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3:2/4:3 ratio and composition on OM-D

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Kadmos, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Kadmos

    Kadmos Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Oct 4, 2012
    Hello,
    I've got another question for you guys:)

    What aspect ratio are you using on your OM-D?

    I'm currently using 4:3 but since standard prints are generally 3:2, I have to crop in post. I prefer not to crop in camera because I love using the camera's jpeg files and want to record the full image... but at the same time I need some sort of guideline to help me in the composition (finding one that would suit all ratios) . How do you deal with this?

    I just noticed the last option in the display grids looks like a rectangle and I was wondering if that has a 3:2 ratio??
     
  2. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    621
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    I've never been a slave to "standard print sizes" when shooting for "art". I let the subject dictate the best aspect ratio for a particular image.

    Back in the day, I scribed the focusing screens in my Nikons so that I had a visual reference for 4:5/8:10 crop, but these were something I usually used only for commercial work that had to be delivered as 8x10s.

    These days, I leave my Pany at 4:3 to utilize the whole sensor. I fit either the long dimension or the short dimension to the frame and crop the other in post as dictated by the subject matter. Setting the camera to pre-crop to 3:2 is something I would only do if shooting quick-and-dirty snaps that were going to be printed 4x6.
     
  3. abepak

    abepak Mu-43 Regular

    102
    Jan 21, 2013
    SFV, CA
    Like you, I've been shooting in 4:3 and cropping to 3:2 in post for print... but after a recently shooting at the LA marathon, I decided that I'm changing over to 3:2 for shooting. I realized that I shoot too tight and usually end up with shots that I can't really crop. For the sake of composition, it's probably a better deal for me. What I wish they had are guidelines that shows the 3:2 ratio while still allowing for me to see the top and bottom borders that would normally be cropped out. That way, I can compose for either one.
     
  4. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    4"x6" is the only 2:3 standard print size. All the larger ones are much closer to 4:3. (8 1/2 x 11 is almost exactly 4:3) If you print and frame pictures, like I do, standard frames I considerably cheaper. Ikea sells a decent quality 12"x16" (mat opening) frame for $15. Needless to say, I always shoot 4:3.
     
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  5. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I shoot in 4:3 and crop in PP if necessary (and it usually is).
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    This is exactly what I was going to say... what standard prints is the OP talking about that are usually 3:2 aspect? 4x6" is the only one that's a long-standing standard (the most common for family snapshots), plus a few odd sizes that were introduced more recently to cater to the increasing popularity of DSLRs. All the real "standard" sizes are mostly 5:4 aspect (ie, like Large Format), and secondarily 4:3 aspect (ie, like Medium Format and Four-Thirds). Both are close enough to each other that you don't lose much. Double frame (ie, 135mm film, APS-C, and "Full Frame Digital") all require careful consideration of composition when shooting in order to avoid having important things cut off when cropped for printing at "standard sizes". Being able to compose freely is one of the great advantages of using a "single frame" system like Four-Thirds.
     
  7. Kadmos

    Kadmos Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Oct 4, 2012
    Sorry my mistake:) I was under the impression that most common print sizes were a multiple of 3x2 since that's what most DSLRs produce today! That's also the only size I have ever printed . Good to know. I would like to give clients digital files of their photos and since I don't know how they will print them out, I thought I had to crop them to 3x2 coz I wanted to have control of the outcome.
     
  8. amalric

    amalric  

    183
    Jul 24, 2012
    Rome. Italy
    Well as for composition the 4:3 ratio is close to the Golden Ratio, so it makes composition more harmonious.

    it does certainly so in portraits, although some would swear by the square format.

    In Landscape it's more opinable, but then 16:9 might be better if you don't want too much empty foreground, or sky. OTH 4:3 leads itself well to Panorama stitching.

    3:2 is really a convention from film times, when the Movie screen was really that format. Gearheads will never understand these things :)
     
  9. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Personally, I am loving the 4:3 ratio, as I currently have the good pictures as my background on an older laptop. Fits perfectly, without any extra framing.

    4:3 is only slightly smaller than 5:7 and "standard" wallet (2.5:3.5), and slightly larger than 8:10 (1.33 vs 1.4 and 1.25). The only ones it doesn't work with are the 3:5 and 4:6 (1.67 and 1.5). On the G3, there is a custom grid option, which I guess could allow you to set "crop lines" for another format while still taking pictures and letting you see the final product.
     
  10. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Before "hi def" television and CRT computer screens were 4:3. I'm pretty sure before wide screen movies were also 4:3. Remember that 35mm film was originally used for movies and the long side of the frame was perpendicular to the sprocket holes. The orientation of the frame was rotated 90º from how it was used in still cameras.
     
  11. amalric

    amalric  

    183
    Jul 24, 2012
    Rome. Italy
    I am talking about B&W film, so what was projected before the 1950. The film might well have been rotated in the sprockets, but it was still being projected in Panorama orientation in the original 135mm format.

    Perhaps you never saw one of these projectors working: I did :) It was like a mechanical machine gun dealing with light, quite spectacular.

    So movie film is the distant origin of that format.
     
  12. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I'm 59. My childhood was captured in 4:3 aspect ratio, 8mm movies. I still have the film and projector.
     
  13. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    I believe that with the Olympus Pens and OM-D, if you shoot RAW + jpeg, you can change the aspect ratio to 3:2 or whatever you like. The RAW file will give you the whole thing, and the jpeg will give you the cropped version.
     
  14. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    621
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    There have been many, many motion picture formats over the years. Most, but not all, have run the film vertically through the camera and projector while having a landscape image orientation. This means that the long dimension of the image runs across with width of the film stock.

    The original "standard" 35mm motion picture format used a "4 sprocket pull", meaning that one image fit into the length of 4 sprockets. This is why the common "standard" 35mm still format, which is 8 sprockets long, was originally called "double frame", it spanned the area of two motion picture frames.
     
  15. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    621
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    Common print sizes have evolved over the years. Originally, they mimiced negative sizes which were themselves based on the various sizes of materials, glass and metal plates. Later film sizes were similarly determined leading to new "common" print sizes. Additional large sizes were determined by the sizes in which paper has traditionally been made. Most of these sizes were rather firmly set by 1950. The only really common newbies being 4x6" and 13x19", the latter again based on paper sizes and not film sizes and not an accurate 3:2 ratio (adding 1/2" borders to get a 12x18 image is a common fix).

    The 3.5x5" and 2.5x3.5" (wallet size) prints were sizes that matched the 3:2 ratio of 35mm FF and the 8 shot 120, 620, and 127 formats, at least in the orignal bordered style. When borderless printing became popular (c.1970) these no longer matched the then very common 35mm FF images. Kodak eventually introduced 4x6 "jumbo" prints as up-sell fix and these have become the norm. Kodak also had begun offering ~7x10 images on 8x10 paper as an alternate to standard 8x10s to address the same issue. In the early 80s they introduced 8x12 and 5x7.5, the former originally being optional and later the only offering.

    The bottom line is that modern cameras have had absolutely nothing to do with determining print sizes. Print sizes have been determined primarily by the sizes of support materials, sometimes the old antique glass and metal, and more recently (last 75 years or so) the printing paper and printing equipment.

    Digital cameras have derived there aspect ratios from either mimicing a popular still film format (35mm FF in the case of the common DSLR) or older computer monitor formats (which derive from TV formats and thus from non-panoramic motion picture formats).
     
  16. amalric

    amalric  

    183
    Jul 24, 2012
    Rome. Italy
    Sorry, but 35mm hasn't anything to do with 8mm. Half Frame 4/3 is exactly what it says, the Frame being 35mm.

    Pen F format was an interesting decision, although they could not have at the time any notion on how it would benefit to digital. But it allowed them to design smaller lenses, and yet very sharp.
     
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    *EDIT: On reading back I see that dwig already covered this topic, but oh well...

    Actually, our photographic film sizes are related to video frames. The original Olympus Pen was called a "single frame" camera not "half frame" as it is known now, as you will see if you look at any of the original advertisements for it (admittedly I wasn't around at the time, but I can still read). 135 film was originally a "double frame" system made by putting two video frames together.

    See the quote, "the only single frame SLR system" in this advertisement from 1965:

    OlmpusPenF-Ad1.
     
  18. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    414
    Dec 6, 2012
    Netherlands
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I spend most of my time with a Mamiya 645, which was 4:3 ratio film. After an gap of almost 10 years using 35mm film and a DSLR, it felt like coming home when I bought the OMD and its 4:3 ratio... Like others already wrote, the larger print formats I have used over the years were all closer to 4:3 then to 3:2.
     
  19. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I've never understood the point of leaving extraneous subject matter in the frame just to fit a pre-defined, and totally arbitrary, "standard" print or frame size. I absolutely agree with dwig (post #2) that the subject should dictate the framing and aspect ratio. Only if the final output must meet some designated size for commercial reasons (e.g., full bleed on a magazine page) would I crop to an aspect ratio that isn't best for the image. Otherwise, I no more want to leave extraneous or distracting detail in the frame than I want to cut off one ear, or the top of a head, just to fit a "standard" format.

    You can get the inner dimension of a matte cut to your exact needs cheaply enough, and leave the outer dimension to fit in a standard size frame.
     
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Which is exactly what I expect of most of my photos, and if not then they should at least have that potential to be used. That's why I always use a consistent aspect ratio. :cool: I would actually prefer to use 5:4 but since my camera is a native 4:3 that's "close enough". Cropping to 5:4 rarely hinders my composition when framed in 4:3.