Digital Bolex Camera: RAW Movies For Just $2,500

Bolex D16 Simplified

If you want to take great photos that you can play around with later, you shoot RAW. And if you want to take great video, ready for the kind of post-processing punishment exacted on it by adding visual effects, you also shoot RAW.

However, while you can get a RAW-shooting stills camera for under $500, a RAW-capable video camera is professional only, running to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until now. Joe Rubinstein will sell you a Digital Bolex for just $2,500. In the movie world, that’s like finding a Nikon D4 in your cereal box.

I’m not sure how the Swiss Bolex 16mm movie camera company will take to the name of Rubinstein’s camera, but if the Digital Bolex comes in on budget and if the images are as good as those in the test footage below…

Digital Bolex Camera: RAW Movies For Just $2,500

The camera itself will be styled just like old-school Super 16mm cameras (fun fact: did you know that Reservoir Dogs was shot on Super 16?), and there’s even a cool leather case to carry it ($500).

The camera uses a 16mm equivalent sensor to capture Adobe Cinema DNG files in 12 bit 4:4:4, and the frames are a reasonable 2-3MB each. Footage is recorded to SD cards (no sending film off to the lab!), lenses are movie-standard C-mount, ISO runs from 100-400 and the metal and plastic body weighs five pounds.

This is big news, especially as the project is seeking funding on Kickstarter (it has already reached its $100,000 goal). Sure, you can shoot great video with your DSLR or even Micro Four Thirds camera, but RAW changes the game, letting you tweak the video afterwards way more than you can with the baked-in footage in Motion JPG of AVCHD formats.

Indy movie-making is about to get a lot more special FX-y.

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
Weight5lbs
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

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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