100 Changes

Hi Everyone,

I know the journey has been longer than we first anticipated, and for the people who have been inconvenienced I truly apologize, but let’s look at how far we have come since last March.

100 Changes

Last March when we announced the camera, we received more than 2000 enthusiastic emails in the first 48 hours, in addition to numerous Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter messages. While most of these were people seeking to purchase the camera, many of them also came with great suggestions for the product.

After this overwhelming response, we added a forum to our site and the ideas came flooding in. It took over a month before we had read and responded to all of the posts. At that point we had a critical decision to make: do we try to make the product better based on all these great suggestions?

This would of course add considerable cost, time, and risk to our project. After some deliberation we decided the most important thing was to make the product the best we could make it. This would require us to raise additional funds, change some fundamental parts of our business model, and begin a long process of determining which changes were worth making. Below are some of the changes we made. If you are active on our forum you probably know most of these already since most of these were inspired by long discussions with you our forum members.

Steel to Carbonized Aluminum: One of the first things we heard was that the product sounded like it was going to be too heavy. So we switched our skeletal structure from machined steel to carbonized aluminum. This not only made the camera lighter, it also would allow us to make the frame faster in the future since the aluminum could be made in a mold.

Pistol Grip: We knew we wanted a pistol grip from the beginning, but we didn’t know what kind, and we didn’t anticipate how much thought this would take. We made over a dozen changes to the grip from its first 3d model.

  • Shape: We tried 4 different shapes and found one that seemed to fit everyone’s hand pretty well. The section between the trigger finger and the thumb was significantly slimmer than we thought it was going to be so we had to create a much larger foot print for it on the camera body. We not only changed the top of the pistol grip, but we also changed the bottom of the camera to make sure the mate between the grip and the camera body was very secure.
  • Placement: Originally we thought the pistol grip would be placed towards the back of the camera pushing the screen on top of the camera forward, but after holding it we realized the grip had to be much more centered.
  • Attachment mechanism: The pistol grip used to slide in from the back and have a locking pin. This proved faulty in extreme circumstances where the camera was pointed at the ground, so we switched to a locking thumb screw that tightens into the tripod mount. This is more secure from all directions.
  • Triggering mechanism: The pistol grip originally contained electronics that interfaced with the camera through topical contacts. After some testing with dirt and moisture we decided to make the grip completely mechanical and embed the switching mechanism under the camera. The trigger now pushed a small lever in the base of the camera instead of having internal electronics. This makes it more reliable in weather conditions and makes it easier to make alternate grips.
  • Tripod hole on the bottom of the pistol grip: We originally hadn’t intended on putting a tripod hole on the bottom of the grip, but after a forum member pointed out it is a good place to mount a wrist strap, we not only implemented the mounting point, but we also purchased vintage style wrist straps for all of our Kickstarter camera backers!

Lens Mount System: The lens mounting system was originally built into the frame of the camera, when we switched from steel to aluminum we had to rethink the mounting system. The aluminum while being very durable was not up to the exacting mechanics the lens mount system required. We switched to two machined brass elements that fit together with .02mm of variance between them. This gives us a very precise way to change lens mounts and be assured our flange focal distance is correct.

Rail System for the Removable Lens Mount: In redesigning the lens mount we also implemented an internal rail system for the cover that makes changing it easier and adds support to the entire structure.

IR and OLPF filter placements: We have had many thoughts on OLPF filters (Optical Low Pass). Some people on our forum demanded they must be put in place, others said they would be happier without one. ONE SMALL STEP was shot without one, and we liked the look, so originally we had thought it wasn’t necessary. When we couldn’t come to a good agreement on whether to include it or not on the forum we decided to put it in, but make it user removable. In order to make this filter removable we had to change the way it interfaced with the sensor block. Now you can remove the OLPF, but you need to replace it with a piece of glass with the same thickness in order to maintain optical path integrity, so we are making a non-OLPF filter you can buy to stick in there.

Camera Surfaces: When we first envisioned the D16 we pictured something that was a call back to the look and feel of cameras from the 60’s and 70’s. This was meant to say to people “Remember the reliability and quality of the great Bolex cameras?” The response seemed to be “Yes we remember, but you don’t need textured plastic parts to draw that analogy.”. Originally the major surfaces of the camera where a mix of chrome and textured black plastic. Today they are all metal. The only things that are plastic on this camera are the knobs on the right side and the black section of the pistol grip.

Analog Volume Knobs: Like most digital cameras when we first designed the D16 it had only digital control of the audio levels. One of the first groups to speak up on our forum were the audiophiles who were tired of having to use external devices to get sound quality that matched the image quality. They said, “when you turn the levels down digitally you are also compressing the over all signal essentially lowering it’s resolution.” We needed an analog stage for our audio, and we needed analog volume knobs. This required not only a couple of knobs, but a whole new circuit board needed to be added. We decided if we were going to do this we were going to do it right…

24 bit 96k Sound: So in addition to the analog gain stage we also bumped the audio up to 24 bit 96k resolution. This was not an easy task. We looked for many months for the right circuity to make this work. And again it required us to add a small circuit board. In the end I think we found a really good solution that will give unprecedented sound quality to the D16, especially for a $3K camera!

Weather Sealing: Again inspired by our forum we added weather sealing for people that wanted to take our camera into the jungle, snow, or other damp places. The way the frame was designed though didn’t allow for the kind of panel access needed to do the weather sealing properly.

Side Plate Structures: We had to take our frame and divide it from 2 structures into 4 major structures to allow for the weather sealing. This also allowed us to make the port connections stronger.

Fold Out Crank: Some people thought the crank on the side of the camera was unnecessary, even silly :) but we believe in the usefulness very strongly. It was recommended on the forum that instead of making the crank bulky we should make it folding so we came up with a folding crank that allows you to put it away when you aren’t using it. We are also working on making it unscrewable if needed.

Crank Position: We also moved the crank forward and a little lower, making it more comfortable to use.

Improved Sensor Gain Stage Controls: We have doubled the fidelity of control on the sensor board. This means we have much more finely tuned control over how the sensor behaves than most cameras makers do. The use of a CCD sensor instead of a CMOS sensor in this camera has many benefits.

  • CCDs have a more flexible analog gain stage. If used properly this can dramatically improve sensor performance.
  • CCDs also don’t do any analog to digital conversion, which means that we as the camera makers can decide how that happens, again improving performance.
  • CCDs are generally less noisy especially in the darks at their native ISO. This is important for the economy of bits and the final image.
  • CCDs can be passively cooled much easier so internal fans and limited record times are not a problem.
  • And of course our sensor has a global shutter instead of a rolling one.

Mounting Screw Holes on Top: We have recently added 4 screw holes in the top of the camera to allow more placements points for accessories and contact points for rigs.

HDMI Port: Of course one of the biggest things we added was a full HD 1920 x 1080 HDMI port, giving users the ability to take advantage of the amazing EVFs on the market today. This not only required a complete redesign on the DSP board it also required us to change the layout of the left side of the camera.

12V Power Output: It was suggested that if we are making our camera compatible with EVFs why not go all the way and add a 12V output for the monitors so you wouldn’t need a separate battery for your monitor. We thought this was a great idea since the battery belts used to power the D16 are usually far more powerful than what the camera needs. We thought at first we would use a D-Tap power output, but the connector shape didn’t fit with the already crowded plug space, so we went with 4 pin XLR.

Headphone Port Placements: When we added the 4th XLR plug we had to move the headphone and SD video tap outputs. We ended up putting them higher up which again required some board adjustments.

Trap Door for HD-SDI Module: We had a lot of people interested in HD-SDI, timecode, and several other features we consider pro-use, but this would have significantly increased the cost of the camera. So what we decided was to add a trap door to the bottom of the camera that had a raw data feed from the FPGA. This means in the future we will be able to make an HD-SDI module that will connect to the bottom of the camera and have many of the pro-features that people would like to see. This required a redesign of the FPGA board, and an upgrade to the processor.

USB 3.0: While we were upgrading the data paths we decided to upgrade the camera from USB 2 to USB 3. This was a total upgrade of the data path, not just the end connector. This will allow for faster downloads directly from the camera. We considered Thunderbolt at this stage, but USB seemed like a more universal answer.

Doubled the Battery Capacity: When bloggers were reviewing another camera that had a built in battery we had a lot of questions about battery life. We moved from a standard laptop style battery to a custom molded battery that raised the battery life from 2 hours to 4 hours.

2nd Tripod Hole: We recently added a second tripod screw hole for professional tripod plates and rigs.

Measuring Tape Post: And finally one of the last changes we made to the body was to add a removable post to hang a measuring tape on for measuring focus. This was common on film cameras, but is not very common on digital cameras except for very high end ones.

We have made many many changes to the camera, in actuality many more than 100 if you take into consideration that each of the items I mentioned above require dozens of small changes each. Take a look at how much complexity has been added to the internal structure too.

The number of electrical components in this camera went from just under 1500 to over 3000! This is a huge leap in complexity and in functionality!

And it isn’t just the number of components that have changed, but also the team. This photo was just a few short months ago…
This is the team today…

Some Elles and ladies not included :(

This team works crazy hard for us, often coming in on Saturdays and Sundays when we’ve gone off schedule. Think about how long other companies take to implement features like these, and at what price points they usually implement them.

Has the journey taken longer? Yes of course it has, but we think it was worth it.

If we were like other companies we might release these upgrades one or two at a time over many years hoping people buy a new camera every 18 months, but we don’t want to do that. We said to ourselves and to our community, “How do we make a camera that will be relevant for the next 5 or even 10 years?”

This journey was the answer.

Later this week we will have images of the final camera body! And next week another big announcement :)

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joerubinstein

About joerubinstein

Joe Rubinstein is one of the founders and CEO of Digital Bolex. At Polite in Public, a photo marketing company he also co-founded, Joe was the Chief Technology Officer who worked with electronics developers and software developers to create the Polite in Public Photobooth which helped define modern photo marketing services.

128 thoughts on “100 Changes

  1. Hey

    I’m relatively new to the site but I’d like to say thank you for you and the team’s hard work and transparency in making an stout camera that’s affordable for the consumer. I’m very much looking forward to making the D16 the first video camera I purchase.

  2. I think its great what you are trying to do. But I think some realism is needed. When you factor in the size of the company involved and production. I honestly cannot see this camera reaching market (not just a few individuals a month but fully available) until early 2014. I am not being a troll or trying to rain on anyones parade but I know a few things about camera launches from design to production to actual delivery. 2014.

    • We’ve been pretty open about which stage the product is in, and I think in the next few updates it will become very clear that we’ll be delivering soon. We already have many of our delivery assets (box, padding, manual, setting up pre-order online system, etc) nearing completion as well, so at this point we’re working at this thing from multiple angles and are very close to finished.

    • Hi Joan,

      I’m not sure what you mean “reaching market (not just a few individuals)”. In some ways you are correct. We are not scaling to meet huge demand this year, but we will be delivering the first 100 cameras this quarter, and we will be pre-selling 300 cameras after that. Then when those 300 are delivered (in a much more timely way) we will pre-sell 500 more, and so on raising the number of cameras we can produce each time. And growing our production facility, distribution, and service facilities organically. So if you are saying “reaching market” meaning on the shelves at B&H ready to buy not in a pre-sale environment you may be correct. But we will be delivering a couple thousand cameras this year, depending on the demand it may or may not be difficult to get one, but it will be possible :)

      • Well honestly best of luck and it sounds like you are determined but if within the next 12 months you have delivered over 1,000 fully operational cameras to the public it will be pretty amazing . You will have done what major companies with larger budgets and huge resources struggle to do within a very short period and I personally believe is not possible. So best of luck and I hope you’re right. But I think if you encounter no parts issues no production issues no testing issues and no delivery issues you will probably be hugely successful as long as BMCC, Go Pro and Canon make no major announcements within the next 6 months. I realize I am the bad guy for saying any of this but really good luck.

        • Why do you believe it’s not possible? Can I ask what your experience with this sort of thing is? And why do you think we have had no parts, production, or other issues? We definitely have, and continue to have issues. Just last week we discovered a small issue with a power component, but it is being switched out and we are moving forward. We have had constant issues, but that’s part of the process right? And why does it hurt us so much if BMCC, GoPro or Canon make “major announcements”? We still have our niche and there is always competition in every market, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I feel like what you are saying is I am naive to think that a small company can succeed in a market place that has been long dominated by major corporations. And maybe you’re right, but when I look at companies like Local Motors, DIY Drones, and SpaceX thriving in markets that should be owned completely by much larger companies it gives me hope :) And if all we’re doing here is opening the door to market driven companies in the film industry so be it. Maybe it takes someone just naive enough to think it’s possible to be the first one to do it :)

          • All I can say is I hope your sensor and output can compete realistically with the BMCC, otherwise I don’t see anyone using something this size for anything anymore except for collectors.

        • I don’t want to answer for the people behind the D16. I think your questioning is perfectly reasonable given the difficulties BMCC find itself in and largely failed in meeting even the modest level of production let alone the expectation of its preorder customers. Don’t really want to drag another compoany’s dirty linen into here but what you didnt mention or realise was the BMCC is already 3 years in development before NAB 2012. They never made a camera before and they only had John Brawley as design consultant/demonstrator, then came the release it fell at the first hurdle by implementing the EF mount to capture Canon dSLR sales the sensor was basically not big enough for EF lens. Then they decide to make MFT at a very late stage. Not to mention other problems with the sensors and recieving them in quantity, etc.
          Canon isnt in the market. We don’t know what GoPro is doing but as of now they too have’nt tried making a RAW video camera.
          The jury is still out with D16 and I’m looking forward to its devleopment turning to production with great interest.

          • Hey Simon,
            I don’t think Blackmagic “fell at the first hurdle” they sold thousands of cameras at launch, so I think that makes it a success. The GoPro actually does shoot Cineform now, which is a raw format. And Canon may not be making a raw camera, but they are definitely in the $3K camera market, and by anyones count either the most successful or the 2nd most successful company doing it. So I think that’s pretty successful too.
            The reason I say this, is just that like any healthy market there is room for a number of players. I sincerely hope Blackmagic has success with their camera, and of course I hope we do too :)
            As long as we set reasonable goals and reach for them at reasonable rates I believe we can be successful. And I also believe there is room in the market for many players to be successful :)

  3. I cannot tell you, Joe, how happy I am with the progress on the D16, and the various items developing alongside (ie : the fixed focus lens set). You and your team are far surpassing expectations, and building a machine that will undoubtedly be relevant for a very long time to come.

    I think this will become the definitive S16mm replacement camera we have all been hoping for since the advent of Digital Cinema. I am hugely proud to have taken the punt on your vision… And, I did so because it’s a vision I share.

    And, here after what is actually quite a short period of time, we have a camera in the works which looks set to meet my every possible need as an Indie filmmaker…

    I look forward to receiving my camera. And, I look forward to what will doubtless be a long and fulfilling relationship with the Digital Bolex team.

  4. Hey all,

    I will be honest. I wasn’t crazy pumped about how the process was going at first, but now that i’ve seen all the changes that are being made (for the better) and the attention to detail thats going into it, I honestly think you guys have a real winner on your hands. If the software comes out well this will be a KILLER camera. Keep pushing and can’t wait to use it!

  5. This is one of the best examples of crowd-sourcing, not only in its initial “getting off the ground” stage but all the way through the process of design and re-design, you’ve incorporated dozens of suggestions, considered many others, and have built truly what I think is a “VolksKamera,” a camera of and for the people. I only wish I had gotten in at the start, but I’ll be buying one, for sure; I hope they will be generally deliverable within 12-18 months, not only for your stalwart, patient crowdsource partners who got this going, but for the rest of us johnnie-come-latelies, who are JUST as excited by this project and what it means.

  6. I’m so excited reading this. The D16 is definitely the camera I’m saving and waiting for. I’m glad to see it has weather sealing (if I read that correctly). I only wish I pre-ordered in time last year. I’d love to take it with me to Thailand this July. Keep up the good work, you guys.

  7. Elle and Joe,
    You’ve truly done something amazing with the D16. I think you might be getting ready to truly shake up the camera industry. You’ve also done what some said couldn’t be done. And you’re truly giving filmmakers a camera they want. With direct input from the future end users which is rare. Most importantly you stayed true to your original vision and that takes a lot of guts in the modern economy.
    If we run into each other at NAB again this year; drinks are on me.

  8. This is all great news. Its nice to see a condensed timeline like this. Im already starting to pick up accessories :) This community is really growing! you guys should be proud. I think many great things will come. I cant wait to get my camera and Im just as excited about the community sharing knowledge once the camera is out!

    • Thank you!
      Yes I am really impressed by the intelligent and positive people that are joining the discussion!
      I honestly think we are building something really special here, and I don’t mean just us and the D16, but the whole community, people, and ideas :)

      • That is another brilliant aspect of this project: your willing to include future users’ inputs.
        The fact that you communicate so openly and follow-up on the forum’s messages so well makes it possible (and fun!) to really be part of the process and have a sense of co-ownership instead of being just clients.
        I hope this sort of community-based management style will continue to be fruitful in the future (and I can really see it be, as your head seems to be full of ideas) and will inspire other companies to shift to a less “ivory-tower” way to operate their business.

        • Thank you! Yes I think the future of business should be small crowd sourced businesses building niche products for exactly their markets! This whole giant corporations building “Vanilla” products for the lowest common denominator should just go away, it’s not necessary anymore. If you read the first chapter of “Makers” by Chris Anderson it’s all about this. I love that book!

    • I would love to do that!

      We are already in talks with a company called Movement Park, an early stage start up working to democratize motion picture distribution, about how to work together to get movies shot on the Digital Bolex out to the world!

      I don’t know if a traditional film festival is the right way, but it is something on our minds and very much worth talking about!

  9. Great report on your immense progress. Let me add something. Already with the advent of auto exposure and autofocus (with stills cameras) I felt a bit uncomfortable on the fact that the cameras started to have “a will on their own”, not neccessarily in line with what _I_ wanted. Over the years, this got worse, and in particualr, with digital image acquisation, a lot of the former operating elements on cameras where “disposed”, to say so. Most cameras nowadays don’t even have a wheel for setting the exposure time. Etc.

    The main problem, as I see it, is that in order to trick out the computers inside the cameras, you need to know _a lot_ about how a particular camera has to be operated. Or, in other words, there is an easy, automated path through the jungle of the modern cameras’ operational night mares, i.e. “trust our programs to do the job” (NO, I won’t), and one that is much more cumbersome and exhausting than it was with old fashioned film cameras.

    Well, with the D16, I have the funny feeling that it is the first digital camera, not only the first video camera, but the first digital camera of them all (maybe aside from some MF backs I have not used) that takes us back to the operational simplicity of old.

    (P.S. Quite clearly, I does so inter alia with its lattitude and depth of field.)

    (P.P.S.: still waiting for a simple digital back for my beloved Nikon F2)

    • Thank you! Yes exactly! I loved the Feeling of shooting 16mm film, and the way it allowed me to focus on the real tactile world. Light meter, lights, actors, camera position. I felt like a lot of that focus was diverted to in camera menu’s and monitors that lie straight to my face :)

      I miss the world of very few settings, just turn on the camera and go. Hopefully we can get that back now :)

  10. Through all of the give and take and the resulting changes, what I most admire is that you have not given in to the temptation to make the D16 a feature loaded do everything for everybody camera. You have maintained that original vision of a fundamentally simple robust minimalist camera that many of us find so appealing.

  11. De Bolivia Sud America
    me parece inscribible lo que están haciendo y creando, para paises como Bolivia es la cámara ideal para producir trabajos de alta calidad
    los felicito y seré uno de los compradores de su camara

    sigan adelante y me encanta su filosofía de trabajo

    Marcelo Ajpi

    iwxa producciones

    • English Translation:
      In Bolivia South America
      I think registrable what they are doing and creating, for countries like Bolivia is the ideal camera to produce high quality work
      I congratulate them and I will be one of the buyers of your camera

      go ahead and I love his work philosophy

      Marcelo JAFI

      iwxa productions

  12. For clarification…is the camera you will be delivering pics of a fully functional unit with completed lens mount and the works or the final mock up. I’ve been keeping people I know updated on this project, so I would like to understand fully where you are. Thank you very much!
    If it is not a fully functional unit, how close is the team on that front.
    Once again, thank you…and good luck in 2013! ;)

    • Hi Dale,

      Thanks for your questions.

      The camera is the final body, with 98% of the final materials. It is not a fully functional camera yet, but it will be soon.

      All of the hardware is finished design wise, almost all of it is done production wise, the assembly is going very well, the final step is writing and implementing the firmware.

  13. I have randomly looked over this site throughout the past year and this post may have just won me over from the BMCC side. It looks like you’ve already improved on most of its quirks that made me question. I was planning on purchasing one of their cameras tomorrow but thank God I saw this post! I admire your passion for quality products and film while doing your absolute best to cram as many features as possible at an affordable price. I have been waiting to jump back into film after my Canon XL1S was pretty much rendered useless in today’s technology. Seeing this product truly gets me pumped. I only wish I had supported you guys from the beginning! I’ll be sure to be checking back more often. All the best!

  14. L O V E you guys for what you are doing! Have been following your work since Kickstarter, can’t wait to see the final product!! Haven’t been this excited about a camera since I was a kid.. Best of luck to you and your team, I wish you nothing but success and thanks again for what you’re doing!!

  15. Congratulations on such a huge progress.

    By the actual specs; for some shooting styles I do: live events and more specifically concerts and documentaries, the lack of a compressed codec like ProRes or Avid’s are the only features that makes some of my partners and I to choose the BMCC over the d16. I hope you guys can come out with one of these features added before the BMCC – MT4/3 mount version hits the market. Is there any plan on the subject?
    Thanks in advance
    Willian Aleman

    • We’re discussing adding some kind of codec, but our focus right now is on RAW. We think that will, at the end of the day, be great for documentaries, but not every camera is suited for live events and concerts. We hope to come up with a solution that will please everyone, and we’ll let you know as soon as we can if we come to a decision on compression.

      Thanks!

      Elle

    • Hi Willian,

      The problem with in camera compression codecs is they do a very bad job at the essentials like debayering. The other reason I don’t like them is that it adds complexity to the shooting environment. Forget to set your white balance and your footage is mostly useless. Raw footage we strongly believe is the future. Compressed codecs may seem like an advantage now, but before too long I think they will be seen as antiquated.

      Thanks for your suggestions though! Joe

    • We believe that it’s the correct side of the camera.

      Especially when using the crank as a follow focus which we think many people will.

      Many cameras today are setup for shoulder rigging, but we think most D16 users will be hand held.

      Also as a side note, the D16 is 80mm wide, even with 90 degree XLR cables sticking out the side (stick out 16 – 20mm) the camera is still slimmer than some raw format cameras in the same price range which are 166mm!

      • Joe, I think poster above is correct. This will be an issue, particularly for hand held, as you will need to also use some form of EVF, to achieve correct focus. Looks like the lcd on camera has a really low resolution. Cables on right side ( I am glad you are making the camera with XLR) is one of the biggest complaints by BMDCC users.

        • Hi Robert,

          I believe you will not need an EVF to focus correctly when using S16 lenses. If you do choose to use an EVF it could be mounted on top of the camera in the center so which side the cables are on will not effect this.

          We really think most people will like this setup, that’s why we designed it this way. I know it may be different from what you are used to, but different is always bad. If you give it a chance I think you will like it.

          Thanks, Joe

  16. Hello Joe (and the rest of the team)

    I’m a little new to this project and, after reading only a little about it, I thought it was only a chimeric dream that was just too good to be truth.

    Then I found your Kickstarter campaing and read about it a little bit, and it got me very interested.

    Now, after reading this post, I can say I’m very much sold.

    What you’re doing is an admirable feat. I don’t feel your team has the ultimate goal of making money (I mean, of course you do, but it doesn’t look like it is your only obective), but to actually give the world a digital camera that can produce amazing results and it’s affordable to a lot of people. “Volkskamera” is a term someone used a little early in this comments section, and I think it’s a very accurate term for this project.

    I’m very interested in preordering the camera. What would the process be?
    Also, a little question: What does it record to? SD? CF? SSD? Or an external Recorder?

    Best of luck in all what’s yet to come.

    Greetings from Colombia :)

    • Hey Cristian! Thank you so much for your words. We’ve been working hard for almost 2 years to make this camera a reality, and we’re almost there. Once the first 100 cameras ship, we’ll be opening a pre-order for the next batch of cameras. The wait should not be super long as our production facilities will be ready to manufacture at that point. The best way to stay notified is to sign up for our mailing list (on the PRODUCTS page), follow our blog/Twitter/FB page where we post all our updates.

      The camera records to an internal SSD drive, with about an hour of record time, which dumps the footage to two CF cards, enabling you to use regular CF cards and not necessarily ones that are super high speed.

      Cheers!

      Elle

  17. This camera is made by geeks for geeks :)
    Have the first 300 pre-orders been taken up?
    I’ve heard about this 12 months ago but been preoccupied by my pre-ordering the BMCC and frustrated by the delays. If only I can get hold of the Digital Bolex within the first quarter I may backout of the BMCC.

    I actually have a high quality vintage Bolex S16 grip with a leather strap for your hand for secure grip so the camera don’t slip off by accident. Maybe you should include that in your camera?

    • Hey Simon! Thanks for your message. We actually just bought a great set of vintage-style leather straps that are nearly identical to the original Bolex straps, and those will be included for the 100 Kickstarter camera backers. I’m not sure if they will be included for everyone after that, but they will be available to purchase through our site.

      We will have a pre-order for the next batch of approximately 300 cameras soon after the first 100 ship. Keep an eye on the site and our social media pages around the web to find out when that will be happening.

      Elle

  18. Thanks Joe for the quick response! I wish you well in the final stages. I’m probably going to be on your 1st pre order list (after the initial cams of course, I was too late to the party)…very impressed with how you have all taken readers notes, and gone with a “shooters” camera. Awesome!

  19. I can’t wait for this camera
    I know that the BMCC is the direct competitor of this cam and that camera is pretty amazing too
    But I love how you guys are listening and working not to sell cameras but too make one that will make a difference

    Thank you for your hard work

  20. This is incredibly exciting stuff. I’ve been following from the start with great enthusiasm though I’ve never posted. My beautiful bolex and C mount lenses have been collecting dust for years now and it’s beyond exciting to know that I might be able to put those jewels back to work! I love the turret design!
    I just want to second all the other people who have commended you on your transparency and how you’ve accommodated the community interested in your product. It’s quite inspirational actually.
    There is no question in my mind that I will be buying this camera. I’m also quite certain that your camera is going to make a BIG impact in the industry.
    Good luck!

    • As filmmakers making a camera for filmmakers, we hope there will be an impact in the industry! There have been so many frustrated people who know exactly what kind of camera they want, but no one seems to have been able to deliver that. We hope we can, and you can get your awesome vintage lenses back to work!

      Elle

  21. All these updates are great! To record proper sound in a digital cinema camera/camcorder is something I’ve been waiting for such a long time. The broadcast standard might be 48khz 16 bit and though it’s a professional distribution standard it’s by no means a professional acquisition format for sound. Can’t believe no one have done this before…. Thanks!

    The best thing with the digital bolex must be that you choose a ccd sensor. It will probably give great skin tones. So you have a niche market for sure among filmmakers that care for beautiful colors. If this turn out to be a “mini Alexa” it will be a dream camera.

    I’m very impressed! Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Martin! We tried to make the camera as all-inclusive as possible, and audio was a very important part of that. We don’t think you should have to use fancy audio recorders for basic sound, which can be a huge pain. The CCD chip as well was an easy choice, we wanted you to be able to move the camera as much as possible without worrying about sensor issues. We love the Alexa camera, and our footage should be able to be intercut with theirs, so we’re pretty excited!

      Best

      Elle

  22. Hi, could I make a suggestion? It would be helpful for people like me to have all the information about this camera in one shot. I know you did publish basic specs, but it would be very helpful to have a comprehensive write-up about D-16 (which of course could be modified as the changes are happening). Like for instance: can you record to 2 cards at once? What size and what speed of the cards will this camera accept?
    Batter- you are talking about internal, but what about external for longer recording days? Lens mounts, the same simple and comprehensive write up would be nice: like model with EF, C. Also, is the sensor cropped, when recording 1920×1080, or is the sensor scanned and then there is some form of pixel binding? I just think it would be nice to have all this info in one place, instead of scanning articles, interviews and forums.
    BTW, I hope you guys will be able to pull this one off!

    • Good idea.

      We will create a much more detailed specs list and product description, but no matter what we do people will always still have questions :)

      Which is OK I think.

      Yes you can record to 2 cards at once. We suggest anything that is 400x or higher, 600x – 1000x are best. If you get two 128 gig cards it will work well with the internal 256 gig drive, and record over 50 minutes of footage in one shot. The sensor is cropped when recording 1920 x 1080 to create the smaller 16mm window size for 16mm lenses vs the S16mm lenses needed for the 2048 x 1152 S16 mode.
      Currently we don’t have a setup for external recorders, but we have a USB 3.0 bus and a true raw data path coming from the bottom of the camera that could be used to create an accessory like that in the future.

      Thanks for your questions and suggestions, Joe

  23. All great News again! :D

    Since there will be HDMI out, are you planning to add an option for “clean” output without overlays and with sound? If so, this could be used with an external recorder for rudimentary compressed recording in the case you have to shoot some live events from time to time.

  24. Hi Joe, You’ve been great listening to absolutely everyone, but you can’t please everyone. You can be sure that at the last moment someone will say something like “Hey, will it do clean HDMI out at 8K simultaneous to shooting at 2K ?” My humble advice is to draw a line under it and “call it” to production. You’ve done a great job.

  25. First of all, thank you for answering all these question, including my. I was one of the doubters, but I see your enthusiasm and energy, and I wish you all the success!
    I saw you are also including a B4 mount and MFT mount. On B4- are 2/3″ lenses without 2x extender going to cover the sensor? (or is 2x extender needed). Second question- is MFT mount going to be active? There are some nice Panasonic lenses, but unfortunately they have electronic iris. Just curious if there would be way to control iris via camera?

  26. Hi Joe, been keeping up with the digital bolex’s development since it was announced and am really stoked to see all the great changes you guys have made. CCD sensor is genius.

    But I do have to agree with other posters about the xlr placement. I know you want to stick to original placement of the crank, but it would just be obnoxious to have the xlrs on the left. On the original Bolex, the cover is on the left side, providing no obstruction to the user if they want to hold the camera with the non-pistol grip (left) hand. How to rest the camera if the XLRs are there? Think of the Fs100 design.

    Also, it would really be great if the the fps at 2K could be upped. Original Bolexes had up to 64fps. I can’t wait until the Digital Bolex can match this.

    Best of luck!

    • Hi Nat,

      We have had a lot of discussion about the placement of the XLRs I encourage you to read through them on the forum.
      Here are the highlights though:
      1. Crank will be a follow focus, yes you will use it, and the right side is better.
      2. The D16 is just over 80mm wide so even with 90 degree XLR plugs plugged in it is much slimmer than almost any other camera out there so you will not have XLR plugs in your face, promise :)

  27. Great job, guys. I love this camera. One question, though: What is the reasoning behind putting the XLRs on the operator side instead of the dumb side? Won’t that cause problems for anyone using an EVF or shoulder rig?

    • Hi Mark,

      We have had a lot of discussion about the placement of the XLRs I encourage you to read through them on the forum.
      Here are the highlights though:
      1. Crank will be a follow focus, yes you will use it, and the right side is better.
      2. The D16 is just over 80mm wide so even with 90 degree XLR plugs plugged in it is much slimmer than almost any other camera out there so you will not have XLR plugs in your face, promise

  28. I Like what you chaps are doing. Its a Camera that the industry will need. It fills an empty slot. There is a lot of glass out there of High spec indeed. The small chip is the key here. I feel hat RED with their Scarlet camera made a big mistake by producing it as a larger format camera. I await your next Pre order list with hope that I can get on it. When will the SDI module be ready or am I too early. the SDI will make an external recorder an easy task for there are a number out there already. also the SDI is important as it only requires two conductors for the signal, Unlike the horrid HDMI connection so prone to failure. and impossible for underwater use. (Sorry its my field)
    All the very best to you all, Pete Scoones.

    PS my first camera was a Bolex C8

    In 1968 I won an international film festival award with a film that changed my life.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your kind words, your support means a lot to us! The SDI module is one of the first things we will start working on as soon as the camera release is done :)

      I love the 8mm Bolex cameras! They just look so cool!

      What film did you win an award for in 1968?

  29. Voigtlander has the 17.5mm, 25mm, and now the 42.5mm f.95 lenses in micro 4/3rds mount. I can’t help but imagine those as perfectly suited to the D16, with Switars if you need something wider. Any plans for a m4/3rds mount solution? I think an adapter would be easiest, right? Then we could use your planned optics without having to change the mounting plate out.

    Just thinking out loud. I want your camera right flippin’ now! I guess for the time being I can ‘settle’ for my REX2. :-)

  30. Heard of your projects a couple months ago and following since then and I think you guys do a great job and I really, really hop you will succeed. For me personally that camera is still out of my range but I really hope I will be able to raise my budget some time I am am really hoping that by that time you have proved that a small company can succeed against that competition and is able to bring out a great product.

  31. I’ve pre-ordereed the BMCC MFT as soon as that was available but the last few days for the first time the D16 has got more of my attention. I probably end up having both but if it means me using one camera a lot less I will sell that one.
    What makes me want to consider the D16 more than the BMCC is the global shutter. With the ergonomics I have less need to use rigs and purchase expensive gears that I felt is necessary for the BMCC just to tame the rolling shutter. Jello effect should be consign to history and cheap consumer cams not something costing $3k and struggle as a run and gun camera or for sport, etc. Lets hope the 12 stop of DR are useable enough to rival the 13 stop of the BMCC. The higher frame rates makes it extra appealing plus the recent updates which is all good from a filmmaking point of view.

    I like to think both cameras compliment each other and they probably do for certain things but I have a feeling for most things one of these will be used a lot and the other one stays in the box more often than not.

      • I will do a head to head. One will be become the A camera and the other a B. Unless both cameras is much better at certain things than the other as a reason for them to co exist I have a feeling one will be used more than the other. I have no brand loyalty.
        BMD comes across as arrogant because there is no rival product at $3k which is the main reason why there is interest in the BMCC. Their decision with the CMOS sensor and EF mount was flawed. They needed the competition.

  32. Hey, I have some more questions:
    1. As far as I have understood, the D16 will capture to an internal SSD and dump to an external storage (Was it CF?). As SSDs have a limited number of read/write cycles and so will be bricked some time, will the internal ssd be necessary for recording (as buffer?) and may the ssd be replaced by user?
    2. What will be the native iso and other selectable values? The specs say there is 100, 200 and 400 but the specs page seems to be outdated.
    3. The Ikonoskop DNGs show a magenta cast and in one small step I believe I can see that the black point was adjusted In post to compensate this (?). Will the Issue be solved in the final camera? (One tip for everyone who plays with Ikonoskop files: In most raw processing programs you may define a black point for raw development. Taking the magenta color from the inner dark stripes left and right from the image as black point will correct the problem.)
    4. The specs say that there will be tiff and jpeg capturing supported, too. Is that obsolete?

    Thanks :)

    • Hi Björn,

      Thanks for your questions.
      1. Yes we are using a very high quality SSD as internal storage and buffer to the CF cards. The user cannot replace this, but many many years down the road if it needs to be replaced it can be replaced at a service center.
      2. For right now we are sticking with 100, 200, and 400 iso. After the camera is finished and we get to do some testing we are considering adding 800 iso. There is a discussion about it on the forum if you would like to join.
      3. We did not experience the magenta cast in our ONE SMALL STEP footage, but as soon as we have some decent footage from the now completed electronics we will post it for all to see :)
      4. Yes Tiff and JPEG capturing is obsolete right now, that will be removed. One day we may bring it back though :)

  33. Pingback: Digital Bolex Reveals Final Design for the D16 RAW Camera, First Units to Ship This Quarter - NoFilmSchool

  34. I presently have a Sony Nex-FS100 which also has XLR mic connectors. In Sony’s quest for a professional “DSLR Killer” I think it was a mistake not to include a simple stereo 3.5mm or Miniphone connector on the top of the camera because there are times when it would be great to remove the bulky shotgun mic and all it’s bracketry, and simply pop one of those little butterfly stereo mics on that’s not much bigger than the 3.5mm jack itself. The beauty of your new Digital Bolex design is it’s compact size and high quality. If one has to add a large microphone and isolation bracket to the top of it, then it may risk loosing some of it’s compact charm becoming top heavy. Stereo only makes it more bulky. By adding a mini stereo microphone input jack, the camera operator could wear a set of eyeglass mounted binaural mics and have incredible sound in the smallest package possible. It’s one of those things that would cost very little, but opens up a lot of possibilities.

    • Yeah I can see that being useful, but the D16 is really about trying to simulate a film camera. It only records raw, it doesn’t do crazy ISOs, and it doesn’t have any sub-par recording solutions, even for audio ;)

      a mini mic jack to us would be like adding H264, there are tons of cameras out there that have those things. We want to set ourselves apart, not only by having better solutions, but actually by excluding the crappy ones!

      If you really want to use the mics you are talking about though there are mini – XLR adapters. Probably clunkier than you want, but it would work.

  35. Very interesting idea. When I heard about it on Philips Blooms site, I wrote that it looked a bit like StarWars laser gun and I would prefer a classic form with 3-turret, nice machined nobs for speed change, ND filters and sound control. Well I can see the futuristic form prevails so in a positive vein may I suggest at least two improvements see from usability angle. In fact, from my film-video one man photographers viewpoint, I rate higher operational ease and simplicity over the quality of output.
    The pistol grip. Sometimes I like it like you picture it, sometimes I prefer the handle on the side of camera ( especially in low shots). Why not to have best of both and use a detachable grip which can be fixed directly under the body or with extra extension plate on the either side of the body in upright position.
    And what more important, the pistol grip should be attached to a movable slider plate built in the bottom of body in order to be able to adjust for the center of gravity which changes with the weight of exchangeable lenses and other attachments.
    The LCD display should at the end of body (within it ) in vertical position and allow for the up and down rotation, the up position like on the original drawings when it`s flush with the body.
    That`s my drei groschen. The third one`s of course that the team behind the project will succeed.
    p.s. I´m ready to send some sketches explaining more in detail my suggestions. Cheers

    • Hello Stan,

      We also value operational ease, and believe we have come up with a very comfortable easy to use form factor, but the quality of the images is our number one priority. If your number one priority is different, then there maybe another camera out there more in line with your desires.
      Our pistol grip is of course removable. If you would like to attach a slider plate to the bottom of the camera and any accessory grips you are able to do so.
      The LCD display is at the end of the body, and flips up a little bit, we have also designed a hood with a mirror on a 45 degree angle to go over the LCD to act as a lens shade and give you the vertical view you are requesting. Personally I find holding a camera out in front of my face for any amount of time to be uncomfortable, which is why we designed the camera the way it is.
      I would love to see your sketches. Please join our forum and start a thread :)

      Thanks for your time and input, Joe

  36. Hi, I too am looking forward to this camera! Hope you will get it out soon.

    Quick question: since the camera is going to have HDMI out, theoretically I should be able to record ProRes off of it by using NINJA or similar recording device?

    Thanks

    • Hi Ray,
      Thanks for your support.
      The HDMI out from the body will be in non-debayered black and white, so if you want a black and white image for proxy editing you could record that, but if not, it probably won’t be useful. We will have an HD-SDI unit in the future that will strap to the bottom of the camera and allow recording of ProRes in good color.

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  39. Pingback: First Impressions of the Digital Bolex from SXSW, and a Short Documentary About the Camera - NoFilmSchool

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