Focussing and hyperfocal distance

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by prophet, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. prophet

    prophet Mu-43 Regular

    116
    Aug 10, 2014
    I am trying to understand the whole hyperfocal distance thing for landscape photopgraphy. I read a couple of articles and even created a cheat sheet for my E-PL7 kit lens.

    So if I want to use hyperfocal distance for focussing, I will have to either use manual focus (or manual override) or use the touchscreen and select a point that shall be focussed on (as there are no markers on the kit lens). Is that correct?
     
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Selecting a point to focus on simply does that... hyperfocal is not necessarily achieved.

    Selecting the horizon to focus focuses to infinity... hyperfocal is not necessarily achieved.


    Its difficult unless the camera gives you that functionality or there are markings on the lens.
     
  3. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    313
    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    if the EPL 5 has focus peaking then you can achieve the same by manualy focusing about a third into the FOV, changing your aperture to achieve focus across the scene.
     
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    You have to be in manual focus mode and use the depth of field indicators on the lens barrel to set the focus at hyperfocal distance. Hyperfocal distance is the distance at which depth of field extends from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity so hyperfocal distance changes with your aperture choice. What you do to set the focus to hyperfocal distance is to set the camera to manual focus mode and, using the depth of field scale on the lens barrel, align the far depth of field indication for your chosen aperture with infinity on the lens' distance scale. You can then read off the close depth of field limit distance by seeing where the other depth of field indication for your chosen aperture aligns on the distance scale. What you achieve by focussing at the hyperfocal distance is the maximum depth of field for your lens at the aperture you choose, and that's why it gets mentioned a bit in relation to landscape photography. In some, but not all. landscape photography you are concerned about getting everything from as close as you can manage all the way to infinity in focus and focussing at the hyperfocal distance is the way to achieve that.

    Note that this is not a precise method. The depth of field indications and focus distance scales on some lenses aren't necessarily accurate, and depth of field depends on the size of the finished image and your viewing distance. If you really want to be sure about getting as much as possible within the depth of field range, try taking some test shots and then viewing the image at your preferred size and viewing distance, checking to see how close things are before they look out of focus and also whether really distant things on the horizon also look in focus. You may have to either stop down a bit further than you think or focus a bit further back to get things at infinity in focus and accept that the closest distance at which things will look in focus is a bit further away than the depth of field scale on the lens indicates.
     
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  5. prophet

    prophet Mu-43 Regular

    116
    Aug 10, 2014
    David A, my problem is that the lit lens does not have a DOF scale.
     
  6. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Then there's only one way you can focus at the hyperfocal distance. You use a depth of field calculator of some kind which will do the calculations for you based on data relating to format, lens focal length and aperture. There are smartphone and iPad apps which will do that. Then you get a tape measure, measure out the hyperfocal distance from your shooting position, and manually focus the lens on something at that distance.

    That's about the only way you're going to be able to set a lens at hyperfocal distance without a depth of field scale.
     
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  7. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Hi
    I agree with pretty much everything said here, for the benefit of bigboysdad I just wanted to add one more point

    Remembering that it is an inexact science (well its exact but there are parameters unknown at the time of capture) I suggest you play with a few graphical calculators such as this one
    http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm

    The aim of your playing should be to observe how the sharp zone thickness changes and its rate of fall into blur changes. This will help you to estimate in your minds eye (the best image processing tool you have access to) in advance.

    Confine your playing to two or three focal lengths, and a couple of f stops and distances.
    For instance
    300mm-hyperfocal-f5.6.
    In this the red line is actually the sharpest possible with my sensor (and lens) so as you can see focus falls off sharply (relative to the distances) as things are closer and trails to infinity (where distance will obscure it anyway).

    You'll soon see that the wider angle the more DoF there is at distances greater than a few meters and the wider the DoF is as aperture gets smaller (f number gets higher).

    You may soon even get the reason why wide angle lenses focus so much faster an tele :)
     
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  8. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Allow me to say again that I don't understand why this isn't an automatic feature on all digital ILCs. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming . . .
     
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  9. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    As it is iirc on the LX7 camera ... or indeed a proper DEP mode as we once had on EOS cameras (no, not A-Dep)

    :)