Hyperfocal Technique

September 25, 2014

Here is a classic technique to "maximize" depth of field (DOF) using hyperfocal. Hyperfocal works well for wide angle lenses (35mm and wider) with a DOF scale.

The image below was shot hyperfocal at f/5.6 using a 35mm Summilux ASPH lens. Notice how the image looks sharp from foreground (the subject's face) to the background (buildings behind arc).

How to focus using hyperfocal:

  • Start by focusing on the nearest object of interest (the face of the subject).
    • Since I was shy to point the camera on his face, I pointed it instead on his right shoe below. The face is actually a little further away.
    • The DOF scale on the lens barrel showed a focus point (RED) somewhere 11.5ft. That means that my nearest object of interest was 11.5ft away from the camera.
    • There is more: at f/5.6, for example, it also showed that
      • the near point (GREEN) is around 7.5ft and
      • the far point (BLUE) is a little beyond 15ft (call it 20ft)---NOT infinity 
    • Thus, had I taken the shot with this focusing, only objects 20ft away from the camera or (20 - 11.5) = 8.5ft behind the man would have been rendered sharp.

 

  • More on the DOF scale:
    • At f/2.8, when the far point (BLUE) is set to INFINITY, the near point (GREEN) is beyond 15ft.
    • At f/4.0, when the far point (BLUE) is set to INFINITY, the near point (GREEN) is around 15ft.

  • The goal of the hyperfocal technique is to find an aperture where the nearest point of interest (11.5ft in the example used here) is within the GREEN and the BLUE when the BLUE is set to INFINITY. For this shot, I determined that f/5.6 was good enough.

 

 

 


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