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I recently wrote about the Digital Bolex Camera, that’s currently being developed and is due to be available in August this year, because I was quite thrilled by the fact that such a camera would be available at such a low price point (around 3000 US-Dollars). The details you can read in mentioned article, along with the reasons why I think that this is such an outstanding and extraordinary concept.
Then came the NAB Show 2012, the „largest international digital event for audio, video, film, broadcast and communications professionals“ in Las Vegas, where the Australian company Blackmagic Design announced the release of the „Blackmagic Cinema Camera“, due in July 2012.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

The concept is basically very similar to the Digital Bolex, with the main differences being minor ones: the Blackmagic will have a bigger, higher resolution display on camera and a slightly higher resolution sensor (2.5 K instead of 2 K, which in my opinion isn’t really such a big deal), while the Digital Bolex offers slightly higher frame rates. Other than that: they both are designed to be digital approaches to the idea of a 16mm film camera, both recording Raw image streams, both in Adobe DNG – format (while also offering possibilities for recording compressed formats). To compare the technical specs in detail, look here for the Digital Bolex D16 and here for the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera.

So far, so good. Now, why ist the Blackmagic Cam so interesting? Because it will be available at the same incredibly low price like the Digial Bolex, namely around 3000 US Dollars!

Being good sports about that, the makers of the Digital Bolex react to this new competitor very positively, saying that anything that will help grow the market of Raw video cameras is a good thing, as you can see in a talk between them and Philip Bloom at NAB Show 2012 in Las Vegas, also including interesting info on their business model and their philosophy (for the mentioned interview skip foward to timecode 15:54).

Interview: Philip Bloom and the Digital Bolex Team at NAB Show 2012

Interview: Philip Bloom and the Digital Bolex Team at NAB Show 2012

As I explained in the already mentioned article, this is not only exciting because it gives Raw video at an affordable price to independent filmmakers, but also, because it is turning out to be a clear message to the large video camera manufacturers and their price politics. Their expensive, good cameras, that are rather made for large, general markets and thus for different purposes, might lose at least one of their purposes very quickly to cheaper 16mm Raw cinema cameras, and that means that Canon, Panasonic, Sony and the rest of the happy bunch will probably have to rethink a few things about their professional video products and the prices, at which they are offering them.

Sure, those digital 16mm cameras are targeted at a smaller market then the cameras of the big companies, but nevertheless it’s a niche with a lot of potential and that certainly is a good thing for a rapidly evolving market of professional video cameras!


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