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hyperfocal without distance scale

Mo Zhang , Jan 23, 2004; 01:03 a.m.

I have one of the cheap zooms. At the moment, that's all I can afford, and I'd like to use it dispite of the draw backs.

How do I focus to the hyperfocal distance without the DoF marks? Should I estimate distance, or bring a tape measure around me all the time? If I estimate - how does the DoF change if I'm not focused on the EXACT hyperfocal distance?



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Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Jan 23, 2004; 02:06 a.m.

Without a distance scale, the tape measure isn't going to help without a lot of leg work. For hyperfocal settings to work, you need to know the distance the lens is focused at, and the distance of the near & far objects.

You can do it of course. You measure (or estimate) the distances of the subjects and then consult your hyperfocal chart (You do carry this with you don't you?), set your aperture and then carefully measure to the hyperfocal distance, mark it, and focus right there.

Kind of clumsy in this modern age.

Anyway, you don't mention what camera body you are working with. All Canon EOS cameras have some form of a hyperfocal calculation feature designed into them. Some of them have a DEP feature (Look at the Command Dial on top of the camera) where you AF on the far, and then the near subject and then take the picture. The camera then calculates the different distances, selects the appropriate aperture, and adjusts the focus to the hyperfocal distance, before taking the picture.

Lower end EOS cameas use an A-DEP function where it does the above in one step, but only if you have an AF point on each of the distances you want to keep in focus.

Mo Zhang , Jan 23, 2004; 03:38 a.m.

It's a rebel G body. The one thing I don't like about the A-DEP feature is that I can not keep some of my manual exposure settings.

Mo Zhang , Jan 23, 2004; 03:40 a.m.

Or, do you mean that the camera acually focuses at hyperfocal for me? after it refocuses, I can just go back to M or Tv and do my own thing?

Lars Ebert , Jan 23, 2004; 06:28 a.m.

I think after using DEP or A-DEP function you have to set the lens from AF to MF and don't touch the lens, so the hyperfocal setting is saved.

Julian Loke , Jan 23, 2004; 07:23 a.m.

Why do you need a tape measure when you can use a rangefinder?
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=003HEV rel="nofollow">http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=003HEV

Dan Funk , Jan 23, 2004; 10:32 a.m.

Even if a lens has DoF or distance marks I find them to be less than useful most of the time. I have been using a FotoSharp DoF card with pretty good results (I calculate using one extra stop for insurance) in my landscape shooting. Of course the hard part is guesstimating the distances, but that has mostly sorted itself out with experiance - I am thinking of buying a laser measure, but I am not sure how accurate they would be in the 'softer' environment of the outdoors.


Jack Floyd , Jan 23, 2004; 11:58 a.m.

Lars is right.

What I do for landscapes when I want fullest dof is:

use A-DEP for closest/farthest

set the lens to manual focus and leave it there, you have hyperfocal set

THEN, in manual metering mode, I do my metering based on that f/stop OR ONE HIGHER /SMALLER, NOT ONE LOWER/LARGER

THEN, if my far focus was on infinity, I might back the focus to a closer setting, but VERY little

lastly, I use my dof indicator for my closest point, to make sure I haven't gotten things backward, as I am wont to do

Bill Goldman , Jan 23, 2004; 03:52 p.m.

Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the definition of the hyperfocal (and note hyper in the word) distance is the distance at which the lens is focused which will yield the maximum dof at a given f-stop. And by definition this means the far distance MUST be infinity (or rather the infinity mark on the lens).

If one is going to use the DEP mode in order to have the camera actually set the lens to the hyperfocal distance which corresponds to the set f-stop, that means the infinity mark must be the second focus point.

Jim Doty , Jan 23, 2004; 11:07 p.m.


Here is a Hyperfocal Distance Chart.

The chart is calculated for an 11x16 inch enlargment on 35mm film. The math behind the chart is here, along with additional information.

If you have a PDA that uses the Palm operating system, there is a program that computes depth of field for you. Info on this program is here.

There are several commercial depth of field cards and charts available to guide you in your aperture and distance settings for a given focal length.


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