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Old Sep 16, 2003, 2:20 PM   #1
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Default Is there a digital camera that prints true 4 x 6 prints?

I just bought a Pentax Optio 550 and I'm really bummed that the camera won't take an image that results in a true 4x6 print. I get white borders on either side.

I didn't realize that this was even an issue, I assumed that a digital camera would print standard size prints.

Are there any digital cameras that do print a true 4 x6?

Thank you!
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 3:34 PM   #2
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Digital Cameras usually shoot using a 4:3 Aspect Ratio. A 4x6 inch print requires a 3:2 Aspect Ratio (ratio of width to height).

Some cameras do allow you to shoot with a 3:2 aspect ratio instead (they only use part of the sensor -- effectly cropping off the rest), to give you a smaller image output at the correct aspect ratio for printing 4x6 inch prints.

Many camera offer this option (some of the Nikons, Sonys, Canons, etc.) Personally, I never shoot this way. I shoot using 4:3, and crop if needed.

For one thing, if you print at larger than 4x6, you're back with the same problem again, since other print sizes are at a different aspect ratio, and the 4:3 Aspect Ratio used by Digital Cameras, works better for print sizes of 5x7 and 8x10, compared to a 35mm film cameras aspect ratio of 3:2 (which is perfect for 4x6 inch prints, but not for other sizes).

So, shooting at the standard 4:3 Aspect Ratio gives you a larger image size, with more flexibility for a greater variety of print sizes.

Here is a useful chart, that lets you see the percentage of a photo used, at different print sizes, based on the original aspect ratio of the image:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleed....htm#frameutil

The best way is to get around the problem, is to crop your prints to the desired aspect ratio for printing. There are MANY tools available that let you do this.

Here is a recent forum thread on dpreview.com discussing solutions to the problem. Some of them are even free:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=6082015

Here's a product that I suggested (not free), in the same forum thread:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...essage=6086901
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 5:15 PM   #3
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You have a lot of patience Jim.

Gaynol ... so you ponied up what $500USD and didn't check out the way it prints?

May i auggest doing a LOT more research on this site and others about digicams (not just the printing/aspect ratio issue) before changing cameras .... may save you some money
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 5:57 PM   #4
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Default Thanks Jim for all the useful information! I appreciate it.

It seems like a lot of extra work but I guess it is a common problem with digitals.

Thanks again!
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 6:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfisti
You have a lot of patience Jim.
No -- I just print my own, and never worry about conforming to standard print sizes.

Also, some of the services offer "Digital Print Sizes" -- for example: photoaccess.com

So, no cropping is needed to get the full size prints from your digital camera.
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 8:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thanks Jim for all the useful information! I appreciate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaynol
It seems like a lot of extra work but I guess it is a common problem with digitals.

Thanks again!
For a start ... the Sony V1 shoots in 3:2 ratio.
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 9:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is there a digital camera that prints true 4 x 6 prints?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaynol
I didn't realize that this was even an issue, I assumed that a digital camera would print standard size prints.
When we all used 35mm film, I used to be seriously annoyed that processing houses never printed everything that was on my negatives - they cropped the image to correspond to what users of cheap cameras saw through their viewfinders, which was usually a lot less than what appeared on the negative. If you had a camera that showed you exactly what was going on to the film, (e.g., Nikon SLR's, ISTRemember) or if you were clever enough to frame the subject exactly as you wanted it, you needed to be aware that the processors would chop some of it off when you used your camera for snapshots and 6x4 prints. The handbook to my Olympus OM-10 SLR told me how much less I saw in the viewfinder than what went on to the film, but this wasn't the same as the processors assumed.

What you've got now is an extreme version of the same attitude from the processors. They have a huge investment in 6x4 processing machines, and didn't want to waste it when the new 4:3 TV-shaped format came along.

[Note that you get 2 separate 6x4 bits of paper out of an 8x6, and eight and half by six and a half was "whole plate" printing paper when I started printing in approx 1964. It shrank to 8x6 at some stage. But 8/6=4/3, so we've just come back to where we started.]

The way out of this is as always to print your own if you want nice glossy prints in your hand, but this is a really slow & expensive nuisance, and the inkjet prints may not last to show to your grandchildren, unless you're careful.

If your camera has a TV (AV) output you can view & present your images at low resolution on the TV - record them on to VHS for your relatives - but for their best presentation you need to move on to a slide show program on your computer monitor. Sadly, watching slide shows on a PC is an activity best performed alone or between consenting adults, so you then need an enormously expensive video projector & screen for your PC, and probably a laptop to take your pictures to the projector.

And somehow we seem to have come right back round to the inconvenience of a slide projector & screen to show off our pictures at their best. <Groan>
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 10:13 PM   #8
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For what is worth, Kodak digital cameras shoot in 3:2 aspect ratio. Mine doesn't even have the option of 4:3. This means that I print 6x4 at the photo lab straight from the camera without worrying about cropping images.

I believe that 3:2 aspect ratio is far better than 4:3 because it matches the aspect of 35 mm film and all non-professional photo equipment around is designed to handle mostly 35 mm and APS film formats.

One more thing. When I was doing the research for my first (and only so far) digital camera I didn't even know there was this issue with aspect ratio. Never comes up in the reviews and it is a somewhat obscure item in the technical specs of the cameras. I now feel lucky that the one I picked came out 3:2 because I like to print 6x4 pictures from my digital images and I don't have to worry about the photo lab cropping in an unwanted way. Just dump the pictures in my memory card, take the card to the lab and dump the whole thing in their machine. No pre-processing except for some custom cropping or minor adjustments.

Aspect ratio WAS NOT EVEN something I looked into when choosing a camera - I though they were all the same.
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 4:44 AM   #9
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There may not be cameras that shoot the 6X4 aspect, but in UK they offer Fuji Frontier prints at 61/2X4, at no extra charge.

I think aspect ratio is as important as whether your TV is 525 or 625 lines. It wouldn't matter so much if you had lots of mega pixels to allow cropping, and your viewfinder offered an overlay at the aspect ratio of choice, to help with framing the shot.

If I was buying a camera specifically for displaying pics on a 16X9 plasma panel and wasn't interested in anything else, I'd look at some of the Kodaks. VOX
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Old Sep 17, 2003, 7:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
There may not be cameras that shoot the 6X4 aspect, but in UK they offer Fuji Frontier prints at 61/2X4, at no extra charge.
Yes, there are. Kodak cameras (don't know if all models) shoot in the 6x4 aspect ratio.
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