A Closer Look at the Hyperfocal Distance

Hyperfocal distance is fundamentally the distance that photographers can focus to at any aperture setting, where the subsequent depth of field retains its sharpness in the scene from as perpetuity distance to the nearest possible point. The depth of field (How To Creatively Use Depth Of Field In Your Photos) is increased significantly when combining a small aperture together with wider-angle zoom settings; therefore using the hyperfocal distance method is principally useful for landscape type photography, specifically when a photographer uses a lens that has a distance scale feature built-in.

hyperfocal distance

Narrow apertures and wide-angle lenses both yield a superior depth of field. For example, if you are using an 18-55mm zoom lens, you’ll produce a much greater depth of field pegged at 18mm with an aperture of f/22 than you will when shooting with a 55mm using an aperture of f/5.6. With a narrow aperture and a wide-angle zoom setting, the hyperfocal distance will consequently be very much nearer When distinguishing the setting of the hyperfocal distance for whatever aperture and focal length arrangement you’re using, the depth of field will expanse from approximately one-half the hyperfocal distance to infinity. Let’s suggest that you’re shooting photographs at a focal length of 24mm with an aperture setting of f/11. The hyperfocal distance works out to 2.7m, so the entire thing from foreground objects just 1.35m away unto the distant perspective, should always look adequately sharp.

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High-class lenses generally have a focus distance scale which is either shown externally on the lens barrel or printed beneath the camera’s viewing window. This makes life a lot easier for photographers, as one can simply shift to manual focus (MF) and replace the focus ring as needed. However, many moderately priced lenses don’t have a distance scale, so setting the hyperfocal distance is a bit of an additional work. Check (Understanding Camera Metering).

A nice solution is to use a digital gauging device. A lot of cheap ultrasonic models are almost expected to underperform in the accuracy criteria and provides poor performance outdoors, but laser measuring devices, such as the Bosch PLR 25 Digital Laser Range Finder, performs very well. This model has a range of 5cm to 25m, with an accurateness striking within 2mm, and priced at about $85. It also includes a laser sighting pointer, for correctly pointing the object you want to use as basis for distance measurement. Obviously, the hyperfocal distance can differ significantly if you adjust the aperture or zoom setting, so always shoot in Av mode to preserve the consistency of the aperture setting and do not change the focal length setting after placing your camera.

After you’ve done setting the hyperfocal distance, you can now pursue shooting images at any number of different scenes using the identical settings. If you’re going around a lot, it is advisable to post a couple of strips of gaffa tape to lock the focus ring and zoom ring in place.

Even so, study your photos in zoomed mode view on your camera’s screen, to study sharpness throughout the scene on continuous shots. Hope this explains to you the importance of considering hyperfocal distance when taking photographs. When you know the ins and outs of your camera that is the time when you will start shooting marvellous and amazing images.

About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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