So why don't people ever talk about the 4/3 aspect ratio?

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
bluelemmy Contributing Member • Posts: 997
Re: So why don't people ever talk about the 4/3 aspect ratio?

The 3:2 format came about because when Oscar Barnack needed film for his miniature camera (the Leica) all that was available was cine film. He used the cine film 'sideways' to give a width that would give good enough quality. He chose 36x24 simply because that was the choice he had. It has no significance 'artistically' whatsoever and is in fact rather than awkward size.

Since a lens produces a circular image, the most efficient use of of its capabilities would be a 1:1 square ratio but most people find this not pleasant to work with. However, those of us with Hasselblad cameras (for example), with a 6x6cm format learned to see with our eyes rather than our cameras and were glad of the flexibility the square format gave us to crop it to any shape we pleased to suit the subject while maintaining maximum quality. You didn't even need to decide whether to shoot portrait or landscape orientation until printing.

4:3/ 3:2/ 16:9 etc are just arbitrary shapes. They mean nothing. Since M43 cameras enable you to throw away pixels in camera, formats are not a subject of interest. When you have a 3:2 FF camera, there is nothing to stop you cropping 2mm of each side of the frame to give you a 4:3 format. Or 6mm to give you 1:1 for that matter.

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