What is Hyperfocal Distance?
In optics and photography, hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an "acceptable" focus. As the hyperfocal distance is the focus distance giving the maximum depth of field, it is the most desirable distance to set the focus of a fixed-focus camera. The hyperfocal distance is entirely dependent upon what level of sharpness is considered to be acceptable.
Why do you need to focus at Hyperfocal Distance?
Focusing your camera at the hyperfocal distance ensures maximum sharpness from half this distance all the way to infinity.
How to calculate for Hyperfocal Distance?
In order to calculate hyperfocal distance, you need to know three things:
- Focal length – This will depend on what lens you’re using.
- Circle of confusion value – c ~= 0.025mm for Full Frame 35mm, c ~= 0.018mm typical crop APSC.
- F-stop – f/11 and f/16 are often regarded as optimal for landscape photography.
Next, use the following formula and do a little math (lengths and distances measured in mm):
Using the aforementioned scenario involving a 16mm lens at f/16 on a full-frame camera,
Hyperfocal distance = (16 x 16) / (0.025 x 16) = 256/0.4 = 640mm
So, you get a hyperfocal distance of 640mm, or 0.64 meters (almost 2.10 feet). You should focus on an object that is approximately 0.32 meters away; everything from 0.32 meters (half the hyperfocal distance) away to infinity will be in focus.
Whoever said that there’s no math in photography is clearly lying :))
Of course, everyone will remember that equation…… that’s why I’m sharing a couple of apps that determine hyperfocal distance with a touch of a button:
- Hyperfocal and DoF
- DOF Calculator
- HyperFocal Pro
Play around with Hyperfocal Distance and let us know if it improves the sharpness of your images!
Your Resident Photographer at Broadway Camera