New Lens Mounts!

Title: New Lens Mounts!

Hi Everyone,

Last month I posted some pictures of some 3D prints I made, and the ring from an EF mount.

It’s now a month later and look how far I’ve come!

This is the new completed passive EF mount…

And this is the C-Mount Turret! (version one, still in progress)…


And it’s not just in the digital world. This is a 3D printed model testing the new EF mount.

When I started this company I had some mechanical design experience. I had worked on a few custom camera rigs, one of them with Kish who is now our lens partner, and we had built a couple dozen “PIP robots” for portable automated photo activations (photo booths), with two very distinct designs.

Despite this I had never pictured myself designing the product (or in this case accessories) at a 3D design level, but then I read Chris Anderson’s book MAKERS and it gave me the courage to try it. I got a 3D printer, a copy of Solidworks, and I was off. At first it was very slow. Just making the ring for the EF mount took a week to get right, but little by little I started to get it. I went through the tutorials and watched some youtube videos and now I feel like I can build just about anything! This really is the future of how things will be made. If I can do this you guys can too. If you’re a student, or know a student, you can get a student copy of Solidworks for $99! And if you worked on it for a couple of weeks you could be building your own accessories and rigs.

I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive here. I am jealous of the maker sites like DIY Drones and Local Motors, and would love to have a tech savvy DIY Filmmakers site. A place where if you don’t like the way something is made you submit design ideas, 3D models, and if people want them we make them and everyone benefits! You could even make some money at it if one of your designs sells well.

I think the story that really pushed me over the edge from Chris’s book was the one about his 6 year old daughter who makes miniature furniture for her dollhouse. If you have the time I really encourage a read of MAKERS it was a truly inspiring book for me πŸ™‚

I know a space for tech savvy DIY filmmakers is inevitable. The question is really who will be part of it and what company will foster it?

I know we have a ton on our plate already, but if this is something you guys are willing to try let me know in the comments below.

I’m very excited about the future πŸ™‚

(Next week’s blog is even more exciting!)

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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.

44 thoughts on “New Lens Mounts!

  1. This camera looks great and I am very interested in investing into one! So, roughly when do you think the EF lens mount, Turret mount, and Kish lenses will be available for purchase?

  2. Hi, It is really confusing trying to guess what are you aiming at with some specifications and some of the info is scattered the website but I guess you are just trying, and the good thing is you are actually open to people which is the best idea ever. I am just a cinematographer but I have always loved and used bolex camera and I am not 60 years old but more than half that age and I would really like to help you guys out designing the camera if any of my words help I would be glad. I canΒ΄t believe is that hard to get it right, but I can imagine it probably is, since there is a lot things to take into account but for example BMC was close to be that great camera the world crys for, but again they were wrong with the sensor size, the color reproduction and some other very basic stuff like batteries, form factor, as well as some other stuff.. this leaving aside the production and delivery issues

    What people would really like to see in the digital bolex would be to see a a true heir of a S16MM BOLEX camera and that would have to be somehow a low cost ( or maybe not that much of a low cost because BOLEX were that not cheap either) ARRI ALEXA S16mm version, with a true 16mm sensor with filmic organic look (with good response for highlights) for use with great existing 16mm lenses, specially PL mount ones and a reliable brain able to shoot RAW 12 Bit with a minimum iso of 800 and up to at least from 1-120 fps if more better (old cameras were not limited as much as new video cameras are, BOLEX and BEAULIEU cameras had same features or better than some 35mm ones, so this is just nonsense).

    This camera could not only reactivate the 16mm lens market quite dead till today but would be the biggest hit of cameras since 5D MARK II. I can imagine such thing could be done also with a s8mm SENSOR or s35mm as well, so you could even make 2 later versions or better think of these since start and just do a s35mm SENSOR that could be used in either s8mm, s16mm or s35mm, now that would be something to look at. ( SENSOR is the soul of the camera, try it to look as close as possible to film)

    As for design, keeping the bolex look really makes this camera indeed beautiful, but also must think of options and modularity as good companies like ARRI and RED are doing, so I imagine taking of the pistol grip would be nice to rig camera for a regular shooting setup or If I want to add a big lens I can either rent out or get from my fathers closet ( Think of this camera as a BMC camera with the right sensor, right ergonomics and far better possibilities for lenses and uses that could be that virtually from any person to a proffesional could be looking for that different look, why not think about this since the start, this is something neither SONY or CANON has yet understood)

    Also, adding external stuff to the camera is not a good idea, cameras end up looking like frankensteins. I know people rather prefer one built in camera system with a smart and good solution for battery from the start, as well as media and functionalities ( maybe a high res MONITOR or EVF with a new version of old built in meters or a waveform or a mix of both would really end rounding the camera put together and having it ready to look for a lot of lens options. (And over here the lens mount should be somehow shimmable for different lenses, rigid and as perfect as germans can do.)

    Regarding lenses, using a lens designed for S35 or Full frame such as popular ZEISS CP. 2 COMPACT PRIME lens is not a good idea for 16mm, not only because the lens would actually look differently than in a S35MM or a full frame camera, but mainly beause they were not designed for that sensor and this is one of todays main issues, it is not a matter that lens cover image circle of the sensor only but that it actually looks good.

    You are probably thinking this camera I am talking about would be to expensive or impossible to do, but the closer you get the more the people would like it apart from the nice looks and that will bring it back to the idea of the legendary original bolex I used at filmschool to learn how to shoot which apart from the looks it was a must have tool with great features and dont forget to include HDR or timelapse features.

    Hope you guys get it right and best of lucks.


    • Hi Rodrigo,

      Thanks for your comment.
      The frame rates are set by Kodak the people who make the sensor. We are not a big company and cannot afford to design our own sensors. So currently 120fps is not possible for us.

      The same is true for the ISO sensitivity. The sensor we chose is 400 ISO natively, we may in the future offer 800 ISO but only if it looks better than 400 pushed. Remember this is a 12 stop camera so shooting 400 iso is like shooting 200, 400, and 800 at the same time on a DSLR.

      We fully understand the implications of using FF and S35mm glass on a smaller sensor camera, which is why the standard mount that comes with the camera is C-mount, the most popular lens mount in the world, designed for smaller formats. The EF mount is an accessory that can be purchased if you would like to use EF lenses, but is not necessary.

      And we are talking about making an S35mm camera down the road, but it will be at least double the price since the sensors and hardware needed are double the price.

      If you would like to be more involved in the discussions about the camera please feel free to join our forum:

      Thanks, Joe

  3. Hi,

    This is all very exiting news! Are there any plans for micro 4/3 mount? It would be an ideal mount as it can take allmost any other lenses ever made with cheap widely available adapters including (EF, FD, Minoltas, PL, you name it etc…)

    • Yes MFT is planned!
      The reason we are building an interchangeable mount system though is that those adapters are often not so good.
      They don’t actually hold your lens in the right place, at least not with the accuracy that a real mount does. And they add extra points of mechanical failure. This is especially problematic when using heavy lenses.

  4. There is a lot of Super 16mm glass out here…what kind of mounts can you offer?
    I have Arri-bayonet and PL…even have a set of Cinema Products Ultra Speed primes gathering dust….

  5. I check this site about once a week, my salivary glands working overtime as I imagine myself holding one of these, working with one of these. The best thing, of all the many great features of this camera, is its hand-holdability, so I guess we can use that overused word, its ergonomics. Most camcorders leave one’s wrist aching, as they are unbalanced; a shoulder mount or a shoulder-designed camera such as the larger JVCs, helps, but then they’re so bulky, which, in the kind of documentary I’ve been doing and will be doing, makes them intimidating to the subject. I’m old enough to have shot 16mm on an H16 Bolex, and other film cameras, but the Bolex holds a special place in my heart: it was my first step-up from Super8.

    Since this doesn’t require a huge rig as DSLRs do, what if the included viewfinder is overcome by ambient light, is there a way to make it eye-level, or to attach an external viewfinder (like those Zacuto ones)?

    Indie filmmakers know that success is often a long and arduous journey, with no guarantees, and no health or retirement plan! I applaud this exciting project and stand in line to buy the camera–I hope it will be this year!

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! We will definitely be shipping this year!

      We understand that one of our true niches is an all in one hand holdable solution πŸ™‚

      We are going to make a hood/mirror accessory for the LCD that allows you to hold the camera at eye level, and you can also connect an external viewfinder like the Zacuto or SmallHD ones to the HDMI port!

      Thanks again, Joe

  6. I was sorta wondering what the crank was for….

    Dumb question, but (going back to 16mm film production background) I saw your mention of a 12v battery pack based on the wet cell made originally (I believe) for emergency building lighting and PC backup systems and wondered if all data settings stored in your camera would be lost when it came time to change the battery? Or is there some sort of non-destructive EPROM here?

    • No data will be lost when you power down the camera πŸ™‚
      There is an internal battery that buffers for external batteries and lasts over 4 hours on it’s own.

      the 12v battery packs we recommend are built for cameras and other production equipment. 12v 4 pin XLR is actually the most popular battery format for production equipment.

      The pistol grip will operate as a built in follow focus in some scenarios, and has other uses too.

  7. Can’t wait till you guys have an electronic EF!… Until I can afford some good S16 glass… or yours! I’d be using my zeiss ZE lenses…

    Question… A full frame lens wide open, say on F.2… Because of the smaller sensor size would that make it more equivalent of being an F4 – 5?? Sorry if that question doesn’t actually make sense! Just trying to figure out how I’d go temporarily using the bolex with EF glass until there is electronic iris control…

    • No worries, the lens still operates as it’s normal F-stop, the only difference is the fact that you don’t see the edges of the frame you usually record. As if you cut the middle out of the picture, but that middle is higher resolution than what you’re entire picture was previously πŸ˜‰

      You can think of it like this, apple makes a 24″ cinema display that’s 1920 x 1200, and they also make a retina display that’s 2880 x 1800, but the retina display is much smaller almost 1/2 the size. It’s kinda like the D16 is the retina display of motion picture cameras.

  8. “a space for tech savvy DIY filmmakers is inevitable. The question is really who will be part of it and what company will foster it?”

    We can think of some tech savvy DIY filmmakers and production crew members in our (Quebec, Canada) community/networks that would be thrilled by such a space. πŸ™‚

  9. This may sound stupid but I can’t wait to get this camera and add it to my arsenal for filming weddings! i love the form factor! Are you guys going to design a viewfinder / loupe for the lcd screen? it would make it the ultimate hand held camera if you did! πŸ˜€

  10. What is the process like going from designing and printing a modle of an accessory and then taking it to be fabricated in a sturdy medium that you can use (like steel or a strong alloy)? is it costly? I find myself wanting to adapt lenses and re-house elements from older lenses all the time but dont have the proper tools or knowhow.

    • The process is easy and it’s getting easier!

      You should take this Head On!

      First of all, there are sites like Shapeways that can turn your 3D models into real objects relatively cheaply and in lots of different materials including stainless steel:
      You simply build your 3D model, upload it, choose the material you want it made in, pay for it, and they mail it to you, usually in less than a week. It’s kinda amazing.

      Next there are Maker Spaces, if you’re in LA there is LA Makerspace that I am now a member of, but haven’t visited yet :/ And Maker Spaces often have CNC machines and all sorts of other things, and people to help you make stuff.

      And then there is craigslist, you can just go to craigslist, click on services, and search “CNC Machine”…
      There are so many people that have basically small factories in their garage these days, including me! Although my factory only makes plastic right now.

      Get Solidworks, go through the first 2 or 3 tutorials, it will take you about an hour per tutorial. Make something small, find somewhere or someone to help you make it. The first time you do this it’s an incredibly empowering experience!

      And if you start a forum thread about how to make what you want to make I think a bunch of people will comment to help, I know I will!

  11. Wow looks awesome, you have done well with the 3d drawing- Cant wait to get mine. Ill be using EF mainly but have access in our hire department for PL. Have you designed one? I cant seem to find them on the web….

    • We are working on the PL mount, I know it is a priority for many people so we want to get it 100% right. And I think we now have a great plan on how to do that.

      I will have an update about the PL mount very soon, and it’s one I think everyone will like πŸ™‚

  12. Excellent work Joe, I love seeing the energy and new ideas flowing. Stay passionate, keep sharing your interests. I feel like I’ve invested well, not just because of the camera but the guy behind the camera. Looking forward to next week no matter the outcome.

    • Thanks Daniel,

      I truly appreciate your support and encouragement. I’ll be honest it’s a difficult time for us, especially those of us on the “front lines”, but encouragement from people like yourself puts a smile on all of our faces πŸ™‚

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