I'm Tired of Trying Hyperfocal

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by smackitsakic, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    For months i've been trying to learn about hyperfocal distancing. Here and there I do research and I never seem to have my questions answered in a simple form.

    I don't have a fancy camera (just a Rebel XSi with kit lenses) and I don't have any profound knowledge in photography. That being said, I want to take more landscape photographs and I can't seem to understand hyperfocal distancing or how/where to focus.

    Without distance markings on my kit lenses, is it possible to hyperfocal focus? If not, what do I do in the simplest of terms? I see lots of folks always have this same problem, and i've asked this before but always just get 'helpful' links in response.

    Can somebody please take the time to help all of us struggling with hyperfocal distance??
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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  5. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    Without distance markings, hyperfocal distance can be pretty tough to figure out. Probably the easiest way is to set your camera to whatever settings you want to use for a shot. Set focus to manual. Look through the viewfinder and press the DoF preview button (your XSi should have one, look in your manual, but I believe it's a button near the bottom of the lens). This will stop your lens down. Now, focus just until the point where the background starts to go out of focus. The point where infinity is just in focus is the hyperfocal distance.

    There's a problem with this method, however. Sometimes, especially if you're shooting at small apertures, (f/11, f/13, f/16, which are typical landscape apertures) it can be difficult to see through the lens. A method I use, which works pretty well (but not perfect), is to use a small aperture (no less than f/13, but wouldn't go more than f/16), focus to infinity, then back off a bit. I know this isn't much help, but if you practice, you'll find out how to get a feel for it.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    So according to that chart my camera at f22 and a zoom of 18mm, I get 2.4 feet.

    With this data, is this what you would do:

    - locate a spot about 2.5 feet in front of you
    - manually adjust your focus until this space is sharp
    - leaving the focus on that setting, recompose the scene?
     
  7. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    You would compose knowing that if you focus just past 2.4 feet you can get everything at the point you're focusing on in focus PLUS everything behind it.

    Hyperfocusing is only useful insofar as there are things you want to shoot in the same frame that you know are at different focal lengths. Essentially, at f22 you can focus on anything at least three or so feet from you and trust that the stuff in the background will also be in focus.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    In other words, as you better understand how lens aperture and focal length relate to DOF, you won't need to look numbers up in a chart.

    Be mindful that at small apertures, diffraction effects can soften the focus of the entire photo. Like with DOF, the amount of diffraction is dependent on lens focal length relative to aperture.
     
  9. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    I guess f22 was a bad example. Using the same chart at f11 I get 4.8 feet. Is my thought process of focusing to 5 feet, recompose, and snap away still correct?
     
  10. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    The hyperfocal distance is the distance that the depth of field will extend to infinity at a given focal length and aperture.
     
  11. smackitsakic

    smackitsakic TPF Noob!

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    This is complete jibberish!
     
  12. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    OK, clearer:

    The hyperfocal distance is the closest distance focussed upon at which the depth of field will extend to infinity at a given focal length and aperture. You can focus on infinity, of course, but you don't have to, to get infinity in focus..

    To give you an example:

    50mm lens @ f/8. The hyperfocal distance might be 15 ft (DOF from say 10 ft to infinity)
    50mm lens @ f/4. The hyperfocal distance might be 25 ft (DOF from say 15 ft to infinity)

    These are made up, you can check tables for real values.

    Ok, I found one:

    http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html

    Go down the columns till you see the infinity sign (∞)

    Take f/11 for example: DOF is from 19' 7'' to infinity (∞) when focussed at the hyperfocal distance (38' 4'').

    When using f/5.6, the hyperfocal distance is 76' and the dof is from 43' 4'' to infinity (∞).

    Get it now?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010

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