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RON DAY  PHOTOGRAPHY


 Hyperfocal Distance

by  Ron Day

Depth of field is the zone of sharp focus in a photograph. You can gain maximum depth of field, and ensure critical elements in a scene are in focus, by setting a lens to the hyperfocal distance for the aperture selected. Find the focal length of your lens in the left column of the chart. At the top of the chart, find the aperture (f/stop) you have chosen for the scene. Where the two intersect, you will find the "hyperfocal distance" for that lens and aperture.

Hyperfocal Distance Chart

Lens\Apt

f/11

f/16

f/22

f/32

15mm

 

1.8 

1.3 

0.9

20mm

 

3.2

2.3

1.6

24mm

6.6

4.7

3.3

2.3

35mm

14 

10

7

5

50mm

28

20

14

10

85mm

82'

58'

41'

29'

         

Compose the scene in the viewfinder. Now, rotate the focusing ring and set the hyperfocal distance at the "focus mark" on top of the lens barrel. Do not refocus the lens after setting it. Take the picture. When the lens stops down, the depth of field in the picture will begin at half the distance from your camera to the hyperfocal distance, and will continue to infinity.

For example: A 50mm lens is set at f/22. The focus mark on the lens barrel is set to the hyperfocal distance of 14 feet. Everything in the picture from 7 feet to infinity will be sharp. By studying the chart, you can select the perfect lens and aperture for any scene when you know the zone of sharpness you want. Feel free to copy the chart for reference in the field.

 


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