hyper-focal distance settings

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bosjohn21 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,743
hyper-focal distance settings

I am sure most if not all you old timers know about this technique but for you who have come to Leica from Dslr and other auto focus camers andnew to Leica range finder and some other Leica models you have the ability to set your lens to what is commonly referred to as Hyper focal focus. Many modern lenses especially zoom lenses will not have the proper scale for hyper-focal setting because its mind boggling how do do it for all the different focal lengths possible with a zoom lens.

The idea behind this is to maximize the zone of acceptable focus from Infinity to what ever your aperture allows.  Simply setting the lens to infinity wastes all the area beyond the setting that will have acceptable focus,  Everyone's tolerance for sharpness is slightly different but the rule of thumb says the area that is in acceptable focus lays about two thirds beyond the focus point and about a third of is in front.  This means that indeed more than a little useful focus is wasted beyond the distance setting at infinity.


Looking at your lens from the top as your holding your camera you will see an f stop scale on either side of the focusing index. On the focusing ring will be the distance read outs.

To set your lens for hyper-focal distance set the infinity mark to the aperture you're using on the f scale to the right of the focus index, then read off the distance on the f scale on the left side and this will tell you about how close from your camera position will be in acceptable parameters for focus looking at the image posted if I set the infinity mark to the f8 mark on the right side of the index the left f8 tells me I will get good usable sharpness from about nine feet to infinity on my thirty five mm Summicron, or about five feet to infinity on the 28 mm lens on the Q. Clearly the width of this zone depends  your focal length and aperture,

Why would I want to use this.  Is assures me I get the most in focus from the lens when I am shooting landscape. it is faster than auto focus in street but it will work best at the smaller apertures,  Almost all my scenics from the M Leica these days are shot using the hyper-focal lens setting.

remember the zone for acceptable focus may be smaller if your pixel peeping at one hundred or higher percent on your huge monitor from which your sitting as close as possible and still see it all.

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John aka bosjohn21

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