Bolex International has leveled the digital cinema playing field with the announcement of the Bolex D16, the first digital camera from the 200 year-old Swiss company whose 16mm and 8mm cameras dominated the international
consumer marketplace from the 40’s to the 70’s.
The D16 is an interchangeable-lens digital cinema camera that features a Kodak CCD sensor and produces images with a frame size equivalent to Super 16mm. The D16 remarkably captures the look and feel of film at a price that finally makes digital cinema available to filmmakers on any budget. The D16 shoots RAW image sequences at true 2K (2048x1152), without the rolling shutter or line scan effects found with CMOS sensors. The camera’s large pixel size contributes to better light reception without any need to artificially boost the signal.
Adaptability and Compatibility
The D16 comes standard with a C-mount Lens mount, but lens mounts in PL, B4, and EF will also be available and are easily interchanged. The camera has two flash mounts so a monitor and a microphone can be mounted at the same time, an adjustable 2.4” angle display with focus assist, and, in Bolex fashion, a stylish pistol grip that allows for exceptionally steady hand-held shots.
Under The Hood
Like the classic Bolex cameras, the D16 has a carbonized steel frame that gives it a rigid body and unmatched durability. To Bolex, affordable means “high quality” and “digital film” means shooting frames per second. The D16 will offer Adobe’s Cinema DNG format along with other image sequence file types, to ensure the highest quality footage without the pitfalls of video compression. With an internal buss of over 200 Mbps and a 256Gig internal buffer drive, this camera churns through RAW footage like butter. Dual CF card slots make sure that data storage is relatively cheap and readily available. Power is supplied by internal battery, but with a built-in 4-pin XLR port, the D16 can also be powered by a traditional battery belt for long shoot days.
Shoot to Thrill
With a sleek body design, functional pistol grip, and Bolex’s iconic crank, the D16 is fun to use and has character to spare. The crank can be programed to adjust just about anything in the menu, from volume to focus to fps. This feature and the start/stop trigger on the pistol grip makes for a shooting experience that’s unique to the Bolex brand.
Buying and Trying
The Bolex D16 is currently available only via Kickstarter.com. 100 cameras will be pre-sold on Kickstarter and shipped over the summer, dates to be announced. Additional cameras will become available to the general public in late Summer/Fall 2012. The estimated retail price for the D16 and its accessories is $3299.