Hyperfocal Distance

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by travismcgee, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. What's your technique for setting the hyperfocal distance for landscape photography? I have the EFS 17-55/2.8 and it doesn't have a depth of field scale, so that means charts or tables. Do you bother with that or do you use another technique or rule of thumb? Many thanks.
     
  2. They removed the Hyperfocal Distance scale from most primes and almost all AF zoom lenses. Some Canon cameras have an A-DEP function, but I used it with spotty results. The best thing to do I guess would be to turn the AF off and try to figure out the best Hyperfocal Distance by trial and error. After a while it sort of comes naturally. There are charts and formulas on the web that teach you how to figure the best HD for a scene, but many of those are overly complicated.

    http://www.dofmaster.com/custom.html
     
  3. It seems like it's a bit of a challenge. I have Barnack loaded on my computer, but I won't have that information in the field. I've also heard of focusing one-third into the scene, but one of the websites said not to do that either. I wonder if there's an iPhone or iTouch app?
     
  4. "I wonder if there's an iPhone or iTouch app?"

    There is !
     
  5. most canons have a depth of field mode -- focus on one subject, then the next, then press shutter button again, lens focuses so that each object is sharp, then trip shutter.
     
  6. If your lens has a distance scale on it, you can focus on the near and far points that you want in focus, and then set the lens manually so that these 2 distances are equally spaced at either side of the focus index. This doesn't tell you what aperture you need to use, though ... use the smallest you can get away with, or bracket them.
     
  7. Despite what many people might think, hyperfocal distance is first of all dependent on print magnification as well as sensor resolution (on digital sensors), and so the correct numbers might be different for different users dependent on what kind of print size is their finished product.
    There is no such thing as everything in focus - focus is just in a plane, no matter what focal length a lens is, but there is such a thing as everything being acceptably sharp, or sharp enough that you cannot distinguish whether it is in focus or not, and so the best thing to do is to try out different focus points yourself and compare - not just pixel peeping, but actually print at least small test swatches in your usual maximum print size.
     
  8. "What's your technique for setting the hyperfocal distance for landscape photography?"​
    I rarely resort to using the hyperfocal distance in landscapes, but rather follow the advice given in Depth of Field Revisited : focus at infinity and pick an appropriate aperture value.
    I would sacrifice sharpness at infinity only if there is a dominating, very close foreground with interesting detail.
     
  9. There are several iPhone apps. The one I have tried is called "field tools depth of field guide." It's very simple, and when I compared the results to DOFmaster, they matched. The price is $0.00. One thing I don't understand about it is that it asks you to set the lens you will be using as well as the camera. It does not seem to use the lens information, nor should it, as far as I know. I assumed it would just limit motion of the sliders, but it seems not to.
     
  10. I agree with the remarks by Hakon, above, even though it is impractical to print a photo before deciding.
    Although traditionally the theme is to focus on the hyperfocal point, that often isn't the best plan. One aspect worth remembering is that sharpness is much more important in some areas of the photo than in others. For a portrait, it would usually be the eyes, but for a landscape it might be the distant horizon. Therefore you need to decide where in your photo you want things to be critically sharp. That's usually somewhere between the hyperfocal point and the distant horizon. Trial and error may be the best plan.
     
  11. Dave,
    If your camera has Live View, you can easily cut to the chase. Just press the Depth of Field Preview button while in Live View, zoom in, and (manually) adjust aperture and focus as needed (while holding the DoFP button) until you’re satisfied.
    No charts, no apps, no muss, no fuss, and you get the perfect combination of aperture and focus setting every time.
    For bonus points, use a tethered laptop instead of the camera’s LCD.
    Cheers,
    b&
     
  12. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "What's your technique for setting the hyperfocal distance for landscape photography? I have the EFS 17-55/2.8"

    I don't.
    I also don't use trial and error.
    I also agree with the theory described in Hakon's Post.

    But you asked for a practical "in the field" answer, and although I do carry a DoF calculator, I rarely use it for any landscapes, unless I am inhibited by aperture - or playing games with aperture, sans tripod, like in this example: http://www.photo.net/photo/9199113
    Or playing games with Tv as in this example: http://www.photo.net/photo/9199072

    So my answer is for landscape work with your camera and lens: 20ft and F/8.
    That gives you a "reasonable" DoF from about 10 ft to infinity from FL= 17mm, to FL = 30mm on an APS-C camera.
    I just know that. That FL range is entire wide angle to normal range on that zoom lens - typically the range in which you will be mostly always be working.
    I know 20ft - if you don't know 20ft take seven big steps to learn it.
    If you need a safety net, use F/11.
    WW
     
  13. I either just use a really small aperture, check the DOF preview for a very general idea, or if I want to be very precise about focus I use Live View and carefully inspect the image at 10X with the DOF preview button depressed.
    Dan
     
  14. Martin S. got it right - when done correctly - and that isn't all that hard - the results beat the "hyperfocal distance" acceptable sharpness baloney every time.
     
  15. "So my answer is for landscape work with your camera and lens: 20ft and F/8."
    Thanks, William. That is easy to remember.
    I notice that 20 feet (6m) is in fact the hyperfocal distance at a FL of 30mm on 1.6x crop (according to the DOF calculator at http://www.lensplay.com/lenses/lens_depth_of_field3.php.
    What would you recommend for an equivalent FOV on full-frame (actually 135 film)? DOF seems to fall off rapidly beyond a FL of 35mm on full-frame according to the calculator.
     
  16. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I can't understand how knowing the hyperfocal distance in the field is going to help you if you don't have the means to set it accurately. Certainly with my Canon zooms I couldn't expect to set any specific distance accurately using the distance scale on the lens.
    I further can't understand a point of view that a technique that leaves infinity on the boundary of acceptable and unacceptable sharpness is the best way to focus for landscapes all the time or even most of the time. Equally bear in mind that your point of sharpest focus might well be lost somewhere in the ether , wasted on something that doesn't need to be critically sharp.
    I could be almost as critical about a routine which selects infinity focus all the time. Anything the matter with an approach that asks the photographer to determine what the real/most important subject of the photograph is and focus on that, with aperture selected to provide either a broad or narrow dof depending which suits the shot best? This means that sometimes you might use infinity focus, sometimes an approximation to hyperfocal, and sometimes not far in front of your toes. Depending on what you're trying to achieve with the shot.
     
  17. OK here is the easiest solution. Get a manual lens that has a HFD sale on it and attach it to your DSLR.
     
  18. Many good points on the subject and I do prefer to use a small laminated HF chart with me for quick reference in the field. I found the following web site where you pick the correct "circle of confusion" and your common focal lengths of your lenses; it then produces a chart which you can print out.
    http://johnhendry.com/gadget/hf.php
     
  19. I use the hyperfocal guides on my EF 24mm all the time. I usually back off a stop or two on the guides though. On my 14mm the guides simply lie, so I have to wing it. If find the depth of field preview almost useless. The preview allows you see if something is out of focus, but not see if it is sharp.
    Is there a consensus on the best iPhone app? That could be useful sometimes.
    Dan
     
  20. FWIW, I have "DoF Calculator" on my iPod Touch, but generally prefer to use a simple DoF card as presented here.
    Here is also a simple trick to get the hyperfocal distance:
    • focus on infinity,
    • take your picture and inspect at your preferred zooming level to determine where is the sharpness limit (LiveView is also possible),
    • focus on this point which is your hyperfocal distance (sharp from half this distance to infinity).
    If you zoom completely then it's like using a CoC of about 2 pixels. Zooming less is like using a larger CoC (I use 50% on the 5D MarkII to get about the standard 0,03 mm CoC).
     
  21. "Anything the matter with an approach that asks the photographer to determine what the real/most important subject of the photograph is and focus on that, with aperture selected to provide either a broad or narrow dof depending which suits the shot best?"​
    No, that's what I was trying to say.
    If the detail at infinity, or close to it, is the dominant feature and covers a large area in a shot, I will focus on infinity and stop down to ensure that the foreground is acceptably sharp. But if I consider the foreground to be the more interesting feature, I will adjust focus accordingly and accept that infinity will be OK in terms of sharpness, but not great.
    This approach has served me well – no DOF tables necessary.
    I also agree, that knowing the hyperfocal distance isn't very helpful, since the majority of modern AF lenses has useless distance scales.
    The best were probably the old Hasselblad lenses that had mechanical DOF indicators, that would move as you adjusted the aperture; those were the days.
     
  22. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "What would you recommend for an equivalent FOV on full-frame (actually 135 film)? DOF seems to fall off rapidly beyond a FL of 35mm on full-frame according to the calculator."

    20ft at F/11 is MY answer, for MY gear. A very rough rule of thumb when converting DoF at any given distance and FL and swapping the same lens from APS-C to 135 Format is one stop down.
    Please note I have a 16 to 35L; 24L; 35L and 15 Fish, so therefore on my 5D I would most likely use one of those three lenses for a Landscape. So for those lenses 20ft @ F/11, is MY answer, because I wouldn’t go beyond 35mm.
    If you have a 17 to 40 (for example) then I suggest you work out an answer for yourself, which suits that lens. . . actually, whilst writing I had a quick check 40mm is "safe" at F/11 @ 20ft (CoC = 0.02501mm)
    Working at FL = 50mm on 135 Format is a different kettle of kippers . . . do you use that FL for Landscapes much? if so then workout your own "safe" setting.
    ***

    BUT: Also I need to ensure my previous post is completely understood by pointing to my specific wording.

    I cite this: "I further can't understand a point of view that a technique that leaves infinity on the boundary of acceptable and unacceptable sharpness is the best way to focus for landscapes all the time or even most of the time." (David Henderson)
    I agree with this statement 100%.
    Please understand, Anis, that my "answer", which you quoted is simply answering the question about what technique could be used in the field to get the "hyperfocal distance"
    Please also note the very first sentence in my post answered the OP's direct question (which I quoted). My answer was: "I don't".
    The derivation of my “knowing” these distances for the “hyperfocal” and how they are “safe” is from my experience with Hip Shooting (mainly for street work) and Hail Mary Shooting (mainly for Press Doorstops).

    When employing these Shooting Techniques, one needs to get the maximum DoF – but also note, for these types of shots, the main subject is usually around 15 to 30ft – which is in the guts of the DoF, anyway.

    I learnt and became proficient at these two shooting techniques well before AF was used in 135 format cameras – I have just continued the “set and forget” process – and I adapted that process to answer the specific question, which was asked.
    To be clear: when shooting Landscapes, I address each indiviuual shot and use whatever technique, from many, to get what is necessary "in focus", for that particular shot and that particular shooting scenario.

    WW
     
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  24. Depending on the lens you are using, DoF is going to cover it all if you are at f/8 or smaller. It's almost a moot point.
    Where hyperfocal distance comes in handy is when you find yourself in situations were you may not be able to focus quickly enough, and you know the min and max distances you are likely to encounter.
     
  25. what is my technique for using hyperfocal distance? answer i do not use it. hyperfocal technique has a place in some shots, but calculating the correct distance to use for your day to day travel landscape shots is not it. i spent 3 weeks in august see national parks in the american west never did i use hyperfocal or for that matter even think about. and all my landscape images came out sharp and clear.
    what is needed is a basic understanding of dof. what fstops get a reasonably good dof and also deliver a sharp pic with good image quality. if a lens has a range from f1.4 to f22. then the user has to realize that all parts of that range and not going to used unless it is a special situation. anything over f11 is going to run into diffraction distorsion which reduces IQ. as you use any fstop under about f4.0 you are going to let a lot of light through but this not the best performing area of the lens. lenses perform their best between f5.6 and f11. during the august trip i simply made sure that i shot between f8-11 virtually all the time. the results were fine. all between the near objects in the scene to the horizon were in focus and this was with AF all the time. this i emphsis is real world use. not a discussion of theory.
    hyperfocal technique can be used in certain situations but it should be said that taking a group of many pictures of yellowstone np from various locations is not the place or situation. use the following website-
    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
    and enter distance of 100ft f8-11 lens 20-35mm with a crop dslr and see what actually comes into focus. i was shooting with a 12-24mm zoom on the majority of shots, but not really paying attention to the actual mm used. i was composing and framing the shot to what i wanted. when i got home and checked the exif i found that i was using a range of 20-24mm for the vast majority of the shots. thus with the above numbers i had a lot of dof in use for every shot. thus making hyperfocal shooting unneeded. with my pentax k20(1.5crop) 100ft f11 20mm my dof is 5.9ft(at f8 the distance is 7.58 to infinity) to infinity. in effect that is hyperfocal shooting, but without all the calculating and determining what to focus on.
     
  26. Ok. I am amused with the "I don't use it responses." If you don't need it, then great. If your scene doesn't have a significant range variation, then clearly any focusing approach works. However, a lot of interesting scenes have something near in the foreground and stuff out at infinity. I have certainly been in situations where at f/22, I could not get everything in focus. Even when using the best hyperfocal solution, my only choice was to recompose, sadly. Maybe I needed a tilt/shift lens to help. :) I am still looking for a good enough excuse to get one of those.
     
  27. Dave,
    I simply memorized the approximate hyperfocal distances for the most f/stops (f/8, f/11, f/16) I most commonly use on the lens I most commonly use (Tamron SP 11-18mm).
    Regards,
    Jason
     
  28. "Maybe I needed a tilt/shift lens to help. :) I am still looking for a good enough excuse to get one of those."​
    You've answered your own question there.
    By tilting the focal plane you can achieve sharpness from the extreme foreground to infinity. But TS lenses aren't a magic bullet either. As you tilt the lens the DOF space changes from a rectangular box to a wedge shape, so you could end up with detail above/ below or left/right of the focal plane being noticeably blurred. Seems a fashionable effect nowadays.
     
  29. "Ok. I am amused with the "I don't use it responses." If you don't need it, then great. If your scene doesn't have a significant range variation, then clearly any focusing approach works. However, a lot of interesting scenes have something near in the foreground and stuff out at infinity. I have certainly been in situations where at f/22, I could not get everything in focus."
    dan bliss- i am amused too. if i at f11 am getting everything from 5.9ft to infinity in focus without hyperfocus, what do i need it for? not to mention if your really shooting at f22 then you are getting an awful lot diffraction distorsion and loss of image quality that you are putting up with. we visited a lot of national pks amnd otjher sites and scenes during that august trip and i never had a problem gettimng what i wanted to infocus near to far. this includes some panoramas of grand canyon np glacier np yellowstone np meteor crater and petrified forest np. all the panos were shot at f8.0 for max IQ and all were in focus in all parts of the images.
    just because a technique exists is no reason to just use it. especially when just using the proper fstop with a knowledge of the dof obtained will work just fine. i have used hyperfocus in the past with success. but just using it for travel scenes with the added difficulties is just not worth it. the difficulties be ing the fstop to use, and the distance to focus on with the current lenses not having the dof scales. the only alternative is to measure in some way a point from the shooter and focus on that. the big problem is that if this is messed up in any way then all the shots that are taken with that setup will be poor in the focus. instead of the current shot. no thanks, i am not going to spend 3 weeks and 6500 driving miles just to get home and find that the shots are poor. if you are fgoing to say that you can check the shots on the lcd, true. but only if you are shooting one at a time, if a group done hyperfocally then the whole group is gone. and you may not have all the elements of the scene to reshoot.
     
  30. hyperfocal distance is an outdated technique, and using it will usually yield mediocre results. it is a formula that was determined in the 20's by the company now known as Leica. It may have provided adequate results back then, with older uncoated spherical lenses, and 80 year old emulsions, but today it just doesn't cut it. We now use the latest emulsions and digital sensors, and normally now we discard the enlarger as well. All this adds up to a Circle of Confusion size that needs to be alot smaller than the 'international standard' of 1/30mm (for small format, and 1/1500 of the diagonal film/sensor size for anything larger). Usually , for landscapes, infinity focusing will provide the best compromise. And there is always going to be a compromise. A lens size of around 4mm (give or take 1mm) will usually give the best results, whilst taming diffraction limited spot size. This applies to small, medium or large format. Actually the easiest way to decide on aperture is to assess a scene, decide what the smallest item is in the scene that you want to render acceptably sharp, and adjust your aperture size to the same size. at inifinity, everything that is the size of the aperture will be rendered with the same resolution, diffraction aside. To simply focus half way between the closest and farthest points of required 'sharpness' is not the answer either.
    Hyperfocal Scene
    [​IMG]
    Infinity Scene
    [​IMG]
    Hyperfocal Foreground
    [​IMG]
    Infinity Foreground
    [​IMG]
    Hyperfocal Mid
    [​IMG]
    Infinity Mid
    [​IMG]
    Hyperfocal Far
    [​IMG]
    Infinity Far
    [​IMG]
    It is hard to pickup on the original shots, and I haven't cropped in the far background, but the silo in either shot is rendered the same. Even though you may think that the inifity focus may render it sharper, diffraction has limited the spot size. The lens used here was a Leica-M Summilux 1.4/35mm ASPH @ F9.5, giving me a lens size of around 3.7mm. If I had have used F5.6, the diffraction limited spot size would have been smaller, however the foreground detail would have slightly suffered. The foreground was more important in this shot than the silo. I perhaps therefore could have used f11, which would have improved the foreground at the expense of the silo. If this were a critical shot, I may taken one shot at each of the two apertures.
     
  31. So Gary had some fun with my comments which is probably fair because I was being a bit of a smart aleck and because I may not have been clear about how I used the hyperfocal guides (I assume that this is the way that most people use it, but maybe I am wrong). I apologize if this obvious. So, here is the problem, you'd like to have the point spread function be as small as possible throughout the image. If you focus at infinity then the point spread function at the closest point in the scene is unnecessarily large. You can use the guides to minimize the maximum point spread function across the scene. In a perfect world, everything would be in focus with a shot at f/5.6, but it rarely works that way for me. So here is the procedure that I use:
    1) Focus on the closest thing in the scene. The lens guide window will give the distance (this can be as close as a foot for me sometimes). I like to shoot low to the ground.
    2) Focus on the furthest thing in the scene. This is typically infinity for landscapes.
    3) Center the near-far region in the guide window on the lens.
    4) Use the largest aperture that you can up to about a stop or two to the edges of the near-far distance region (this will minimize the effect of diffraction). If you got to an aperture larger f/8 then stay at f/8 because most lenses are their sharpest between f/5.6 and f/8. I usually give the edges near-far distance extra stop or two because I think the hyperfocal guides are typically a bit optimistic (as been mentioned a number of times in this thread).
    5) Using aperture priority metering, take the photo. I usually get pretty good results from this. While not perfect, I think this procedure provides the minimum maximum-point-spread function given the information that I have available while taking the photo.
    I am not saying that this is the only way to focus. Whatever works for you is great.
     
  32. I'm amused by those who insist that using the hyperfocal distance, or perhaps more generally, the harmonic mean of the near and far distances, is outdated. I have no disagreement whatsoever with Merklinger's theory, and if recognizability of objects at various distances from the camera, at high magnification, is the main objective, infinity focus may be the best approach. It certainly might have saved David Hemmings untold anguish. But I don't agree that infinity focus is always the best choice for practical photography; you improve infinity sharpness, but this comes at the cost of some foreground softness. Ty's images well illustrate both effects. Again, though, they're noticeable only at fairly high magnification.
    Whether overall recognizability of objects is more important than optimal foreground sharpness is a matter of personal preference. A fellow by the name of Adams maintained precisely the opposite.
    Calculating hyperfocal distance (or even the harmonic mean) is easy, but Dave Henderson noted, the calculations aren't much use unless there's a way to set those values reasonably accurately. That isn't the case with most AF lenses. More than once, I've half seriously thought of Harry Joseph's tongue-in-cheek suggestion to use an MF lens with a usable DoF scale.
    Canon's defunct DEP mode did the same thing only much faster. I've beaten that issue to death and won't repeat it here. Suffice it to say that what for decades was a fast, deterministic process is now one of trial and error.
    Getting back to the original question: absent DEP or a good DoF scale, the procedure Dan Mitchell described is probably the best bet. If time is of the essence, William W's “f/8 and be there” may be the best approach. Those concerned primarily with infinity sharpness can of course just focus there and use Live View to find the right aperture to get foreground objects acceptably sharp.
     
  33. I would hardly call it outdated Ty, and a surprising number of us photographers still use enlargers. Not all of us are satisfied to sit behind computers and make "photographs". Some of us still hold onto that outdated notion of "zone focusing" too.
     
  34. Lol, I read this post while I'm in my darkroom waiting for temp adjustment. And I never doubted that people don't still use
    hyperfocal.
     
  35. "20ft at F/11 is MY answer, for MY gear."
    Thanks again, William, for the helpful explanation. I mostly use a 28-75 zoom or 35mm prime at f8 to f11 and hyperfocal distance (around 5m for the prime or 3-4m with the zoom at 28mm). Unfortunately, this hasn't always worked out well, probably because (as you and David have pointed out) it "leaves infinity on the boundary of acceptable and unacceptable sharpness".
    Regards,
    Anis
     
  36. Have only read the first page or two of comments in this thread, but having seen a few DOF discussions in the past, a few thoughts:
    • DOF is a relative thing, not an absolute thing. Although using a "DOF calculator" can make one feel like there is a binary answer to DOF issues (something is or is not in focus) it sure as heck isn't that simple.
    • The only subjects (more or less) in focus are those in the plane of focus. Everything in front of or behind (unless you focus on infinity) is less in focus. It is not the case that subjects inside the DOF zone are in focus while those outside the DOF zone are out of focus.
    • The calculators and even the lens scales were developed based on some assumptions about your photographs: you'll use film, you'll make prints of only a certain size based on the size of your film, a certain level of out of focus is "in focus enough" and so forth. These assumptions may not match yours.
    • If you make large prints today from full-frame or (especially!) crops sensor originals you are magnifying the original capture to much larger sizes (e.g. - larger degree of magnification) than was contemplated when the DOF tables were created. What was "sharp enough" for 35mm film enlarged to 11 x 14 is not sharp enough for APS-C enlarged to 16 x 24. (Follow the "f/8 at 20 feet" advice here and you will have a lot of very fuzzy prints.)
    • Conversely, since so many people almost exclusively share photographs in screen size or smaller jpg form, it might seem to them that the DOF calculations are conservative. (Here the "f/8 at 20 feet" advice might actually work.)
    In most cases, if you are serious about reliable production of images that can be printed at large sizes, no marginal rule of thumb is going to be ideal. This is why I wrote my short post earlier in this thread, slightly reformatted here.
    • I either just use a really small aperture, or
    • check the DOF preview for a very general idea,
    • or if I want to be very precise about focus I use Live View and carefully inspect the image at 10X with the DOF preview button depressed.
    If you are trying to push the boundaries of DOF you likely want to try the latter.
    If you really want to understand how to use DOF in your photography, rather than relying on complex formulas, iPhone calculators, or carrying around a cheat sheet - or giving up and just shooting everything at f/8 and 20 feet - it pays to spend some time with your gear just making some test exposures. You can learn so much about how your gear works and learn it very quickly by doing this. You could spend the day looking at DOF posts on forum threads or fiddling with software designed to calculate it... or you could take you camera out and shoot a few subjects at different apertures and see what actually happens with your gear. The latter is very instructive.
    Finally, about sharpness... I was fortunate to be able to spend the afternoon at the Irving Penn "Small Trades" show at the Getter yesterday. (Wish I had more time - there are a LOT of photographs in the show!) I thought about many things as I viewed the photographs, but down a ways on the list was - again - my observation about the "sharpness" of these wonderful photographs. I'm sure that if we looked at some of his best photographs in this collection at the equivalent of our 100% magnification tests many of you would be horrified at the "lack of sharpness" of these fine and effective images.
    I think my point is obvious.
    Dan
     
  37. Dan, I am with you there. There is no doubt sharper doesn't always mean better (for classic example: Stieglitz's pictorialists). Anyway, I certainly agree with your last bullet (I just take a photo and just zoom in to check). I should have added that as item 6) on my list.
     
  38. Why to use hyperfocal distance in real life?
    Street photographers and photojournalists use it all the time.
    But why should someone shooting portraits or landscapes bother? I see no reason.
    How I then use it?!
    If I shoot ( I´m a photojournalist) action and expect to see some politician at quite near sight- I take my old 24 mm lens and use 3 metres as the focus. Then I put some ducktape on the lens to lock the focus there.
    Then I measure the light and use such an F stop that everything is at least a little in focus from 1-5 etc metres. I know I`ll shoot at that range and for an action shot the frame ( between 1-5metres) is sharp enough.
    My friend is artist and shoots at the streets and he does the same, no time to focus, even autofocus - so hyperfocal distance, no AF, everything manual.
     
  39. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “I mostly use a 28-75 zoom or 35mm prime at f8 to f11 and hyperfocal distance (around 5m for the prime or 3-4m with the zoom at 28mm). Unfortunately, this hasn't always worked out well, probably because (as you and David have pointed out) it "leaves infinity on the boundary of acceptable and unacceptable sharpness".

    Yes.
    I am very sure you have you answer as to why this procedure (“to set at the Hyperfocal”) is inefficient as a “one solution fits all situations”
    However, you could consider adapting the technique to give yourself better leverage.
    For example, with your 35 Prime, you could use F/11 and 30ft as your focus point (say 10 mtrs if you are more skilled with metric measure).
    Focussing at 10 mtrs (instead of 5mtrs), you don’t really loose all that much on the short end of the DoF but I suspect that you will find that the Horizon will be much sharper.
    But IMO always think about what technique you need to use – if you are in an hurry and need to grab a shot then it is good know where things will generally fall.
    ***
    “But why should someone shooting portraits or landscapes bother? I see no reason.”

    IMO there is one very good reason, just as an example – there are more but to me this is the most obvious:
    Location Portraiture especially for holiday “Photosnaps” and similar Photographs . . .
    The typical shot of the Family in the foreground and the Landmark Building or Geographic Feature in the Background – knowing the Hyperfocal distance at F/8 or F/11 can be very useful.
    WW
     

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