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Old Dec 28, 2007, 10:11 PM   #11
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Most 16:9 formats on digicams are simply a crop of the original file instead of actually stretching the frame, making it look longer when it really isn't. Take a look at the specs. The "long side" is typically the same number of pixels as the 3:2 or 4:3 aspect ratiowith the short side being cropped down.

Depending on what you do with them, 16:9 can be fun to use, or totally useless. If you make nothing but4x6 prints, there's not a lot to suggest it should be used. There aren't too many places where you can get prints that use the format. You typically have to layer one on a traditional size background, have the print made, then trim off the extra, then find something it'll fit on/in!

But not everyone makes only4x6 prints. I make most of my prints at home on a printer with a maximum print size of 8.5x11 and I print most of my images that size, and 4:3 ratiomakes the most use of the entire image at thatsize. Actually, most of my letter-sized prints are 7.5x10 images (4:3 format with no cropping)with borders around them and, if I place them in books for others to see, text to tell them what they are looking at. I sometimes even layer several images onto one page..

I MUCH prefer looking at an album of letter-sized images like this than a proof book of 4x6 prints!

The 3:2 ratiois convenient if you only make 4x6 prints, and the world does not revolve aroundthat anymore.Take a look at how much you have to crop to make any other "common" size (here in the US)prints, such as 5x7, 8x10, 11x14. In every one of those, the 4:3 ratio makes use of a higher percentage of the entire frame(requires less cropping). The web service I use (Smugmug) even makes "full-size, no crop" 4:3 prints if I need the smaller print for someone, which comes out to 4x5.67...very close to the 4x5 proofs I use to have made when I was using a medium format camera in the 645 format, and they fit in all the 4x6 print holders.

I recently bought a camera that shoots on a native 16:9 sensor..a Panasonic LX2. It's a little point & shoot sized camera with pretty much every control a DSLR has. It even has a RAW capture option, which I'm using 100% of the time. Image quality is excellent, and the format makes for some unique proportioned images..

I emailed Smugmug, asking about printing options in this format. They currently are developing a 16:9 ratioprint option, but gave me some very goodideas to utilize in the mean time..



Today, being a "photographer" does not mean having to stay tied to one aspect ratio. There are some pretty cool options out there. You should try one or two of them some time. They can be pretty darn fun.

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Old Dec 29, 2007, 4:52 AM   #12
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jlazphoto wrote:
....Don't any cameras offer a 3:2 ratio, or the option to switch ratios to what would seem like the most popular option for making 4 x 6 prints?.....
It's a shame to throw away precious pixels from your camera's sensor.

This is a problem not with cameras but with the printing outlet. Some printing services specify only certain sizes,
which may or not fit your aspect ratio, straight from camera or perhaps cropped. If you print on your own inkjet printer it's expensive,
and the prints will fade if displayed for afew years, but you can crop the image to any size or shape you like up to your printer's limit.

However, modern retail outlet printing machines, such as the 'Agfa D2 Lab' used in my local camera shop, have cassettes of paper
in a range of different widths. Usually they have 4 inch and5 inch loaded ready for mass market "6x4" or "6x4.5" or "7x5", for example.
They can instantly load 8 inch or 12 inch paper as well. They offer remarkably cheap prints in any of these widths. Modern photographic
colour prints are likely to last a very long time, especially in an album.

The machine will print to specified dimensions, or, more usefully, to any specified width, and set the length according to the
image that's presented. For example, I give them my own images on a card or by email, sometimes straight from the camera,
sometimes cropped, and sometimes post-processed.I specify, for example, "8-inch dynamic". This will turn out as 8x6, 8x10,
or 8x10.67 (roughly A4), or 8xanythingaccording to the image I provided.

Yesterday they did me 7 full frames at 8-inch, instantly on the spot, (machine not busy at the time) for less than1 ukpound ($2) each,
while I reminisced for about 5 minutes to the operator about my days in R&D on silver recovery from the wastes from such machines.
Before Christmas they did me some 11.75x4 panoramasusing the same technique.

So it's just a matter of finding a printer to meet your & your camera's requirements. Seeveral online services in the UK are very good
and cheap, but the postage often doubles the price. I'm sure the rest of the developed world will have similar outlets.

Good luck!
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Old Dec 29, 2007, 6:09 AM   #13
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The common print sizes of 8x10, 5x7, and 3x5 are actually remnants of the days of view cameras, where the prints were just contact prints of the glass negatives. The 3:2 aspect ratio is a relatively new development (no pun intended) unique to 35mm film that was originally created for the motion picture industry, which uses images with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1!

The 4x6 print is a relative newcomer to the marketplace, and in my experience, usually involved some cropping of the 35mm negative anyway. When I've compared my 35mm exposures to my 4x6 prints, the prints have never shown the entire images contained on the negatives.
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Old Dec 29, 2007, 6:35 AM   #14
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TCav wrote:
....contact prints of the glass negatives....
In fact, when I started printing from my own negs in the early 1960s, in the UK one bought printing paper actually labelled 'Whole Plate' (8.5x6.5in.), 'Half plate' 'and 'Snapshot. The last was convenient for contact prints from my parent's antique camera (8 negs on 120 roll film), or my first camera (12 square negs on 127film).

While we didn't actually live in a shoe box, I didprint in the under-stairs cupboard, after removing all the coats, using at first an enlarger made by my father from a biscuit tin and the huge condenser & projection lenses that his father had used in a part-time career as a magic lantern projectionist. I soon graduated to a proper enlarger and my own blacked-out bedroom, with more room for the developing dishes and huge rolls of ex-War Department printing paper.

It's a lot easier now, but I note that the huge rolls of paper are still in active use (see my reply above).
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