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What is the Hyperfocal Distance?

The hyperfocal distance is the distance at which you set the focus of a lens, and everything half that distance up to infinity will be in focus. For example, using an 18mm focal length lens on an APS-C sensor camera such as the T2i/T3i/T4i/T5i with an aperture of 8, you get a hyperfocal distance of 2.27 meters. Which means that if you set the lens to focus at 2.27 meters, anything from 1.13 meters all the way up to infinity will be in focus.

What is a Circle of Confusion (for advanced users)

When you view a point through a lens, the point will render out as a blur spot instead of a point. The Circle of Confusion is the size of the blur spot which our eyes cannot distinguish from a point. On this site we use the d/1500 calculation, which represents resolving 5 lines per millimeter on a print measuring 30 cm in diagonal. (If you are not sure, select the camera make and model you are using.)

Instructions

To use this calculator, enter the following information:

  1. Focal Length of lens in milimeters. For an 18mm lens, write 18 regardless of the crop factor of your camera. The app will take care of the crop factor in the calculations.
  2. Aperture. For f/8, write 8.
  3. Select a unit of measure, either Feet, Inches, Meters or Centimeters.
  4. Select a Circle of Confusion. (If you are not sure, select the camera make and model you are using.)

Calculator

1. Focal Length:
2. Aperture:
3. Unit: Feet Inches Meters Centimeters

Hyperfocal Distance:
Depth of field: from to

4. Circle of Confusion:

Circle of Confusion (mm) Camera examples
0.011 Nikon CX
– Nikon 1 J1, J2, J3, S1, AW1, V1, V2, V3
0.015 Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds
– Olympus E-1, E-3, E-30, E300, E330, E410, E-420, E-450, E-500, E-510, E-520, E-620, PEN E-P1, PEN E-P2, PEN E-PL1, PEN E-PL2, PEN E-PL3, PEN E-PM1, OM-D E-M1, OM-D E-M5, OM-D E-M5, OM-D E-M10, PEN E-P3, PEN E-P5, PEN E-PL5, PEN Lite E-PL6, PEN E-PM2
– Panasonic DMC-L1, DMC-L10, DMC-G1, DMC-G2, DMC-G3, DMC, GH1, DMC-GF1, DMC-GF2, DMC-GF3, DMC-G5, DMC-G6, DMC-G10, DMC-GH2, DMC-GH3, DMC-GF5, DMC-GF6, DMC-GM1, DMC-GX1, DMC-GX7
– Leica Digilux 3
0.018 APS-C Canon
– Canon Rebel 300D/Digital Rebel/Kiss Digital, 350D/XT/Kiss N, 400D/XTi/Kiss X, 1000D/XS/Kiss F, 450D/XSI/X2, 500D/T1i/X3, 550D/T2i/X4, 1100D/T3/X50, 600D/T3i/X5, 600D/T3i/X5, 650D/T4i/X6i, 1200D/T5/X70, 700D/T5i/X7i, D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D, 70D, 7D, 7D mark II, M, M2
0.019 APS-C Nikon / Pentax / Samsung / Sony
– Nikon DX D50, D40, D40X, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D3300, D5000, D5100, D5200, D5300, D70, D70S, D80, D90, D7000, D7100, D100, D200, D300, D300S, D1, D1X, D1H, D2H, D2X, D2HS, D2XS
– Pentax K-5, K-7, K20D, K-30, K-r, K-x
– Samsung NX10, NX20, NX100, NX200, NX300
– Sony a33, a35, a37, a55, a57, a58, a65, a77, a100, a200, a230, a290, a300, a330, a380, a390, a450, a500, a550, a560, a580, a700, a3000, a3500, a5000, a6000, NEX-3, NEX-C3, NEX-F3, NEX-3N, NEX-5, NEX-5N, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, NEX-6, NEX-7
0.023 APS-H Canon
– Canon 1D, 1D mark II, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark IV
0.029 Full-frame 35mm
– Canon EOS 6D, 5D, 5D mark II, 5D mark III, 1DS, 1DS mark II, 1DS mark III, 1D X
– Nikon FX D600, D610, D700, D800, D800E, DF, D3, D3X, D3S, D4, D4S
– Sony a7, a7 II, a7S, a7R, a850, a900, a99
0.047 Medium: 645 – 6×4.5
0.053 Medium: 6×6
0.059 Medium: 6×7
0.067 Medium: 6×9
0.083 Medium: 6×12
0.12 Medium: 6×17
0.11 Large: 4×5
0.15 Large: 5×7
0.22 Large: 8×10


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Jean-Pierre La Forest

Photographer / Videographer at Studio JPIC
Jean-Pierre La Forest is a photographer and videographer based out of Florenceville-Bristol, NB, Canada. JP specializes in commercial and tourism photography and videography, where he helps businesses, artists, and towns to market themselves. He also teaches the art of photography on his YouTube channel and blog. You can reach him on

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2 thoughts on “Hyperfocal Distance calculator”

  1. Thanks for creating this great HFD calculator. I appreciate the circle of confusion explanation as well. A bit of feedback though: the Sony a7 and a7r are full-frame sensors, not APS-C. But on that note, one question: If two full frame sensors have drastically different resolution, should they have different circles of confusion? Example: 12mp a7s vs 36mp a7r? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Zachary, I’m glad you like the hyperfocal calculator and explanations that go with it! Thanks for picking up on the a7 and a7R, I moved them to the full frame section, and added the A7 II and a7S while I was at it, and the Canon 7D mark II.

      As for your question in regards to megapixels, it is a very good one, and because of how new these sensors are, I don’t think many (or any?) academics have looked into answering it yet. Most theory in regards to the circle of confusion comes from before the invention or popularity of digital cameras.

      Here’s my initial attempt at answering this. If we take the d/1500 standard, it basically means that your eye can resolve 5 lines per millimeter of an 8×10 enlargement photo of a 35mm film at a distance of 30cm, which gives (5 x 25.4) = 127 lines per inch. Most printed photos today are in the 200-300 dpi range. So for this part, a 36mp photo used to print a 4×6 at full resolution would certainly have more details than the d/1500 standard, whereas the same image reduced to a web resolution standard of 72 dpi would have less details. The biggest question would be if more of the image should be considered in focus just because it has more details, or would it only be that much more obvious that the image is blurry? I think we have all done the experiment where you start with a high resolution image and downsize it to 640×480 or even to thumbnail size, and I do agree that more of the image does look like more of it is in focus.

      So overall I think printing / displaying resolution and not Megapixels would be the real issue. But obviously having a higher resolution image to begin with would at least give you the option of printing at a higher DPI if you wanted to and if your printer can go that high.

      For film photography, they would adjust the circle of confusion based on if the image would be enlarged, and if the viewing distance would be different. It could be interesting to make an advanced CoC calculator which includes those same calculations and also add a dpi print resolution aspect to it. It seems like doubling the dimensions of a print (16×20 vs 8×10) would require double the circle of confusion. As far as distance is concerned, though, it turns out the math is infinitely less friendly. It will definitely be an interesting challenge, and definitely not something that most users would want to play with, but I can certainly see the value for those who need it.

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