Re: Aspect Ratio...
- From: Pete A <pete3.attkins@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2011 22:09:32 +0000
On 2011-11-19 19:13:46 +0000, David Dyer-Bennet said:
Pete A <pete3.attkins@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
On 2011-11-19 05:24:02 +0000, Robert Coe said:
That's true in the Canon world as well. There's a lot of similarity of
controls across the DSLR product lines; and the last I looked, that similarity
extended into the P&S lines as well.
I think having a brand generic interface is a really good idea.
Serious cameras need more controls than consumer cameras, though. And
controls are expensive.
The controls also take up a lot of space.
The manufacturers seem to think that loads of buttons and dials would confuse the average camera buyer. My compact is infuriating to use because there are too many levels of menu indirection to change most settings. However, I bought it years ago not just for its reasonable image quality; it has the most sensible rotary mode dial I've ever used.
My combination microwave oven and laundry washer/drier each have far more controls than most cameras yet they are incredibly intuitive to use after a short learning curve.
I do think camera menus ought to have a brand look and logic to them. It would also encourage brand loyalty.
At least in the Nikon line, you lose the second control dial after the
top two levels, for example. And those two dials are the two most-used
controls on the camera (in manual mode one is shutter speed and one is
I always liked having the aperture ring on the lens and the shutter speed dial on the body. It took me ages to get my head around setting the aperture on the body. I know more than most what a Nikon "EE" error means.
By what you've written, I doubt you or I will be buying a Nikon 1 system in the near future. The J1 doesn't have many buttons and dials.
: I do think that the ever increasing number of pixels is making
: rectangular format sensors pointless. We'd be better off having aspect
: ratio and landscape/portrait mode selectable via buttons. Some cameras
: already have switchable aspect ratio. Shape-shifting lens hoods and
: flash heads could be fun.
The problem is that the variability of aspect ratios is an illusion. All
you're doing is sacrificing some of the pixels when you select an aspect ratio
that doesn't match the shape of the sensor. In principle you might be able to
speed up repetitive shooting slightly by designing the circuitry so that the
pixels that aren't being used aren't scanned. But that would probably drive up
the price, and I'd be surprised to learn that any manufacturer has found it to
be worth doing.
I agree with you that variable aspect ratio is an illusion, but it's
very handy to have the viewfinder settable to the target format rather
than the sensor format. The D3 has a 5:4 option because many pros
shoot for 10x8 or 20x16 inch prints. The Panny G1, G2 and G3 offer
16:9, 4:3, 3:2, and 1:1 ratios, but lack 5:4 for some strange
reason. The Oly E-30 has 9 aspect ratios including 5:4.
Or, back in the film era, cameras like the Hasselblad shot "6x6"
negatives. Most people cropped to one of the rectangular print sizes
most of the time, though people did also print them square sometimes.
Only a young kid at the time, I clearly remember being shown how to use a Rolleiflex TLR as if it was only yesterday: that's what fuelled my passion for photography. Cameras with a WLF are impossible to use in portrait mode so square format made sense. It still does in my opinion - turning a camera through 90 degrees is very awkward for me, especially with a flash attached set to bounce light off a ceiling. An absolutely bloody stupid concept, I just want one button to select landscape or portrait mode in my chosen aspect ratio.
Oly has the right idea. There is no point in having a camera that
outputs very nice JPEGs, but not framed as the photographer intended -
such a device isn't a modern camera, it's just the front end for an
Well, of course. Any serious camera is just the front-end for an image
editor. As Ansel Adams said, the negative is the score, the print is
the performance. If you're just showing people jpegs straight out of
your camera, you're not giving your images a fair shake at being
I fully understand that and I will not disagree with what Ansel said.
I've mentioned before on this newsgroup that I don't enjoy editing. By carefully using the Nikon Picture Controls plus a dash of exposure compensation and WB fine tuning (which combine to add the performance to the score), I've had more than my fair share of images that don't need editing for any other purpose than aspect ratio.
For some of the things I've been asked to do, I will be given a CF card for the shoot and I have to return it after the last shot with suitable JPEGs. It's only voluntary work, but I really want to return some good images. I've done some darned difficult things in my life, but I found them easy because they were just pure logic plus hard work. Assignments like this are well beyond my comfort zone, yikes!
Nikon photography courses are too expensive. What I really need is a crash course in becoming a medium so I can talk to Ansel while I'm doing the shoot :-)
The OP raised a very good point about the increasingly common 4:3
format. Many people don't realize that their shiny new camera has a
format incompatible with 6x4 inch prints until they get their first
set printed. I remember this happening years ago when people were
enticed to have their films printed on bigger 7x5 inch prints - it led
to the introduction of 7 1/2 x 5 inch prints.
To anyone not familiar with aspect ratios, the standard print sizes
must seem absurd as must the fact that some sizes are quoted for
landscape and others are reversed for portrait.
The standard print sizes never fit standard film sizes very well during
The 4x5, 8x10, 11x14 sizes started out being film sizes and also print
sizes, when people contact-printed from big negatives. But 120 roll
film started out shooting mostly 2.25x3.25 and 2.25x2.25, neither of
which fit any standard print paper. And then 35mm came along and made
it even worse.
The 4x6 print came along rather late in the life of 35mm; until then
there was no size that just fit.
Yep, loss of image quality by cropping medium and large format was never a show stopping problem. 135 format changed that, as did the early digital small formats - the quality just wasn't good enough to vastly change aspect ratio after the shot was taken.
I have a strong feeling that widescreen cinema changed the public's expectation of photography. Ultra widescreen films, displayed in a small town cinema such as mine, display as a silly letterbox: the width shows a whole army on horseback but the height shows only partial heads. I'm not knocking this public perception, I use it to my advantage. I don't aspire to becoming a pro turning out 8x10 and similar format prints, I like the challenge of dancing to the current music. Some of my wacky/artsy ultra-wide format works have really hit the mark, so to speak. I thank ultra widescreen for my success.
I'm glad to find that attempts to quote all print sizes only in
millimetres or cm wasn't very popular. E.g. asking for 152x203 mm
prints would be annoying.
Even the native metric sizes (A series, like A4 and so forth) are
hideous numbers to learn and remember (since the whole series is based
on irrational numbers, they can't possibly end up neat).
At least A4 et al. have names that are sort-of memorable. Gosh, if it wasn't for icons/tokens/mnemonics mankind wouldn't have progressed very far.
Many thanks for your reply, David.
- Prev by Date: Re: Aspect Ratio...
- Next by Date: Re: Shoot in "B"
- Previous by thread: Re: Aspect Ratio...
- Next by thread: Re: Aspect Ratio...