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Subject: "Hyperfocal distance" Previous topic | Next topic
paulfree17 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jul 2009Fri 19-Apr-13 09:30 AM
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"Hyperfocal distance"


Montville, US
          

I have an app on my i-phone that for a given camera, focal length and aperture will calculate the hyper-focal distance. Since I primarily or at least often shoot landscapes this can come in quite handy.

My question is, since the lens, aperture and set focal length are all recorded in the exif data, wouldn't it be a fairly simple matter to allow, lets say the fn button to auto-focus at the hyper-focal distance? Outside of estimating how far something is and then manually focusing on it how does one know they are focused at the Hyper-focal distance?






<a href="http://www.pfotos-by-pfreedman.com/photo" target=_blank>Pfotos-By-PFreedman</a>

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
Herbc Silver Member
19th Apr 2013
1
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
gpoole Platinum Member
19th Apr 2013
2
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
gkaiseril Gold Member
19th Apr 2013
3
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
paulfree17 Silver Member
19th Apr 2013
4
     Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
agitater Gold Member
19th Apr 2013
5
     Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
Gromit44
23rd Apr 2013
9
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
ZoneV Silver Member
20th Apr 2013
6
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
benveniste Moderator
20th Apr 2013
7
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
gkaiseril Gold Member
23rd Apr 2013
10
     Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
gpoole Platinum Member
23rd Apr 2013
11
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
HHargitt Silver Member
20th Apr 2013
8
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
rectangularimage Silver Member
23rd Apr 2013
12
Reply message RE: Hyperfocal distance
dagoldst Silver Member
24th Apr 2013
13

Herbc Silver Member Nikonian since 10th May 2012Fri 19-Apr-13 04:52 PM
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#1. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I think I have the same app. It would be nice, maybe Nikon will listen to an input about that, although I am of two minds about making the camera even more complicated.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Fri 19-Apr-13 05:10 PM
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#2. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


Farmington Hills, US
          

It is most likely possible. A major stumbling block could be the resolution of the distance info coming from the lens.

While looking at EXIF data to diagnose focusing issues, it appears the the distance info is in steps. The size of these steps seems to increase as focusing distance increases. My guess is that the lens is reporting a low resolution logarithmic value for the distance. If this is the case, I doubt if it is possible to drive accurately enough to the hyper-focal distance.

Another issue is that hyper-focal distance is computed from a circle of confusion (COC), The COC is usually considered to be the largest circle that will appear as a point when an 8x10 inch enlargement is viewed at arms length. If you like to view larger prints at similar distances or tend to look at prints from shorter or greater distances you would want to use a different COC in the calculations.

BTW the COC is also used to compute depth of field/focus (DOF). If the camera could compute hpper-focal distance, it would also be able to compute and display DOF for the currently focused distance.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300, D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Fri 19-Apr-13 06:29 PM
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#3. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


Chicago, US
          

There are other considerations like:

Would this sell more cameras to cover the cost of development?
Do many users want this feature?
Is there enough ROM for the programming code and enough RAM for scratch space?
Will users put up with the delay caused by this computation?
How best to display the results?

The viewfinder window is pretty full of needed data. Users are complain about all the different data screens in review already. Do they need another screen they do not understand would even use?

Most users do not even know abut the DOF preview button or what it does.

It would be nice but most of the users that understand this already have a solution for when they need to get the data.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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paulfree17 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jul 2009Fri 19-Apr-13 07:38 PM
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#4. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 3


Montville, US
          

I think you misunderstood my request. WHat I am suggesting is that if the hyperfocal distance for a D800 with a 50 mm focal length and an aperature of f/16 is 17.3 ft that my FN button would automatically set my focus at 17.3 ft. The same lens at F9 would set the focus at 30.6 ft which is the hyperfocal distance at that aperture and lens.

There is no way looking at the view finder with a measured reference in the photo to know the distance at which you are focused. You could try and estimate an object 17 ft or 30 ft away and focus on that but there may not be anything prominent at that distance. Since the computation appears to be relatively straight forward it would be nice if the software could set the lens to the desired focal length.

<a href="http://www.pfotos-by-pfreedman.com/photo" target=_blank>Pfotos-By-PFreedman</a>

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 19-Apr-13 08:23 PM
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#5. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 4


Toronto, CA
          

You can use the distance scale on your lens. That's one of things it's used for - setting a hyperfocal distance.

If there is nothing prominent at the distance you want to set, how could the camera automatically focus at that distance (which is the basis on which the AF system communicates with the lens)? Then again, Nikkor D-type and G-type lenses already communicate distance information to Nikon AF camera bodies, which is one of the reasons that 3D multi-sensor balanced fill flash and 3D matrix metering work as well as they do.

An alternative is for Nikon to miniaturize one of its Coolshot Laser Rangefinders and then integrated the assembly into a D-series body for the ultimate in manual exposure and hyperfocal accuracy. Or you could just pick up a Coolshot for $150. It's not much bigger than a Sekonic meter.

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Howard Carson, Managing Editor
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Gromit44 Registered since 04th Jan 2012Tue 23-Apr-13 10:28 AM
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#9. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 4


GB
          

The only way I can think of is to somehow incorporate a laser rangefinder.

  

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ZoneV Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2005Sat 20-Apr-13 02:26 AM
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#6. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

I believe Thom Hogan recommends setting the far limit of the depth of field just short of infinity for most photographs, instead of using the actual hyperfocal distance. He says it looks more natural to our eyes.

An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!

  

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benveniste Moderator Awarded for is high level skills in various areas, including Macro and Landscape Photography Nikonian since 25th Nov 2002Sat 20-Apr-13 05:53 AM
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#7. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


Boston Area, US
          

My question is, since the lens, aperture and set focal length are all recorded in the exif data, wouldn't it be a fairly simple matter to allow, lets say the fn button to auto-focus at the hyper-focal distance?

Adding an algorithm to calculate a hyperfocal distance would be fairly simple. Nor do I think the memory needed to store such an algorithm would add significantly to the cost of a modern camera body.

Unfortuately, it's not quite that simple for a couple of reasons. The first is figuring out which hyperfocal distance you want. The value most applications give you is for acceptable sharpness in an 8x10" print, which may not match up with your expections or how you plan to view or display your photographs. Even then, different calculators will give you different values since there's no one accepted value for the circle of confusion (CoC). So the camera would have to provide a menu option to allow you to specify a CoC value.

The second challenge is to set the lens for that specific focus distance. This would require a calibration step, and, from what I can glean from Nikon repair manuals, there's simple no way to perform such a calibration. While my D800 reports a focus distance with centimeter precision, my EXIF reader also notes "The focus distance is approximate, and not very accurate for some lenses."

I'm convinced that with enough R&D, both these issues could be addressed. I'm far less convinced it would be worth the cost.


"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Tue 23-Apr-13 03:24 PM
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#10. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 7
Tue 23-Apr-13 03:26 PM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

With both DX and FX lenses available it is not simple any more. The DOF is different for an FX and a DX crop on the same body. The lens also has to provide all the required information for a DOF calculation.

There are DOF scales on prime lenses and some push pull zoom lenses for FX so if one uses the FX lens on a DX body it is not correct and if the FX body is set to use the DX crop the provided scale is not correct. There are t-shirts and cards with DOF calculations but again one needs the card for for crop factor of the lens or camera body.

I am surprised there are so few complaints about this. And that might be due to the lack of use or understanding of the users about the DOF importance in an image.

Also most users would conduct what if scenarios for various lenses and f stops which makes the camera solution more complex.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004Tue 23-Apr-13 04:55 PM
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#11. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 10


Farmington Hills, US
          

There is no difference between an FX lens and a DX lens of the same focal length on a DX body. DoF depends on focus distance, fstop, and the Circle of Confusion (CoC). Focal length of a lens is independent of sensor size, but the CoC changes in proportion to the sensor size (or 1/cropfactor). So other than the "religious" argument about what is the appropriate CoC for the sensor size, there is no ambiguity in calculating DoF for DX.

For an FX sensor it's a bit more complicated because the camera would have to pick the CoC based on whether the camera is savings images in FX or DX crop mode. Seeing the camera knows what crop mode is in effect, this not a problem, it just makes the DOF calculation a little more complex.

Ultimately, as I stated earlier in this discussion the calculation gets down to the resolution and accuracy of the distance info coming from the lens. I don't believe the distance data is accurate enough to allow a very good DOF calculation. Also to get back to the OP's question about setting Hyperfocal distance, I don't believe that the AF system can position close enough to a specified distance to be useful.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300, D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5
My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery

  

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HHargitt Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Jan 2010Sat 20-Apr-13 08:21 PM
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#8. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


Maple Ridge, CA
          

I don't think Nikon is likely to incorporate hyper focal focusing into their camera bodies, as that would be counter productive to their range finder division

Happy shooting

Howard

Will shoot for fame...fun...food... a heck I'll shoot anytime anywhere.

  

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rectangularimage Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Oct 2009Tue 23-Apr-13 06:31 PM
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#12. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


San Diego, US
          

This is a great idea. Although I think something other than traditional hyperfocal distance would be better, like "optimize towards infinity focusing", which would be more concerned with objects closer to infinity than it would be at maximum DOF.

Another similar and useful thing would be to be able to dial in a distance x, and have it prefocus at that distance at the press of a button. This would be good for action, sports and HCB style "hunting".

My website | My Nikonians gallery

  

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dagoldst Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2012Wed 24-Apr-13 02:23 AM
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#13. "RE: Hyperfocal distance"
In response to Reply # 0


Little Rock, US
          

On landscape, I don't even consider hyperfocal all that valuable. I typically pick a point I want in focus, set f/stop and stop down to view the scene for real.

Just a perspective,

David

"Sawed that board three times and it is still too short... "

  

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