The D16′s Final Body

This is it! The final camera body…

Before we release there will be two changes: the fold out part of the crank will be black instead of silver, and the little screws in the side panels will be silver instead of black, but other than that this is the finished D16 body in the correct materials!

These small changes are not part of the main tooling / production processes so they don’t in anyway slow us down.
Finishing this body has been an epic task! If you read our last blog about the 100 changes since March, you may remember that we changed the body from having 2 major sections to having 4 major sections, but this doesn’t really tell the whole story.
This body may look similar to the one we had designed in March, but really it’s a completely new camera. Every piece of the body was redesigned. Every panel, every connection, every surface, the interior mounting brackets, exterior accessories mounting locations, the overall width and height, the shape, and of course there are many pieces added that weren’t in the original design. This is a new camera body, that only resembles the old one.
I have heard some people say “just give me a brick with a sensor in it”. And I understand that mentality, but as someone working every day to bring a product into this world, I’ll tell you, it’s not just about making a pretty object. It’s about the pride in your work, it’s about imagining someone caring for this object for years to come.

The mentality of making the D16 a beautiful object, that we hope people will want to keep for a long time, and making it useful for that same duration of time are tied together. If we had made a plastic camera that we thought most people will dispose of in 18 months we would never have put the effort into the other features that we hope will give the D16 a long useful life.

This is form follows function on an emotional level.

The best is yet to come, Joe and Elle

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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.

141 thoughts on “The D16′s Final Body

  1. That’s the way to stick to your guns!!!! I have to admit, I am a bit anxious to get mine, but I understand that your reputation is on the line. I would be doing the same thing if this was my project. Much respect to your dedication to perfection.

    -from Las Vegas

  2. Bravo!! Wonderfull, i m so excited it seams you ve done such a good work. She s beautifull and i m dying to test the bolex in “réal life”, to shoot documentary style fiction and so one. But… As i m french i was not abble to be a first buyer. When will be opened the sell for the non-north american people?. Best regards from Paris. Arnaud.

  3. Designing a beautiful object that invites to creation is so important – thanks for daring to go this route.

    Function: isn’t the camera going to be front-heavy?

  4. Am concerned about the tapered bottom towards the rear with curved mounting surface of handle. Am thinking about need for solid inline mounting positions for lens/accessory supports.

    • The bottom of the camera is perfectly flat, up until the grade up. There are two tripod screw holes so you can use professional plates and support systems.

      Next time I’m up in Canada I will demonstrate this.

        • It is an illusion. That part of the lens mount is exactly flush with the tripod mounts that are hidden by the pistol grip. So the lens mount and both tripod mounts make a perfectly flush T shape, which mounts on tripod plates perfectly level.

  5. Now think of all the men who stare at cameras ;-)

    Looks good to me. Solid and elegant. The hand loop is nice, too.

    Certainly a mile stone. Next: assemble boards, test heat dissipation, quadrant effects etc.

    How is the firmware doing?

  6. Congratulations! This in combination with the recent post of the 100 changes does endorse the backing of the project even further. Off course you are not quite there yet, but I am very confident that you will be able to finish the camera contrary to some believes.

    On uStream earlier today I asked if you considered a leatherette for the D16. As I assumed you really seemed interested in the idea. After I’ve seen the clip of the finished body on Vimeo I wasn’t too thrilled about the look to be honest. Of course it is just a camera and the look itself really is not important, but considering it is a digital descendant of the classic Bolex – why not incorporating some of the esthetics for nostalgic sake. So I googled a little a found a website called “cameraleather.com”. This company creates different replacement leather for 35mm and medium format cameras. Among a wide range of materials, patterns and colors they offer a material called “VH Black Pebbled Vinyl” a.k.a. Hasselblad Black. They offer this material up to DIN A4 size standardly and even larger upon request. I am sure the company would happily agree on a collaboration. They should be able to create a perfect cut-out for the D16 by providing them an Illustrator Vector of the camera body.
    Here is the link in case you or anyone on the forum is interested: http://cameraleather.com/colors/VH_black.htm

    I have one sincere request. Please make the PL mount happing upon release. I know a lot of people like or are hooked by the Canon L series glass. Thats fine, but I personally dont`t think too much of it, even though I own a couple of L series lenses myself. At least or especially regarding moving imagerie. I only mention the Canon lenses because you`ve talked about the EOS mount briefly on uSteram today. We bought a S16mm Angenieux zoom, dedicated only to the D16, which used to run for 18K. So to us the PL mount is as important as it is to some other backers who are in a similar situation. I think it was mentioned a couple of time right after the launch of the website/forum. I think there used to be or still is a thread dedicated to this topic.

    What you have pulled off is so inspiring! It’s unbelievable how far you came already. I respect your dedication and your approach very much and i think it`s truly remarkable how you have handled the entire project to this point. You never stopped improving, kept been honest and transparent on the entire process. I highly appreciate that!

    Yves Roy [Europe]

    PS.: Please keep recommending books. Getting Things Done by David Allen is starting to change my life. I sincerely thank for this.

    • Hi Yves!

      Thanks so much for your support all this time! You guys engaged and talking to us is what keeps us motivated!

      The PL mount I know is VERY important, so we are talking to someone who is really knowledgable about this! If he agrees to do it we will have a very well made PL mount for the D16!

      I’l give cameraleather.com a call and see if they would be interested. We might also be able to find a way to make a comparable material ourselves. Thanks for linking though!

      And I will keep reading and recommending books! I’m glad you like Getting Things Done, it’s in my top 3 books I like to recommend!

  7. This looks simply stunning! I love the technical specs and the ergonomics are not as crazy as the cynics think it is.

    Any chance that you’ll be releasing a passive M4/3 mount in the near future? That would definitely open up more options for people looking for alternatives from the GH2/3 or even the Black Magic Camera.

  8. Pingback: The D16′s Final Body | digitalbolex.com « cameraDEX

  9. What is the D16 actual crop? Is the sensor larger than S16.
    I’m rather new to S16 and lenses so I’m concern about the crop factor and affordable fast wide angle lens.

    • Hi Simon, if you are using full frame lenses I think the crop factor is 2.7 or something like that, but if you are using S16mm lenses or 16mm lenses the crop factor is 1:1 :)

      This camera is made to be used with 16 and S16 lenses, there are a lot of them out there, and a lot cheaper than the FF lenses :)

      • Joe,
        Would you mind elaborating a bit on this for the not-so-tech guys like myself?
        What you’re saying is that a 25mm full frame lens would roughly look like a 70mm s16 lens equivalent?
        And a 25mm s16 lens will perform with the d16 like a 25mm full frame lens on a full frame camera?

        • Hmmmm this is a big subject so it’s hard to contain in one little comment. When the forum is back up (hopefully very soon) we can go into this more.

          Yes a 25mm Full frame lens would have the field of view of a 65mm full frame lens, but it would still have the depth of field and the spatial distortion of a 25mm.

          A 25mm S16 lens will give you the “normal” field of view that you would expect from a 50mm in 35mm. Except it would have a little bit more of an intimate feel on 16mm.

          Let me refer you to the experts:
          A 25mm is a 25 mm is a 25mm. The difference is the format area that it covers. Think of the film gate as a window. A 35mm gate is a bigger window. A 16mm gate is a cropped 35mm gate. A “Cowboy” in 35mm will be a much tighter shot in 16mm. This is why a set of 35mm super speeds starts with an 18mm and a set of 16mm super speeds start with a 9.5mm. The 35mm set ends with a 100mm and the 16mm set ends with a 50mm. So if you consider 25mm normal in 35mm. A 12mm should be normal in 16. -Tom Jensen, Lens Tech

          Read more here: http://www.cinematography.net/edited-pages/PrimeLenses-16mmvs35mm.htm

          • Thanks Joe for stepping into this quite confusing topic (what the reference point is seems to be the problem).
            I’d be very interested to discuss this on the forum.
            Cheers!

          • Thanks!
            I’d be happy to discuss this further on the forum but to summarize:
            - the reference 1:1 “crop” is 35mm
            - m43 is 2:1 (with the exception of the GH2 being 1.86:1)
            - BMCC is 2:4
            - D16 is 2:7
            Basically, the smaller the sensor the smaller the field of view and the greater the impression of being closer to the subject.
            Am I correct?

          • Yeah I think that is pretty much correct.

            The reference 1:1 is really in relation to which lens you are using and therefor what the intended image circle size is.

            And as far as “the impression of being closer”, that again is a complex thing to say easily. It gives the impression of a more telephoto lens, but without the extra spacial distortions.

            Even though we don’t realize it our brains are very in tune with the way cinema lenses effect the image. We have seen millions of shots and it is now literally like a second language to us.

            So when you mix formats and lenses your brain knows this on some level, wether we realize it or not.

            I highly recommend using S35mm for S35mm sensors, and S16 for S16 sensors.

            Lens and format matching means that you are getting the best bang for your buck lens wise, and you are communicating in a language that movie audiences already understand :)

          • So I read the “Full Frame Equivalence” and Why It Doesn’t Matter post, and for the most part I agree with him. I was reading down the page, saying, yes exactly, right on, till I got to the bottom :/

            A larger format does not have “four times the total amount of light” as a format half its size, as he says.

            If there are two lenses that have the same f-stop, and the same field of view they are essentially capturing the exact same light. The larger lens with a larger format spreads that light out over the larger sensor, and the smaller lens with a smaller format spreads the same light out over the smaller sensor. This creates a difference in DOF but it does not mean the larger format gets “4 Times the amount of light”.

            Think about it this way, if you have a self illuminated glowing couch in a pitch black room, and both cameras have the full couch in the frame they are both capturing the light coming from the couch. The larger lens having a larger front element might be capturing slightly more light just because of the surface area, but if the f-stops of the lenses are the same the amount of light being captured should really be the same.

          • That makes sense – thanks!
            Sorry to invade this thread, but the forum being down…

            There are only 3 situations where I’m a bit worried to shoot with a small field of view:
            - in a tiny space where it’s impossible to step back from the subject (lift, small rooms, etc.)
            - when shooting landscapes that should feel panoramic
            - when shooting at a distance (to get that whole actor), I can imagine that getting a stable footage would probably be more of a challenge than with a s35 camera that would allow shooting closer to the subject.

            Why shouldn’t I bother ;-) ?

  10. WOW !. I have a dedicated mason jar to put the money in so I can purchase the camera. Thank you very much for creating such a fantastic tool. I am looking forward to getting my own and while waiting some footage with the final one for sale.
    Yours,
    Thom Elliott
    Photography

  11. Looking forward to a world-wide release, I for one will be making a pre-order and getting one down here to Australia.

    Great work on getting a new digital camera off the ground and competing with large multi-million dollar corporations like Canon & Nikon, I wish you all the best of success and thanks for listening to indie film-makers such as myself when designing your product.

    Doc.

  12. it has been such an exciting journey to be part of.
    Great work and looking forward for the rest.

    As Yves, I too have liked your book recommendations. A lot of the stuff you’ve been mentioning have been important for me in my life as well.

    Another book I really liked, which triggers a certain “thinking outside the box” mentality, is “The Four-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris.

    Those who enjoyed Gettings Things Done and love the minimalist approach might really enjoy the book “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauto. His blog can be an inspiration too.

      • Great! Check out Leo’s blog ZenHabits. I think you’ll like it.
        Maybe we should start a book recommendation thread ;)

        Yes I got Makers and loved it. :) Very inspirational. There is this trend that’s been evolving for a few years that allows people to be able to create more and more on their own with affordable gear.

        Such a gamer changer and what the Cinema Revolution is all about.

        • Yes I think so too!

          I think the Cinema Revolution will come directly from people not studios or big companies. And in all areas including gear production, financing, production, distribution, and presentation!

          I would love to start a book thread and a thread about how to take movie to the streets to raise money, promote, and profit :)

          • Let’s definitely start a discussion on the forums. In Canada all the films are financed by the government (no private investors like in the US and no culture of raising funds elsewhere). So you can imagine how free creatively we truly are.

            The tools are all out there right now I think. It’s just a matter of coming together and helping each other I think. For instance I know nothing about launching a crowdfunding campaign and viral marketing. Some people have made quite good money with their shorts with just iTunes. This is all out there.

  13. Oh and Joe, you mentioned in the “100 changes” update you added 4 screw holes at the top. I assume those are 1/4″ ? Nice move BTW! :)

    These are to be the two holes we see on the top image above the LCD?
    If so, where are the remaining two? ;)

    + Also someone mentioned it before but I think it’s very important the analog audio volume dials are to be quite stiff; enough for fine tuning and to avoid inadvertent changes.

  14. Hi Joe/Elle,

    I must say from the day I backed the D16 until now I never expected it to look this good, lets hope the footage is as good looking as the camera.

    I also must express how important it is that the PL Mount be included with the D16 to the first 80 cameras. Us backers will no doubt test the cameras for you and give you first hand judgment on the footage and by including the PL Mount means we can put the best possible cinema glass on the D16.

    I am very excited about receiving my D16 and will give you my continued full support.

    • Thank you Jade for your continued support. It really does mean a lot to us.

      I know the PL mount is very important, that’s why we went to the experts to get it done right! Having a PL mount done by them on or near camera release is actually a really big deal. Usually a camera comes out and the Hot Rod guys have a learning curve to figure out how to get a PL on there and that can take up to a year! And even when some companies release a camera with a PL mount and it isn’t done 100% right these guys end up fixing the cameras.

      I personally promise that we will make a large effort to make sure the PL mount is available and affordable to our kickstarter backers.

      Thanks again, Joe

  15. Pingback: Final body design of 2K-shooting Digital Bolex movie camera revealed (Yes, it’s gorgeous!) | pauloinstagram

  16. Elle and Joe,
    You’ve done something really great here. Developing this camera in such a short amount of time is amazing. Doing that and having it still turn out looking so sharp is equally impressive.

    Not only that but you’re listening to your early backers and target audience without feature creep or forcing everyone to buy into one set of accessories just to a basic working kit. I really like that you’re willing to working with existing gear companies like Hot Rod to give the best possible solution for pros. Though I won’t personally be using PL glass (since I have access to a full set of Bolex lenses) it shows a willingness on your part to do what’s best for the customer.

    Can’t wait to see some footage and the prototype DB lenses. The more people who go with PL mounts means that much DB primes for the rest of us :-)

  17. Hi Joe and Elle,

    Its looks amazing, very excited about getting my hands on it.

    Will there be any number or identifying features on the first 100 cameras? A little plaque somewhere perhaps?

    Also now that the body is together, does this mean the electronics are fitted as well? Are you close to announcing a ship date? I’m happy to wait for the best possible product but I have to say the anticipation is starting to get to me now!

  18. Love this camera, it is such a nice thing to have as well as immensely capable. But am I right in think it will take all lenses passively? even though S16mm are better suited. Would it take a metabones speedbooster? Apologies if you have already covered this.

    • So far all of the lens systems are passive, but there is an electronic connection inside the front of the camera so that we can make active lens mounts in the future!

      We have already designed a passive EF mount, and we are now working on an MFT mount so you can use the speedbooster! The MFT will be passive too though.

      Thanks for your question! Joe

      • Thanks Joe,

        Just a few more questions. As a run and gunner I find speed is of the essence. Will the D16 have an autofocus system to work with the “future” active lens mount? Does it have focus assist, zebras etc? What is the crop factor compared to a full frame camera? and how much would adding the speedbooster rectify this? Sorry I haven’t quite figured out the maths myself. Is it still a Kodak censor? What happens if it fully goes into administration.

        • The D16 will have an electronic focusing system that will use the crank like a follow focus. It is not an auto focus though. Currently we are not implementing focus assist, you can get this feature on a D16 by adding an EVF like the Small HD or Zacuto ones. In my opinion this is not necessary though. If you are using S16 lenses, like the ones we are making, focusing will be much easier than with S35mm or FF lenses. The crop factor for full frame lenses is 2.7 the crop factor for S16 lenses is 1:1 ;)

          We are still using a Kodak sensor, but the sensor line of Kodak has been purchased by another company and rebranded “Truesense” which was the name of the line of sensors we use. The company making our sensors is doing very well and will be around for a long time.

          • Though I would like focus assist as a software update as it allows me to concentrate more on content. Awesome camera though.

          • We are definitely considering it. As I said though I think it will not be a big problem for most people. Focusing with a FF or S35 camera is very challenging, I shot with 16mm and S16 for years and never had trouble focusing even on sub par viewfinders and video taps. The monitor built into the D16 is better than anything I had when shooting most of my 16mm films :)

  19. Pingback: Digital Bolex: The D16′s Final Body. By Joe Rubinstein | Digital Cinema Tools | Scoop.it

  20. Pingback: Final body design of 2K-shooting Digital Bolex movie camera revealed (Yes, it’s gorgeous!) | Digital Camera Updates and Digital Camera Information

  21. Hey Jo, apologies if this has already been answered. The next preorder batch is that USA only or North America only? I’m recently married and apparently I have some cousins in law in Canada whome I could have the camera sent to then back to Aussie land to me. Thanks!

    • Hi Dean,

      Yes the next pre-order will be for North America only still. You can pay for it from anywhere, but the camera must be shipped to a North American Address, so your cousins will be perfect :)

  22. Hi Joe, sorry to keep picking your brains like this but it is very useful. I hear there are loads of cheap S16 glass out there, but I might be looking in the wrong places. You seem to know a lot about S16 glass, what budget would you suggest you need for a basic set of S16 lenses? At the moment I own two decent canon lenses which I use to death. In order not to make these redundant, would it be best to go for MFT and use adapters or go EF?

    • I would look on ebay for S16 glass, unless you want the lenses we just announced yesterday :)

      EF mount is a good way to go, unless you want to use the metabones speed booster, then MFT. In general though the less connections / points of failure the better.

  23. Hi, you say S16 lenses, is this what you refer to as Cine lens, S-Mount?? Trying to get an idea of the options out there – this camera may be my next big purchase!

  24. Pingback: The D16′s Final Body | CINE DIGITAL ...TIPS, TECNOLOGIA & EQUIPO, CINEMA, CAMERAS | Scoop.it

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  26. Why is the crank handel pointing out when the crank is in the closed position? The handel shoul be on the other side of the crank lever so that it only shows when the crank is unfolder?

  27. Pingback: Digital Bolex D16

  28. Hey, usually I refuse to take part in endless forum debates about the “3.68 vs. 7K”-stuff, I would just like to congratulate you d16′s at this point by saying, you are the ONE AND ONLY guys in this whole bringing-out-a-new-digital-camera-thing who also kept in mind THAT A CAMERA ALSO HAS TO LOOK GOOD, DAMMIT! HOW IS THE CINEMATOGRAPHY SUPPOSED TO BE FUNKY WHEN ALL YOU HAVE ON SET IS A TOASTING MACHINE WITH A PL-MOUNT ON IT!!! Much as I too appreciate the new digital cams coming along, the almost total abscence of good-looking tech-design is weird…16 & 35mm Cameras, they all looked so cool you instantly wanted to be a camera guy the first time you saw them…and they had to deal with issues like film transport & yet looked fascinating…I thought companies building “a brick with a sensor” on it were actually somehow unable to hire some hot young designer from Japan or stg., but people actually ASKING for a zero-design-approach, that’s a really uncool side of camera nerdyness…of course, I know, yes, it’s all about the DoP, and yes, you can set up a nice composition with a soulless looking tool; on the other hand, it’s like “hey, dude, I’m a cinematographer who wants to shoot cool images, but since I have no sense for aesthetics & design & looks, just give me a box with a lens so I can see which side is front” when imho it should be “hey, if apart from lens & sensor the form factor is free, could you make it look really cool/new/different/ergonomical?”
    …and I’m not even mentioning the lens revolver thing, (and no, this is not about only retro being cool) => so, thank you for making it look good! :-)

  29. Are the two screw holes on the bottom of the camera 1/4 20 or 3/8ths???? Also are they in a straight line or side to side. Working on possible Rod Support ideas.

    Thanks

    You guys are great

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