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Hyperfocal Distance

Hyperfocal Distance is a method for extracting the maximum possible depth of field from the lens that you are using. This works well for inanimate subjects such as a landscape, and when you don't have time to focus the lens and need as much depth of field as possible.

Hyperfocal distance is officially defined as the near limit of depth of field (the closest point that will be in focus) when the lens is focused at infinity. This can most easily be seen with a manual focus lens. Users of autofocus lenses will have to consult the focus tables included with your lens manual.

To use hyperfocal distance, focus your lens at infinity. Then, looking at the lens barrel, match the near distance to the aperature that you want to use. Next, turn the focus ring to this near distance. Doing so will provide you with the maximum depth of field achievable for the focal length and aperature that you are using.

For example, on my Hasselblad 80 mm lens at f22, the depth of field extends from about 18 feet to infinity when the lens is focused at infinity. Using Hyperfocal Distance, my depth of field will extend from 9 feet to infinity!

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