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01-31-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
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Idea for a future camera: hyperfocal mode

(Or actually, since this is a software idea, it could be a firmware update for any existing camera.)

It would be cool if there were a focus mode between automatic and manual which would automatically keep the lens focused at the hyperfocal distance for the selected aperture. New lenses don't have aperture rings and distance scales, so it's a bit hard to do this by hand. (I'm interested to hear any tricks you might have, though.)

The default circle of confusion used in the calculation could be based on some reasonable multiple of the photosite size, but should be customizable for degree of blur one is willing to accept.

Is this crazy notion? Doesn't seem like it to me, but perhaps I'm overlooking something.

01-31-2008, 01:51 PM   #2
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Not crazy at all -- that sounds like a winning feature.

No real cost to implement, but it can make a big difference every day for street shooters etc.
01-31-2008, 02:08 PM   #3
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I suppose the autofocus system could stay active and blink a warning if it thinks your selected focus sensor is pointed at something too close.
01-31-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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That is actually a really cool idea, especially considering most new lenses don't have that info any more! Maybe it could set itself to the hyperfocal focus point, and then if there was something in the field of view that it thought was out of focus, the "green orb" in the viewfinder would turn off, letting you know, but still allow you to take the picture.

Maybe at the very least, there could be a hyperfocal distance indicator or readout on the LED screen or something so that you could set it yourself?

01-31-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
I suppose the autofocus system could stay active and blink a warning if it thinks your selected focus sensor is pointed at something too close.
I am not sure it can evaluate out of focus without changing the lens focus point transiently.

I think the way to do it would be via either the DOF preview or the green button. Have apature set, press green button or DOF and the lens would tell you as it moves from min to max focus if each focus point goes through the proper focus . whe you release the Button or what ever, the lens goes back to hyper focal.

Note for this it would need to know focal length, hence at present teleconverters are out because they have not yet made the adjustment for that.
01-31-2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I am not sure it can evaluate out of focus without changing the lens focus point transiently.
Good point. I can live without that part.

QuoteQuote:
Note for this it would need to know focal length, hence at present teleconverters are out because they have not yet made the adjustment for that.
Heh. That ax must be getting ground pretty sharp by now. But yes.
01-31-2008, 02:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
Heh. That ax must be getting ground pretty sharp by now. But yes.
You bet, I just sit here day after day honing the edge so that it can split hares (Just like on the bugs bunny cartoons)

But seriously, I think it could be made to work.
01-31-2008, 02:42 PM   #8
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I thought some of the old Pentax autofocus film cameras could do something like this. ???

01-31-2008, 02:49 PM   #9
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Wow That's really cool idea! Pentax should reward you and introduce the firmware update soon. That's really something. Computation of hyperfocal length should be no problem, if the camera knows the actual aperture and focal length. Great. I'm looking forward to it - so, our beloved Pentax, when will this feature be available?
01-31-2008, 03:00 PM   #10
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A.k.a. "Pan focus"

A little research shows that Pentax has this on some of their Optio P&S cameras, and Canon had it on older (but not apparently on current) P&S models. In both cases it's referred to as "Pan Focus" mode, which seems a bad choice given the ambiguity. Seems "Pan focus" is also the term used in the hyperfocal-only lens 18mm lens for Pentax's little Auto110 film camera.

In Canon's implementation, that mode locks the zoom at the widest and the aperture at f/5.6 rather than recalculating when you change it. Not sure what the Pentax P&S models do with the aperture, but they do appear to allow zooming. But for my K10D, I want the whole shebang.

Last edited by mattdm; 01-31-2008 at 03:06 PM. Reason: additional info
01-31-2008, 03:44 PM   #11
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I thought Canon had it on at least some of their dslrs? I think you point it at the farthest object you want in focus, press some button, then point at the nearest, press the button, and voila, it sets itself at the hyperfocal point. I think.
01-31-2008, 04:27 PM   #12
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yeah, it was discussed somewhere a while back (hmm, thats a helpful statement anyway I had got the impression that it was on some canon dslrs. I had no idea how it was implemented though (I thought it just focused at set distance for focal length & aperature but dont know why). I remember wondering if pentax would put it in to the next camera as it wouldn't be too hard???
01-31-2008, 05:04 PM   #13
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We have a Samsung P&S (film) and Ricoh GX (digi) that have 'snap' modes. They set the aperture and focus point to set values to achieve a hyperfocal like situation, however you don't have control over it. Quite handy for 'party' enviroments.
01-31-2008, 05:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
I thought Canon had it on at least some of their dslrs? I think you point it at the farthest object you want in focus, press some button, then point at the nearest, press the button, and voila, it sets itself at the hyperfocal point. I think.
That's a little different not exactly hyperfocal, but a mode which sets focus and aperture based on points you select. That sounds useful, but it involves lots of pointing and button pressing, which is the exact opposite of the intention of this feature.
01-31-2008, 08:23 PM   #15
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Your idea has already implemented by Canon for their second EOS AF SLR called the EOS 650. Well, the feature is still there in the 450D! :-)

QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
(Or actually, since this is a software idea, it could be a firmware update for any existing camera.)

It would be cool if there were a focus mode between automatic and manual which would automatically keep the lens focused at the hyperfocal distance for the selected aperture. New lenses don't have aperture rings and distance scales, so it's a bit hard to do this by hand. (I'm interested to hear any tricks you might have, though.)

The default circle of confusion used in the calculation could be based on some reasonable multiple of the photosite size, but should be customizable for degree of blur one is willing to accept.

Is this crazy notion? Doesn't seem like it to me, but perhaps I'm overlooking something.
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