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Thread: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

  1. #1

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    Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Hyperfocal is not something I have worried about in the past or even read about it or, hell, know much about. However, I was trying to simplify my hand held shooting and I wanted to know if there was a way to "pre focus" so I would only have to concentrate on framing and shooting when I came across Hyperfocal Focusing (or whatever it's called). I saw lots of articles and youtube videos and I don't know if I understood this right. Is hyperlocal a way of "pre focusing"? Is this what I've been looking for? FYI, I shoot f/11 at 1/250. Thanks.
    --Mario

  2. #2

    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    I've used this myself with an old press camera, and didn't get terribly good results. The shutter speed, f-stop, and film speed combinations needed just didn't make much sense for me.

    One note of significance is that you need to know how large you'll be printing to figure out the circle of confusion to figure out your hyperfocal distance. Smaller prints will let you get away with more, larger obviously needs finer resolution.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  3. #3

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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Also needed is the focal length of your lens.

  4. #4

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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Why not just take the extra three seconds and zone focus, for a much better chance of getting something you can use? Hyperfocal doesn't have much real world use if you care about focus at all.

  5. #5

    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    I'd like to give a bit more detail, apologies for my mostly-opinion reply above.

    To do this very accurately, you'll need to understand Circle of Confusion. Briefly, this is the most blurry a point can get on your negative while still looking like a single point on your enlarged print. Only things exactly at the focal point will be precisely sharp, but anything that's less blurry than the circle of confusion will look sharp when enlarged to your printing size. This can be a confusing subject, so I suggest researching it online a bunch more. This is why I mentioned that you'll need to know your print size before figuring out your hyperfocal distance. Normal 4x5" film circle of confusion values are 0.1mm (something is sharp if it's less than 0.1mm across on your negative).

    Understanding your print size ahead of time may make the difference between it being useful and being totally useless.

    We would also need to know your focal length, as that makes a huge difference. You've already stated the f-stop you'll be using, which is helpful.

    Let's plug all these things into an online calculator: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    Let's assume some standard defaults:
    * Circle of confusion being 0.1mm, the standard for 4x5" photography
    * 150mm lens, a "normal" for 4x5"
    * f/11, as you stated

    Then, the hyperfocal distance is 65.7 feet, and anything closer than about 33 feet will look blurry.

    33 feet is pretty far, in my opinion. If I'm out and about and trying to take photos quickly, I've probably got something in the frame that's closer than that, like the ground.

    Now, the range of distances that are in focus will change drastically:
    * Increasing the circle of confusion (deciding in advance that you'll make smaller prints) will make the distance shorter
    * Decreasing your focal length (using a wider lens) will make the distance shorter. Note that this is more complicated if you decide to crop the image - then everything gets wonky.

    For example, I would also consider shooting with these values:
    * Circle of confusion being 0.2mm (not enlarging past, say, 15"x12") (note that in the calculator above you can get this by switching to the 8x10" film setting)
    * 90mm lens, a wide angle
    * f/16, dropping the shutter speed down to 1/125

    Then, the hyperfocal distance is 8.6 feet, and everything farther than 4.3 feet from the camera will be in focus. That's pretty good!

    Give it a shot, try it out! The worst case scenario is you learning something more about the medium.

    It just doesn't work for what I enjoy

  6. #6

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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterDolan View Post
    I'd like to give a bit more detail, apologies for my mostly-opinion reply above.

    To do this very accurately, you'll need to understand Circle of Confusion. Briefly, this is the most blurry a point can get on your negative while still looking like a single point on your enlarged print. Only things exactly at the focal point will be precisely sharp, but anything that's less blurry than the circle of confusion will look sharp when enlarged to your printing size. This can be a confusing subject, so I suggest researching it online a bunch more. This is why I mentioned that you'll need to know your print size before figuring out your hyperfocal distance. Normal 4x5" film circle of confusion values are 0.1mm (something is sharp if it's less than 0.1mm across on your negative).

    Understanding your print size ahead of time may make the difference between it being useful and being totally useless.

    We would also need to know your focal length, as that makes a huge difference. You've already stated the f-stop you'll be using, which is helpful.

    Let's plug all these things into an online calculator: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    Let's assume some standard defaults:
    * Circle of confusion being 0.1mm, the standard for 4x5" photography
    * 150mm lens, a "normal" for 4x5"
    * f/11, as you stated

    Then, the hyperfocal distance is 65.7 feet, and anything closer than about 33 feet will look blurry.

    33 feet is pretty far, in my opinion. If I'm out and about and trying to take photos quickly, I've probably got something in the frame that's closer than that, like the ground.

    Now, the range of distances that are in focus will change drastically:
    * Increasing the circle of confusion (deciding in advance that you'll make smaller prints) will make the distance shorter
    * Decreasing your focal length (using a wider lens) will make the distance shorter. Note that this is more complicated if you decide to crop the image - then everything gets wonky.

    For example, I would also consider shooting with these values:
    * Circle of confusion being 0.2mm (not enlarging past, say, 15"x12") (note that in the calculator above you can get this by switching to the 8x10" film setting)
    * 90mm lens, a wide angle
    * f/16, dropping the shutter speed down to 1/125

    Then, the hyperfocal distance is 8.6 feet, and everything farther than 4.3 feet from the camera will be in focus. That's pretty good!

    Give it a shot, try it out! The worst case scenario is you learning something more about the medium.

    It just doesn't work for what I enjoy
    Just bear in mind that optimal performance with most 150mm lenses is at f22, not 11, 16 or something else.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    You might be better to just estimate the distance or zone focus unless you are contact printing. In my experience 'Hyperlocal Focusing' large format camera produces negatives that, when enlarged, give blurry distant objects and clear close objects. Is that what you want?

  8. #8
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Most press cameras have a rangefinder and distance scale on the bed.
    Use them.

  9. #9

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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Also needed is the focal length of your lens.
    Oh, yes, sorry, 135mm.
    --Mario

  10. #10
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Hyperfocal focusing with a Press Camera

    All why the Old Polaroid conversions were a trendfy thing back ikn the 2000s.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

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