View Full Version : Hyperfocal Distance

15th February 2008, 02:15 PM
Hyperfocal distance is a technique that I used many years ago with manual focus cameras, since joining the Oly brigade with the E510 and more latterly the E1 I am wondering if this technique still has a place amongst these modern autofocus DSLRs, I would be interested in other users experiences together with any advice on offer, do you really get the calculator out before shooting?

By the way for owners of either Pocket PC or Palm devices there is a depth of field calculator that you can download from Oly, I have downloaded it to my Palm and it works a treat.



15th February 2008, 02:33 PM
DOF Preview takes care of most situations for me but I have used it a few times to get a full front to back focus. With the greater DOF that is generally a feature of digital, reducing the DOF is often more of a requirement.

I only have a calculator for my 35mm setup so thanks for the link, I'll give it a look.


15th February 2008, 02:38 PM
I did a landscape course with Mark Cargill last year and he reckoned that for 4/3 sensor size, focus on two thirds into the photo @ f14 will give best front to back sharpness. I wouldn't argue with him:-)

15th February 2008, 06:55 PM
I have a Nokia E61 phone/PDA and I use the Olympus hosted spreadsheet ndl0071 mentions. I use it occasionally when I'm shooting landscapes. I also have an app called VWDOF on my PC (free download from www.vanwalree.com) which I use occasionally when I'm trying to plan things/work things out!

I wish Oly would put more meaningful scales on their lenses with DoF markings - the existing ones are pretty useless.

15th February 2008, 07:37 PM
Graham of Rainham, thanks for the reminder of the DOF preview, I will have to remember to get grips with this at the weekend on the E1,

Sapper, although it may yield the same result I believe that the Hyperfocal method works in a different way, the optimium point of focus will depend on both the focal length and aperture selected, potentially this will lead to a different focal point being required for each shot in a different situation, I agree that this method is quite technical for a layman like myself and can get very complicated with mathematical equations which is why I need to refer to a simple table:confused:Thanks for the gen on f14 though I will give it a try.

Hugh of Bardfield, very good point made why they ever tinkered with lens markings I will never know, bring 'em back that's what I say:D


Jim Ford
15th February 2008, 07:50 PM
I've puzzled why hyperfocal distance is never marked on lenses these days. It seems to have been abandoned with digital cameras.

Maybe because with 35mm film the hyperfocal distance is dependent on an agreed diameter of the circle of confusion, it cannot be standardised on digital cameras with the varying sensor sizes. Possibly the circle of confusion of a particular Sigma lens mounted on an APS sensor would be different to that on a 4/3rds - hence the hyperfocal distances would be different.

(Someone argue with me!)


16th February 2008, 08:17 AM
Hi Jim

I'd love to argue and take issue with your comments but sadly I can't:) the whole theory behind hyperfocal distance is quite complicated as I am sure you are aware, your argument seems sound and reasoned. I suppose though if the omissision of the lens markings is due to sensor size then why could Oly not have included them on thier new digital 4/3 lens as the sensor is obviously a standard size?:confused:

R MacE
16th February 2008, 10:14 AM
Is it possible that the reduction in degrees of rotation from closest to inf focussing on AF lenses compared to MF lenses would make a DOF scale unreadable. For example take the distance scale on an AF lens compared to an MF lens.

I read an interview last year in a monthly mag (Digital Camera IIRC) where Colin Prior, when asked about Hf/F, said that he never used it. The amusing thing was that the same issue had a feature on the benefits of Hf/F.