Digital Bolex  (1 of 3)

It’s been 2 years a year since the Digital Bolex was successfully funded on kickstarter. The camera brought the promise of a super 16mm sensor size and a RAW DNG file format at a sub $3000 price point. In 2011 this sounded like an amazing step forward compared to the cameras that were currently on the market. That was until Blackmagic released the 2.5k BMCC.

At $2995 the BMCC basically delivered on many of the promises that the Digital Bolex was based on. The form factor might not be as elegant as the Digital Bolex design but your still getting RAW and Prores at a $3000 price point.

Digital Bolex  (2 of 3)

Both cameras have suffered delays, but the BMCC is basically out in the wild, while the Digital Bolex is still only a cool looking design. Now Blackmagic has announced and plans to ship the Pocket Cinema Camera in the next few months at a price point of $995 and the Digital Bolex may or may not be shipping by that time.

The Pocket Cinema Camera has many of the features the Digital Bolex promised for $2000 less. I know XLR inputs, physical knobs, and some of the other features the Digital Bolex offers are attractive, but so is a $995 Super 16mm camera the size of a point and shoot.

Digital Bolex  (3 of 3)

Blackmagic is known for their “will fix it later” style of product release, so I expect to see many growing pains during the life cycle of the Pocket Cinema Camera. On the other hand the Digital Bolex is still an unknown, if it’s released in a few more months and they nail every feature on their list perfectly, it could still be a very attractive camera. But if the camera doesn’t live up to the specs list, the Pocket Cinema Camera might have the upper hand.

Just remember, Blackmagic doesn’t plan to have something as simple as audio level meters working at launch. What else will the camera be missing? Will the $140 Sandisk SDXC cards be able to keep up with RAW DNG, or is Prores 422 the best we can hope for? What other problems could this little camera be hiding? If the Digital Bolex wants to remain relevant in the current camera market, they’ll really have to make sure there are zero problems at launch. If the Pocket Cinema Camera isn’t plagued with problems it’ll definitely be a tempting choice for many filmmakers.

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