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Header image for article TRIBE7 Announces SKIN Program for BLACKWING7 Lenses

TRIBE7 Announces SKIN Program for BLACKWING7 Lenses

TRIBE7 recently announced a SKIN tuning conversion kit for their BLACKWING7 primes, which introduces a new level of tunability to their existing lenses. The effect is a warm amber hue, with gold and intense ruby red ghost flare characteristics. Learn more about the SKIN design philosophy and upgrade process.


The Backstory

In 1939, general patents for optical glass containing radioactive Thorium oxide were first issued. Such formulations enabled lens designers and manufacturers to produce lens glass with lower dispersion and improved refractivity, which allowed for smaller, more cost-effective optics to be made in higher volumes.

In 1949, a patent with specific production formulations was issued to Kodak. One formula, by weight, included 12% Thorium and later formulations included up to 28% of the oxide.

Depending on the formulation content, and over many months and years of aging, Thoriated lenses take on an amber hue due to the influence of the radioactive decay of Thorium Oxide on other materials in the glass formulation.

This look – a warmer look – proved exciting and compelling to photographers, and though the first commercial photographic lenses to incorporate Thorium appeared in the 1950s, their impact on creative cinema was not really felt until the 1970s and continued for decades after.

“Hero” stills photo lenses known to have contained Thorium oxide include the Canon FL 58mm f1.3 and several by the Asahi Optical Co. – notably Super Takumar lenses. But the most memorable Thoriated optics, so far as cinematic usage is concerned, are the Canon FD and K35s from the 1970s which, for many, remain the defining and most sought-after lenses of the “vintage” era.



The TRIBE7 BLACKWING7 prime lens program was born out of a desire to re-create optical looks from the 1950s to 1980s, and the S, T and X-tuned BLACKWING7 lenses – utilizing single and multi-coated optics – offer aesthetics which strongly resonate with that era of filmmaking, with ghost flares of light green, blue, and deep purple.

The tuning of BLACKWING7 lenses to date has been defined at point of manufacturing. However, part of the original creative ethos of TRIBE7 – and a commitment made to the creative community when the company formed – has been extending aesthetic lens choices for owners and rental companies alike, by providing true field re-tunability.

TRIBE7 BLACKWING7 Regular and with SKIN Comparision

What is SKIN?

SKIN allows any BLACKWING7 prime lens, of any manufactured tuning, to take on a new range of creative looks through the addition of replacement front and rear lens elements with new, specially formulated, non-radioactive amber coatings. The unique look of lenses fitted with SKIN is a tribute to optics built during “the Thorium years”.

Front, rear, or both lens elements plus new replacement scarlet anodized focus scale covers can be fitted at approved TRIBE7 service centers, or by skilled lens technicians with deep BLACKWING7 knowledge and training.

The warm amber hue produced by SKIN coatings and radically different gold and intense ruby red ghost flare characteristics offer the choice of markedly different looks to be created over and above standard BLACKWING7 lenses, and because the SKIN lens elements are replaceable, the process is fully reversible.


Pricing & Availability

SKIN is available as a kit of lens elements: (2) elements per BLACKWING7 focal length, plus replacement scarlet color-coded lens focus scale covers.

Initially, kits supporting the seven core lens focal lengths of 27mm, 37mm, 47mm, 57mm, 77mm, 107mm, and 137mm will be available (with additional focal length kits to follow as the BLACKWING7 lens range continues to expand).

SKIN kits will be priced at $14,879, plus international shipping, duties, and local taxes. Delivery is slated to begin in September 2022. Availability is via pre-order only.

For further information please contact your AbelCine salesperson to place your deposit today.