What is hyperfocal distance and when would you use it?

Hyperfocal distance
(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

When you take a photograph, you set the lens to focus on a particular point in the scene that is a specific distance from the camera. How sharp the areas in front of and behind this focusing distance is determined by the aperture value that is set. Large aperture values, like f/2.8 and f/4 will give a shallow zone of sharp focus, and small apertures such as f/16 or f/22 will give a deep zone of sharpness. This zone of sharp focus is called the depth of field, and the hyperfocal distance describes the optimum focus point that will maximise sharpness from the foreground right through to the background.

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Jon Adams

Jon started out as a film-maker, working as a cameraman and video editor before becoming a writer/director. He made corporate & broadcast programmes in the UK and Middle East, and also composed music, writing for TV, radio and cinema. Jon worked as a photographer and journalist alongside this, and took his video skills into magazine publishing, where he edited the Digital Photo magazine for over 15 years. He is an expert in photo editing, video making and camera techniques.