Film Formats

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    In the history of photography a variety of film formats have been used to great success and some photographers favour particular ratios. 35mm being an obvious example with its 2:3 ratio and one of my favourites. But if you could choose your own format ratio, what would it be?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Round. Why do we waste perfectly good image circle?? :wink:

    I guess I will say I like 5x8. Golden something or other- books have been written on that. I really like squares too. I had a few rough thoughts on these things and put them in my APUG blog post here. I allege that aspect ratio might imply something about static versus dynamic composition.
     
  3. Existing Light

    Existing Light Member

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    I dont really have a preference for a format. I use 35mm mostly and crop the print how I see fit. Sometimes it's more or less 2:3. Sometimes it's more "panoramic" while other times it's more square. Just depends for me :D
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I believe you are referring to the Golden Proportion (also called other Golden ---). It is 1:.618--- also with more math than I want to do Phi=1.618----. I too like the square format as well as 4x5. Once I started using the square format many years ago I pretty much got away from 35mm although I still use it for snapshots and in my dental practice.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  5. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    One format or one ratio really does not suit all conditions universally.
    That means no one camera is suitable for every situation you come across.
    I have used 35mm (2:3) for many years, latterly hooking up with 6x6 and 6x7 (6:7), also 6x17cm. None of these is a favourite, but 35mm was all I wanted to use for a long time. Each has a specific purpose e.g. 35mm for bushwalking, 6x7 for very large prints without cropping, 6x6 pinhole often used on bushwalks.

    I think as photographers there is a format to suit just about everything we can think of without adding further complexity to the craft.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A very good answer Keith and why is our obsession with Euclidian geometry one that rules out a circular image?
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Suprisingly I like 6x6, 6x17, 6x9, 5x4 and also 10x8 with no prerefence, but I always shoot to the format and don't crop,

    For years I used a 6x6 and cropped but switching to 645 and 5x4 I began shooting to fit, going back to 6x6 I thought would be difficult but I love it.

    So no real prerence.

    Ian
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I do enjoy using 6x7.

    Jeff
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I think we default to rectangles simply because it is so convenient. We can make rolls of film and cut them easier that way; we can cut rectangular mats and make rectangular frames more easily... unless I'm missing something, it's a choice dictated by convenience. Yet our eyes see a round(ish) field of view, the lens projects a round image circle etc. So it seems we're simply conditioned to prefer rectangles and squares.

    Imagine if we tried to go against that grain... we'd have circular viewfinders!!!

    It's perhaps interesting to note how Atget sometimes used parts of the image circle within a rectangular frame. Many photographers today would regard that a flaw or poor technique. Heaven forbid somebody push out of the box!
     
  10. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I do choose my own format ratio, both in camera and out. I wrote an article (Cropping a Negative) regarding choice about the evolution of my own perspectives as I employed different camera systems, in which I stated a current fondness for 3:5. But, it is my fervent belief that the subject itself chooses its own perspective, based on content and aethetics.
     
  11. MattKing

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    I've often wondered whether a 4/3 version of 135 (24mm x 32mm) would have been a success - I like its equivalent on 120 (4.5 x 6cm) as well as 6x7.
     
  12. Vaughn

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  13. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I often had the impression that the formats 24x36mm and 6x9cm were chosen because they put a really big image on an otherwise restricted format. Sure there are panorama cameras that put greater images on the film, but these two formats strike me as stretches to maximize the possibilities.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i am fond of 15x7 ...
     
  16. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I love circles. Of course the original Kodak made circular pictures and a few photographers have made it part of their work, like Emmet Gowen. Tough to compose in a circle, interesting challenge. These days I like 2:3 (6x9) a lot.
     
  17. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I have often found that I prefer the 2:3 format as opposed to the 4:5 ratio, but have found myself framing to 4:5 because of the standard paper stocks. Of late I have found myself leaning back towards 2:3 AND 1:1

    So, do I have a preference? No!

    (BTW, I always crop - always. I tend to shoot a bit wider then what I intend for the final print if I can.)
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I like 2:3 for 35mm, square for 120 and 4:5 for 4"x5" [uh, like DUH] myself.

    Steve
     
  19. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    Before digital, most of what I shot was either 35mm SLR 3:2 or 6x7 medium format. With 35mm of course you'd order prints unless you were shooting chromes for slide show. So then the print crop became 3 1/2x5", 4x6", 5x7", 8x10" or some other variant to match standard paper sizes. I printed my 6x7mm on 16x20". So none of the print formats match the film sizes except 4x6" for 35mm. It's like the paper and film manufacturers live in different worlds. Now add to that 4:3 computer screens, 16:9 HDTV screens and a person can really go nuts.
     
  20. tomalophicon

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    I really love 35mm pictures printed uncropped on 5x7 paper.
     
  21. Newt_on_Swings

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    For the most part of the previous year, I have been printing the full 35mm or 6x6 frame. Composing inside of the viewfinder rather than cropping and I am very comfortable with it now. Its easier to get the shot you want first and not worrying with playing around with so many cropping combinations in the darkroom. So I have left it as that, right to the edge. Clean, simple, and unadulterated besides slight dodge and burns.

    Its a nice format inherently, I just hate the paper formats. So much waste could be saved if paper formats aligned well with negatives.
     
  22. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    By definition, 35mm pictures must be cropped when printed onto 5 x 7 paper.
     
  23. tomalophicon

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    i print big borders, which are no equal on all sides :smile:
     
  24. brian steinberger

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    Square is great! Other than that I enjoy 1x1.3 (6x4.5) and 1x1.25 (4x5) ratios. The 1x1.5 of 35mm or 6x9 is just too long for me.
     
  25. derwent

    derwent Member

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    I quite like the 2:3 ratio of 135 and 6x9 but i also love square format.
    I usually compose in the finder and rarely crop.
    Square composition is sometimes tricky but it can be nice too.
     
  26. blansky

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    As mentioned, the Golden Mean is probably a format that easily "acceptable" to the human mind. Sort of a primal thing. But perhaps for more impact another format would draw attention because of it's "discomfort" level.

    Personally I crop everything, shot mostly Hasselblad square but never printed square, and still shoot for a little "coverage" of what I'm seeing on a full frame digital sensor. Used to print 16x20 but now more 16x24.