Perhaps stealing some thunder from the upcoming NAB show, Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, ASC (Selma, Arrival, Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Neil Fanthom (a former executive at ARRI) introduce the new BLACKWING7 cinema primes. The first offering from Young and Fanthom's new company TRIBE 7, these prime lenses are tuneable and customizable to fit each customer's needs. Their initial slate of lenses includes 3 distinct lens styles (S, T or X tuned) with 7 lenses each: 27mm, 37m, 47mm, 57mm, 77mm, 107mm, 137mm and all will cover full-frame sensors (such as the new Alexa LF and Alexa LF Mini). Jon Fauer from Film & Digital Times has the inside scoop:

"Every BLACKWINGlens is hand-built in Germany in cooperation with a long-established and well-respected optical manufacturing firm. A proprietary production tuning process allows the optical performance of each lens in the range to be uniquely configured—tuned or toned— to their owner’s wishes and creative style." — Film & Digital Times

BLACKWING7 First Run Cinema PrimesBLACKWING7 First Edition Cinema PrimesCredit: Film & Digital Times

The three tuning modes:

  1. S STRAIGHT (Standard) — Based on early 20th century lens designs, citing the 1936 Kodak EKTAR 45mm f/2 and the 1950 Wray UNILITE 50mm f/2 as inspiration. Smooth roll-off with single layer coating.

  2. T TRANSIENT (Middle) — Softer, more arty lens with lots of "light reactivity" and flaring is more pronounced than the S-tuned primes.

  3. X EXPRESSIVE (Extreme) — The most soft and dreamy of the tunings, the X-tuned lenses exaggerate image roll-off "to the point where only low frequency performance is evident in the outer thirds of the frame." Edge detail halation and intentional spherical aberration make the depth of the field on X-tuned lenses feel more shallow than they really are.

BLACKWING7 Experimental OpticsNYC (2018) - Shot with Tribe 7 experimental opticsCredit: TRIBE7 Instagram

TRIBE7 BLACKWING7 LensesBaltimore (2019) Shot with Tribe 7 experimental opticsCredit: TRIBE7 Instagram

"It all began when I was researching cameras and lenses for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Neil came to me with a wonderful opportunity to experiment. They were developing the DNA lenses at ARRI Rental and that gave me an opportunity to embed some of my own meta, my history and some of my own life into the glass. Things progressed from there and now we are introducing BLACKWING7." — Bradford Young, ASC

BLACKWING7 Pricing & Availability (so far):

  • 27mm, 37m, 47mm, 57mm, 77mm, 107mm, 137mm.
  • T1.9 across the set.
  • S-Tuned Blackwing7 lenses are $10,000 each.
  • T and X BLACKWING7 lenses are between $10,880-$11,700 each.
  • BLACKWING7 binaries are ~$12,700 each.
    • Pricing subject to change.
  • Order exclusively through TRIBE7 starting now.
  • Expected shipping by Summer 2019.
  • Additional focal lengths (17mm wide angle, macro, close focus and faster T-stop versions) in development (expected shipping 2020).
  • BLACKWING7 "binaries" are the first edition sets of lenses, T-Tuned and slightly faster at T1.8 
    • First edition binary lenses shipped (37mm, 57mm and 77mm) to "select clients" in March 2019.

BLACKWING7 Binary First Edition LensesBLACKWING7 "Binaries" First Edition Lenses (T-Tuned, T1.8)

Blackwing7-specs-fdtCredit: Film & Digital Times

To sign up to be informed of availability and new information on these exciting lenses, sign up at To enquire about lens pricing, contact Orders fulfilled on first come first serve basis.

Source: TRIBE7