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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:11 am 
Been learning about the concept of hyperfocal distance recently and was just thinking about it a bit.

What got me thinking about it was another members post enquiring about infinity focus. Some one mentioned that when photographing the moon setting the focus to the hyperfocal distnace was better than setting it to infinity.

Then I read this on wikipedia ‘In optics and photography, hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an “acceptable” focus’

My query is where does sharp focus end and where does acceptable focus begin?

Is this something I should worry about or am I over thinking.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9886
Location: UK
Hi Ian,

Regarding the Moon, you actually need to focus exactly on the Moon which is essentially at infinity so far as the camera is concerned. BUT that doesn't mean just blindly setting the focus ring on the lens to the infinity symbol. Apart from anything else most lenses can actually be set to focus slightly further away than infinity, bizarre as that may sound, to allow for manufacturing tolerances.

Using the hyperfocal distance is all about maximising depth of field. If you can focus exactly on something closer to you than the horizon while still essentially having everything at the horizon sharp enough that it looks sharp on your monitor or on a print then you've got more of the closer bits of the foreground also in acceptably sharp focus. And if your composition doesn't involve distant objects which need to be in focus then you can use a shorter hyperfocal distance. That said, for many compositions just allowing the camera to focus on the subject of interest is often good enough so long as you've set the f-number to achieve a reasonably wide depth of field.


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M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
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Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:40 am 

Thanks for clarifying. Glad I wasnt far of the mark in my understanding of sharp focus and acceptable focus :D

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