How to calculate hyperfocal distance: free photography cheat sheet

What is hyperfocal distance?

Tips for sharper landscapes using hyperfocal distance

Now that you’ve got to grips with calculating hyperfocal distance, here are a few tips to help you use the technique efficiently.

The thing to remember when managing depth of field is that you need to think in terms of the zone of sharp focus as a distance range, from the near limit (the closest object that will appear sharp) to the far limit (the farthest). With hyperfocal focusing, you place the far limit at infinity, and this automatically maximises the depth of field available.

The hyperfocal distance will depend on the focal length of the lens and the aperture setting. However, once you’ve worked it out, and as long as you don’t change the settings, you’ll know that everything from a fixed distance in front of the camera right up to infinity will come out sharp. The near limit for depth of field works out to be exactly half the hyperfocal distance.

 

What is hyperfocal distance: 6 tips for sharper landscapes

Hyperfocal distances
You’ll need a lens with a distance scale. Or, for instance, if you shoot with Nikon DSLRs and have a D-type lens, you’ll see depth of field markers on either side of the main focusing index. Align one of the left markers with infinity and set the aperture to f/22 or f/11 – that’s your hyperfocal distance sorted!

 

What is hyperfocal distance: 6 tips for sharper landscapes

Handheld calculators
Some lenses and zooms don’t have depth of field markings, so you’ll need some help to calculate hyperfocal distances here. The ExpoAperture2 (£30, $40) covers a range of sensor sizes, focal lengths and apertures.

 

What is hyperfocal distance: 6 tips for sharper landscapes

Phone apps
If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ll find that using an app such as Depth of Field Calculator (£0.69, $0.99) is much easier than juggling dials and lining up numbers. Once you’ve selected the camera, focal length and lens aperture, it tells you the distance to focus on.

 

What is hyperfocal distance: 6 tips for sharper landscapes

In practice
Once you know the hyperfocal distance, you don’t need to worry about focusing. This shot was taken at a focal length of 31mm and an aperture of f/8, so the hyperfocal distance works out at 6.2m. When we focus on that, everything from 3.1m to infinity comes out sharp

PAGE 1: What is hyperfocal distance?
PAGE 2: Setting up hyperfocal distances
PAGE 3: Calculate hyperfocal distance with our free cheat sheet
PAGE 4: Tips for sharper landscapes using hyperfocal distance

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  • Frederico Monteiro

    yes it is, get with the rest of the world