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Thread: Film Formats

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    cliveh's Avatar
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    Film Formats

    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?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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

    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.
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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
    "Gotta little problem with personal space, and I've been pounding the Jager. My breath and behavior have been driving the patrons away" -"Whipped Cream" by Ludo


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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/

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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.
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    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Round. Why do we waste perfectly good image circle??

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

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

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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

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    I do enjoy using 6x7.

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    A very good answer Keith and why is our obsession with Euclidian geometry one that rules out a circular image?
    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!
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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    ROL
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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.

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