In my quest to learn to be a better photographer I’ve come across the concept of hyperfocal distance. In this post I’m going to look at what I’ve learnt, how I’m using it with my Canon 550D and provide a handy little downloadable spreadsheet aide memoir.
Wikipedia says ‘In optics and photography, hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an “acceptable” focus’. Its the way of getting the maximum depth of field in an image.
The problem I might have had is my lens (Canon 18mm to 135mm kit lens) doesn’t have a focal length scale on the focus ring. Fortunately I’ve installed Magic Lantern on my SD cards. One of the small side benifits of this is the focal distance displayed down in the bottom right of the screen when using Live View. Very handy :-)
The next problem is knowing what the hyperfocal distance is for any given situation. After rooting around on the internet a bit I came across a few tables and calculations. This was great for helping me understand the concept but no good for assisting me when I’m actually setting up a shot as they were all to big to carry in my ‘light as possible’ camera kit. To solve this I’ve created a little credit card sized table that I’ve laminated and now lives tucked away with my camera for when I need it.
In the interests of sharing I’ve included an image of the card here for anyone to use along with a link to the spreadsheet I used to create it.
As is clear from the image the table is specific to the Canon 550D. To adapt it to a different camera look up the relevant Circle of Confusion value from the table HERE. I’ve also set the focal lengths and aperture values to suit my needs. The calculations will let them customise them all to sit your needs.
For a better explanation and more information on hyperfocal distance check out the article from Vivid Light ‘What is Hyperfocal Distance and Why Should I Care?‘