What's the fuss over 3:2 aspect ratio?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by DMac, May 27, 2009.

  1. DMac

    DMac Guest

    DMac, May 27, 2009
    #1
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  2. DMac

    eNo Guest

    Don't know about the earlier thread, but 3:2 corresponds to the most
    popular 4x6 print size (4:6 = 2:3 = 3:2).

    eNo
    http://esfotoclix.com
     
    eNo, May 27, 2009
    #2
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  3. DMac

    Matt Ion Guest

    The whole debate is patently ridiculous. Shoot a little wider and crop
    it to whatever f'ing dimensions suit the application. Big freakin' deal.

    NO rectangular sensor is the perfect shape - the optimum sensor shape is
    circular, to match the actual light pattern projected by the lens.
    Anything else is a waste of optics.
     
    Matt Ion, May 27, 2009
    #3
  4. DMac

    snapper Guest

    No it doesn't.
     
    snapper, May 27, 2009
    #4
  5. DMac

    Peter Irwin Guest

    That's just a by-product of the popularity of 35mm film cameras.
    When 126 instamatics were popular (and before that 12 on 120, 620 or
    127) there were a lot of square prints. I think square format was
    actually a rather good choice for snapshots.

    The popularity of 24x36mm on 35mm film had very little to do with
    any popular preference for a 3:2 aspect ratio.

    Peter.
     
    Peter Irwin, May 27, 2009
    #5
  6. DMac

    Matt Ion Guest

    1:1 is closer still, so why not just go all the way?

    Like I said, the whole argument is ridiculous.
     
    Matt Ion, May 27, 2009
    #6
  7. DMac

    Guest Guest

    Not really. Few people would choose a circle or a square
    image to a rectangle. That is evidenced from your comments.

    Over history the golden rectangle (1.6180339887 ratio) has
    generally been chosen as the most esthetically pleasing.

    From a practical view, we use rectangles of an image not a
    circle. We rotate the camera to obtain a vertical subject so while we
    are using a rectangular image out of a circle, it is not the circle
    that is important.
     
    Guest, May 27, 2009
    #7
  8. DMac

    Wally Guest

    Number worship.

    Just like the rule of thirds.

    Wally
     
    Wally, May 27, 2009
    #8
  9. DMac

    Bruce Guest


    On the contrary, the 4x6 print size followed the 35mm film format, not
    the other way around.
     
    Bruce, May 27, 2009
    #9
  10. DMac

    jeffc Guest

    Most cameras do not have 100% viewfinders so the resulting 'negative'
    has more to it than was seen at
    the time of shooting. When cropped to remove the unforeseen parts of
    the image, the 2:3 ratio often
    is well suited to a 3.5 x 5 or a 5x7 (as opposed to a 4x6 or 5 x 7.5)
    but aspect ratio in the 'print' should be determined
    by the desired composition -- not some arbitrary numerical
    relationship. Unlike painters, we do not have the convenience
    of altering perspective and content to suit a predetermined
    'frame' (with the exception of view cameras and Photoshop warp and
    transform with their inherent distortions).

    Those who argue for a specific format fail to recognize the value of
    having the entire projected image of the lens
    available after the exposure is made.
    Those who argue for a round or square format fail to recognize the
    need of some people to fit 3D reality into a 2D
    window determined by a camera manufacturer or paper supplier. The
    often taught concepts of the image being seen
    either as a mirror or a window reinforces the need of some for a
    'frame to fill' which more often than not is an arbitrary decision
    e.g. 3:4, 2:3, 4:5, 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7, 6x8 (Fuji680), 6x9, 6x12, 6x17
    and the Cirkut Camera variable length... not to mention all those old
    Kodak roll film formats. The solution for me was the Sinar Roll film
    back which allowed mid-roll
    changes ranging from 6x4.5 to 6x12 -- but ultimately what I was doing
    was deciding (in the field) what portion of the
    projected image I would be using in the final print. With due respect
    to Weston's previsualization, there were times when
    having just a little more of what fell outside the frame would have
    been helpful.

    As has been said, the final crop and presentation format should be
    part of the aesthetic decisions made by
    the 'artist' in best revealing whatever it was that compelled him/her
    to release the shutter at the specific time and
    with the lens pointed in a specific direction.

    Photography is a method of recording a two dimensional version of
    three dimensional reality at a specific moment using a mechanical
    (electronic)/optical system. The art is in where you point the device
    and when you release the shutter.
     
    jeffc, May 28, 2009
    #10
  11. DMac

    James Goode Guest

    The aspect ratio should really be determined by the subject. Modern
    DSLRs allow cropping to small portions of the original image. Maybe we
    should have a focusing screen with popular aspect ratios marked as a
    guide?
     
    James Goode, May 28, 2009
    #11
  12. DMac

    DMac Guest

    All of that by-passes the convenience of being able to buy a $5 frame in
    standard aspect ratio or needing to shell out $50 plus for a custom made
    frame to fit an aspect ratio you invent.

    Apart from the framing issue there is also the Album issue. A very well
    made, flush fit, standard aspect ratio wedding album costs about $100. A
    custom made one and the prices start at about $350... Provided you use
    standard aspect ratio images. Custom sizes and it's pay by the hour to
    make it.

    I agree in many of the things you say and assume you are not in the
    situation where the convenience or cost of framing your prints is an
    issue. It is for me, particularly when I construct albums and coffee
    table books.

    Your grids would be very helpful to those who have no cost restraints
    and don't mind paying for custom size finishing. Actually getting a Pro
    lab to print odd shaped prints could be something else again.

    My all time favourite camera is a square aspect ratio, Mamiya C330. It
    allowed me to compose a shot with my own version of your grids which I
    drew on the viewing glass.

    Sadly Digital cameras all conform to aspect ratios determined long ago
    to be "perfect portrait" or the biggest you can fit on a 35mm film and
    still have a reasonable cost lens. Maybe one day... Hmmm.
     
    DMac, May 29, 2009
    #12
  13. DMac

    tony cooper Guest

    Has the custom of matting photographs not yet made its way to
    Australia?
     
    tony cooper, May 29, 2009
    #13
  14. DMac

    DMac Guest

    Oh it certainly has Tony. I happen to just installed a nice little matt
    cutter that lets me cut any shape I feel like, straight from the
    computer. http://www.gunnar-europe.com/index.php?id=13.

    Now if you can make an 8x10 print fit in a 8x12 (A4) frame with a custom
    cut matt, and not look like it's out of place, you'll get my attention
    immediately. I've trashed quite a few sheets of matt material trying to
    achieve the impossible.

    If however you worked in my studio, you'd discover it's not until you
    get to very, large 16x24 and larger print size that a matt can be longer
    or wider to accommodate a standard size frame and you can get away
    with it... *IF* the odd measurement happens to be in the vertical
    dimension. If it's in the horizontal dimension, you need to start larger
    again before it doesn't look out of place.

    Try as I might, I've never been able to make a 16x24 (landscape) print
    look right in a frame designed for 4:3 aspect ratio, no matter how large
    the matt is.

    I might change my mind next month when the PMA is held in conjunction
    with the framing industry show in Sydney. I'm told picture framing
    suppliers can perform miracles in hard times. Like supplying ISO
    standard size frames to suit 3:2 aspect ratio in a country committed to
    metric measurements 30 years ago... We'll see!
     
    DMac, May 29, 2009
    #14
  15. DMac

    DMac Guest

    Give me time, I'm working on it. Getting over the insertion of steel
    rods in my back and the subsequent spinal fusion is slowing me down a
    little. Check again in July, will you?
     
    DMac, May 29, 2009
    #15
  16. DMac

    tony cooper Guest

    Well, see, we do it a bit differently in the US. If we have an 8 x10
    print that we want matted, we buy a standard frame larger than 8 x 12.
    Like a 9 x 12 or a 10 x 13. American ingenuity, you know.

    Perhaps the rules are different in Oz, and only 8 x 12s are available
    at Wallaby-Mart or wherever it is you shop.
     
    tony cooper, May 29, 2009
    #16
  17. DMac

    DRS Guest

    For some reason this strikes me as enormously funny.
     
    DRS, May 29, 2009
    #17
  18. DMac

    DMac Guest

    Actually A4 size frames are everywhere. They fit home made certificates.
    and cost under $2.00 when bought in boxes of 10. All Australian dollar
    value here.

    It's the proper picture frames in ISO sizes that are not made for the US
    market we have trouble getting. 4:3 Aspect ratio frames are cheap as
    chips. I can't buy the glass as cheaply as I can the frames so I buy
    those frames to stay competitive. 20"x30" frames for $11.97.

    A case (50 sheets) of 2mm glass is the only way I get glass at wholesale
    prices and by the time I allow for wastage and the odd breakage it costs
    me close enough to $14.00 for that size glass. The cheap frames come
    with backing board too. Some even have half way decent matts in them.

    Wallaby-mart in in New York City mate. My wife is the only member of
    this family who shops at 'marts'. We have to order all our goods and
    weekly supplies for delivery to the ferry terminal or pick them up in a
    neighbour's power boat when at home. We only have a small convenience
    store here.
    http://www.tangalooma.com/info/resort_information/facilities/resort_shop/default.asp

    Oddly I live up the hill, just behind it! If you like paying 90% over
    mainland prices for what you buy, I suppose it's convenient. Duh. That's
    why it a convenience store I guess!
     
    DMac, May 29, 2009
    #18
  19. DMac

    Peter Guest


    Well stated. I keep the grid on my screen only as a guide. The "rule of
    thirds" may be and should be violated whenever the subject says so.
     
    Peter, May 29, 2009
    #19
  20. DMac

    Peter Guest

    Have you considered purchasing frames in section pairs?

    http://www.dickblick.com/products/nielsen-metal-frame-sections-silver-style-93/

    Yes, I know they are not metric sizes, but you can trim the mat and maintain
    your desired aspect ratios.
     
    Peter, May 29, 2009
    #20
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