Frequently Asked Questions

These are questions relating to the D16 camera. For general questions about our store, see http://www.digitalbolex.com/store-faq. For specific questions, please check out our forum.

General Questions
Q: Is the pistol grip removable?
Q: Can you record using the pistol grip?
Q: Okay, cool. Now where can I buy a Digital Bolex?
Q: Wait, so you’re actually working with Bolex International?
Q: What is the estimated price of a Digital Bolex?
Q: What comes in the box?
Q: Is there a warranty on the camera?
Q: What does the crank do?
Q: Can you record sound on this camera?
Q: Why is the battery built in?
Q: What are the monitoring options?
Q: How do I get a loaner camera?
Q: Where can I find the latest Digital Bolex footage?

Technical Specs
Q: What’s the highest frame rate?
Q: Does the D16 do slow motion?
Q: Why is RAW better than regular video?
Q: Why aren’t there any in camera compressed formats on the D16?
Q: What is different about a raw workflow from a compressed one?
Q: What is a codec?
Q: Why a 16mm size sensor?
Q: Why a CCD instead of a CMOS sensor?
Q: What ISO does the D16 shoot at?
Q: What resolution does the D16 shoot at?

Software
Q: Will the D16 come with software?
Q: Why did you make your own software?
Q: Is LightPost available for Windows?
Q: What other programs can use CinemaDNG?

Storage
Q: Does it matter which CF cards I buy?
Q: How many minutes of footage can I record with CF cards?
Q: How many minutes of footage can I record with the internal SSD?

Lenses
Q: What lens mounts are available for the D16?
Q-Which lenses can the D16 use?
Q: What’s the story with the Digital Bolex lenses?
Q: Do you plan on making anamorphic lenses?

Troubleshooting
Q: I have a line in my footage. Where did this come from?
Q: My Windows PC doesn’t recognize the camera as a drive when it’s plugged in. Help!


General Questions

Q: Is the pistol grip removable?

A: Yes! The handle is screwed into the tripod mount at the base of the camera.

Q: Can you record using the pistol grip?

A: Yes! There is a function trigger on the pistol grip. There is an additional record button on the top of the camera itself.

Q: Okay, cool. Now where can I buy a Digital Bolex?

A: Cameras are now on sale at out online store, shop.digitalbolex.com.

Q: Wait, so you’re actually working with Bolex International?

A: Yes.

Q: What is the estimated price of a Digital Bolex?

A: The camera retails for $3299 for 256GB hard drive, or $3599 for a 500GB hard drive.

Q: What comes in the box?

A: Check out the D16 product page for a list of all the items included.

Q: Is there a warranty on the camera?

A: Yes, the camera comes with a standard 1 year manufacturer warranty.

Q: What does the crank do?

A: The crank performs a number of programmable functions. You can assign the crank settings you want to adjust on the fly, like ISO, shutter angle, or headphone volume. The crank can also record meta data of the handle movements so that film-like effects can be added in post, and will also serve as a way to control frame rate while shooting.

Q: Can you record sound on this camera?

A: Yes, there are 2 balanced XLR ports with phantom power, that can record 24bit/96khz audio.

Q: Why is the battery built in?

This camera follows the legacy of 16mm film cameras that all ran off of 4 pin XLR batteries. Keeping the battery internal saves space making the battery more powerful, the internal battery will run for 4 hours, and costs less.

Q: What are the monitoring options?

The D16 has a small 320 x 240 monitor built into the top of the camera. There is also a zoom 1:1 mode for focus. The camera also has an full res 1080p HDMI port so you can use HD monitors and professional EVFs with the camera. And there is a SD 1/8″ mini jack too.

You will be able to monitor in a basic color setting, a black and white setting, and a custom Bolex non-debayered setting.

Q: Hey, I, Ron Howard, just met you, and this is crazy, but I am shooting a biopic of Lyndon Johnson next month and would like to use the D16. IT WOULD BE GREAT EXPOSURE FOR YOUR CAMERA. Here’s my number, so can you give one to me, like, tomorrow, maybe?

A: Thanks for your interest in our camera, Ron. We don’t have a high number of loaner cameras available, and those cameras have to be reserved far in advanced. The best way to arrange a loaner situation is to email us with your name, project synopsis, budget, cast & crew information, and planned shooting schedule. We are able to accommodate some projects depending on the schedule and needs. To guarantee access to a D16 camera, you can always purchase one on our online store. Your camera will arrive 8-12 weeks after placing your order.

Q: Where can I find the latest Digital Bolex footage?

A: The latest Digital Bolex footage can be found on the Videos page. You can also find more clips on Vimeo and Facebook.

Technical Specs

Q: What’s the highest frame rate?

A: Our sensor is limited to a maximum of 32 FPS at full resolution. Higher FPS are possible at lower resolutions.

Q: Does the D16 do slow motion?

A: The following high-speed frame rates are available on the D16:

  • 2K = 30 fps
  • 1080p = 30 fps
  • 720p = 60 fps
  • 480p = 90 fps

  • Q: Why is RAW better than regular video?

    A: Most digital video is compressed to increase the storage capacities of memory cards. Most compression formats save only as much data as is necessary to display the image as it is recorded. This can make post-processing footage difficult and degrade the image by creating digital “artifacts” (blocky, pixelated areas) when colors or values are changed in any way.

    RAW footage is entirely uncompressed, which means each recorded frame has the same amount of information the sensor captured. RAW footage has no digital artifacts, and can be highly altered in post with little image degradation.

    Q: Why aren’t there any in camera compressed formats on the D16?

    We are focusing on providing the highest quality images possible with the D16. This to us is uncompressed raw footage. We are however discussing including a form of compressed raw or 10 bit log to save space. These would come as future firmware updates.

    Q: What is different about a raw workflow from a compressed one?

    A: Raw workflows require an extra step called transcoding. This extra step gives you much higher control over your image than standard video allows. Doing this step in post also means that you don’t have to do it on set, saving you valuable production time!

    Q: What is a codec?

    A: A codec is a format of compression used by a camera to create video files that maximize image quality while reducing the amount of memory that the video file takes up on a storage drive or memory card. There are many different codecs, some of which produce high quality video images, some of which do not. While there are some codecs that approach a RAW (uncompressed) look, no image created with a codec is truly RAW.

    Q: Why a 16mm size sensor?

    A: This camera will be able to take advantage of all of the amazing lenses meant for 16mm cameras, while still creating images of such high resolution that they can be projected in a movie theater, much in the way that 16mm and super 16mm film were.

    Q: Why a CCD instead of a CMOS sensor?

    A: The CCD sensor has a global shutter and better color separation than CMOS sensors. In this way, it eliminates the “rolling shutter” effect and has a more film-like look than CMOS sensors.

    Q: What ISO does the D16 shoot at?

    A: Currently the D16 has three ISO settings; 100, 200, and 400. We will soon be adding 800 ISO via a firmware update.

    Q: What resolution does the D16 shoot at?

    A: We offer four shooting resolutions. Additional resolutions may be available in the future.

    2048×1152 (Super 16mm mode)
    1920×1080 (16mm mode)
    1280×720 (720p)
    720×480 (480p)

    Software

    Q: Does the D16 come with software?

    A: Yes! The D16 comes with Bolex LightPost, a simple to use raw transcoding software designed by the internationally renowned company Pomfort. You can download a free 14-day trial on the LightPost product page.

    Q: Why did you make your own software?

    A: The Bolex software will be intended to make the transcoding process as easy and quick as possible, while still maintaining very high image quality.

    These are our three mantras:

  • Keep it raw as long as you can.
  • Transcode only once.
  • Transcode only what you need to transcode.

  • You can read more about it here: Software + Workflow

    Q: Is LightPost available for Windows?

    A: No, there are no plans to make a Windows version of LightPost.

    Q: What other programs can use CinemaDNG?

    A: Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe After Effects CS6 and CC, and Da Vinci Resolve can read CinemaDNG natively.

    Storage

    Q: Does it matter which CF cards I buy?

    A: It does matter. The write speed of the CF card you purchase will determine the amount of time the camera requires after a shot to transfer the data from the internal buffer to your CF cards. We recommend 400x and up cards.

    Q: How many minutes of footage can I record with CF cards?

    A: The D-16 images are around 3.5 MB per frame. At 24 frames per second, that works out to about 5 GB per minute. This means that on two 32 GB cards, you can record about 13 minutes worth of footage.

    If you are shooting with CF cards, we recommend at least four 32 GB CF cards or two 64 GB cards.

    Q: How many minutes of footage can I record with the internal SSD?

    The internal 512GB SSD drive of the D16 holds the following amount of footage.

    2K: 144,436 frames or 01:40:18:00
    HD: 164,310 frames or 01:54:06:00
    720: 369,091 frames or 04:16:18:00
    480: 979,422 frames or 11:20:09:00

    The internal 256GB SSD drive of the D16 holds the following amount of footage.

    2K: 72,218 frames or 00:50:09:00
    HD: 82,155 frames or 00:57:03:00
    720: 184,545 frames or 2:08:09:00
    480: 489,711 frames or 05:40:05:00

    Lenses

    Q: What lens mounts are available for the D16?

    A: The D16 has an interchangeable mount system that is superior to using lens adapters. Presently, the D16 comes standard with a C mount. We are currently working on passive EF, passive MFT and PL mounts for the D16.

    Q-Which lenses can the D16 use?

    A: The D16 comes with a C-mount lens bracket, but other brackets like M43, EF, or PL-Mount can be purchased separately.

    Q: What’s the story with the Digital Bolex lenses?

    A: There are presently three Digital Bolex lenses prototyped: 10mm, 18mm, and 38mm. These each have a fixed F4 aperture.

    They feature long pull focus ring as well as built-in follow focus gear. The lenses have 200+ lines of resolution per mm. They have entirely metal construction, with a hard circular stop (creates smooth edges, like having many blades). With a 43mm front, these lenses are designed to work with a large variety of filters. The lenses are expected to retail for $300-$350 per lens depending on focal length.

    Q: Do you plan on making anamorphic lenses?

    A: Yes we are also currently working on an anamorphic adapter specifically for the D16. More on this soon.

    Troubleshooting

    Q: I have a line in my footage. Where did this come from?

    A: Please allow your camera to warm up for 15 minutes before shooting. This 15 minute warm up period is not necessary every time you power on, only when it is cold. If the internals of your camera are cold you may get a line down the middle of your footage.

    This does not mean that you can’t shoot when it is cold outside, just that you have to let the camera warm up for a few minutes before shooting. In cold weather you can also cover the vent with a piece of gaff tape. In the near future we will have a rubber skin that will help with cold weather.

    Q: My Windows PC doesn’t recognize the camera as a drive when it’s plugged in. Help!

    A: You will need an HFS reader to read the D16 on a Windows PC. There are many, this is one we recommend: http://www.catacombae.org/hfsx.html