Boutique lens manufacturer Tribe 7 has added a brand new 20.7mm prime lens to their current Blackwing line of primes. This brings the Blackwing set to a total of 8 high speed, full frame prime lenses. I never really covered the release of the original Blackwing primes back when they came out – mostly because they were shrouded in so much mystery and there weren’t too many firm details at the time. Since then, Tribe7 has gone on to become a fixture in the world of cinema optics. Let’s take a quick look at their story and the newest prime lens to join the family.
Tribe7 was teased early on as a collaboration between ASC Cinematographer Bradford Young and former Arri Executive Neil Fanthom – a promising pair that could deliver something unique. The partnership was announced early 2019 and by April 2019, the world was introduced to the Blackwing7 primes. The lenses, on paper, were nothing unique. However, the folks at Tribe7 had an ace up their sleeve. They had taken notice of the shift towards more artistic choices in optics for cinema, the boom in vintage optics, and the lack of understanding from other larger manufacturers required to produce a truly expressive tool. The Blackwing Primes would cater to this exact need by offering a variety of tuning options that would provide cinematographers with flexibility they craved.
Initially, Tribe7 released ten sets of their “Binary” Blackwing Primes which were tuned with the “Transient” formula – more on that in a moment. They were slightly faster than the production versions at T1.8 instead of T1.9 and they had a very distinct polished aluminum finish instead of the textured silver of black finish of the production models. This set of Binary primes paved the way for the next step; a range of tuning options that would provide some quite unique image characteristics. The sets would be comprised of seven lenses (get it?), 27, 36, 47, 57, 77, 107, and 137mm (see what’s happening?). The 7-lens sets would be offered in three different tuning options – S (straight), T (transient), and X (expressive) – each line offering a more dramatic, character-rich image quality. The entire line is designed for large format cinematography for use on cameras with a Full Frame / Vista Vision sensor. We’ll most likely dive deeper into the specifics of these lenses and what they offer, who they’re for, and how they’ve help up over the past year on sets across the globe. But for now, let’s jump to the newest member of the Blackwing line.
Blackwing has ruined their clever theme by adding to their original 7-lens set. The Blakwing line is now 8 lenses in total with the introduction of the brand new 20.7mm (they still managed to keep the “7” at the end. The 20.7mm is now the widest lens in the set. It remains T1.9 like the rest of the set which is respectably fast. Tribe7 has not released any additional firm specs such as close focus distance or coverage. We’ll definitely have more news from Tribe7 in the future now that they’ve planted themselves firmly in the industry. If Tribe7 is sticking to the “7s”, that means we can expect a 17mm at some point, right? You can pre-order the new 20.7mm which is slated for delivery in 2022 directly from Tribe7.