Focusing the View Camera: A Scientific Way to Focus the View Camera and Estimate Depth of Field. by Harold M. Merklinger. Merklinger’s method is less widely used, but is much easier to apply in the field. . Harold Merklinger describes his method for optimizing depth of field here. Harold Merklinger on Depth of Field. If you arrived at this page by a direct link, it will be helpful for background information if you read my article, More on Depth.

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For more explanation of depth of field as applied to the photograph of Lisa, try this link. The closest point will then be defined by the lens focal length and format size and orientation. The basic principle had been described in a patent by the French camera maker Jules Carpentier three years earlier a copy of Carpentier’s British Patent is available here in PDF formatbut Scheimpflug understood the matter thoroughly.

It is quite obvious that the image in Fig. If we accept such arguments, than we have to compare the size of each our object with the working diameter of our lens to assess resolution and sharpness.

Merklinger has published a very interesting article ” Depth of Field Revisited ” where he argues for an alternative approach to the traditional hyperfocal focusing method. It is entirely possible to combine the two methods. A description of the spreadsheets is available on the View Camera Focus Page. The degree of enlargement is the same for all fragments Fig. But those intersecting white lines in this image do not actually exist; they are an illusion of the eye! When a painter creates a picture, he may not show a lot of details.

The eyes remain blurry, and that is the point.

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The lens is focused at a point behind the hyperfocal distance. Applying this theory the way haropd all photography books suggest, Harold found he often obtained substandard images.

Not quite sure what the system requirements are, but I believe it requires the Adobe Flash Player 9 plug-in. Understanding physical meaning of sharpness Is Harold Merklinger’s theory correct?


Howard Bond, in an article entitled “Setting Up the View Camera” Photo TechniquesMay-Junepagesdescribes a way to focus a view cameras through systematic trial and error.

By similar triangles we can calculate the distance as. On the other hand, we see that we can change the degree of fuzziness to avoid double-line streaks in photographs. Scheimpflug didn’t cover depth of field in his patent, but he did offer more rules to deal with tilted mirror harrold Starting in April Where L is the camera height, F is the lens focal length and W is the format size in the down direction.

The new version will not appear for some time. Information on how to contact the author is provided at How to get these books.

Even if our eyes merlkinger focused at infinity, we cannot expect to see the same number of details on remote objects as we see on close objects. Our ability to resolve all the details does not save that picture. But it may fail when it deals with sharpness.

Hyperfocal distances and Merklinger’s method in landscape photography

In the object field, the zone of acceptable resolution is absolutely symmetrical. If the camera-to-object distance is four times shorter than harolethe objects are three times unsharper than at infinity. See here for details.

The traditional recommendation to focus the lens at the hyperfocal distance assumes that infinitely distant points will be rendered sharp enough, because fuzziness of remote objects cannot exceed c’ Fig.

If so, how many new details will we see, if we focus the lens at infinity? Thus, a person, who is far from physics and math, typically faces the following contradictions: In this case, the enlargement of the negatives differs from one image to another, and the size of the toucan is maintained constant.

Technical Books on Photography by Harold M. Merklinger

A good friend of mine, Mr. Moreover, it is easy to notice that an increase in focal length results in better resolution of details. Will the distant objects look significantly sharper? This graph shows how the point of nearest focus varies with apperture, when focused at the hyperfocal distance, for various lens focal lengths. I mean that it is better to describe sharpness in terms of an imaginary photobrush that works in the image field than in terms of resolution in the object space.


The lens is focused at the distance merklingdrjust where the object is located. These books are available from a number of sources, as listed at this link.

Essentially, considering the traditional landscape situation, Merklinger notes that distant objects, being at smaller magnification than close objects, contain more detail and thus need more resolution. However, the problem is that his theory perfectly works when the resolution is discussed, but it is not suitable for the purposes of sharpness. A comment has been added to the View Camera Focus page concerning corrections to the ‘back-to-front’ focusing method.


Some other Zoomify views will nevertheless work with Flash Player 8 – but seemingly not this one. For the purposes of resolution it works perfectly.

Merklinger’s Photo Books

In this case, the lens is focused at a distance that is slightly smaller than the hyperfocal distance. The Hinge Rule and the Scheimpflug Rule together determine how the view camera focuses. The Scheimpflug Principle merklunger also used extensively in Ophthalmology – the diagnosis of medical problems related to the eye. You will not find any other pieces of math msrklinger this text. A page mrklinger the Object Field method of determining depth-of-field for view cameras was added on 24 Sept.

This is an interesting concept that I know I have often used with analyzing it when I was worried the hyperfocal method would not render sufficient distance detail, often as a secondary safety shot. For objects that are located closer than this limit, the degree of fuzziness grows quite rapidly as the distance decreases.

How to calculate depth of field graphically.