O.K. I get it: 4x6 isn't 8x10...Now what?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chawn_crawley, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. I've read, experienced, and searched. I get it. My D300 is a 4x6 format. It will never readily translate to 8x10. For that, I need a D3 in order to get the 5:4 ratio that I want.
    What is the best technique for a photographer (dx equipped) to handle this? Monkeying around with image size in ps3 gets confusing quickly, and doesn't save any time. Batch cropping isn't going to work either.
    What are seasoned photographers doing to answer the popular demand for 8x10 results with cameras that have 4:6 aspect ratio? Do I need to ensure that my photos have a large amount of additional background so as to allow me to crop to this later? Seems like this is going to be difficult to adapt to, particularly if I'm using all my zoom to frame something. Also seems like this increases the chances for matrix metering to give poor results.?
    I have a nasty little habit of having important information too near the edges of my frames, and so have run into this issue at the printer again and again.
  2. Print 8x12 (which is a standard anyways for artwork) as it's a full 4x6.
    For framing it, just put an 8x10 fit mat over it.
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    People lived with this with 35mm cameras for the last 80 years. It's no big deal, leave room for cropping. After some practice, it's mentally quite easy to figure it out.
  4. Don`t put anything important in the end 2 mm of the field. Then you can make a 8x10.
    Katz makes a screen already scribed of 8x10 for those who need it For a fee She might scribe a factory D300 screen if you don`t want a manual focus one.
    The other way is to set a Leica Imarect finder to around 55 mm and the length will match 8x10, but not the height. A friend did this with athletic team pics decades ago and the processor could never figure how he got precise 8x10s from a rangefinder 35mm Leica. The secret is out now.
    Most of us just don`t use the ends.
  5. Good Point, Jeff. 35mm never translated exactly to 8x10 either.
  6. For Canon, you can buy focusing screens that allow you to see the image as if it were cropped when you take the picture. Of course, you will still have to go back and crop later, but at least you could frame your shots properly when shooting. Im not familiar with Nikon enough to know if they make the same thing, but I would assume they do.
  7. Chawn, don't let arbitrary "standard" print sizes dictate your choices of equipment. The 8x10 format is simply a remnant of strict adherence to the various applications of geometry derived from observations of the natural world and applied to form conventions in art. (I could have just repeated the old "Golden Mean" and "Rule of Thirds" mantras, but it's a bit more complex than that.) Specifically, the print size was designed to accommodate contact prints from 8x10 negatives.
    With a little practice you can learn to visualize the composition you want using any format. While I love the square format and usually print square from 6x6 medium format, I'm not a slave to it. If a photo works better cropped, I crop.
    Having grid lines in the viewfinder helps in visualizing the desired composition. My D2H doesn't have that, but I can use the numerous AF sensor brackets as composition aids to check horizons, etc.
  8. If you se Lightroom (up to v2.1 now) i nthe develop mode you can choose an 8x10 crop option. You can then move the crop in which ever direction you choose.The beauty of Lightroom's crop mode is that it is non destructive -- meaning yo udon't actually throw away the parts of the photo you have chosen to crop out. Of course when you export the cropped frame as a TIFF, PSD or JPEG the crop is fixed in those formats but you'll always have the raw to fall back on if you change your mind. All oftheabove is also true for Adobe Camera Raw.
    This fixed ratio is also available as a preset in Photoshop's crop tool menu (at least in PsCS3 & PsCS4 -- I can't remember any further back then that but I suspect it is also in most versions of Photoshop.)
  9. If you still have trouble after a while just sell your Nikon and buy an Olympus.
  10. Over 50 years ago, when I was a boy, the local small town newspaper photographer gave me a few lessons. One thing he told me was, "Get your picture and always get more. Do your final composition in the darkroom." When he went on assignment, he never knew exactly how many columns or inches the editor would give any one picture. He need the flexibility.
    I have always heeded his advice and been glad I did. Very few standard paper sizes come with a 2x3 aspect ratio.
  11. Olympus or 4x5 ratio is even worse. Just try making a 4x6 from a 4x5 ratio neg. Hugh amounts need to be cut off the top and bottom. I know someone who orders 4x6 from a Canon that is set up like that and heads get cut off. It is terrible to work with if you want 4x5 prints or 3x5 prints.
  12. um, OK. if cropping pictures and mentally adjusting your shot to compensate is too much trouble, take up a new hobby.
    or just go into photoshop, drag them blue line things to 8 x 10 size and cut out the part to fit. I knew (and still do in many ways) nothing about PhotoShop and have no choice but to use the cropping tool to make all my weird sized digital files fit the standard 4 x 6 printout.
    then you provide your printer the exact size and format of file you want.
  13. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    You can also print a 6" x 9" image on 8 x 10 paper, leaving a white border. That's what I usually do.
  14. Getting a D3 won't help as it's got a 24 x 36 sensor (almost) which equates to 'your' 4 x 6, which is of course 2 x 3 ! as have 35mm cameras ever since they came into being.
  15. The D3 has a mode that will do the 4 x 5 crop inside the camera. I have never used it, preferring, as Brooks puts it, "to get more" and crop in post. Moreover, I have never felt bound by the 4 x 5 format. If a photo comes out in 4 x 6 format, I won't try to force it into another format. If it comes out 2 x 6 it will get printed that way. 8 x 10 is just a paper size, not a law.
  16. just crop
  17. An 8x10 is simply a 4x5 ratio.
    If you start with 4x6 and you want to get to 4x5, you want to remove an inch.
    Granted, everyone has differently placed AF zones on their various cameras, but on my D40x I only have three...left center right (or top middle bottom if vertical). Particularly for vertical, if my subject falls under the top focus zone, I know I'm good to go. If horizontal, use the left or right as a guide.
    "8x10 is just a paper size, not a law"
    Very true. I find I need to bear this in mind, however, because most clients are familiar with only the "common" images sizes and this has to be accommodated.
  18. If you are worried about not leaving plenty of room when you are shooting, do the following. Take the ground glass screen out of your camera, and draw a thin line with a sharpie along the short ends to approximate 4x6 or 8x10.
    I did this with my 35mm film cameras and although not an elegant solution, works well to keep the image in my normally printed size.
  19. [um, OK. if cropping pictures and mentally adjusting your shot to compensate is too much trouble, take up a new hobby.]
    L.J. Not sure why your snotty attitude detected that it was "too much trouble", when I stated that it has become a "nasty little habit" but I'll be the one to decide what hobbies I choose to take up. Among them will NOT be surfing about online forums telling others where they are deficient.
    Thanks to all the others who were willing to share what techniques they use to make this less of an issue.
  20. Monkeying around with image size in ps3 gets confusing quickly, and doesn't save any time.
    PS will crop to any format you want by simply typing in the length and width dimensions when using the crop tool. Also, labs now print to any number of paper dimensions. I always crop my images to whatever looks the best and add borders to equal the nearest print size available with the "canvas size" tool. As others have pointed out, 35mm was never an 8x10 format and somehow we "muddled through" in the darkroom to get 8x10 prints when we needed them. The only cameras that I ever used that had the specific 4x5/8x10/11x14/16x20 format were my 4x5 view camera and later a Pentax 6x7. The 4.5x6 medium format cameras were also in that ratio.
  21. This is not an issue, or a problem at all, in my opinion. How difficult is it to go into Photoshop and crop? I don't even regard it as an extra step it is so minor, especially considering the baseline adjustments you need to make anyway if you shoot RAW. Good advice in the above posts. It is not such a mental drain framing a shot with a particular final crop size in mind.....
  22. I see there are all sort of career counselors out today.
    "Monkeying around in CS3 gets confusing quickly" when a shot has been taken with important information too close to the edges to not suffer from cropping when an 8x10 has been demanded. Guess I should have replaced "confusing" with "futile".
    Almost sorry I asked. Probably will be truly I did before the end of the day.
    Never did see where I was "frustrated"; just trying to learn.
  23. How about you post some of your photos that are such a problem, and allow some photo.net members to fix them for you. Lots of people here are willing to share their talents and skills for no charge. You may be pleasantly surprised how easy it really is and learn some new techniques.

    "Monkeying around with image size in ps3 gets confusing quickly"
    "...this is going to be difficult to adapt to, particularly if... "
    "...so have run into this issue at the printer again and again"

    In part, just these three negative statements of yours in the initial request suggest that you can't and/or don't want to learn how to fix the problem.
    Instead of coming across as trying to learn, you seem to be presenting objections against the only solutions that will fix the issue.

    Good luck with learning or with your new hobby :) Guess I should have included the little smiley face the first time so you wouldn't have got so excited.
  24. For the D300, frame the image within the focus area and you'll get an approximate 8x10 pseudo-crop, then in photoshop batch crop the files.
  25. [​IMG][​IMG]" alt="Josh And Dad" /> [​IMG]
  26. Sorry for posting the photo twice. The photo of the lighthouse was just fine in it's own right; plenty of room on the left side of the image to meet an 8x10 requirement.
    I was not thinking about 8x10 anything when I took some photos of the lad & his father, then composited them in the areas that were suitable. The problem occurred when that was expected to become an 8x10 in print.
    Looking back, I should have cropped the photo first, then free transformed the fathers face to the new area. I've figured enough out to be able to do that. As I stated before, there are times (a habit that I'm yet to break) where I've left similarly important information at the side or corner of a frame. The biggest thing I wanted to know was how, in terms of technique, I can help myself be more mindful of this during the capture; rather than in recovery. I got that I have options with grid lines, as well as a few other ideas. I also wanted to know if there are times that matrix metering accounts for too much of the background brightness as a result of opening up the frame of composition when specifically shooting with excess room for cropping. That's really all I wanted to get a feel for.
    I wasn't looking for a camera to automate this task, although If I had a D3 I would run the 4:5 format when doing family photos simply because they are the ones that push so hard for 8x10's.
  27. I don't know much about the D3, what is the idea behind the 5:4 ratio? It can't be to print 8x10 easily.
  28. Let me preface my comment by writing that I am an amateur, not a professional; I do not sell my photos, so I have no idea what constraints professionals may have.
    "8x10 is just a paper size, not a law" (nor is 5x7 or 11x14). But these dimensions are not just a paper size; they are also standard frame sizes. One of my good friends use to own a frame shop. One day I used some of his equipment to mount some 11x14 prints I had made and then cut them to a non-standard size (yes, I did "get more" and compose in the darkroom; I thought they looked better in a non-standard size). He commented, "Brooks, you are a frame shop owner's dream. Every job will be a custom job (implying custom pricing)." Since then I have made all my prints a standard size.
    With digital, viewed on a computer screen, the constraints are more relaxed. However, if people want to display the images in digital frames, you are back to rigid constraints on the aspect ratio.
  29. Thomas, that has been an apparent misconception of mine after listening to a friend who is planning to buy one.
  30. I wish more mats and frames were available in 8x12 instead of 8x10. sometimes you lose a lot cropping to 8x10, and I just find the ratio more pleasing to look at.
  31. This is a big problem for me. Editors often want 9x11 300 ppi verticals. Cropping a 3:2 aspect ratio to 5:4 ruins many an image. You can guess on the original composition but you won't always get it right. This was one of the reasons I preferred medium format before digital came along. If trying to produce a custom print though, I find 3:2 easy enough to work with. As mentioned above, just cut the mat to fit the frame. It's generally a problem if someone requests a file of particular dimensions, though.
  32. Mats are available in any size you want to cut them, both inside and out.
  33. Full frame (8X12, 11X16, 16X24, 20X30) printing is available many places. Framing is not a problem because you can have a mat cut to what ever size you need, and you can even have it cut for a standard size frame. As for every order being custom from a frame shop, that can be true, but if you are using a frame shop every order should be custom anyway, even the standard sizes. Frames are mostly sold by the inch, not by the shape. You pay more for fancy moulding that plain moulding, etc. If you do a search online you can easily find custom frames that are cut for you and shipped to you either assembled or unassembled depending on the frame type and the company you use. If you are in the USA, I use www.americanframe.com a good bit, and have never had any problem with odd sizes as long as the mat is less than 40 inches. They are much less expensive than using a frame shop, and smaller sizes like 8X12 are pretty easy to do yourself. Bigger can be a pain without the proper mounting equipment, but you can always have a pro do it, and order the frame from someone else.
  34. Chawn,
    Forgot to mention, purchasing a mat cutter may also work best for you. I bought mine at a local A.C. Moore for $149.99, and it will cut 16x20 or smaller, any size you want, any shape you want (once you tackle the learning curve of custom shapes)...there are plenty of art supply surplus stores where you can get a 32X40 sheet of matteboard for as little as $10...if you make 4 16x20's, it's $2.50 a mat...8X10's even less per mat.
    This allows you to be creative while also conforming to customer's standards...Many a time I have a customer order an 11x14, and I will suggest a non-conventional crop they they adore. I cut the matteboard to 11X14, bevel the custom size, and voila, "custom framed art" for far less than anywhere would charge you. My cost stays low, my prices can be lower. Lovely situation to be in!
  35. Take an Xacto knife and carve frame lines in your D300 for the 5:4 aspect ratio.
    (just kidding!)
  36. Once you solve the 4:5 problem then you have to deal with 5:7 and 11:14 aspect ratios. I find it easier to educate my clients in advance that unless they tell what aspect ratio they need I will be composing 2:3 aspect ratio photos.
  37. Chawn,
    I think the easiest thing would to be changing the order of putting those multiple exposure type shots around a little bit. You sort of mentioned it, in your last post. Since you know the final result will need to be a standard 8X10 or such, you should probably crop the background shot or resize it to match the 8X10 BEFORE putting the other elements into the space. That's the nice thing about a digital image, you CAN resize it to any size you want to type into the box in the software. If you feel this reshaping is degrading the image, then the only thing is to shoot wider than you need, and crop later, to fit the final result.
    I don't take pictures for a living, so I haven't used anything big of fancy. A lot of times, I just use GIMP, which is free, and I have a demo trial copy of Xara Extreme 4, which looks pretty good. I have no idea if they will work with RAW or not.
    Personally, I have the opposite problem. I always end up with MORE background than I want. It must be novice thing.

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