Hyperfocal distance can be a confusing topic, both for beginning and expert photographers. However, if you want to take the sharpest possible images, particularly landscape photographs, it is simply invaluable. In this blog I will try to demystify this topic.
Please Note : Please note: Although the methods I present in this Blog are quite easy to understand, hyperfocal distance itself can be a complex topic. If you are a beginner, I highly recommend reading about aperture and depth of field before you delve into this Blog. Please read about exposure , aperture , shutter speed and ISO here!
What is Hyperfocal Distance?
- Hyperfocal distance, at its simplest, is the focusing distance that gives your photos the greatest depth of field.
- Hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an “acceptable” focus.
- Hyperfocal distance is the focusing distance that provides equal sharpness between the foreground and background.
Role of Aperture
- Hyperfocal distance of your lens will vary with aperture. Why? Think about it like this – if your aperture is wide, such as f/2, you will need to focus quite far away for objects at infinity to appear in focus. However, at a small aperture of f/11 or f/16, distant objects will continue to be sharp even if your lens is focused more closely. So, in this case, hyperfocal distance moves closer to your lens as you use smaller apertures.
Role of Focal Length
- Hyperfocal distance of your lens will vary with your focal length ,Your focal length also has a huge impact on hyperfocal distance. As you zoom in, your hyperfocal distance moves farther and farther away. For a 20mm lens, you may need to focus just a few feet from your lens to get the horizon (distant background at infinity) acceptably sharp. On the other hand, for a 200mm lens, your hyperfocal distance may be hundreds of feet away.
When to Use Hyperfocal Distance?
Not all photographs require that you focus your lens at its hyperfocal distance. Consider, for example, an overlook of a distant mountain. If you are standing on the top of the overlook and there are no objects in your foreground, it would be silly to try and calculate the hyperfocal distance, since your nearest object is effectively at infinity. Just focus on the distant mountains! And your aperture does not really matter either – since the closest object is so far away, you could shoot wide open if you wanted to (probably not a very good idea, since most lenses aren’t as sharp at wide apertures, but this is just in theory). Hyperfocal distance is only important to calculate when you have objects both close and far away from your lens that need to be sharp. Since you are actually focusing between these objects, neither is “perfectly” sharp; they are both simply close enough, or “acceptably sharp.”
Using a Hyperfocal Distance Chart.
One way to calculate Hyper focal distance is to use a chart , here is the chart for calculating hyperfocal distance
Here the Idea was to use stones in the water to be in sharp focus along with subjects in infinity . Shot at 15mm at F-16 made sure the stone was beyond 2.5 ft ( Refer the cart above )
FotoTool ( Android ) :
FotoTool is a free application that contains several useful tools for both amateurs and professional photographers, This includes a tool to calculated HyperFocal distance.
Simple DoF Calculator (iOS)
Simple DoF Calculator allows photographers to calculate the depth of field and hyperfocal distance for any given settings.
How to use Hyperfocal Distance
- Choose a lens, and be sure to note the focal length that you are using.
- Pick an aperture value.
- Find the hyperfocal distance that corresponds to your chosen focal length and aperture.
- Focus your lens at the hyperfocal distance. This can be done by estimation, or by the focusing scale on your lens (if you have one).
- Now, everything from half that distance until infinity will be sharp.
Some Pictures using Hyperfocal distance
This is 11mm at F22 , Hyperfocal distance of 1 Ft .. So made sure the leaf is one feet away from the camera
This is 5mm at F8 , Hyperfocal distance of 5 Ft , so made sure the rock is on5 feet away from the camera
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