I have been reading a lot lately on hyperfocal focusing for landscape with my D800. I think that I have confused myself more than helped.
I understand the concept and how to set it up, but how to practically use it is beyond me.
Example with a focal length of 50mm and f8 aperture, the hyperfocal distance is 15.7 meters and everything is in focus from 7.84 meters to infinity.
My question is how do I set my focus to 15.7 meters? I would be lucky to be within a couple of meters at best. IF the focusing was two meters closer than the far limit drops from infinity to 108 meters, meaning a lot of my background would be out of focus. From what I can understand, it is better to miss it on the far side than the near side.
Am I missing something, should I just be using 1/3 the way in or what?
thoughts and help please.
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#1. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0Sun 25-Aug-13 02:33 PM | edited Sun 25-Aug-13 02:45 PM by walkerr
First, keep in mind that there isn't actually a zone in which focus in perfectly sharp. Instead, it's a zone that looks okay when viewed at a certain print size, when viewed that print is viewed at a normal distance. That print size is assumed to be about A4 in size and that's viewed from about 0.3m with "normal" vision. If you're making a bigger print and looking closer, things won't look as sharp.
Hopefully, the message that comes out from this is that this is all about perception rather than exact measurements. In other words, don't stew over whether you're at 15.7m or 18m. Just get kind of close. If you're making a big print, err on the side of emphasizing what's important in the image. If you've bought a D800/e, you probably want to make larger prints. If so, don't use the FX category in DOF calculators - use the more stringent DX one and then tend toward conservatism (greater distances, if you're trying to use hyperfocal technique).
I'd ignore the 1/3 rule. It's pretty meaningless, as it gives you no guidance about apertures, focal lengths, print sizes or anything else. Try doing the math: what's 1/3 of the way between 10m and infinity? Answer: infinity.
#2. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 1helmdr Registered since 08th Nov 2012Sun 25-Aug-13 09:39 PM
thanks for the comments Rick, very much appreciated, while I understand what you are saying. I am concerned a bit
Taking an example. Let's say I have some mountains in the back, maybe a 2 kilometers distant. and a flower or anything about 10 meters away. From what I understand, If I focus at a point 15.7 meters from the camera, both mountains and flower will be in focus using 50mm and f8.
I could also go to f16 and focus on the plant and the mountains would still be in focus. The advantage of using f8 is a possible lower ISO or higher shutter speed.
I don't mean to belabor the point, but I am trying to understand how to best use this tool.
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#3. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 2
#4. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 2avisys Basic MemberSun 25-Aug-13 10:17 PM | edited Sun 25-Aug-13 10:18 PM by avisys
> . . . but I am trying to understand how to best use this tool.
There's a difference between using a tool and beating it to death
Mountains that far away are rarely that sharp --- atmosphere --- and the viewer perceives them as OK anyway. Perception of prints is the real science here, not DOF formulae.
#5. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0
Great questions. I have also been trying to practice / enhance by skills using hyper focus etc. I actually borrowed a friends spotting/distance scope he uses for golf to gauge distance. So if the dof calculator says 18m, I use the scope to locate 18m!
I would also stage a lot of shots to practice. Bring a tape measure...
Unlike the days of film, you can take 1000 practice shots with zero cost, other then time.
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#6. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0
focusing at the hyperfocal distance theoretically places the horizon/infinity at the far limit of acceptable focus so that depth of field forward of infinity is maximised. It is a technique for getting the deepest possible depth of field forward of the background for any given aperture and focal length.
Modern DSLR lenses (except for macro) tend to have very short-throw focus adjustments and distance scales that are insufficiently marked for accurate manual setting of the focus distance. Their AF systems require you to focus on a physical object and there may not be a convenient object at the required hyperfocal distance in your scene (In a landscape/scenic shot where one would typically use this method, there is often just empty space with no AF target at the required hyperfocal distance).
The way I do it is to look elsewhere, even behind me, for an object at the appropriate distance, prefocus on that and then set the camera on the tripod, aim it at the intended scene and release the shutter without re-focusing. For this to work you have to set the camera in A mode to manually select and lock the required aperture and use the AF-ON button only for focusing with AF. If your camera is one of the Dxx00 or Dx0 models that doesn't have a separate AF-ON button then you must set the focus mode switch to MANUAL (or use the AF-L button to lock focus) after pre-focusing the lens and be careful not to touch or move the focus ring when later aiming the camera at the scene and/or fitting it to the tripod.
If you use older lenses that pre-date the G-type, or modern MF only third party lenses such as Zeiss, then the chances are that your focal distance scale is accurately marked and the focus ring has a longer throw/action for more accurate manual focusing but it is a definite problem with the G lenses.
Thinking ahead, one of the features I would like to see in future bodies is a new "hyperfocal distance" AF mode where the photographer selects aperture and the camera then sets focus to the hyperfocal distance automatically and ignores the AF points. Since the G and D type lenses already transmit focal distance info to the camera body, it should surely be possible to implement this at low cost using software alone and without requiring any physical hardware changes in the lens or camera body.
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#7. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 6Mon 26-Aug-13 01:18 PM
>Thinking ahead, one of the features I would like to see in
>future bodies is a new "hyperfocal distance" AF mode
>where the photographer selects aperture and the camera then
>sets focus to the hyperfocal distance automatically and
>ignores the AF points. Since the G and D type lenses already
>transmit focal distance info to the camera body, it should
>surely be possible to implement this at low cost using
>software alone and without requiring any physical hardware
>changes in the lens or camera body.
Canon offered this feature in their early AF film bodies, but eliminated it with their more recent cameras. It's been gone for quite a while. I'm not sure if the focusing info with the D and G lenses is precise enough for this operation. It's really just intended to get in the right ballpark so that subject reflectivity can be included in flash calculations.
#8. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0
The only accurate solution I can think of is a laser rangefinder (the kind used for golf) - or a laser tape measure (the kind used by surveyors etc).
Leica have a series of laser tape measures with ranges up to 200m - and they're accurate to 1.5mm!!
Use the laser to find a point that's at your exact hyperfocal distance (in this case 15.7m), then focus the camera on that point. Theoretically this must work.
#9. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 8Wed 28-Aug-13 01:37 PM | edited Wed 28-Aug-13 01:38 PM by Gromit44
The Leica Disto D2 is probably good enough range-wise - it's got a range of 60m.
There's a model comparison chart in the Disto link on this page - http://www.merlinlazer.com/D2-Laser-Tape---NEW.
#10. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0
Dennis, If you're really, really worried about it, make several shots with different focal points and use Photoshop's "depth of field blending" to put everything in focus all the way from the end of your nose to the next galaxy.
One other point: there have been so many over-the-top articles about diffraction softening that people seem scared to death to stop down below about f/1.4. If you're shooting landscape, which it sounds as if you are: (1) Never shoot handheld. Always carry a solid tripod. (2) Always shoot mirror-up. (3) Don't be afraid to stop down to f/16 or even f/22. Any good sharpening tool out there -- Photoshop's new sharpening tools, Nik's Sharpener Pro, etc., etc., can overcome diffraction loss with no trouble.
#11. "RE: D800 Hyperfocal Focusing" | In response to Reply # 0
Am I the only person who uses the DOF preview button on their Nikons? I use it very often when I want to know what is/isnot in focus.
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