Hyperfocal Distance and the Landscape Photographer

Most landscape photographers prefer to create landscape images that have sharp focus from the front of the scene to the horizon line (‘infinity’). To ensure the optimum ‘Depth of Field’ (the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp), the landscape photographer should consider choosing their point of focus with great care when the foreground is close to the camera. A useful resource for photographers wanting to learn more about this subject can be found on the website ‘Cambridge in Colour’. They define Hyperfocal Distance as: “the focus distance that places the furthest edge of a depth of field at infinity. If one were to focus any closer than this — if even by the slightest amount — then a distant background will appear unacceptably soft.” Cambridge in Colour

I would recommend printing out the Hyperfocal Distance Calculator and keeping a copy in your camera bag. A useful Depth of Field Calculator can also be found on this site.

A7R owners, who are intending to print large images, should read the ‘Precautions’ section on the Hyperfocal Distance page. ‘Acceptably Sharp’ does not mean ‘Pin Sharp’ if a viewer at your exhibition is scrutinizing you large print at very close range. If in doubt err on the side of caution and stop down.

For photographers wanting to achieve maximum sharpness from their equipment I would NOT recommend using f/22 (to avoid the effects of Diffraction). Remember to switch off OSS and/or IBIS when the camera is mounted on a tripod and the use the Self-Timer or a ‘Remote Release’ to trigger the shutter release.

The image is captured at the location of the Sony Alpha Creative Workshop