1. ## **Hyperfocal**

One-how necessary is this to using a 4x5:

Two-is there a simple explaination of it and how to use it:

three- how important is it to photography :
Thanks for any or all responce's:

2. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

It's important if you want things in focus.

3. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

It is also important to know when NOT to use it.

4. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

If you focus a lens at infinity the closest area of the scene that will appear to be sharp is called the hyperfocal distance for a particular lens at a particular aperture. If you set the focus at the hyperfocal distance then in theory depth of field will extend from half that distance to infinity. The idea is that by focusing at the hyperfocal distance you'll maximize depth of field (i.e. the area of the scene that will appear to be "sharp" in the photograph).

Determining the hyperfocal distance for a particular lens at each aperture used to be relatively easy to do with smaller format lenses because many lenses had scales of hyperfocal distance at each aperture marked on the lens. However, large format lenses don't have those scales so to use this technique with large format lenses you need tables of hyperfocal distances for each lens you own. There are a couple problems with the tables. First, they are based on somebody else's idea of what will appear acceptably sharp to you. Second, they assume a print of a certain size which may not be the size print you make. Third, when you're in the field it isn't always easy to figure out exactly where in the scene the hyperfocal distance is.

But most importantly, the ability to change the plane of focus by using front and back movements on a large format camera often gives you greater control and better results IMHO than trying to use they hyperfocal distance technique will. So for all of these reasons I haven't found this technique necessary or even useful for large format photography but perhaps others have found it more useful than I have.

5. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

Hyperfocal is used a lot in handheld 4x5 press camera photography especially when taking "action shots" like street photography. It is pretty easy to just point the thing and shoot.

6. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

This page contains concise, clear explanations of hyperfocal focusing and zone focusing and the practical differences between them: http://www.fortunecity.com/marina/ma.../focusing.html

If you do street photography, you will spend a lot of time taking photographs without focusing through the viewfinder, focusng instead based on your estimate of the distance between you and your subject. This is done either because you want to seize the moment and frame and take the photograph quickly, or because you are shooting without looking through the viewfinder at all, instead just pointing the lens at your subject (called shooting from the hip). Some people who do street photography prefer hyperfocal focusing and some prefer zone focusing, and it depends in part on the focal length of the lens that you are using.

For both 4x5 and street photography, I tend to go with zone focusing, focusing on a plane of focus in 4x5 and focusing for street, using 35mm and 6x7 cameras, based on estimated distance. However, I don't do landscape work, in which case I might make greater use of hyperfocal focusing. I say "might" because Brian Ellis makes the very good point that if one is in the field with a 4x5 taking landscape photographs, it may not be so easy to figure out what the hyperfocal distance is, in which case it makes for great theory but perhaps less great reality. People here who do landscape work are a lot better placed than I am to say how useful the idea is in practice.

If you have a 35mm SLR or rangefinder camera with a shortish lens, say 35mm, and a longish lens, say 90mm, try reading the discussion in the link with the lenses in hand. You will get a very concrete appreciation for what the two approaches are about, and how they differ. You will also see why focusing based on estimated distance gets very tricky with a longish lens. Unless you are using pretty small apertures (e.g. f22), which in turn requires lots of light, your estimate has to be pretty dead on. If a lot of street photographs are made with 35mm lenses, it is in part because there is more room for error in estimated distance. Which doesn't explain why I persist in doing street photography with a 6x7 camera and 80mm lens. Must be my masochistic side. One of the rewards from using larger formats for this kind of work, and consequently longer lenses, is that one quickly learns to appreciate people like Weegee. With the greatest respect to Cyrus, it is not "pretty easy to just point the thing and shoot" It takes a lot of practice, and you have to do it frequently to stay in practice.

7. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

Dear seawolf66,

Here are 3 good links. In addition, peruse the forum home page as it has links to all sorts of great information.

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...IntroToDoF.pdf

http://www.largeformatphotography.in...DoFinDepth.pdf

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html

Neal Wydra

8. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

If you are shooting handheld, using (for example) an old press camera, and don't use any tilts, hyperfocal focusing will allow you to preset your focus and enable you to shoot quickly. A valuable adjunct to "f/8 and be there."

OTOH, many LF photographers actually put their cameras on tripods and use a darkcloth or hood to view the groundglass, plus a loupe for critical focusing. They use tilts to optimize the plane of focus, and may even measure the remaining focus shift between near and far points as a means to selecting the optimal f/stop.

Once you tilt the system, the "standard" formula for finding the hyperfocal distance goes out the window, and must be replaced with a more complicated formula. I'll buy a large mocha latte and a donut for any LF photographer who can truly convince me that he/she has actually memorized that formula AND puts it to functional use in actual photography. I'll buy lunch, too, if he/she can demonstrate better results by agonizing over mathematics to determine focus for every shot, versus simply looking at the groundglass.

If you fall into the group described in my second paragraph, hyperfocal distance and hyperfocal focusing are both meaningless and useless in your real-world photography.

So the technical answer to your question (to paraphrase,) "Is hyperfocal focusing necessary and useful in LF photography?" is, "Yes and No." However, most of the time and for most photographers, the answer is simply, "No."

9. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

Well, I'm new to LF but certainly have convinced myself over the last month of shooting landscapes that the ability to minimize focus spread by optimizing the plane of focus through tilts and swings is a worthwhile endevour (when the scene allows). However, I have also had a few instances where there simply was not enough time for movements, having arrived on a scene at end of day light. I carefully noted a trick mentioned by Leonard Evens from this forum where one extends the bellows from infinity by 1/10th the f-stop in order to set the HF distance. I actually took a measuring tape in the field with me to verify this worked, and of course it did (sorry Leonard-I should have just trusted). Now when I don't have the luxury of time and want to get that one insurance image, I set f/32, extend the bellows 3.2 mm from infinity focus and shoot. Afterwards, if I still have time, I will then optimize movements.

10. ## Re: **Hyperfocal**

Originally Posted by cyrus
Hyperfocal is used a lot in handheld 4x5 press camera photography especially when taking "action shots" like street photography. It is pretty easy to just point the thing and shoot.
Absolutely right. I use hyperfocal with the 105 mm Agnar on my Speed Graphic -- for one thing, the lens only covers the corners of 4x5 if focused to about 12 feet, which is conveniently hyperfocal at f/22 and smaller. So, I set the focus to 12 feet, lock the rail, stop down to f/22, and use the focal plane shutter with the front shutter locked open, or the three-speed front shutter, depending what speeds I need (with ISO 400 film in daylight, in a city core, I typically need 1/25 to 1/100, which either shutter covers nicely).

I have to guess on composition, though, because that lens puts the standard too far back to raise the wire frame finder, and the FOV is far wider than the tube finder can show (it's about like a 60 mm on 6x7 cm).

I could do the same thing with my 13.5 cm f/4.5 Skopar, except that it only goes to f/45 and hyperfocal, for that lens and aperture and the circle of confusion I'm comfortable with is, about 16 feet, which makes the near limit of 8 feet a little farther away than is convenient. Compromise is called for -- I focus at ten feet, which gives DOF from about 6 to 30 feet and a slightly out of focus background; works very well for people shots. However, I have my RF calibrated for the 13.5 cm lens...

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