Image Ratio and M 4/3, often overlooked? 4:3 kind of rules.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by godwinaustin, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. godwinaustin

    godwinaustin Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2014
    Jackson, WYO
    I find something that is often overlooked with Micro 4/3rds is Image Ratio.

    After shooting a 3:2 Canon SLR for a while, I am drawn back to M4/3 and the 4:3 ratio. Generally speaking, though of course there are exceptions, I think 4:3 is better for portraits, especially in the vertical orientation. Furthermore, for publication, in a traditional magazine print format, 4:3 is actually the preferable format IMO with less potential for post-shot cropping by publishers.

    Anyways, I feel like there is a ton of technical feature-based discussion on m4/3 versus the big two and other systems, but very little discussion or attention drawn to the fact that M4/3 is a entirely different aesthetic because of the different native image ratio... shooting 4:3 vs 3:2 are very different regarding composition.

    Anyways I dig the fact that this system isn't just one more 3:2 35mm format camera system. What do you guys think?
  2. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    I think and was told that 4:3 is much better for portraits especially in vertical direction, and you just confirmed that. But don't we all want the multi aspect sensor in GH2 back?
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  3. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    the 4:3 format gives you better cropping options for common print sizes as well. you lose a lot of your image when you crop a 3:2 image to print an 8x10.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. godwinaustin

    godwinaustin Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2014
    Jackson, WYO
    yeah, a that multi-aspect sensor is a very cool idea. I can't stand cropping images after they were shot, it feels like cheating.
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  5. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I'm with you. I completely agree. I think 4:3 is the better ratio from a technical standpoint, and I've long thought that the 4:3 sensor stands as one of the advantages of the system.

    That's probably largely because I think 4:3 is more useful for a larger variety of photography types than just about any other aspect ratio. And, in my experience, it leaves greater leeway for editing/cropping/rotating in post. What I'm saying here is that I think it makes more sense to crop from 4:3 to 3:2 than the other way around, but that's just personal preference/experience.

    Sure, I'll crop 3:2 and 16:9 occasionally, but I'm super glad m43 isn't 3:2 natively.

    All that said, I'm sure lots of people would have a different preference for their type of photography, and I wouldn't debate them. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. godwinaustin

    godwinaustin Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2014
    Jackson, WYO
    right, and 3:2 is a beautiful format. Still, Its surprising that all digital camera systems, with the exception of medium format systems and M4/3 are the same native format.
  7. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I'm completely convinced that the reason my brother hates portrait orientation photos is because he shoots a 3:2 Nikon D5XXX. And when I shoot (35mm film), I always feel like I am suffocating… gasping for more vertical height for framing my photos.
  8. fluberman

    fluberman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 19, 2012
    Yes, that confirm my observations too. I am shooting with Fuji X100 for a while, and I found that a 3:2 ratio sometimes gives more pleasant results in the horizontal orientation, but in the vertical orientation a 4:3 ratio always wins.

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using Mu-43 mobile app
  9. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    I love 4/3 format for vertical portrait but not so much for landscape, but still it works beautifully as landscape format. I prefer 16/9 or pano for landscape usually. Being able to switch at a flicker of a button the format is so great with mu43 cams, it's fun thanks to the EVF!
    I have found only a few website talking about the composition in 16/9 and 4/3 and the two thirds rules still applies, but there are more and both format offers lots of originalities. Composing in 16/9 has been real fun for me, and playback on huge tv screen is a blast for my closed ones.
  10. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I always try to remember to point this out to people considering m43 coming from an APS-C or FF system. A lot of those users have 3:2 burned on their retinas and 4:3 can be a horror.

    For me, despite having shot 3:2 for a very long time I greatly prefer 4:3 as a starting point. It crops to 4:5 and 5:7 better and those are for me much more common output aspect ratios than anything narrower.

    When I shot a multi-aspect (LX3 and GH2) I found I almost always stayed at 4:3 and occasionally went to 16:9 skipping right over 3:2.

    As to cropping being "cheating" or feeling like it at least I too went through a period in film days as a slave to "show your rebates" and perfect in camera framing. This can be a practical goal if your output is slide shows using first generation slides, and that was often my output and my gateway to this somewhat idiotic behavior in general. It makes no sense of course once you print or in the modern day have any sort of digital output. For me it was learning to shoot on a 4x5 LF where zoom lenses don't exist and reading books by LF authors and printers that made me realize the "real" photographers never considered their negative to be the final crop and that it was creatively constraining to do so. Not a demonstration of skill at all but more of small mindedness to insist on showing your whole negative.

    However, on the opposite side of things, I do find it easier to compose if the viewfinder is at least close to my output format - so a preference for 4:3 not just because it looses the least resolution going to useful output aspect ratios but also just easier for me to shoot.

    As a final thought, imposing an aspect ratio constraint on your shooting can be a fun exercise just like constraining yourself to a particular prime. I've for fun shot a vacation only in 1:1 or applied some other artificial constraint just as a creative amusement. But this in general is a temporary thing, usually the aspect ratio is best defined by what is best for the composition and not what the viewfinder or sensor happens to have as a native aspect ratio.
  11. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    my personal favorite format it 6x6 120 film. I can crop that to whatever I want or leave it square, and 4/3 is as close to that as I can get in a digital format.
  12. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I love that it matches the aspect ratio of my ipad 4:3, and that an 18x24 print doesn't require a crop.

    The gray area below is the 4/3 size, the pink areas are standard print sizes.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 2
  13. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    4:3 is surely better from a size and construction aspect, in that more rectangular area fits inside an image circle of a certain size when it's 4x3 than 3x2.
  14. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 18, 2012
    Ciaran Reilly
    .. Or maybe it doesn't...?
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Ultimate aspect ratio is unique to almost every image I create. 4/3 is a good start for portrait (vertical) orientation, and just as a general starting point, 4:3 is OK for general shooting, but I always crop and more often than not I crop to something between 3:2 and 16:9, especially for landscapes. I typically crop quite a bit off the top and bottom when I shoot 4:3 landscape. I just find the 4:3 aspect ratio (as a final cropped image format) quite boring and see much more visual excitement in the wide-screen, slim-line landscape orientation.

    My preference may well be associated with the fact that I think humans naturally view the world in wide-screen landscape orientation. I never print in 8x10 aspect (unless the subject matter truly demands it compositionally) despite the fact that it's a common print size. In fact, during the last years of operation at my portrait studio I didn't even offer 8x10 as a size, nor aspect ratio, at any size simply because I disliked the look of the aspect ratio. When a client requested 8x10 I advised against it and they always took my advice.

    Now I pretty much print whatever aspect ratio an individual image demands compositionally, regardless of commonly offered print sizes. And that is rarely, if ever, anything close to 4:3. Makes framing more costly and cumbersome, but the end result is so much more satisfying to me. For wall prints, I tend toward canvas gallery wraps now, which can be whatever size or shape one desires. To each his own, of course.
  16. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I also have the GH-2 and love the true multi-aspect feature. I too almost never shoot in 3:2 aspect. I Usually shoot in 4:3 mostly , 1:1 being second and 16:9 for landscapes and such or when the situation warrants it. I like the 1:1 because sometimes I do not want to see whats to the side of something i am shooting.

    And as much as I love the, now extinct, multi-aspect sensor, I wish it had been a little bit bigger so i could shoot in 1:1 utilizing the full circle.
    I actually wish they would bring back that Multi-aspect sensor feature, if not just like it use to be, maybe a little Bigger too so to take advantage of some more things.
  17. godwinaustin

    godwinaustin Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 23, 2014
    Jackson, WYO
    I wonder why they ditched the multi-aspect sensor? not that Im entirely sure how it worked :smile:
  18. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I much prefer 3:2. I have my m4/3 cameras set to that ratio by default. I actually like really wide (2.7:1) or square. But 3:2 is what most of my clients expect.

  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'm a big fan of 4:3, and most of my prints are 8:10 which is closer to 4:3 than 3:2.
  20. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I find it much easier to work with art-paper when printing my 4:3 images on our Epson R3000... Most of the watercolour paper my wife has is 4:3... so when I use her paper in the printer, I don't really have to futz around much. Even so, i find myself having more resolution when I crop than I did with the 7D running at 3:2. The added height in 4:3 to me seems logical.

    Sometimes it feels a little hokey going back to 35mm film and it's 3:2 ratio but within minutes I'm comfortable again.
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