In 2012, Cinemeridian licensed the named Bolex from Bolex International, the Swiss camera company that created the first consumer 16mm film camera in 1927. The name Bolex is derived from that of its inventor, Jacques Bogopolsky, and the Digital Bolex D16 is named after the Bolex H16.
This partnership launched an ambitious Kickstarter-project to produce an affordable cinema camera combining:
"[...] legendary Bolex quality with the best in digital technology...capturing and preserving image detail with stunning accuracy that gives your footage an organic look...emulating the feel of a traditional 16mm film camera, while still offering all of the shooting positions and mounting options of a professional digital cinema camera..."
The D16 was initially developed as a side project of CEO Joseph Rubinstein's LA-based photo booth company Polite in Public. Rubinstein wanted to develop a video booth that would require a raw-capable video camera under $10,000. He decided to start a new company to pursue the endeavor in early 2011, and partnered with Canadian design firm Ienso in summer of 2011 to produce the first prototype camera. Digital Bolex announced its camera at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival where it had a trade show booth.
The Digital Bolex camera was the second camera to feature Adobe's CinemaDNG open RAW file format after the Swedish-made Ikonoskop which debuted in 2008. Both cameras use a Kodak-designed CCD sensor. The Digital Bolex D16 shoots raw still frames per second instead of a traditional video stream. In addition to its raw capabilities, the camera is notable for its Super 16mm sized sensor, allowing the usage of vintage 16mm lenses with no crop, and its unique crank wheel encoder. The Digital Bolex is the only digital cinema camera with a native C mount, a nod to the original Bolex 16mm film cameras.
On June 27, 2016, the company announced on its website that it would no longer be producing cameras as of that month, and would shut down its online store on June 30, 2016. After the company made the announcement the remaining 50 to 60 cameras sold out in just two days.
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