April 30, 2016

Digital Bolex Adds 2TB D16 Model & Hints at New Mount

Digital Bolex debuts a 2TB model of their vintage-inspired 2K camera.

While most cameras rely on media cards for their recording, Digital Bolex is doubling down on offering internal recording on their 16mm Digital Bolex cameras. The internal SSD was originally intended as a buffer for the available CF slots on the camera, but the designers saw the benefits in expanding the internal drive space to accommodate other shooting conditions. A 2TB drive will hold up to 6 hours of 2K (2048x1152) 12bit CinemaDNG footage and 8 hours of HD. They also hinted at an upcoming mount which they weren't allowed to reveal explicitly, but will most likely be Canon EF. They've also revamped the white balance settings. There is a deal for $1000 off when buying a 1TB MFT Mount Digital Bolex with a Wooden Camera cage, but act fast because the sale ends today, April 30th.

Digital Bolex also went into detail about their Grant for Women Cinematographers, a gear grant worth about $10,000 in camera and lighting equipment for any production with a female cinematographer. The grant evaluates applicants on a rolling basis throughout the year and is limited to 21 days of gear. Find out more here.

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2016 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel, Shutterstock, and Blackmagic Design.

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2016 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel, Shutterstock, and Blackmagic Design.

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Your Comment

7 Comments

I followed development of this camera in the early days and did see the Andrew Reid and Philip Bloom reviews, but was interested in any further advice.

1) I heard about the odd production problem in the beginning, but hope those are in the past, so is the hardware quality generally reliable out of the box?
2) What exactly is the lowdown on "magenta cast" and how does one deal with it ?
3) Does Bolex behave well with a Speedbooster ?
4) Lowlight is not a particular strength, but does anyone have any real world knowledge ?
5) What is a good Windows workflow ?

I understand the sensor has a beautiful organic look with zero rolling shutter artefact, but image has to be really coaxed. The only other concerns I have are that an original Bolex could in theory be found in the grandfather's loft and still be good to go, but the internal SSD and battery on the Digital Bolex camera may compromise the robustness and longevity. It's odd because I want to see what the Canon 5D Mk4 has in only a few months, but a part of me just wants to throw caution to the wind and see if I can handle this "wacky" camera with some older FD glass. Any insights at all are welcome, thanks.

May 1, 2016 at 12:05PM, Edited May 1, 12:16PM

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Saied M.
1073

1. Probably. The real issue is when the box will arrive. You'll be told multiple times that it's got a launch date, then that date will pass. It is what it is. They seem incapable of waiting until products are ready before announcing them, and invariably don't deliver on time. If this is the camera for you and you don't get your hopes up based on what's promised but are satisfied by what you already have you'll be okay.
2. Supposedly it is mostly gone. Dealing with it (assuming it's still there) involves shooting around it and some node work in post.
3. Yes.
4. Yes.
5. Most people use Resolve for most of the color work with it, since it's light years better than the software the camera comes with.

The sensor has a definite look, and you either like it or you don't. No rolling shutter is great in certain circumstances, and can be a big deal for a lot of people. If those are things that appeal to you and you're willing to work with it's quirks, this is a good camera for you. If not you'll probably find it frustrating.

May 5, 2016 at 8:18PM

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1. Yes. And cameras ship within 1 week, and have since end of 2014. For the last year and a half, all products we have announced (Rubber Skin, Monitor Hood, 1TB camera, etc.) have been released on schedule. In 2013 and 2014, when we were ramping up our production facility, delivery was slow, but we haven't had any issues with delivery times since 2014, as we had some policy changes in December of that year which has lead to much more accurate announcements. We are also required to ship quickly to fulfill orders to our many resellers, including B&H Photo and Adorama.
2. Magenta is gone as of firmware released in February 2016.
3. Yes - I recommend the FB user group where you can ask for many people's experiences. The camera goes up to 800 ISO, which solves many low-light situations (and there is no fixed pattern noise like some other cameras) other situations could be resolved simply by using a faster lens, which are plentifully available in s16mm.
4. Most people use Resolve, a smaller group uses Adobe CC. The software that comes with the camera is for transcoding only.

I can tell Colin, though attempting to be helpful, isn't necessarily on top of what's going on over at DB, so I encourage you to check out the FB user group if you or any other reader is curious about the state of the DB. - L

May 6, 2016 at 9:52PM

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Elle Schneider
Director/Director of Photography
27

Things most certainly have not shipped on time.

How about the firmware, Elle? Seems like that was announced every month for 6 months before finally surfacing, and what was finally delivered didn't have all of the promised features.

Or the Kish lenses, which were almost as late as the cameras? Those didn't actually ship until around this time last year.

True, the leather lens case and third-party cheese plate introduced since then have all shipped on time. Good job. Significant things (firmware, lenses, cameras) all seem to run on their own schedule.

The OP probably already knows this, but if not, Elle works for DB. While she will loudly disagree, I and many camera owners have been disappointed in the company's ability to deliver in a timely manner. This is a simple fact that can be confirmed on their forum, and it's worth pointing out so that nobody is disappointed.

All of that said, if you like this camera as it exists, you're in good shape. If you like it but things that aren't there are a deal breaker, you might want to consider a different camera.

There is no perfect camera, this one included.

May 7, 2016 at 8:18PM

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Yep! I work for DB! I thought the "we" up there would have given it away if it weren't clear. :)

As I posted before, we made some internal changes at the end of 2014 because of the very delays you've brought up, and specifically because of the lateness of the Kish lenses.

As a very young company in 2014, we were just beginning to learn the balancing act between letting eager users know what's coming soon in the pipeline, and finding the right time in the manufacturing process to allow sales to begin, which is a common issue that faces any new/scaling company, and even some larger, more established companies.

Speaking for us, we have made a huge effort since the end of 2014 to curb preemptive announcements, and that is reflected in delivery times and officially posted news in 2015 and 2016, which has gotten more and more accurate. I can confidently say that our products do ship on time, and cameras ship in 7 days or less, but yes, it took a year on the market and some frustration to get there.

While we are pretty transparent about what's coming up in the pipeline firmware-wise, we shy away from hard release dates on new firmware or specific features, because programming and bug-solving takes a sometimes unknowable amount of time. So far we've released 7 free firmware updates and patches in the last 2 years, approximately one every 3 months since the camera was released, and will release the next later this month. We listen very closely to our user base on the forum and the unofficial FB user group, and implement as many new features as we can as fast as we can.

Our user community is a surprisingly positive, insightful, and helpful group, and I suggest anyone interested in shooting raw check it out.

May 8, 2016 at 12:48AM

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Elle Schneider
Director/Director of Photography
27

Can't wait until 2020 when both of these are finally actually really available!

May 5, 2016 at 7:58PM

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I've got a Digital Bolex in my drybox. If anyone wants it, ping me and I'll let you have it for $100.

May 5, 2016 at 8:59PM, Edited May 5, 8:59PM

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Noel Rodrigues
Creative Director
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