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Author Topic: 16:9 aspect ratio?  (Read 5113 times)
MarcG19
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« on: September 09, 2012, 07:20:01 AM »
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Hello all,

Part of my photograph has been studying/evaluating the great photographers of yesterday and today. Many great landscape photos have been made in 4:5, 3:2, and 3:1 aspect ratios.  Cinema generally used, IIRC, a 2.4:1 ratio (something you notice in IMAX movies like the recent Batman movies, which combine 3:2 Imax as well as 2.4:1)  Previously, aspect rations were dictated by film aspect ratios, though I suppose people could crop if they wanted to.  Digital allows us to make variant aspect ratios quite easily.

However, it seems that 16:9 is becoming an increasingly standard ratio.  Beyond display on HDTVs (not as critical for stills as it is for video), many monitors are moving to 16:9, the current Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note* are 720p (i.e. 16:9).  The next iPhone is rumored to be 16:9, and I wonder if many future platforms will migrate there. 

Does anyone shoot or process still landscape photos with a 16:9 output in mind?  Of course, we should match aspect ratio to subject, but I've started experimenting with 16:9 and while I've long preferred 3:! or 4:5 I'm beginning to like it. 

Marc

* as an aside, I'm seeing a lot of these in Asia these days and they are really, really cool.  Looks thin, fits in women's purse very easily (VERY important marketing decision), lighter/more portable than an iPad, and IMO the perfect size for ebook reading or TV/movie watching (Korean cell phones have HDTV reception capability).  If I wasn't a US Verizon subscriber I would consider dumping my iPhone for one, though I think the iPhone's experience/interface is better than Samsung.  And yes, I do mean Samsung and its Android "skin", not Android. 
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pointblank
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2012, 07:33:20 AM »
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Funny you do not mention 2:1 ratio (6x12 cameras) which is more or less the field of view the human eyes can see hence a beautiful aspect for photography. This comes reasonably close to 16:9.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 04:30:16 AM »
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Marc, unless you absolutely feel a specific ratio is important for some form of output does it really matter.
I have to say that for me ratio's depend on the subject matter not any predetermined ratio.
I would love to know if there is a deeper rationale for your question.

Regards

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 08:26:49 AM by Tony Jay » Logged
Gary Brown
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 06:09:11 AM »
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FWIW, here's Michael Reichmann's essay on that topic: Understanding Aspect Ratios and The Art of Cropping: A Bandage for Poor Composition, or a Creative Tool?
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MarcG19
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2012, 11:25:58 AM »
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Thanks, Folks.   I had forgotten about 2:1, since I don't have a huge number of landscape pictures in that format, but it is truly of equal merit than the others I mentioned (since they are all in the end film format based).   Thanks, also for the link to Michael Reichmann's essay. 

And as far as the broader question, yes aspect ratio should be governed by subject, but given that the picture comes in at a certain ratio dictated by the manufacturer (4:3 for my Olympus OM-D, 3:2 for my Nikon DSLR) I either have to accept that ratio, or (preferably by previsualization) either crop to another ratio or free crop every photo I have.  That crop should be dictated by subject, and I'm all for free cropping when necessary, but there are aesthetic reasons for using a pre-set format.  I'm curious about what people's thoughts are for 16:9, and if anyone's tending to crop to that ratio. 

I believe it could be especially important in the future as "full screen" for many potential digital output methods will be 16:9 (in fact, if the iPhone 5 is 16:9, my belief is that only tablets will remain as major, in production screens with different aspect ratios).  I prefer filling the screen if possible, though again subject takes precedence.   Digital output is not an end-all by any means, but increasingly I show people my output on my phone because I happen to have it with me (though I prefer my 4:3 iPad, which makes things a bit dicier since with the adoption of an iPhone 5 or the Samsungs I previously mentioned  I now have two digital output formats).   Thus, I've tended to favor 4:3 or 3:2 (which loses little IMO on the iPad) in crops, while I've never considered looking at the world in 16:9 as a default at all.

Thanks,

Marc
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2012, 11:48:06 AM »
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I believe in choosing an aspect ratio to fit the composition, but I don't free-crop every image because it would make matting and framing a nightmare. Besides, there are enough 'standard' aspect ratios that you can almost always choose one without compromising the image.

For me, I mostly use 3:2 and 5:4 for 'regular' compositions, and 2.5:1 and 3:1 for panoramics. These just fit the way I see and compose the best. I'll occasionally use 2:1 if the composition calls for it, and I think I may have used 16:9 once or twice. I'm not really a fan of 16:9 for photographs; to me it's just sort of in a no-man's land in-between regular and panoramic formats, so I almost never use it (and to a slightly lesser extent this is also why I don't use 2:1 very much).

I think the move to 16:9 screens for computer and laptops really sucks, and is just stupid. I don't care about watching full-screen HDTV on my desktop computer, but I do care about having enough vertical screen real estate for coding and image editing without excessive scrolling. I will continue to use 16:10 screens for as long as they're available (which I hope is a long time).
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