This article was written by the New York Institute of Photography, America's oldest and largest photography school. NYI provides professional-level training via home study for photographers who want to give their images a professional look, and perhaps earn extra income with their camera.
HOW TO USE HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE TO GET THE GREATEST POSSIBLE DEPTH OF FIELD
You probably know that to get maximum depth of field with any lens, you should shoot using the smallest aperture the lens permits - that is, the highest f-number. For example, if the smallest aperture of your lens is f/16, use it to obtain maximum depth of field. If your lens shuts down to f/22, better still - use it. Or f/32 or whatever is the smallest aperture of the particular lens.
You can accomplish this by using what is called the hyperfocal distance setting if your lens has a depth-of-field scale imprinted on it. This is an important "if" since many of today's lenses don't have a depth-of-field scale. This is a scale with a series of numbers coinciding with the apertures available on the lens. Each number is printed twice - once on the left of the center position, once on the right. So if your lens has apertures running from f/2 through f/16, you will find a "2" imprinted in the center and the number "16" printed at the left extreme and again at the right extreme. Here's how to use this scale to get the overhead branch in focus at the same time the mountain is in focus:
This setting is known as the "hyperfocal distance setting." It provides you with the maximum depth-of-field you can possibly get with the lens you are using. In other words, you now can have the overhead branch in focus as well as the mountains in focus - and everything in between!
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