Hyperfocal distance focusing chart for Full Frame and APS-C sensors
Actually, using the hyperfocal distance focusing chart is the easy part. There is no need to carry out complex calculations using the COF, as this has all been done: there are many charts readily available in books and on the internet, and also several smartphone apps. One of the most popular resources is available at www.dofmaster.com. Below are two sample charts, one for crop sensor DSLR's and one for full frame DSLR's, showing hyperfocal distances for popular focal lengths:
Hyperfocal distance – full frame sensors
Hyperfocal distance – crop (aps-c) sensors
All you need to do is check the focal length and aperture you have set, find the hyperfocal distance from the chart, and then, with your lens in manual focus, set it to focus on this distance, using the lens' distance scale. Everything from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity will then be sharp.
As an example, with the lens set to 24mm and f/16 on a Canon 5D Mk II, the hyperfocal distance is four feet. If I set this distance on the lens, everything from two feet from the sensor plane to infinity will be sharp. It sounds simple, and it is, but there are a couple of points to bear in mind.
Of course, not all modern lenses actually have very good distance scales, and typically will show something like, 0.5ft, 1.5ft, 3.00ft and infinity. The only thing to do in this case is to choose an object which you think is the correct distance away, focus manually on that and recompose the scene. Obviously, this involves a degree of guesswork and somewhat compromises accuracy.
Words and charts ©Mark Bauer