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| p.2 #3 · establishing hyperfocal distance.. |
Hyperfocal is a great way to get everything in the plane of focus but everything may not be critically sharp.
Sometimes its better to focus on the near object of interest and stop down till you have the background acceptable. You may run into diffraction but this is often less of a problem than an overall fuzziness from hyperfocal.
Here is what some think DOF/hyperfocal distance implies: By focusing at the hyperfocal distance, all objects within the depth of field range will be in focus.
Here is what it really means: There is a plane (more or less) perpendicular to the sensor/film that is optimally in focus. Objects in front of or behind (unless you focus "at infinity") are "out of focus" relative to this plane and become less and less in focus as they are further from the plane. The rate at which the "out of focus-ness" increases is greater with large apertures than with small apertures. Depending upon your expectations, the size of the print you will produce, the format of your film/sensor, and other factors, the point at which the "out of focus-ness" becomes visible or a problem can vary a great deal. And aperture choice and the resulting DOF cannot be manipulated in a vacuum. For example, using a smaller aperture to increase DOF may improve resolution in the corners of the frame while at the same time diminishing resolution in the center due to diffraction blur - either of which may or may not matter depending upon a host of other factors.
Sorry, but that's the reality of DOF. :-)