Many great Photographers of the past such as Henri Cartier-Bresson didn’t waste valuable time by focussing the camera for every shot. They used the a zone of acceptable apparent sharpness based on the Hyperfocal distance which is the calculated focussing point depending on the focal length of the lens, the aperture used and the required depth of apparent sharpness (Depth of Field).
For all of my thirty year photographic history I have been focusing or defocussing the camera before pushing the button. To challenge the status quo I decide to let the camera do the work by turning to manual focus and using the Hyperfocal distance.
Once the camera and lens have been set there is no need to look through the viewfinder or at the LCD. If I had looked through the camera the runner would have looked at me as she sped past. This method is another tool for taking pictures inconspicuously.
As an example this picture called South Bank Runner was taken last Monday in London on a Panasonic Lumix G2 with the standard 14-42mm lens set at 14mm (28mm in full frame terms) with an aperture of f8.0, the focus point was set to 8 feet (2.4m) . The apparent zone of acceptable sharpness was calculated as being in the range of 4 to 15 feet. The lens was manually set to 8 feet by measuring the distance, focusing on it and marking the lens with Tipex.
The Hyperfocal distance was calculated with a simple tool called a “Depth of field guide” bought from www.expoimage.net in the USA. This may sound a little complex but all will become clear if you are interested enough to buy the “Depth of field guide”.
Camera settings – 28mm lens, ISO 100, f8.0, 1/15 sec handheld.
The picture was post-processed as a Lith print in Photoshop and SEP2.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS