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Hyperfocal Distance
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If you haven't read the previous page about Depth of Field, you should probably read it to clarify what this chart is for.

HYPERFOCAL DISTANCE CHART
FOR 35mm FILM CAMERAS
(AND DIGITAL CAMERAS WITH FULL FRAME SENSORS)
FOCUSING DISTANCE IN FEET

LENS:

70mm

50mm

35mm

28mm

24mm

20mm

f-stop

           

f/32

22 ft

12 ft

5.5 ft

3.5 ft

2.6 ft

1.8 ft

f/22

32

17

8

5

4

2.5

f/16

44

22

11

7

5

3.5

f/11

64

33

16

11

8

5

f/8

90

45

22

14

11

7

f/5.6

130

65

32

21

15

10

f/4

190

90

44

28

21

15

Directions:  Focus at the distance indicated in the column under the lens you are using and in the row across from the lens aperture in use.  The depth of field will be everything from HALF the hyperfocal (focused) distance to infinity (calculated for an 11x16 inch enlargement from 35 mm film and viewed at a normal distance).

EXAMPLE: A 28 mm lens set at f/8 and focused at the hyperfocal distance of 14 feet (from the chart above) will result in an image on film that will have a depth of field from 7 feet to infinity when enlarged on a print up to 11x16 inches.

Remember that the depth of field is from 1/2 the hyperfocal distance to infinity.

For practical use in the field, determine the distance from the closest object that you want to appear sharp to your camera.  This is simple. Just focus on the closest object and check the distance scale on your lens. Double that distance to get the hyperfocal distance and focus the lens accordingly. Then use the chart to determine the aperture you need for the lens you want to use.

Example.  You want some flowers 4 feet away to be sharp in the final photo. If the closest object is 4 feet away, the hyperfocal distance will be 8 feet.  You want to use a 24 mm wide angle lens.  On the chart above, look under the 24 mm lens column until you find a hyperfocal distance of 8 feet. Look to the left to find the  aperture of f/11. Focus at 8 feet, set your 24 mm lens at f/11 and everything from 4 feet (1/2 the hyperfocal distance) to infinity will appear sharp in an enlargement up to 11x16 inches in size.

One final example.  You are using a zoom lens set to 28 mm in focal length.  You want everything from 4.5 feet to infinity to appear sharp.  What is the hyperfocal distance and what aperture will you use?  Look at the chart to figure it out, then come back here . . . . .

Since the closest object you want to appear sharp is 4.5 feet away, the hyperfocal distance is going to be 9 feet. Looking on the chart under 28 mm, 9 feet is in between the two distances given of 7 feet for f/16 and 11 feet for f/11.  Set your lens aperture half way between f/11 and f/16.  Focus your lens at 9 feet.  Everything from 4.5 feet to infinity will appear sharp in your final photo.

Remember that when you look through the lens, only things at the hyperfocal distance will look sharp (unless you have depth of field preview on your camera).  Everything in front of and behind the hyperfocal distance will appear blurry.  That's OK, trust the chart.  It works.

If you are using a digital SLR with a 1.5x or 1.6x field of view (FOV) crop, use this chart:

Digital SLR Hyperfocal Distance Chart


March 1, 2001
Updated April 7, 2005

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