Digital Bolex Kish lenses and the magic of filmic grain

The Digital Bolex D16 has arrived with a set of c-mount Kish cinema lenses (10, 18, 38mm f/4 fixed primes). CEO Joe Rubinstein also talks about the unique film grain look that comes out of the analog CCD sensor, which makes the D16 stand out with a 16mm film look — something that the competition can’t really achieve when using digital CMOS sensors.

You can add film grain in post, but the grain is overlaid on top of the image, lacking the feel of film with its crystals embedded into the film image itself, causing the image to dapple frame to frame, shimmering with dreamlike magic — and, yes, this is one of the features that many people who shoot on film bemoan with the rise of the clean plastic feel of digital motion pictures.

The sharpness of detail is perhaps too real and takes you out of the magical realm of narrative fiction film, according to Michael Plescia who discusses this in my new book, Cinema Raw

And this is also why 4K — sharpness of resolution — doesn’t achieve the film look. It’s not about resolution It’s about sharpness mixed with the shimmering effect of film grain embedded into the image itself.

And this is also why the Ikonoskop and the Digital Bolex D16


Kurt_Lancaster1_small Kurt Lancaster is the author of DSLR Cinema and Cinema Raw: Shooting and Color Grading with the Ikonoskop, Digital Bolex, and Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. He teaches digital filmmaking and documentary at Northern Arizona University. Kurt received his PhD from NYU.

3 thoughts on “Digital Bolex Kish lenses and the magic of filmic grain

  1. joe and elle really did it.they built a great cinema camera,it only gets better now.they did it from grass roots level with no established company behind them like black magic.the only other co.went belly up,,they really put out a great looking camera with outstanding looking video footage on first try.amazing work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *