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Thread: Using the Hyperfocal distance

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    The Netherlands and Philippines
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    Real Name
    Jan de Vries

    Using the Hyperfocal distance

    Hyper focal distance

    I have learned so many from this site. During a special photographers day with 15 members I promised them to use the AF only during the start of this day. The focus fixed at 15 meters and the aperture on F8. (The best position for my lens) The shutter speed was the job of the camera and I use the zoom only between 18mm and 50mm. The article on this site about hyper focal distance gives me the guarantee to get sharp pictures from a few metres till infinity. The other photographers were surprised that it works so easy. I use this technique now as much as I can.
    Also the AF works only with the AF button on the back of my camera. This mode helps me also good for macros. It prevents unexpected hunting of my macro lens.
    I used the calculator on the depth of field tutorial to get the right numbers.

    Rotterdam, The Netherlands:

    Using the Hyperfocal distance

    Using the Hyperfocal distance

    Using the Hyperfocal distance

    Last picture is taken in Tagoloan, Philippines

    Using the Hyperfocal distance
    Last edited by McQ; 7th April 2011 at 03:14 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
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    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Using the Hyperfocal distance

    I was doing a similar thing tonight ... the angle I'd chosen for the shot was only about 12" above the ground - and the ground was wet - so I really didn't want to get low and use the AF. Easy solution ... pull out the iPhone - crank up DoF calc, and look up the hyperfocal distance for what I was using (was 0.7m). Set lens to about 1m (in MF mode) (which was just fine) and promptly forgot about it for the rest of the shoot.

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
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    13,296
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: Using the Hyperfocal distance

    Early in my professional photography career, I shot with a 4x5" Graphic Press camera (either the Speed Graphic or the Crown Graphic which I preferred because of the lighter weight).

    Using the Hyperfocal distance

    IMO, the rangefinders on these cameras were inconvenient to use. You sighted through a separate window to rangefinder focus. You can see the rangefinder on the side of the camera with the viewfinder on the camera's top.

    You could also use a ground glass for focusing but, that was really slow and totally inconvenient unless shooting stationary subjects. Inserting the film holder in the camera blocked the ground glass. Shooting on a tripod was just about the only way ground glass focusing could be accomplished,

    The "normal angle" lenses with which these cameras were equipped were between 127mm and 150mm. I preferred the wider lens for slightly wider depth of field but, even the 127mm lens had a rather narrow DOF. When shooting "press type" assignments, I would often set my focus on the hyperfocal distance and know that I would be in focus from 1/2 that distance to infinity. It was quicker and easier than trying to focus through the tiny rangefinder with which these old cameras were equipped.

    However, working with the relatively large negative size, this equipment was quite forgiving. The old saying was, set the camera at 1/100 second at f/8, focus on hyperfocal distance and blast away. BTW: our film speeds were a LOT SLOWER than the ISO we take for granted today. ASA (precursor to ISO) of 125 was considered a "fast" film.

    Later when shooting with 35mm rangefinder cameras, I would leave my camera focused at the hyperfocal distance which would allow very quick shooting with focus between 1/2 the hyperfocal distance to infinity. Some of the early rangefinder cameras, like the early Leicas did not have an integrated rangefinder/viewfinder. In fact, quite a few early 35mm cameras like my first "real" camera, the Mercury did not have rangefinders at all...
    Using the Hyperfocal distance
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 23rd March 2011 at 03:02 PM.

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