Cropping the square negative

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ara Ghajanian, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Simple question: How many of you crop the square negative and why or why not?
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Simple answer: I crop any negative that needs it. Any neg that doesn't, gets printed intact.

    Less simple: I shoot 6x6. (Also 645 and 35mm) It may just be that I (we?) have been conditioned by all of the pictures seen in a lifetime, but most subjects seem to be either horizontally or vertically oriented.

    YMMV

    Cheers, y'all.

    David
     
  3. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Most 6x6 negatives wind up being cropped. This may be due to the "golden rectangle" being more pleasing to the eye. Very few subjects look good in a square format.

    I believe that the square format originated because the cameras that use this format would have been awkward to rotate 90 degrees had a rectangular format been used. It is left to the printer to crop in either landscape or portrait mode.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    I never do. I just like squares and I shoot with the intention of printing full frame.
     
  5. eric

    eric Member

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    I don't crop the square. If I want that PHI ratio, I would shoot 35mm.
     
  6. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I'm with David. I shoot both 6x6 and 35mm. I try to compose within the frame of whatever I'm shooting, but sometimes things just look better cropped, or 're-focused' to an area.

    I may or may not retain the shape of the original negative... I have cropped an enlargement of a 35mm to a square, and the 6x6 to a rectangle. I have also used the entire frame of each.

    I guess since this is such a creative process, I'm trying to figure out why you wouldn't just print whatever suits the frame for any particular negative. :surprised:
     
  7. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    I think it's a purist/elitist thing. In the past when I shot 6x7, I always printed exactly what I shot, which I felt gave the viewer the message of "I intended to use this size/type of frame." When I started shooting 6x6 things became more difficult to frame. I almost never crop a 35mm frame more than a couple of millimeters on either side. With 6x6 I'm starting to rethink my previous feelings on cropping.

    Gerald,
    That is a good question: why did they create a 6x6 negative?
    Ara
     
  8. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I only shoot square when doing Holga. And with Holga full frame is a must. The corners needs to be included! No Crop There!

    When shooting 35 mm I often crop to square (I would like to get a 24x24 mm camera!).

    Morten
     
  9. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Made two masks for the view finder on my C330f. One is for 8x10, the other for 5x7. I change them according to the print size I'm planning for the image. Main reason is matting and standard sizes. tim
     
  10. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    The intentionality of cropping/not cropping is interesting in the context of cinema. In a movie camera, your film is travelling up/down instead of left-right; consequently, your picture frame is a bit more square than what you get from an SLR. To create a rectangular image on screen, they used various technique, the simplest being cropping--either during shooting, by using a mask, or during post-production. The other well-known technique is of course the anamorphic lens.

    Some directors like Stanley Kurbick have on occasions rebelled against this practice by shooting "full frame", without cropping, and without the aid of a mask. "The Paths of Glory" is a good example of it: when you rent it on DVD, you may think "Scheisse, I rented one of those stupid full-screen pan and scan transfers", but you are actually seeing the whole 35mm picture frame. I think Kurosawa did that too, for I remember a lot of his early movies having a square image.

    I'm not so found of cropping during printing myself because I really like to frame shots with my camera, so that it's easier to visualize what it will look like in the end, but frankly, what you crop on the enlarger is maybe what you would have cropped with your camera if the circumstances were proper. If your intention is to have your frame one way, then what's not used on the negative is not artistically relevant, probably only historically relevant if you end up being famous.
     
  11. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    I don't generally set out when taking the picture with the intention of cropping, but I have often found that after printing taking a hair off the picture in one dimension helps immensely. Not enough to get a 4x5 ratio, but just enough to disturb the perfect symmetry.
     
  12. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I shoot 6x6 almost exclusively and have never printed a square print.

    If God had wanted us to print square he would have only given us one eye and only made square easels.


    Michael
     
  13. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    If you like the 24x24 mm format you should look into the Robot Royal 36S or other Robot cameras. Pricey but nice.
     
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  15. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I never really bought into the idea of the purity of the format or those people who would file out the neg carrier to show they used the full frame of the neg.


    For one thing there are times when you cannot exclude everything from the frame due to your position or available lens. In this case you are basically composing the shot with the knowledge that cropping will be required.

    Another situation I find is that with 35mm I do not seem to have the ability to compose the same way as with a LF camera and darkcloth. I sometimes find I include extrannoeus information in the neg on smaller formats, but always catch these instances with 4x5 and larger while composing.
     
  16. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    I like the squares.. When I shoot 6x6, I have to be more aware of the composition, which, in my opinion, makes for a better shot... For me.... I have never printed a rectangle from a square neg.. I would if I felt I needed to though.....
     
  17. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Likely to save film. You get four more shots 6x6 versus 6x9.
     
  18. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I always shoot within the frame. On a very rare case that would I crop; even then I know ahead of time that I am going to crop in the frame and compose accordingly. Shooting square frame for me was a novelty and difficult at the same time. I've really grown to like the square frame and have never cropped one pic from a square frame yet.

    Art.
     
  19. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    It is very seldom that I print a "full frame" negative. Each image demands a different cropping, no matter the format.....

    However, specially with toy cameras printing sqaure makes sense in order to have the vignetting in the corners or the swirling effect the lenses give.

     
  20. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I ride the fence on this one. Some wedding jobs get printed to 10X10, some to 8X10. Most of my portrait work in 6X6 gets cropped to "standard" print sizes. When I'm shooting for myself, I usually shoot for, and print, the full frame.
     
  21. brent8927

    brent8927 Member

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    Hmm.... Shouldn't we be shooting in an elliptical format then? Last time I checked two eyes had a more or less elliptical field of view...

    I always print square. Personally I just really enjoy composing full frame with a square waist level finder and my work just shines so much more because of it; the square shape, in my opinion, lends a much more poetic feel to a photograph.

    Of course others have their own opinions and preferences. To each his (or her!) own...
     
  22. Magnus W

    Magnus W Member

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    I have no standard method. Sometimes I crop, sometimes I don't. Many times, however, the print ends up more or less related to the film format. My 6x6 pictures are almost always cropped more square-ish than my 24x36. But sometimes my 24x36 negs end up as square prints, and sometimes I take a narrow strip of that 6x6 neg and make it a 1:3 panorama.
    The available format definetly has its say in the way I compose, but when I return to the neg after a while I may see quite a different picture within that neg.

    I'm not very helpful, am I?

    -- MW
     
  23. janvanhove

    janvanhove Member

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    When I shoot square, i tend to print square also...
    Probably because I'm too lazy in the darkroom, I do my cropping at the photoshoot, and then print full frame...
    Also because square images for some reason "talk" to me and I often see my images in squares even when I don't have a camera with me...

    I've even been known to crop 2x3 ratio images (either from 35mm or digital) into squares...

    it's hip to be square...
    (sorry, couldn't help it...)

    PJ
     
  24. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I dont understand how anyone can have a rule or why they would try to consciously compose to a format, as this is a comprimise from the outset. For me, each image is dealt with as a unique visual experience and cropped in such a way as to communicate that as best as possible. I recently sold my TLR, but my images where all sorts of shapes as determined by what I felt was 'right'. I cannot comprehend any other approach as what would its purpose be other than convenience, which if important to a person, is fine. I sometimes have left images uncropped for speed and ease when doing basic record stuff, but I would not claim that it is more 'literal' or 'honest'. The only issue that does impinge upon my printing is that stubby rectangles are for me the hardest to frame and look pleasing. Squares are easier (whether in squarish or rectagular frames), any normal rectangle is easy as are panoramas, but stubby rectangles to me always look a tad clumsier on the wall, especially when large, so I tend to limit the enlargement if a stubby rectangle is the 'right' crop. Personally I often stick to the uncropped square format for portaits, esp environmental portaits/people, but for dedicated landscapes I would mainly crop to varying degrees.
     
  25. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I believe the original intent of the square format was to provide a camera that did not require one to change orientation from horizontal to verticle.
    That being said, I am very stodgy and believe that I should always use a tripod except in conditions where not using one results in an improved image...mind you this is a rule for me and you should do whatever suits you. While many may not be able to visualize a b&W photo they should be able,when conditions allow the use of a tripod, to get the cropping they want unto the film irrespective of the dimensions of either the negative or paper. Good strong compostition rarely happens by chance.
     
  26. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I very rarely crop my 6x6 squares.
    The square comes naturally to me when I compose.
    I guess I am a square myself.
    The only rare times I have cropped were to cover the limitation of having one lens.