aspect ratios - 4:3 vs 3:2

Started May 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Great Bustard
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Re: I suppose...
In reply to kenw, May 12, 2012

kenw wrote:

Yes, thanks. Having shot 3:2 format for a few decades I have a large collection of my own. Sorry if you didn't like my word.

I pay keen attention to Language. See Louis' "Ansel" thread for an example.

Here's the problem with your 3:2 portrait oriented shots (and mine as well). The eye is frequently drawn to the border rather than the subject.

I am fully willing to accept that I am just different -- I went through all the photos again, and no such thing happened with me.

This is a risk with all narrow aspects but it is a bigger problem with "portrait" or "vertical" shots. Reason why you don't see many vertical 16:9 photos. Certainly they can work, there are great examples of extreme narrow vertical aspects - but these are carefully executed exceptions in which the frame/border complements the composition rather than dominates it. For general use this is rarely the case.

I can't argue against 3:4 might better fit for most with portrait orientation on average , but simply cannot agree that 2:3 portrait orientation is that much different, and certainly not agree that it is "ridiculous".

This is pretty basic Gestalt theory and the reason why even many thoughtful 3:2 shooters will crop vertical shots most of the time unless there is a very good reason not to.

Guess I'm not a "thoughtful 3:2 shooter".

If the photographer chooses to just leave things as 3:2 all the time without thought the result on average is a weaker composition for verticals than if the default were more towards square.

I tend to compose in the viewfinder, not on the computer monitor. For sure, there are times I eff up and need to crop, but 95% of the time, the composition I captured is the composition I wanted.

So perhaps instead of ridiculous I should say "an awkward and not useful default aspect for vertical compositions."

Well, I wouldn't want to argue for what should be a "useful default aspect for vertical [or horizontal] compositions". I will say that I compose on the basis of what I see in the viewfinder.

When I shot compacts, I composed for 4:3, and the two primary concerns I had moving to a DSLR was 3:2 vs 4:3 and TTL vs LCD. I quickly preferred both. That's not to say that 3:2 and TTL is superior to 4:3 and LCD, just that, for me , I prefer it.

But, yes, there have been occasions where I felt 2:3 was "too skinny" and 3:4 would have been closer to the mark. That said, even on the times I felt that to be the case, I felt the original 2:3 composition was "better than" cropping the photo to 3:4. In other words, for portrait oriented photos, I may find that I prefer 3:4 over 2:3 on average , but prefer to display the photo as framed than to crop.

In any event, the difference between 2:3 and 3:4 is rather subtle, in my opinion (cropping off 1/9 of the photo, e.g. 18 MP to 16 MP) transforms one into the other -- not a big deal. In other words, not particularly "awkward" and certainly not "ridiculous".

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