... blog post:


If you are to believe the digital full frame (35mm) mob, the 3:2 format is the only or perhaps better put the ideal format for modern photography. But...

As W Eugene Smith once said, “The world does not fit conveniently into the format of a 35mm camera.” So lets start with the example photograph above which is in the the 35mm format having the 3:2 aspect ratio. Pictorially it's not much of an image but it makes a great exemplar for this discussion.


3:2 is often referred to as the letter box format as it looks very much wider than it is tall. The consequence of this in the scene above is the format crops of more of the scene top and bottom. It also includes too much of the scene at the left and right edges. For my tastes anyway.

The image above is in the 43rds format with 4:3 aspect ratio which helps balance the photograph better by inclusion of more of the scene in top and bottom of the scene.

Shown above is the scene in the10x8 format which, to my eye, seem to suit it ideally, providing the best framing in this particular instance being a squarer format.

Perhaps therefore the completely square format would be optimal for the scene? Well it is certainly interesting. In this case I think it is not as well balanced as the 10x8.


What then can be concluded from all this? Well I personally would take away two main things from all this:


First; Different scenes and subjects lend themselves to being framed by different formats/aspect ratios, there is no such thing as the ideal format.


Second; One of the challenges of always using a camera in one particular format is that it tends to make you focus on subjects that lend themselves to that format missing out on some really great opportunities that would better suite a different format.


In the end it is of course, as ever, a matter of opinion but don't be a victim of being format bound. Experimenting with different formats can be liberating, photographically speaking.