Abstract: Hyperfocal Distance

Bob Atkins Photography


Hyperfocal Distance Chart (meters)

The hyperfocal distance is the distance at which a lens should be focused so that everything from infinity to half that distance falls within the depth of field. Since depth of field depends on aperture and focal length, hyperfocal distance also depends on aperture and the focal length of the lens. An equivalent definition is that the hyperfocal distance is the shortest distance at which a lens can be focused and aslo have infinity within the depth of field.

If you set the focus of your lens to the hyperfocal distance in the following table (distances given in meters), everything from infinity to 1/2 the hyperfocal distance will be in focus (where focus is based on a circle of confusion value of less than 25 microns - 0.025mm).

Note that "focus" doesn't mean the best possible focus, it means "acceptable" focus as defined by the circle of confusion.  If you are picky about sharpness or intend to make large prints, these numbers will be optimistic.

For better sharpness at the hyperfocal limits, stop down one or even two stops from the values in the table. Of course stopping down too much will lower sharpness itself due to diffraction effects. Stopping down past about f16 may result in loss of sharpness for 35mm and smaller formats.

For a little more technical detail on sharpness at the limits of the DOF see this page.

As an example, a 24mm lens at f8 will have a "depth of field" from 1.44m to infinity when focused at the hyperfocal distance of 2.88m (from table below)

Hyperfocal Distance in Meters

Note - based on values for 35mm film or full frame digital sensors.

f1.4 f2.0 f2.8 f4 f5.6 f8 f11 f16 f22
20mm 11.43 8.00 5.71 4.00 2.86 2.00 1.45 1.00 0.73
24mm 16.46 11.52 8.23 5.76 4.11 2.88 2.09 1.44 1.05
28mm 22.40 15.68 11.20 7.84 5.60 3.92 2.85 1.96 1.43
35mm 35.00 24.50 17.50 12.25 8.75 6.13 4.45 3.06 2.23
50mm 71.43 50.00 35.71 25.00 17.86 12.50 9.09 6.25 4.55

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