Hyperfocal

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by plastii, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. plastii

    plastii TPF Noob!

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    Hi.

    I was wondering if it's possible to setup hyperfocal distance using a lens without aperture ring and not use calculators?

    Thanks
    Marek.
     
  2. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    You can, but it's a bit tricky, and probably less precise. First, set your aperture and compose your shot. Then hold down the DoF preview button. Now manually focus until infinity is just in focus (as in, another adjustment down, infinity will be out of focus). The problem with this technique is that with DoF preview down, your viewfinder is likely pretty dark, espcially above about f/8 or so.

    In these cases, the way I estimate it (and this is not very precise at all, but it works well at smaller apertures, like above f/11) is to focus all the way to infinity, then back off a smidge. (A smidge is a technical term that means, an amount that you think is not too large ;)).

    I hope that helps.
     
  3. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    If you have live view on your camera, the above technique is much easier to achieve.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem with either approach is that the hyperfocal distance formula assumes a certain viewing condition. The viewing conditions through the viewfinder, or on the LCD will variably not be the same as those of the final image.

    I.e. you get a much smaller hyper focal range if you use liveview, zoom to 100% and pick the aperture so that infinity is in focus, as you would with a calculation that assumes you're looking at a 6x4 print and have 20:20 vision.

    The alternative to not having a calculator is to print out tables. For any given focal range you can print out hyperfocal distance tables, and carry them with you.
     
  5. plastii

    plastii TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info guys! :)
     
  6. glenng

    glenng TPF Noob!

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    I find that setting the focus at a point that is 1/4 of the distance up from the bottom of the frame works extremely well.
     
  7. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    You have to be really careful with that method because at larger apertures, you'll lose infinity focus, which is usually the point of focusing at the hyperfocal distance.
     
  8. squirl033

    squirl033 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "the hyperfocal distance formula assumes a certain viewing condition"

    actually, it has nothing to do with the viewing condition. it's a function of lens focal length and aperture. whether you're using live preview or not is irrelevant, and looking at a print has nothing to do with it.

    the hyperfocal distance for a 50mm lens at f/8 is about 11 yards. for that same lens at f/16, the HF distance is about 17 feet. you shouldn't need to stop down smaller than f/16 for landscape shots, and in most cases, you won't gain any appreciable DOF if you do so. for a 24-28mm lens - common for landscapes - the HF distance at f/8 is something between 8 and 10 feet.... well inside that "1/4 of the distance up from the bottom of the frame" range. the difference is important if you want the immediate foreground to be sharp and clear as well as the distance.

    i often use a 24mm lens at about f/11-f/13 for landscape shots, and i often want the foreground in focus as well, to emphasize a foreground element and give depth to the composition. for that lens and aperture, if i focus at about 6 feet, everything from 3 feet in front of me to infinity will be acceptably sharp.
     
  9. Proteus617

    Proteus617 TPF Noob!

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    Not really. HD is a function of focal length, aperture, and circle of confusion. An acceptable value for COC decreases as your intended image size increases, up to the limits imposed by the resolving ability of the lens.
     
  10. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Viewing distance, that is the distance between your eye and the print/display, and the resolution limits of that print/display are compenents of the formula for determining the appropriate circle of confusion. This means that they directly impact the depth of field calculations.

    For those that seem a little confused on this topic, hyperfocal distance calculations are merely special case depth of field calculations. They are done such that the far limit of the DOF is infinity. Otherwise, calculating the hyperfocal distance is no different than any other DOF calculation.
     
  11. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    Try this. Use your 24mm lens at say f/5.6. Set to hyperfocal. Make sure there are some objects under the hyperfocal distance, including right near it. Now, look at the image at 5% zoom. A lot of those objects that are under the hyperfocal distance will appear in focus. Now, go to 200% zoom. Objects at, or even beyond the hyperfocal distance will appear slightly out of focus. Read up on circle of confusion. Although most people simplify hyperfocal distance calculations to just a function of aperture and focal length, there is a lot more to consider. Why do most hyperfocal calculators, for example, ask what camera you're shooting with? It's because each camera has a different circle of confusion (COC). The appearance of the COC changes depending on how you are viewing the image.

    Hyperfocal distance isn't a "everything behind this line is in focus, and everything in front is out of focus." It's more of, things beyond this line would generally be accepted to be in sufficient focus for most applications, and things in front of this line would generally be accepted as being in insufficient focus for most applications.
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On in very simple terms. Hyperfocal distance does not mean that everything between two points will be "sharp". It will still be sharpest at the point of focus. Hyperfocal distance assumes everything in the image will be "acceptably sharp" for the viewer under a set of specific circumstances.

    Those dof indicators on old lenses, they assume a 8x10" print, viewed at 1ft, by a person with acceptable but not perfect vision. If someone with 20:20 vision looks at a print from this standard made by following the dof indicators on the lens they'll perceive the background slightly out of focus.
     

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