Hyperfocal distance focusing
An important but potentially fiddly technique for maximising depth of field.
If you’re concerned with getting everything sharp in your landscape photos, then you’ll interested in hyperfocal focusing.
Focusing about a third of the way into the scene can get you close to optimum sharpness but it isn’t completely accurate. The only way to guarantee success is to use the hyperfocal distance as your point of focus – the only problem being that the hyperfocal distance is a specific, mathematically calculated distance that varies according to the sensor size, focal length and aperture you’re using.
Memorising all the combinations is all but impossible, so printing off charts from the internet or using an app are the only options.
Having a chart and/or an app with you that tells you the correct hyperfocal distance for various shooting combinations may seem like an ideal solution, but the challenges of hyperfocal distance focusing don’t quite end there.
Once you have established what the hyperfocal distance is for the sensor size, focal length and aperture you’re using, you still need to work out how far away from your lens that distance actually is; guessing 7.65 metres with complete accuracy is easier said than done.
Unless you are prepared to carry around – and bother to use – a tape measure, you will have to settle for a ‘best estimate’ of precisely where the hyperfocal distance is in relation to where you are shooting from. Unfortunately, modern zoom lenses often fall short with their distance scales, so aren’t much use for this.
At the end of the day though, it’s important not to get too carried away with techniques like this. Certainly, you should ensure that you don’t allow concerns about whether you have accurately assessed 3.35 metres to stop you from getting a photo.