Understanding Deep Focus and the Hyperfocal Distance

This interesting and and educational but highly technical video by John P. Hess from Filmmaker IQ looks at the sometimes confusing topic of deep focus and hyperfocal distance measurements and how it can be used in both stills shooting and video and film recording.

Notice: if you are not willing to dive deep into equations skip parts 2:55-8:25 in this video (these parts also might require a little bit of background).

Shallow depth of field might be all the rage right now but deep focus where the entire frame is in focus has its uses in both stills and video work. Closing down the aperture is of course one way of doing this but if you close the aperture too much you might suffer from the negative effects of diffraction.

To know exactly how to get deep focus Hess explains two key topics – circle of confusion and hyperfocal distance (and no we are not going to try and repeat that technical part here – he is doing a much better job than we can so watch the entire video if you want to understand it).

What we will give you are ways of calculating Hyperfocal Distance using either your browser or smartphone (for free):

If you have a different calculator that you prefer (free ones are always preferred) feel free to share with us in the comments.

You can check out several of Hess’ other (very informative videos we have published in the past on a range of photo/video related topics here.

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