form factor and if it comes close the ikonostop $10,000 beast, it'll be a steal. I think Joe and Eli really paid attention to getting the best color out of this camera. I wish them well

October 31, 2013 at 1:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

with 24-bit and 96K sound ( I don't know sound ), will that be cinema quality sound if mixed and captured correctly or is there a device I should prefer to use on my shoots instead?

October 30, 2013 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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VinceGortho

It honestly depends on the quality of the preamps. A lot of recorders can do 24bit/96khz, in the same way a lot of cameras can record at 1080p.

October 31, 2013 at 3:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Alex

RAW is great, but if somebody will come up with several quick "filmic" presets (in-camera or in post), it's gonna sell like hot pockets in hipster circles. Basically, take raw data and put it through "hipstagram" processing. For me FilmConvert is enough, take that nice beach footage and apply film stock filter with s16 grain. It looks organic, if the word still means something.

October 31, 2013 at 12:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Natt

I think "filmic" and "grain" mean more to those predominately shoot that those who predominately watch.

I still think that once the 6K Red Dragon is seen by the general population that "filmic", for all intents and purposes, will be a goner. Not dead, but used rarely.

October 31, 2013 at 12:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Most people don't even know what's shot on what. I don't think anyone will be sending letters to the studios demanding more films shot on a Dragon.

October 31, 2013 at 6:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kenneth

I dont expect they would. But the difference is clear to movie makers as the response to the Red Dragon by movie makers who saw it shows.

October 31, 2013 at 10:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

People can see a difference in picture quality. They are not stupid.

October 31, 2013 at 10:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Learn how to color grade

October 31, 2013 at 3:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Pro vs not pro, looks great or looks like shit. I just can't seem to bring myself to care about this camera. Too much camera shit. Every day there seems to be a new camera or sensor or some other thing. I only care what people do with them.

I put my vote in for interesting stories about people who have made something interesting, you know like a film or a short or a doc.

Just my two cents as I watch a render bar inch across the screen...

October 31, 2013 at 2:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Allan

I love nothing more than to create better video content with my T3i than others do with full RED setups. It really warms my soul to see the guys that say "filmed with RED" and put 10 minutes into the actual concept direction.

October 31, 2013 at 4:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ryan

Yes, there is too much worship of tech and not enough attention paid to content, which in my humble opinion, is everything. A RED may be nice, but it cannot substitute for a lack of talent - perhaps people buy these cams because they're insecure - owning a RED does not make anyone a "Pro". A real pro can make a great film with even the smallest and cheapest of cams - just look at what Phillip Bloom can do -

October 31, 2013 at 1:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ed Wright

I agree to some degree. A seasoned pro relys heavily upon their equiptment to bring the best image to the customer. It's a really competive market, talent will always prevail however if the talented camera person doesn't have what they need to pull a decent shot they won't work. Yes a Red will make talented directors work A) easier and B) prettier than the talented camera person using a Canon 5d. So yes for some it doesn't matter what they shoot on, and if they're a no talent of course it won't matter what they use. For a working pro it matters. We all know there's no perfect camera so to have a tool such as this D16 in your arsenal should only raise the stakes, It's nice being able to offer different high quality looks to a client.

October 31, 2013 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

Its just these kinds of websites. They spend all of their time talking about new gear and none of their time talking about the actual craft and process of filmmaking.

October 31, 2013 at 3:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

I thought we were over hearing the whole "its what you do with it and not the camera" speech... There is nothing wrong with discussing the merits of the gear we do and don't use.

October 31, 2013 at 7:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I will be purchasing a new camera soon. I will look for a few days online and read reviews and watch sample footage. Then I will buy the one that fits my needs best. This will be on the list to compare to the others. If something else is better in the 3-4k price range, that is what I will purchase. Simple as that. Is this not the way everyone goes about the purchasing process? I have to be honest the DB has to fit into a very specific niche it seems.

October 31, 2013 at 4:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ryan

A great project. The only thing that I questioned was the use of the crank handle! I will be using one fr sure. Not sure how/ if it copes w timecode but look at ikonoskop, same sensor family, this is a very credible image maker.
Totally pro too

October 31, 2013 at 5:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dom green

You should never use an X-Rite "Macbeth" ColorChecker chart as they meant for the print industry and aren't truly designed for video use. For real color accuracy you need a DSC Labs chart, and here's why: http://provideocoalition.com/aadams/story/what-good-is-a-macbeth-colorch...

October 31, 2013 at 8:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Razor

That was a bit too complicated for me to understand, but isn't that article about normal video, and hence, inter alia how to get to the Rec.709 colour space? The D16 is not confined to that. It is a cinema camera with a much bigger colour space.

October 31, 2013 at 10:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thyl Engelhardt

Re: a larger color space is not an issue... a vectorscope can be used for Rec 709 and higher. The issue is that an X-Rite will not line up on a vectorscope for color correction in video. So trying to use the D16 with an X-Rite chart shows a lack of knowledge on their part.

November 1, 2013 at 10:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Razor

And, sheerly by coincident, Ikan is releasing a rig designed to look like a "classic Bolex" (in other words, it's a handle that holds the plate that holds the DSLR/mirrorless size camera).

October 31, 2013 at 1:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

WOW! I'm still using my Nizo 8oos Super8 camera, K3 Super 16mm and my CP16. I love to still shoot film. I guess it's cheaper for me to keep my film cameras that work then to invest again in digital. I bought the Panasonic AG-DVX when they came out. $3999.99 and made my money back in video productions. But I have never paid that much on digital since then. Good luck with the Digital Bolex guys. It sounds good and promising. I had a real wind up Bolex in the early 90s. Loved it.

November 1, 2013 at 3:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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FlopFilm

In the days they used big Arris there have been people working on 16mm or S16. The resolution mantra is used by tech gurus, never producing anything. It has been this way since decades. Workflow is the most important thing. On any photo doing film the wokflow is just horrible. On any "box" with a lens from the industrial cam market the same. To put decent electronic with a rolling shutter in a box, glue a lens adapter to the front is a quick job. They jump on a niche, tech gurus are crying for, just to play with. Like linux, just playing with, but sticking all day to windows. It is like the photo market. If you are in fashion you need a camera with two cards to write on. There are not many, workflow rulez

November 1, 2013 at 1:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Sarah

I'm curious, what other global shutter video cameras are out there in this price range?

November 1, 2013 at 8:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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trackofalljades

Bmcc 4k

November 1, 2013 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Greg egan

Its not out there yet. Not till we've at least see actual footage from it.

November 2, 2013 at 8:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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