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Author Topic: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?  (Read 608 times)

pflower

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Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:35:17 PM »

I noted that a recent firmware gave my X1D rather a long list of crop modes.  At the time I wasn't terribly interested - thinking that if I wanted to crop to any particular aspect ratio then I could always do it in post.

But I have just processed 10 rolls of film shot on my V system.  Of course with that there is no alternative but to frame and compose square.  I then realised that there is no way that I would have made any of these photographs had I been shooting with the X1D.  I would have composed for the X1D (no crop mode) and then when in Lightroom it would never actually have occurred to me to crop to square or any other aspect ratio - simply because I made the photograph that best suited the camera I was using at the time.

So it occurs to me that the crop modes available on modern digital cameras require some thought as to how to approach them.  One approach would be to restrict oneself to a particular crop mode when shooting - i.e. say "today I am only going to shoot 1x1 or 16x9 or whatever".  That was what one had to do when using film cameras.  But that seems to me potentially a bit restricting and artificial with digital.  The other approach would be to consider every scene and decide whether one aspect ratio was more suitable than another or even compose and shoot with different ratios.  That seems cumbersome and equally artificial.

Or one could simply forget that the option exists and get on with things.

I might try as an experiment the restrictive approach in places where I tend to return to.  But I was wondering if anyone else has any thoughts on how to approach the ability to crop in camera and what effect that has on composition?

Any thoughts or observations?
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Telecaster

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 04:08:26 PM »

On my Sony I sometimes use the 16:9 option. Less so since I got a 4K TV, as 3:2 and 4:3 photos get plenty of display pixels in 4K even when not using all of 'em. (I print less than I used to.) When I had Olympus OM-Ds I used 1:1 sometimes but I haven't done that with the Panasonic GX8. Oddly enough in film days I mostly saw in 4:3 despite mostly using 3:2 cameras, while now I've developed a taste for 3:2 despite the ease of choosing different aspect ratios.  :)

-Dave-
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Chris Kern

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2018, 04:34:28 PM »

So it occurs to me that the crop modes available on modern digital cameras require some thought as to how to approach them.  One approach would be to restrict oneself to a particular crop mode when shooting - i.e. say "today I am only going to shoot 1x1 or 16x9 or whatever".  That was what one had to do when using film cameras.  But that seems to me potentially a bit restricting and artificial with digital.  The other approach would be to consider every scene and decide whether one aspect ratio was more suitable than another or even compose and shoot with different ratios.  That seems cumbersome and equally artificial.

Quote
My feeling is that cropping isn’t something that we do to an image. It does it itself – demanding to be constrained in certain ways. Sometimes there’s more than one way, but it eventually becomes obvious what the photograph itself wants. This isn’t metaphor. The best photographs demand to be a certain shape. The rest make no such requests, and that’s what separates the winners from the also-rans.

—Michael Reichmann, Understanding the Art of Cropping, March, 2011

I never use in-camera crop modes.  I want every single pixel I can lay my hands on.  But I think Michael Reichmann's point was spot on, and I try to figure out during post "what the photograph itself wants."

I not infrequently find myself cropping square.  Maybe the 1:1 aspect ratio occurs to me because one of the first "serious" cameras I used was a Rolleiflex TLR that some affluent alumnus had donated to our high school photo club.  I also may have been influenced by a childhood family friend, a merchant mariner and fairly successful travel photographer—an occasional contributor to National Geographic, I believe—who never shot with anything except a Rollei.

But I prefer to think it's because that's what the photographs demand.  And it doesn't matter what camera I'm using.  A few samples below:

(1) Hibiscus (Nikon D800E);
(2) Black Eye (Fuji X-T2);
(3) Water Taxi (iPhone 6s).

bassman51

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 06:46:41 PM »

I may think about the crop while shooting, but I capture all all the data I can and crop in post.
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rdonson

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 11:23:33 AM »

I use the various aspect ratio lines in my Fuji X-T2.  They don't crop the saved photo but show me what a ratio would look like.  As previously mentioned I use 16:9 and 1:1 mostly when not 3:2.
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luxborealis

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 09:30:29 PM »

I never use in-camera crop modes.  I want every single pixel I can lay my hands on.  But I think Michael Reichmann's point was spot on, and I try to figure out during post "what the photograph itself wants."

I not infrequently find myself cropping square.  Maybe the 1:1 aspect ratio occurs to me because one of the first "serious" cameras I used was a Rolleiflex TLR that some affluent alumnus had donated to our high school photo club.  I also may have been influenced by a childhood family friend, a merchant mariner and fairly successful travel photographer—an occasional contributor to National Geographic, I believe—who never shot with anything except a Rollei.

But I prefer to think it's because that's what the photographs demand.  And it doesn't matter what camera I'm using.


+1
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Alan Klein

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Re: Crop Modes - Anyone Using Them, If So How?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 11:20:24 PM »

I shoot stills and videos for display on my UHDTV in 4K.  I produce slide shows with small video clips interspaced from a vacation for example.  Since the TV and videos are 16:9, I also shoot stills with the camera set to 16:9.  I like the whole TV to be filled up.  I want the stills to match the video format of 16:9 so I don't get black borders on the stills which would happen with another format.

When I first shot vacation pictures, I would shoot 4:3, the full pixel resolution and then crop to 16:9 in post processing.  But often, I missed the ability to crop aesthetically because I might have to crop off feet for example to get the 16:9.  So I switched my shooting mode to 16:9 so I can compose in the camera.

However, I still have some ability to change the crop afterwards.  Since I shoot Jpeg + RAW, the camera catches the full 4:3 in RAW so there is space on the top and bottom that I could use in post by moving the 16:9 framing up or down.  I rarely need to do that however because I usually frame how I want it in the camera.  But there are a few shots that do need some adjustment. 
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