Remember the Bolex? It is back in digital form and shoots 2k RAW video

by planetmitch23 Comments

I wasn’t shooting video back in the days of the Bolex, but I remember seeing them around in the 70’s – and now there’s going to be a new digital version – and, it is going to shoot 2k RAW video that has XLR audio inputs and the target price is less than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III!

The folks planning to make this camera) have sent this press release and are running a kickstarter project.

Also, Philip Bloom has gotten an audio interview with the team working on the new project (Elle Schneider and Joe Rubinstein. You should listen – they make a lot of sense. Tho their comment about the new iPad being able to possibly handle the 2k video I think isn’t right because Apple says the only video they’ll support is 1080 – so unless they have some other way around that, they’re not going to get the resolution they want.

The kickstarter intro

We also got a nice note from Joe:

I’m Joe Rubinstein and I’m one of the developers of a new camera project called the Digital Bolex. It is an affordable digital cinema camera that shoots RAW format Adobe Cinema DNG files in 2K resolution. Like the Bolex models that were popular in the 60’s and 70’s, the new Digital Bolex D16 will provide the highest quality motion picture images for a price most independent filmmakers can afford.

Press Release

SXSW Film Festival and Technology Trade Show, Austin, March 11, 2012
Bolex International has leveled the digital cinema playing field with the announcement of the Bolex D16, the first digital camera from the 200 year-old Swiss company whose 16mm and 8mm cameras dominated the international consumer marketplace from the 40’s to the 70’s.

The D16 is an interchangeable-lens digital cinema camera that features a Kodak CCD sensor and produces images with a frame size equivalent to Super 16mm. The D16 remarkably captures the look and feel of film at a price that finally makes digital cinema available to filmmakers on any budget. The D16 shoots RAW image sequences at true 2K (2048×1152), without the rolling shutter or line scan effects found with CMOS sensors. The camera’s large pixel size contributes to better light reception without any need to artificially boost the signal.

Adaptability and Compatibility
The D16 comes standard with a C-mount Lens mount, but lens mounts in PL, B4, and EF will also be available and are easily interchanged. The camera has two flash mounts so a monitor and a microphone can be mounted at the same time, an adjustable 2.4” angle display with focus assist, and, in Bolex fashion, a stylish pistol grip that allows for exceptionally steady hand-held shots.

Under The Hood
Like the classic Bolex cameras, the D16 has a carbonized steel frame that gives it a rigid body and unmatched durability. To Bolex, affordable means “high quality” and “digital film” means shooting frames per second. The D16 will offer Adobe’s Cinema DNG format along with other image sequence file types, to ensure the highest quality footage without the pitfalls of video compression. With an internal buss of over 200 Mbps and a 256Gig internal buffer drive, this camera churns through RAW footage like butter. Dual CF card slots make sure that data storage is relatively cheap and readily available. Power is supplied by internal battery, but with a built-in 4-pin XLR port, the D16 can also be powered by a traditional battery belt for long shoot days.

Shoot to Thrill
With a sleek body design, functional pistol grip, and Bolex’s iconic crank, the D16 is fun to use and has character to spare. The crank can be programed to adjust just about anything in the menu, from volume to focus to fps. This fea- ture and the start/stop trigger on the pistol grip makes for a shooting experience that’s unique to the Bolex brand.

Buying and Trying
The Bolex D16 is currently available only via 100 cameras will be pre-sold on Kickstarter and shipped over the summer, dates to be announced. Additional cameras will become available to the general public in late Summer/Fall 2012. The estimated retail price for the D16 and its accessories is $3299.

To learn more about the Bolex D16, join the digital revolution at:

(cover photo credit: snap from the site)


  1. KahL

    Also known as, “potentially the REAL indie revolution of 2012” or “what the MKIII was supposed to be”.

    God willing this gets finished, I’ll be on board like flies to caca!!!!

  2. N.K.Osborne

    I want Super 35 :(

    Also not feeling the look of the camera lol, but at that price I’ll take it.

    Still can’t say I’m sold because I really prefer Super 35

  3. cee

    hdsdi should be standard. also one can’t trust release dates anymore. really? bolex cant find 200k in investors???. TRFMBS – too risky for my broke ass.

    1. chris

      They speak of not wanting investors and not having to sell out to a personality (kinda Occupy wallstreet style). They got Bolex to back them and are using kick starter as the way to fund. Instead of what you call investors, by kickstarting, you essentially become the investor and your reward is the camera. They also speak about using kickstarter as a way to gauge what interest there is in this camera. They’re legit.

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  6. walid

    That s an awesome news!!
    Every month a new RAW camera get out.
    THis one is the 2K for 3K !
    Lets see what the C-dslr canon gonna give us and at what price.
    But for me the 5D markIII is a joke.
    2012 will be the year of the numerical revolution.

  7. StenR

    Ever heard of the Ikonoskop? But competition is good and with standard storage devices it should be cheaper…

  8. jaduffy007

    This is a breakthrough device. A camera made by filmmakers for filmmakers…what a concept!

  9. Eric Kornblum

    All of the sample videos are 720p & heavily compressed, and using horrible color grading or shot way too dark.
    I’m hopeful, but this is no way to give a 1st impression of a brand new & exciting technology…

  10. charles Sanson

    Don’t care for the design and the winder seems like a gimmick. Why not look at a Bolex super8 160 ? Now that was a kickass design. It even had a title and filter holder attachment and I believe a shoulder brace.

  11. Jose Rios Vasquez

    nearly two decades ago I made my first short film in 16mm with Bolex, and this experience was extraordinary because I became someone who wanted to be forever … a filmmaker until now, now I hope to make my first feature with this wonderful, I assure you that this camera is wonderful … assured them that will become what you want to be…

  12. guru

    Kickstarter is shaping to be more and more a money maker than anything else. Do anyone really believe it will be better than 5DMKIII ? Kodak sensor, really ? I though Kodak died because it is not capable of making not good, but only decent sensor, and now all of a sudden it will be great in this camera just because it has RAW output ?

    I’m really surprised about peoples reactions to this, but I’m even more surprised in a positive reaction from professionals, is it possible that nobody think about it, just see “RAW” and think “the best camera for the money”…

    1. kahl

      To be frank, the 5DIII hasn’t been very impressive in video features as of yet. It’s not getting much of a positive response from many former supporters. So at this point, yes, it IS in fact better than the MKIII.

      The Kodak sensor has proven to be strong. As shown by the Leica bodies and Ikonoshop’s own s16mm digi-RAW camera. You might wanna do a bit of research on that.

      1. Ellsworth

        How can one camera that hasn’t even been created yet be better than a camera that’s currently out in the market and in peoples hands? On paper… yes…. but that’s just about it.

    2. amband

      it’s audio is better than 5D series thanks to XLR, easier and steadier to hold, uncompressed

      As a 5D mkII owner, I say this will crap all over the 5D

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  14. Ellsworth

    Looking at the spec sheet and what this bolex will POTENTIALLY be capable of….. It sounds amazing but I have a hard time believing they’ll be able to accomplish all of this with a $3,000 camera. RED made an attempt and didn’t succeed. Here’s hoping this Bolex project succeeds. RAW video footage for $3K? Wait me up when it’s ready.

    1. amband

      true, but either way, very few will work on real cinema where these things shine. Most with produce for TV and youtube, both of whom compress everything, thereby defeating the purpose of the thing

      Still, the DB is something to be considered alongside BMC. The end product will be interesting

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