In the absence of RED’s old 3K for $3K Scarlet promise, a new challenger has arisen. Digital Bolex D16 is a slick Kickstarter campaign that promises to build a 2K RAW camera with a 16mm-sized CCD sensor and deliver it in August of this year.

Spec’d framerates are 32fps at 2K (2048 x 1152), 720P/60, and 480P/90. There’s also a 1920×1080 mode, and this appears to be done as a center-extraction instead of a downscale. ISO range is 100, 200, 400. Lens mount options include a standard C-mount and optional PL, EF, and B4. The camera is supposed to record Adobe Cinema DNG RAW to dual CF cards (in-tandem?) and has an SSD buffer. Which is probably because the CF cards can’t keep up with the datarate…which would then mean that take length will be limited by the size of the buffer? Unsure how that all plays out.

Digital Bolex is a nostalgic bit of branding, and an interesting product idea with a lot of promise. In fact, they promise a lot of things…and most of them are non-trivial. Anyone who’s waited for RED to make good on their past product promises and deadlines, or to simply ship a product they actually have made, knows that a company’s promises aren’t worth much until the product is in your grubby little hands. Digital Bolex say they’ve been in development for nearly a year on this camera, and have partnered with a camera design company to do the heavy-lifting. So we’ll see what we see in August.

Nevertheless, the Digital Bolex Kickstarter campaign has no shortage of backers, having nearly tripled their $100,000 goal. That should be your first red flag…that they planned to engineer, manufacture, and ship 100 cameras for ~$100,000. I’m not privy to their supply chain and design plans, but I do know that even a simple plastic mold can cost upwards of $20,000-30,000 for a single part. Manufacturing in quantity is not cheap, nor is setting up a business, building a website and cart, and developing a shipping system. Perhaps they have all these problems solved already. Perhaps they have outside investment in addition to Kickstarter. I don’t know, but I can tell you that I see a lot of challenges ahead for them.

Anyway, as you can see, I was all set to launch into a long caveat-emptor rant about Digital Bolex, but I see that Stu Maschwitz has already done that over at Prolost. He covers all the high points nicely, I recommend the read. Update: Stu has written a second clarification post also.