Home Lenses
  • One question I get asked a lot is how to choose the right focal length. Do I go long in a certain situation or do I go wide? How do you know what to choose? There are different times to employ various focal lengths – knowing when to employ each is part of the craft that is cinematography. Here’s my secret sauce for choosing whether to go long or wide in a scene.


  • Xeen 20mm Lens Overview

    August 2, 2017

    Xeen’s lineup of lenses are spectacular. They’ve hit the nail square on the head with both the look and the price point. They’re true cinema glass that people can afford to own. Xeen’s image quality is unique and beautiful. Here’s a brief look at the Xeen 20mm, specifically at its image quality, breathing, and color rendition.


  • Xeen 16MM Lens Overview

    July 19, 2017

    Today we’re taking a brief look at the new Xeen 16mm PL mount. This is a cinema lens packed into some affordable pricing. I haven’t seen anything like it out on the market. This is a piece of glass that has a unique look, comparable to some of the qualities normally found in higher end glass.


  • Welcome to our Zoom Lens Shootout! We are going to review the brand new Fujinon MK 50-135mm E Mount Cinema Zoom against the Tokina Cinema 50-135mm PL Mount Cinema Zoom. Right now, these lenses are falling into that $3,200 – $4,000 price range, which make them extremely affordable, lightweight, and flexible for most shooters – something that has been missing in our market with all the advancements in affordable tools and tech.


  • It was so great to be able to attend NAB this year. It had been a few years since I was last there. When I stopped by the Rokinon booth, I got to check out their Xeen 16mm which seemed to have some pretty low distortion, and then I got to get my hands on their new 20mm, which has incredible close focus for such a wide lens. I’m going to be putting both through their paces in an upcoming test so we’ll all know exactly what to expect out of them.


  • I just got back and can’t wait to share with you everything I got to see and experience. In the meantime, I’ll share a few bites, starting with the Xeen…


  • XEEN 135mm Lens Review

    January 11, 2017

    Comparing XEEN 135mm next to Canon Cinema Primes, Zeiss CP2s, and Cooke S4i’s reviewing color rendition, bokeh, rack focus, faces, contrast, and sharpness.


  • @shanehurlbutasc Today we are doing a XEEN lens comparison test with the newly added 14mm and 35mm XEEN lenses. We’re going to compare these lenses with the Canon CN-E, Zeiss…


  • Tiffen Multi Rota Tray

    January 6, 2016

    Tiffen’s Multi Rota Tray offers a rotating polarizer, a Variable ND and Warm/Cool FX filter.


  • It’s always important to perform in depth lens tests before you shoot so you can find the right glass for your film. In this article, we are comparing Leica Summicron-C 21mm and 75mm lenses to Cooke S4 21mm and 75mm lenses.


  • Tests with the newest Leica Summilux C lenses vs. the gold standard Cooke S4s for Fathers and Daughters.


  • Shane’s Gear Bag

    February 14, 2014

    I have been asked by many of our readers to share details regarding my personal Gear Bag. I use a vast array of tools to be able to tell all types of stories. I wanted to break it down with detail.


  • Red Epic vs. Canon C500

    November 13, 2013

    These extensive tests between the Red Epic and the Canon C500 were conducted over three days with seven other cameras.


  • This week we take you through Canon C500 and Arri Alexa tests of IR Filtration, Interior Latitude, Night ISO, and Night Driving.


  • Hurlbut’s Visuals Podcast

    December 20, 2012

    The NeedCreative Podcast is an online radio show that covers topics related to creativity. I had the privilege of being the guest of co-hosts Paul Antico and Jason Sidelinger from Anticipate Media to discuss my history and experiences in the film industry.


  • Waiting for Lightning, a documentary about pro skateboarding pioneer Danny Way, began production in 2008. Over the course of those four years, the documentary would embrace the modern evolution of camera systems to complete the project.


  • We have had an outpouring of positive feedback on Po Chan’s film “The Ticket.” Everyone at Hurlbut Visuals wanted to give you an inside look at how we used the power of this incredibly flexible, lightweight, DSLR platform, the A camera system that is the 1DC. It gives any filmmaker the ability to dream.


  • Let’s look at how the crash cam world has changed because of the Canon 5D. It has replaced the eyemo that used to be a clapper of a 35 or 16mm with bad lenses. It could be blown up, bashed into, driven over, or you could even have a car land right on it.


  • When director Scott Waugh called me to shoot the video for the “Act Of Valor” credit crawl song “For You” by Keith Urban, I was excited to have the opportunity to get the whole Elite Team back together. It was equally exciting to hear Keith’s amazing song, which supported the story perfectly.


  • We’ve had a ton of questions via Twitter, Facebook and the hurlblog about shooting Act of Valor, so I thought I would share them in a Q&A format. Thanks so much to everyone for your support and kind words about the film!


  • We had a great 2011 and 2012 is already delivering exciting projects. “Act of Valor” directed by Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy will be in over


  • I started giving a Leica list out to individual colleagues and the request kept coming, so we decided to share it with everyone on the blog. These lenses are only R-Mount, they are the cream of the crop and through variest test we have found them to be excellent.


  • Three weeks ago I was selected as the director for a national commercial campaign for Case Tractors. It would be my first solo directing gig after signing with the Bandito Brothers one month ago. In the commercial world, an advertising agency is hired by the client, which…


  • It seems like everyone is jumping on the PL mount 7D bandwagon and I have to say it is very unfortunate that the 5D does not have the same energy. All the specs on a PL mounted 5D have shown that the vignette is a big issue. Most cinema lens…


  • I have had many discussions about the different lens options other than Zeiss ZE’s and Canon’s that mount to the Canon cameras. Zeiss took it to the next level with their Canon mount CP2’s and their new Zooms that come out this summer.


  • Here are details from our EPK crew on “The Last 3 Minutes.” With this first person perspective, it is not like a scene where you do a wide shot and then go in for coverage. It plays out like a play where everything has to work.


  • As the pressure from commercial production companies and the ad agencies started to inquire about needing 24p and that they could not deal with the rendering time of all the twixtor files, the 7D started to rise as the premium capture. That is when the aha moment happened for me. I thought, why is everyone asking for second best when the Canon 5D is king.


  • Camera Stabilization

    February 22, 2010

    I walked into Samy’s Camera last week and a camera assistant was mounting gyros on the 5D to stabilize the camera. She was getting beaten up by the mount and said, “I cannot get this clamped on here.” I said “ Hi, I would love to help…


  • The Power of Focus

    February 12, 2010

    Focus is probably one of the biggest obstacles that the 5D encounters. So many of our colleagues have questions and wonder why it is absolutely essential to have a focus puller. They are the backbone of this amazing technology. Shooting with practical…


  • Making HD look like film has a cocktail and one of the essential ingredients to this flavorful recipe is Neutral Density. You have to keep your exposure on a 5D around a 5.6 to get that beautiful shallow depth of field. The 7D should be around…


  • On the still lens front, you have a variety of options. I am addressing this topic from a 40 foot screen digital projection perspective, not a still photography one.

    Zeiss ZE primes rock. Their resolution is spectacular and they are lightweight. Their focus is a little more cinematic then…


  • Here is the breakdown for the Mountain Rescue portion of Navy Swimmer. – 1-camera in deep water housing which captures underwater and split level shots. – 1-camera mounted on the Navy Swimmers helmet to capture him exiting the helicopter and being lowered down in between the rocks…


  • The Bandito Brothers Production Company has a very unique work flow. I have adopted the Bandito Brothers “Real Time” shooting module and combined it with “traditional” filming. Here is how we made it work for the Navy Swimmer commercial.

    Imagine prepping, shot listing and then…


  • Where’s the 5D?

    October 25, 2009

    Remember reading Where’s Waldo when you were a kid? We had so much fun playing a similar game to test your vision and your response was overwhelming! Thank-you for taking the time to play and making it so hard to choose a winner!


  • The Untitled Navy SEAL movie has taken me to some of the most extreme working conditions that I have ever experienced in my career as a Director of Photography. We traveled to the following locations: the jungles of Costa Rica, the swamps of Mississippi…


  • Nikon Lenses: Sharp and Soft

    September 10, 2009

    I love lenses and examining the subtle differences with each one so I am confident in the resulting image.

    Nikon lenses are sharp with a little softer contrast than the Zeiss lenses. The older A lenses are nice because they have a wider


  • Panavision Primo Primes are the ultimate lenses. They produce cinema film quality imagery that will blow you away. The contrast range is perfect because you have all of the highlight detail, as well as wonderful gradation into the shadows.


  • Zeiss Lenses: Sharp and Snappy

    September 8, 2009

    Lenses are one of the most critical choices when you are mounting the Canon 5D Mark II to a lens. Do not treat this camera like it is a film body. Remember to mount the camera to the lens, not the opposite.


  • When choosing a lens for the Canon 5D Mark II camera you have to consider the look and feel that you are trying to create for the final visual product. My team and I have tested and played with these lenses quite a bit and here is…


  • The Canon 5D Mark II is approximately 2.5 pounds with a still lens, 4.5″ high 3″ deep and 6″ long. Wow!

    It is nimble and inexpensive so you can have multiple camera bodies working in different configurations simultaneously. Not being stuck with a traditional shoulder mount allows you to create a new visual language.