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-   -   Small camera with 3:2 mode (

Loose Sep 11, 2006 5:35 PM

Hi, I am looking for a small camera like a Canon A540 that has a 3:2 mode. Can anybody tell me if there are any cameras with such a mode?

Boily Sep 11, 2006 5:49 PM

I think alsmost every digital camera have this option!!

JimC Sep 11, 2006 6:50 PM

It's pretty much a "mixed bag" (which models have it)

For example, the Canon model you mentioned doesn't. But, some other Canon models do, and some older Canon's didn't actually crop (they just showed you a display showing what a photo would look like when cropped).

Keep in mind that the sensor used in most non-DSLR models has a aspect ratio of 4:3 (whereas most DSLR models use a sensor with an aspect ratio of 3:2).

So, cameras using a 4:3 aspect ratio sensor are just cropping the photos for you when you shoot in 3:2 mode (you end up with a lower resolution, pre-cropped image shooting that way).

This can present design problems.

For example, if a non-DSLR model has an optical viewfinder, it would need to physically move some type of mask into the optical path used by the viewfinder to show the crop when in 3:2 mode so that you'll know how your framing will impact the photo.

If you're using an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) equipped camera, then it would need to automatically crop the image in near real time to show it to you, or show you some sort of grid lines (or black out the edges) to let you know what the image would look like when cropped (which some models do).

We don't have a way to search for this feature in cameras reviewed here. So, you'd pretty much need to take them on a case by case basis to see which ones support a 3:2 Mode.

One good place to look is the available resolutions in a camera's specifications (look for a resolution with 3:2 beside it for models that crop photos for you). It will usually have the same resolution on one side as the full resolutoin setting (with a lower number of pixels on the other side, representing the cropped image that results when shooting in 3:2 Mode).

You may just want to consider shooting in full resolution mode anyway.

If you needed to make a print at something other than 4x6 inches, shooting in the default 4:3 Mode with most non-DSLR models would require less cropping for other print sizes.

For example, if you ever wanted to print an 8x10" image, you'd need to crop one shot in 3:2 Mode again (leaving even less resolution for printing after the "second" crop).

Shooting in the highest resolution mode with these models gives you more flexbility for later (so that you'll need less cropping for a greater variety of print sizes).

Many image editors have cropping tools built in now. There are also some specialty tools for this purpose. Here is one example:

That way (using tools to crop versus letting the camera do it), you'd have more control over cropping later for a greater variety of print sizes (and the cameras that have a 4:3 sensor are just cropping the image that comes from the sensor when you shoot in 3:2 mode).

Just make sure to leave yourself a little bit of room for cropping later when framing if you know you're going to print at a given size.

A number of cameras do have the feature, if it's something you really want. Looking through our recently reviewed cameras, it looks like about half of them can shoot that way (but, it looks like this feature is not present on most newer Canon, Olympus, Fuji and Samsung non-DSLR models).

You may want to give more information on what you're looking for in a camera for better responses from our members on what cameras may be more suitable for your needs (there are a lot of small cameras around now).

Loose Sep 11, 2006 7:09 PM

I will be using the camera as a backup to a Nikon D70 and D200 for the purpose of photographing crashed vehicles and collision scenes. Since the other cameras I am using shoot in 3:2, and we get all of our photos printed in 3:2, I want to get a smaller camera that can do the same.

I will be shooting outdoors and sometimes in dirty confined spaces, so durability is a priority. I want to be able to put this camera in my pocket, so no bigger lensed cameras.

It must have a view finder that indicates what area of the screen is being recorded, so that I can frame the picture as I desire.

Hope this helps.

JimC Sep 11, 2006 7:54 PM

Well, no subcompact digital camera is going to have a sensor with an aspect ratio of 3:2 (they're all either 4:3 or 16:9 now).

So, you'll need to pick one that has a 3:2 mode that crops for you.

One good place to start looking is the Best Cameras List here. These are camera models deemed to be a good value within their market niche.

You'll find an Ultra-Compact/Pocketable category, and it looks like the Casio and Sony models currently in this category can shoot in a 3:2 Mode.

For the models that have an optical viewfinder, I would not expect the image in the optical viewfinder to change when shooting in this mode.

But, most of these optical viewfinders only have around an 80 to 85% frame coverage anyway (and they're not TTL and use a separate optical path compared to the lens). So, unless you're framing very tight, the resulting image shooting in 3:2 Mode would probably be fine after the camera crops.

Some have only an LCD display in this category (no optical viewfinder at all now on some subcompacts). Chances are, models with an LCD will show you the crop when shooting in this mode if you use the LCD for framing.

But, that's nothing something I'd pay much attention to. So, it would be a good idea to try them to make sure.

Make sure to see the Review Conclusion sections for cameras you consider. It's the last page before the sample images in each model's review here, and that's where you'll find info on how a model compares to others in it's market niche (startup time, autofocus speed and reliability, features, image quality, etc.).

RegBaron Sep 12, 2006 4:52 AM

I have a old Olympus C740 UZ a great little camera with a 10x zoom which i can set at 3:2 or 4:3 the 3:2 allows you to print at a photo lab without losing the image borders

kenbalbari Sep 12, 2006 5:32 AM

For a pocket sized backup to a DSLR, one of the best models to consider is the Fuji F30, and the more budget oriented F20. Both have a 3:2 mode.

al1012 Sep 14, 2006 7:48 AM

The Fujifilm F30 has 3:2 mode and it is visible on the LCD. Using a 1 GB xD card you could take as much as 680 pics at 3:2 mode.

A F30 advantage is noise levels comparable to a DSLR at ISO800. A feat not all compact cameras can claim.

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