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  1. #1

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    Useless question out of curiosity: 4x5 versus 5x4

    I know it really doesn't matter, but I'm curious as to why some people refer to a camera/film as 4x5 and others 5x4 (or 8x10 vs 10x8, etc). Is it a cultural thing (I notice a lot more English and European than American photographers call it 5x4).
    ~ Michelle

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    SMBooth's Avatar
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    4x5 is portrait, 5x4 is landscape

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    It is a cultural thing. The US is and Japan is 4x5. Europe is the opposite. But apparently not with metric as we all have 9x12 plate cameras.

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    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    You've satisfied your curiosity so your question was not useless afterall.

  5. #5
    Maris's Avatar
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    The standard international cataloguing convention for art-works specifies the vertical dimension first then the horizontal. So 5x4 would be portrait orientation and 4x5 would be landscape. Actually inch measurements in this context have little formal status outside the USA and dimensions in the rest of the world are given in centimetres. My latest Kodak Australia Catalogue lists sheet film in the 10.2cm X 12.7cm size and not 4x5.

    Taking pedantry to the highest level one could say the film is 10.2cm X 12.7cm but the negatives obtained may be 10.2 X 12.7 or 12.7 X 10.2 centimetres depending on which way round they are
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  6. #6
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    It's just British convention that the longer dimension was used first by Camera & also lens makers, so my early Ross lens is marked 8"x5" rather than with a focal length.

    Ian

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    Rick A's Avatar
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    I always use 4x5 for groups and 5x4 for individuals -- or is it the other way around--shucks, I'm confused again.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  8. #8
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    It is a cultural thing. The US is and Japan is 4x5. Europe is the opposite. But apparently not with metric as we all have 9x12 plate cameras.
    No. In Germany it is always the smaller number first, thus: 4x5"
    But see post #6 too.

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    It's not just a camera thing. Graphs are usually expressed in x (horizontal) then y (vertical) terms as are on-screen co-ordinates when I do CAD on a computer.

    Being British, obviously 5x4 is correct and everyone else is wrong!


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #10
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Actually inch measurements in this context have little formal status outside the USA and dimensions in the rest of the world are given in centimetres.
    Not in the U.K. Although they tried to make us fully metric starting in the mid 1970s, it didn't happen.

    Items sold in shops by weight or volume are now sold in Kg or litres but all of our road signs are in miles or yards and the speedometers in our cars are in MPH.

    People of around my age (mid forties) and older tend to use both systems for distance measuring. If I am designing or building something small I will use millimetres. If I am working on a house it will be in feet and inches.

    Where metric measurements for distance are used here, it is millimetres and metres. The centimetre is hardly ever used and the decimetre is even more scarce.

    http://www.bwmaonline.com/Metric%20Culprits.htm


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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