format: 6x7 is weird isn't it?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by j_d|30, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. I was thinking of buying a Mamiya 7 because of its sharpness and the fact that it is a light RF.
    My problem is that 6x7 is weird, isn't it? I stare at a picture that my eyes can barely distinguish from a square... does not seem intuitive enough, not natural I guess, not one of those ratios that strike you as perfect...
    My options are to always crop my work from Mamiya or look at another format such as 6x8 or 6x4.5...
    I know there are cameras that take such film such as Fuji (for 6X8) or Mamiya or else for the latter, but I think none of these are RF or light...
    Any RF options? I am willing to consider non-RF if I hear a strong recommendation for a camera with amazing glass and reliability... With medium format anyway I guess I would consider using a tripod...
    PS: my others are a Leica M6 (love it) and Mamiya C330 (which I think is not sharp enough)
  2. I forgot to mention that 6X9 is very nice too, I also see that there is a Fuji but sharpness is questionable it seems on this Fuji.
  3. For those of us from a simpler age, 6x7 is a good fit for 8x10 prints. Not a lot of cropping involved. The "ideal" format of that period was 4x5, not the Greek ideal (1.618). 645 is close to this "ideal" too, but errs in the opposite direction. 4x6 prints are a fairly recent phenomena (for some of us), designed to accommodate the 2:3 ratio of 35mm.
  4. when the Koni-Omega camera was introduced- it might have been the first 6 x 7 Ideal format casmera.
    many recognized the advantage of an image that properly fit an 8 x 10
    prints from 35mm used to be 3.5 x 5 chopping off the ends of a 35mm image.
    it took me a while for me to find a 4 x 6 Gantz speed Ezl. but there never
    was any 4 x 6 enlarging paper..
    Old viewfinders were mainly guesswork.. especially on "folders"
    if rifles had the same accuracy all the deer would be safe.
    not until the slr did a viewfinder become accurate.
    later some of the high end cameras used both 6 x7 and 6 x8 * hangers on from the past)
    and the 6 x 7 "ideal format" never really was in prime time.
    good idea though.
    at least they made 4 x 6 the standard for 35mm.
  5. I think it might be more of what you're used to than anything JD. I shoot very little 35ml nowadays (which often strikes me as being too narrow) and like the 6x7 format very much because it's so close to my 4x5's. In fact I am prepared to make significant compromises just to keep the format intact when cropping.
    Maybe also it is a little old fashioned , as Edward implies. Nowadays formats, especially on tv, in feature films and also I notice on smartphones have an ever more stretched out widescreen picture frame. For some reason wide is seen as modern and contemporary and I'm sure this has a great effect on what we expect and how we are used to reading pictures.
  6. I go back a bit too but like 6x7 format much better than square or 645.

    Rick H.
  7. To me, everything else other than 6X7 is weird.
  8. The 6x7cm format was introduced in the '30s (?) by Linhof. It was called the "Ideal Format" because you could print on standard paper sizes, 8x10, 16x20, etc. without cropping. At least that what I remember being told by a Linhof technical sales rep back many years ago when I worked in a camera shop.
    That's why I used an RB67 when I owned a studio, unlike my Hasselblad shooting competitors, I didn't have to rely on some lab tech deciding how my images should be cropped.
  9. As Edward said:
    For those of us from a simpler age, 6x7 is a good fit for 8x10 prints. Not a lot of cropping involved.​
    It's all the others that were out of step.
  10. With so much real estate on the Mamiya 7ii, I always include just a bit more than necessary to make sure I'm getting what I want, then I crop either slightly or heavily to get the rectangle that fits my subject. I'm not sure any of my 6x7s end up with a 6x7 aspect when I'm done.
  11. Its all in the mind! I at first thought the 6x7 felt a little strange, but as others have said it prints well on 8 x 10 or equivalent sizes without much cropping and it does seem to have a little feeling of being stolid. You just have to get used to it. If you prefer 6 X6 Than the Mamiya 6 gives pretty much the same camera in the square format. Of course 6 x 7 gives you a tad more cropping leeway.
  12. It is subjective of course. But to me 6x7 is just enough rectangle to allow a sense of movement in the composition either up and down or side to side. I go back and forth between my Rolleiflex (6x6) and Pentax 67. The 6x6 is so powerfully centric that it is hard to create any sense of motion from the center. The 6x7 is enough to let you work off center and feel the sense of the other side of the frame, causing the sense of reading or motion from one side to the other.
  13. J D, the Fuji 6x9s have a good reputation. I've only shot with the GSW690III (65mm lens = 28mm eq. in 35mm format) but it was very sharp. Alternately you can go for the earlier interchangeable-lens models (G690, G690BL, and GL690) ( None of these cameras has a light meter built in.
  14. The Koni-Omega used a 2-1/4" x 2-3/4" (6x7) format on 120 film (10 shots), advertised as the "Ideal Format" since it so closely approximated the 4:5 format. Graphlex introduced a clone of the Koni-Omega somewhat later, and perhaps some others too. 5"x7" prints were the oddball "skinny" prints. Most of us inked in 5x7 lines on the Rollei viewfinders so we wouldn't clip elbows. Wedding pros in to 50's and 60's, except for Chicago, used 2-1/4" square or 4x5 cameras. Chicago photographers were quick to adopt 35mm, and used the extra capacity to shoot all possible combinations of guests to maximize print sales.
  15. If you want a bigger RF wasn't the Mamiya press one? - Here I don't mind 6X7 and believe all the "ideal format" arguments. The only reasons to shoot 6x6 & smaller are somewhat affordable slide projectors or the convenience of using a WLF without a rotating back.
  16. The 6x7 is weird if it looks weird to you for the purpose you want to achieve, and your aesthetic values.
    Obviously, landscape is better shot with 645, or wider with 6x9 whereas a single object for instance, may be framed better with a 6x6.
    The reasons mentioned by others here about how the 6x7 came about in order to be better printed on standard paper media, is a consideration but not the most important one, if it is in your way of achieving your visual presentation goals.
    You shouldn't need to crop.
  17. I've always struggled a bit with 6x7 - and have always felt that the perfect medium format ratio, for me, would be 6x8.
    6x7, for me, can tend to look a bit "square." 6x9, on the other hand, can be a bit challenging for me when composing vertically (which I do rather often) - but is an admittedly nice ratio for horizontal landscapes.
    For me, 6x8 would be an ideal compromise, and also decisively different enough to be complimentary to 6x6, which I also shoot on occasion. And what could be a minor point for some, 6x8 would give 9 frames per roll, which would give three equal lengths of 3 images - fitting perfectly into a single Print File page. Every time I cut a roll of 6x7 for storage, I need to either cut three lengths of three photos and have one left over, or cut three, three, and two for one page, and have two left over. This aggravates me to no end!
  18. There are plastic pages with 4 rows that would allow 3,3,2,2 for storage.
  19. That's the thing, 6x7 is not wide enough to create a rectangle, and looks like a 6x6 "mistake", while 6x8 may be just right, and 6x9 even better.
  20. "....not the Greek ideal (1.618)." - A format ratio of 1.618:1 was never the Greek ideal. The Golden mean or Golden ratio was applied by the Greeks to the diagonal of a frame, in order to arrive at a "perfect" proportion within the frame. It's also the root of our rule-of-thirds, which is an approximation of dividing the frame dimensions by the Golden ratio, and can be applied to any ratio of height to width. In that application it does work, but not as a guide for deciding frame dimensions. It was never intended for that purpose.
    The above unthinking application and misunderstanding of the intended application of the Golden ratio has now resulted in us watching our video, computer and television content through a letterbox. It has nothing to do with aesthetics at all, and everything to do with rendering older viewing and taking equipment redundant for purely commercial purposes. It just shows that we can be sold any BS, including an unnaturally narrow view of the world.
    Look at the contents of any art gallery or museum. There are almost no canvases that have a format ratio of 1.618:1, and in fact most "masterpieces" have a ratio much closer to square than they do to being an elongated rectangle. Since canvases and frames can be cut to any dimensions the artist thinks suitable, doesn't it seem odd that elongated canvases are thin (pun intended) on the ground? Did Rembrandt, Leonardo, Van Gogh or Monet go for canvas ratios of 1.618:1? Definitely not! Even the standard still 35mm format is overlong for most purposes, and that was arrived at purely as a matter of convenience by Oskar Barnack so that his prototype leica could take cheap cine film using a simple sprocket counting advance mechanism. Shame it's stuck with us for so long really. It doesn't even fit the 1.4:1 ratio of ISO series paper sizes or any other standard printing paper size.
  21. Artists rarely worry about sticking with one aspect ratio for a composition, preferring to use different ones as the subjects fits. I see photography as similar and find nothing weird about 6 x 7 (In fact, it is practical as it fits closely many aspect ratios available with enlarging or non-silver printing papers).
    We tend to get trapped by the aspect ratio of 35mm or of a 6x6 medium format, 4x5 or 5 x 7 inches, etc. Each format is fine for certain shots or aims.
  22. I was putting negative strips into a ClearView file when it occurred to me that four strips of 2, 3, or 4 (8, 12, or 16 exposure) fit nicely. I wonder how you fit 6x7 in the same pages.
  23. Glen,
    Try the archival negative files sold (for example) by B&H (B&H # PR6743100 Mfr # 020-0200) which hold 3 negs (6x7) per row over 4 rows, otherwise you will probably be able to hold only 2 per row on other sheets or sacrifice the number of rows. The 4 x 3 are on slightly oversize pages and are likely a bit more expensive.
  24. Edward, that's a very interesting story
    about Chicago photographers.

    Hasselblad produced a print ad in the
    '90s showing the benefits of the
    square: assuming you composed
    appropriately, you could crop either
    horizontally or vertically from the same
    frame. Also, you can fit 12 square
    frames neatly on one contact sheet.
    Try it with 6x7 frames. ;-)

    And I was never a fan of the Mamiya
    6x7 monsters with the revolvable
    backs. The Mamiya 7 is great, though.

    I like 2:3 horizontally. But vertically?
    Too tall. Seriously, 35mm perhaps
    should have been 6- or 7-perf all along.
    I think the first Nikon S RF camera was
    like that.
  25. 6X8 would be P-E-R-F-E-C-T
  26. To All: The OP did not indicate he would have a problem with either storing or printing the 6x7
    JD: It appears the consensus is 6x8.
    Fuji GX680III. Amazing glass. Can do 6x8,6x7,6x6,645 with insertion of proper mask. Ten pounds.
  27. JD, you might try the Japanese market and one of the more reputable Japanese sellers on the Bay to find a mint or near mint Fujifilm GW 680 III rangefinder with 6x8 frame size. Apparently this variant of the 670 and 690 models was sold mainly in Japan. The optics are very fine, if you don't mind fixed lens and absence of in built light meter. I use my 690 for most of my 120 film work.
  28. If you can live with 6x6 consider the Mamiya 6. Looks like a slightly smaller Mamiya 7, but I think with the 6 the lenses can partially collapse into the camera body for transport. Sharp lenses. I've never heard any bad press about the sharpness of Mamiya C330 lenses, but with that system it's either waist level or optional porrofinder which IIRC, reduces brightness quite a bit. If interchangeable lenses are not needed consider the various Rolleiflex and Rolleicord models.
  29. The issue is that 6x7, as far as I understand, isn't really 6x7, but more like '60x77', the average frame size being closer to 56x72 than to the 56x65 that the name would imply. The ratio is really close to the 1.25x of 8x10/4x5. Otherwise, 6x7 would hardly be better than 6x6 for anything.

Share This Page