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Old Apr 21, 2004, 12:06 AM   #1
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Default Capturing Photos for Specific Print Sizes - Digital Cameras

Does anyone know if there are digital camera features out there that allow the user to take a picture so that it comes out perfectly (i.e. w/out cropping) on 4x6 photo paper?

My wife takes pictures with digital cameras but printing them on 4x6 paper always results in some cropping of the edges. This is obviously due to the fact that the image is not in the same dimension ratio of the jpeg/tiff image.

Thus I was wondering if there was any feature within DSCs that provide a WYSIWYG result for 4x6 photos - similar to the usage of 35mm analog cameras.

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Old Apr 21, 2004, 11:58 AM   #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:


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.

One package with a good cropping tool is Epson Film Factory. If you own an Epson product, you may already have it.

After selecting an Image, you can can select a "Trim" option under the Retouch Menu.

It allows you to select the desired Aspect Ratio from a drop down list under the photo. The crop box then maintains this selected Aspect Ratio.

You can resize the Crop Box as desired (pulling on corners/sides), moving it around the photo (to crop for composition, too)-- while maintaining the selected Aspect Ratio.

When you are finished, just click on the Trim Button at the bottom of the photo.

You can download a 30 day trial version, and if you decide you like it, purchase it for $29.95.

See this link for details:


Many other packages also offer good cropping tools. You may want to check out the trial versions of ACDSee and Compupic Pro, too:

Compupic Pro:


BTW, some online print shops also offer "Digital Size" prints (no cropping). One that I have used is http://www.photoaccess.com
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 12:49 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim - very helpful
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