Hyperfocal Distance

Calculating and applying the hyperfocal point sounds more complicated than it actually is. What is it? Well, a lens can only focus precisely on one plane – sharpness gradually decreases either side of this distance. Roughly speaking, depth of field extends one-third in front of this point and two-thirds beyond it. Therefore, if you focus too close or far away, you will waste some of the depth of field available to you.

what is hyperfocal distance infographic
A handy diagram to illustrate hyperfocal distance.

However, for every focal length and aperture combination, there is one distance that will maximise depth of field – the hyperfocal distance. By carefully focusing on this point, you will take advantage of the full extent of the depth of field. There are hyperfocal charts and apps available (for different sensor sizes) to help you calculate this optimum point. An App like PhotoPills is a good choice. Just enter the selected focal length and aperture, and the app will calculate the distance you need to focus on and also show the near and far limits.

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