Image Aspect ratio - which do you use and why?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by lchien, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. lchien

    lchien Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 7, 2014
    My Olympus MFT Camera has a number of aspect ratio options.
    I think L/H its 1:1 3:2 4:3 16:9 and then its also got 3:4 Vertical

    I suppose 4:3 has the most pixels and is the RAW format.
    Which do you use and why?

    Even if I'm not doing RAW processing and just using the JPG should I use 4:3 so I have something to crop?

    Does anyone pick image aspect at the time of shooting on a per picture basis?

    IF you are printing snapshots exclusively (does anybody do that anymore? - I suppose not if you have anything more than a point and shoot) do you pick 3:2 to match the 6"x4" format of snapshots?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  2. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    4:3. The most light, the most pixels, Even if you intend to crop anyway, the pixels outside the crop area might be useful for straightening, content aware fill etc
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I always shoot raw and crop to suit later. If I'm feeling uber daring then I'll shoot in square format because I like that on prints.
  4. manju69

    manju69 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 1, 2011
    Stroud, UK
    1:1 because I love it and 4:3 to use the most pixels. I do deliberately pick 1:1 when the composition needs it. 4:3 is the default.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    When I am making photo books I try and keep all the images in 4:3. Books tend to look better when all the images are in the same aspect ratio.
    If I am editing individual photos then I will crop each to give the strongest image.
  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  7. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    2.39:1, I like the cinematic feeling it gives.

    Jokes aside, mostly 4:5.
  8. G3user

    G3user Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2013
    I find 3:2 too long and thin for most of my photos. Some places/websites/photolabs now have the option to print 4:3 photos without cropping (e.g. 6"x4.5").
  9. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Usually 4:3 because I prefer 40x30 cm prints to mat, frame and display on the wall.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Top Veteran

    TBH, I've never really understood these sort of questions. Most cameras have a default aspect ratio, that is a factor you evaluate at purchase time, or, one that doesn't even occur to you to consider. And then you learn to work with it. I never think about aspect ratio unless I see a question like this.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Back in film days, aspect ratio was a more important factor in choosing and using a camera since changing it after the fact was tedious for the casual user. Now it's trivial. Like many, (most, perhaps) I use the largest number of pixels the camera can gather and choose from among them on a case-by-case basis afterwards. My career has progressed from 1:1 (twin-lens reflex) to 3:2 (35 mm) to, now, 4:3. No aspect ratio will accommodate every scene but each has its use and I'm happy to have known them all. That said, I'm delighted to be able to crop to any rational or irrational ratio I may think looks best for the subject.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    As far as I am concerned, choosing an aspect ratio is no different that any other cropping except that if I crop in the camera I unnecessarily foreclose options. Same story on black and white conversions. It think it's crazy to do those in the camera and foreclose all the rendering options that exist when doing it in post.

    If I have an image that I like, it's worth the investment of a little time in post to perfect it.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  13. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    And some people like to compose with the final image in mind (and view). Another wonderful thing that these tiny image capturing computers can do - accomodate many different use cases.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  14. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2015
    But you can always set the camera to B&W 1:1 to aid in composition, etc, but leave it on RAW (or RAW+jpeg) and still get the full 4:3 color image
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    Kind of off topic, I just found a blog entry from Wolfram (makers of major maths analysis software), where they looked into aspect ratios used in fine art.

    I'll spare you the maths and jump to the conclusion. There are two aspect ratios that are especially popular. One at a little more than 1.3, and another at a little more than 1.27. Paintings that are taller than wide (portrait) tend to use the 1.27 ratio more, and wider than tall (landscape) paintings use the 1.3 ratio more.

    Since the 17th century, when mass production techniques came to the production of canvases and the French standardised the sizes, the 1.27 ratio migrated to 1.25 (5/4), and the 1.3 ratio migrated to 1.333 (4/3)

    The decision by Olympus to go for the 4/3 ratio doesn't seem so daft now.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Rambling Sam

    Rambling Sam Mu-43 Regular

    May 27, 2016
    Reading, Berkshire, UK
    I just use the 4:3 aspect ratio, as it gives me 'breathing space' around the image, if I intend cropping the image during editing. The 4:3 aspect ratio is also very useful when photographing tall buildings and using the Keystone function or and intend applying some perspective correction in for instance, PSP or Photoshop, where the resulting 'tapering' of the image, will need to be cropped off afterwards, as can be seen in the sequences shown below:

    Original [4:3 aspect ratio] image.

    After vertical PC (Keystone) function has been applied.

    Image has been cropped which changes the aspect ratio.

    The original 4:3 aspect ratio has been re-applied.
  17. doogie

    doogie Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2016
    I came from DSLR background so used to set my M43 cameras to 3:2, but nowadays I tend to use 4:3 to get the full JPEG resolution. I can always crop later if needed.

    4:3 looks better for portraits in either orientation, but wider aspect ratios better for landscape photography.

    I tend to view photos on a 16:9 tablet or TV, the downside is 4:3 doesn't fill much of the screen. I have a Chromecast photo gallery and it crops all my photos, looks rubbish.
  18. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Leave it native for whatever camera I'm using (3:2 for the Sonys, 4:3 for the MFT), and crop as appropriate for the shot if in-camera cropping doesn't work. Sometimes I prefer 4:3, a lot of the time 3:2, I do quite a bit of stitching/panos, and only really like 16:9 if a 'cinematic' feel seems appropriate, and otherwise prefer wider aspect ratios.

    So 'it depends'.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I actually treat image ratio more or less as a given for the camera I use - not because of preference but because I want to capture as much information as possible. I also shoot RAW, so in most cases, that's a given anyway, but I really tend to frame for native ratio, be it 4:3 or 3:2.

    That said, I do like 1:1 (I'm a also medium format film shooter - and my favourite camera is the Mamiya 6) as well as prefer 16:9 shots for certain subjects; I sometimes pre-visualise those crops, but frequently detect potential for them only in post. So, ratio cropping happens then and there, and only occasionally, 1:1 somwhat excepted. And even if I crop, I try to maximise the image area used - if the crop needs to be too tight, I usually discard the image (though there are exceptions if the intended use is online only).

    In some cases that I try to keep as rare as possible, cropping can salvage an image that wasn't framed right (though maybe because that wasn't possible at the time of capture); but for me, the craft is in taking the picture, not in constructing it in post - though of course that's only my take (I know that many outstanding artists literally create their works through post processing!).

  20. panamike

    panamike Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 5, 2016
    Lincolnshire UK
    Dont bother much which one,most of my photography is birds and never get close enough not to crop in PP;)
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