TOOLZ: The Digital Bolex…Back to the Future

Posted by Anthony - April 12, 2012 - Cameras, Cinematography, News - 4 Comments

I’ve been busy making film education magic the last few weeks, so I’m a little late to the game on reporting this one, but just in case you haven’t heard the buzz on the street, there is yet another potentially game-changing large format video camera about to drop…this one is intriguingly titled “The Digital Bolex”.  Check out the video below:

The Story of the Digital Bolex

If you aren’t familiar with the original Bolex film camera that inspired the name, it was a simple, well-designed and sturdy little old school 16mm film camera that was a real work-horse.  Although they stopped making them long ago, many are still in-service and being collected and traded by filmmakers today.

I shot my very first film on a Bolex which had three great distinguishing characteristics – it was simple to load and rarely jammed, it used a wind-up motor, so never ran out of power and could shoot in the harshest cold and hottest heat and it could also do single frame shooting and shoot in reverse for double exposure shots (if you’re into that sorta thing).

Well, the new digital Bolex is a throwback to the old –  most notably with it’s hip retro design, super 16mm sized chip,  affordability – currently projected to retail at just $3299.00, (although products still in development are always subject to price changes) and perhaps coolest of all it can shoot RAW 2K video.  I’ve listed the full specs as they stand right now below – which are also subject to change as the product develops.

A few quick highlights from the Digital Bolex specs:

  • 2048 x 1152 (Super 16mm mode/ 2K)
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels (16mm mode), 
  • full frame capture at 2336 x 1752
  • capture on SD or SDHC cards (still TBD)
  • Dual XLR Audio Inputs
  • C-mount comes standard; Optional PL, EF, B4 lens mounts
  • Adobe Cinema DNG, TIFF, JPEG Image sequences 

So basically, this is another in what I suspect will be a growing stream of dedicated video cameras with (more or less) DSLR-sized chips at affordable (under $6000.00) price tags.  NAB is starting up next week, so expect much more hot new camera news as everyone unveils their latest digital imaging tools.

Check out the trailer and behind the scenes video below of the first film actually shot on the Digital Bolex and stay tuned for more news here as this story develops. Get the full scoop on this camera and much more info HERE.

The digital revolution continues…and we, the filmmakers, are the victors!

Trailer for First Film Shot on The Digital Bolex


Behind the Scenes of “One Small Step”

Proposed Specs (subject to change)

Resolution 2048 x 1152 (Super 16mm mode) + 1920 x 1080 pixels (16mm mode), full frame capture at 2336 x 1752  (*This is a 4:3 format, but could also be used with Anamorphic lenses for a widescreen look.)
Format Adobe Cinema DNG, TIFF, JPEG Image sequences
Colour depth 12 bit – 4:4:4
File size 2 to 3 MB per frame in RAW
Sensor Kodak CCD: 12.85 mm (H) x 9.64 mm (V) – Similar to Super 16mm
Pixel Size 5.5 micron (compared to the 4.3 micron size of many DSLRs)
Framerate up to 32 fps at 2K, 60fps at 720p, 90 fps at 480p
Sound Balanced, 2 channel, 16 bit, 48 kHz via XLR
Viewfinder 320×240, 2.4” diagonal, with Focus Assist
Video out 640 x 480 B&W via ⅛” video jack (HD-SDI avail in separate unit), Mini-HDMI port output (outputs full 1920 x 1080, TBD if this will also be B&W or color)
Ports ⅛” video, headphone, USB 3.0, Audio XLR (2), 4-PIN XLR
Data Storage SD Cards (*I think SDHC, but wasn’t clear from their website) , SSD (buffer drive)
Power Internal battery, 12V External via 4 pin XLR port, 12v DC output for accessories
Body magnesium aluminum alloy 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 mount C-mount comes standard; Optional PL, EF, B4
Weight 5lbs
ISO Options 100, 200, 400
Also in the box pistol grip, USB 3.0 cable, internal battery, 4 pin XLR Battery, cable, video cable, transcoder/raw conversion software

Feel free to join the conversation and tell everyone what YOU think of of this new camera and the state of the digital revolution by leaving a comment below…



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