This is What Real Black and White Filming looks like: Digital Bolex’s D16M


Amidst all the noise generated by the NAB Show in the past two days already – with 4K Cameras making the headlines on every photography blog out there, or with companies like Blackmagic flooring audiences with how much they’re evolving the technology of cinema – There’s quite a few cool announcements that get lost in the middle. One of them is from Digital Bolex, and it’s a monochrome camera (based off the original D16) called the D16M.

So the idea of a monochrome camera may seem a bit unnecessary at first thought; we have grayscale layovers guaranteed for us through software editing after all, don’t we?


To understand why exactly monochrome cameras are useful, look at the advantages that come from a monochrome-based camera. When you have a monochrome sensor at the foundation of your camera, it doesn’t need to go through a debayering process – that is, it doesn’t need to apply a color layer over the images captured from the camera, as color-based cameras have to do. This aspect ultimately helps the camera retain a higher sensitivity to light, which Digital Bolex points out “[preserves] the full dynamic range of the sensor”. Textures come out more vividly and contrasts come out more well-defined.

Granted, that doesn’t mean that this camera isn’t for everyone. This is a camera for those that have a specific set of preferences for the way they film. It’s for people that have specific visions and niches; not too many people go in depth with filming in monochrome considering how easy it is to apply a black-and-white effect today with the click of a mouse.

Below are the specs, straight from Digital Bolex’s website:

  • Kodak native monochrome sensor
  • Same resolution options as D16: Super 16mm (2K), 16mm (HD), and Super 8 (720p)
  • No OLPF filter to further maximize fine details
  • ISO 100, 200, 400, 800
  • 500GB Hard Drive

According to the website, the camera’s already on sale today for $4000 at the company’s official store, so check it out! I’ve never heard of someone making the purchase for a camera that is so limited in how it can film, so I want to hear the thoughts of people who feel that this camera is right up their alley. What do you guys think? Would you shell out the four grand for a camera that delivers in its monochrome imagery?

[D16M via Digital Bolex]

  • Andrew Sible

    that’s some pretty footage, even if it’s a simple subject