Prints from 6x6 Format - Do you crop or leave it Square?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by flying_tiger, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. What size of enlargement do you print from 6x6 format? Rectangular
    or Square? If rectangular, you have to crop to 6x4.5.

    I don't any B&W printing paper in square dimensions. But if you
    crop, you loose a portion of the negative, which makes the 6x6
    format the same as 6x4.5. Then, what's the advantage of the 6x6
    over 6x4.5,


  2. Advantages: Some people like the square format better (myself included), and if you want to crop to 6x4.5 dimensions you don't have to turn the camera on its side for portrait orientation. Everything is shot as a square, then you crop later.
  3. Square is just another format you can use just as creatively. I personally like square frames. If you prefer cropping as a 645, there's no dramatic difference in sharpness up to an 11X14 enlargement, providing your negatives are sharp and properly exposed.
  4. i like the square format myself, most because a perfect circle can fit inside, which makes great visual possibilites, crop it any way ya like it, its a big piece of film.
  5. And Ilford makes Mutligrade RC paper in 10x10, I just ordered it and should be here by Friday...
  6. I love the square format. It's just another way of looking at images.

    It's perfectly acceptable to print 8x8 and trim the photo.
  7. Square is best!!!!!!!!!!1
  8. Usually I print square,<P>

    <img src=""><P>

    but sometimes I crop.<P>

    <img src="">
  9. david_henderson


    More than 90% of the 6x6 slides I keep, and virtually 100% of the prints I have made, are square. But then I have a 67 camera too which I tend to use when maybe square doesn't suit my idea for the picture.

    The lack of square paper doesn't matter. Square B&W prints look great on rectangular paper orientated vertically and positioned above the centre.

    If you want to print 645 always, its a trade off between not turning the camera and a few extra frames on a roll.
  10. The advantage of the square is that it contains all the other formats and you can easily recrop to different W:H ratios. I often crop to 4x6" pictures for family album, then 8x10" to hang on the walls or 4x5" (because I can print 4 4x5s on a single letter page).

    Sometimes I also find that the picture that I envisioned to be horizontal actually works better as vertical (if you do this with rectangular format, you are loosing a lot of negative). With square format basically frame to get everything you want to be in the picture but worry about the details later. It's quite different from shooting rectangles.

    Here is a good article about square format advantages.
  11. I print full-frame.
  12. Nothing like a full-frame 6x6 neg printed large--black borders, white edge... oh yeah, it can be beautiful if done right. Not every image works in square format, though (like a lot of portraits and still lifes). My only 6x6 camera is a Yashicamat TLR, so most of my square images are street shots. But when I do shoot square, I almost always print full-frame and sacrifice a bit of paper.
  13. p.s.: Another advantage of 6x6 even, if you crop, is that you can take your 6x4.5 section from anywhere in the frame. The crop I posted above is from the top of the frame, so it's like I had a view camera and used front rise (the camera was a 6x6 Bronica S2A). The crop is also 6xslightly-more-than-4.5. If I'd had to tilt the camera to get that composition, the trees wouldn't have been as straight and a pattern of convergence might have been visible in the alfalfa in the foreground.
  14. IMHO, the square format is the most flexible.

    It is so flexible in fact, that the photographer is freed from working in any particular format. Just compose in the square frame, and then crop (or not) to whatever looks best during printing.

    My final prints rarely fall into any standard format, each is fine tuned to best suit the subject. Such fine tuning is best done when starting from 1:1 aspect ratio, i.e.: a square.
  15. Answer: Depends.

    Additional comment: Even cropping from 6x6 is of big advantage because of the freedom of crop you gain. For example, if you crop to make a horizontal print, but use only the top portion of the slide (rather than the center portion), you get the equivalent of a vertical shift of film back, similiar as on a view camera!
  16. I always crop to a rectangle. Usually I know if a photograph is going to be horizontal or vertical when I shoot, but it's nice to be able to change my mind.
  17. almost always print full frame also

    Hey Gary, I didnt know square paper is available, where did you order from?
  18. Lost in translation: I took some C41 film to a lab in Russia they returned prints 8" X 12" interesting for a metric system country. I asked, through an interpreter, for 8" X 8* prints thinking my compositions are perfect. After 10 minutes I realized they only had a 4.5cm X 6cm mask for enlargements. The good news is that their crops were good and they cost only about $1 per.
  19. Another vote for the square format. When I use my 6x6 camera, my brain, in some way, also adopts the square format. However, if necessary, I'll crop, but I consider this as I have made an error while composing. This is a very personal approach, of course.
  20. You could ask the same question of other formats too: 6x7, 6x8 and 6x9.

    Not every paper size is going to exactly match the aspect ratio of these formats mentioned above. So just cut out the unused paper! Also, think of a 6x17 format!
  21. uk


    On a recent tour of an art gallery I was told that square pictures don't occur in painting
    until the 1930's. It strikes me that coincides with the use of the Rolleiflex etc. I can say
    that, since that info came my way I have noticed that the square is excluded from gallery

    Now I do square pictures, so this is not a criticism of the format, but why would artists
    through the centuries avoid the format ?

    Printing square causes me to use a larger piece of paper. From 10x8, 7.5"x7.5" obviously
    has less presence than a 9.5"x7.5". However, move up to 10"x12" paper and a 10x10", less
    margins starts to rock.

    The cost of 10"x10" paper is disproportional to other sizes. I found it cheaper to buy
  22. There are several photographers who have posted a response here who are far better photographers than I can ever hope to be. If you look at my collection of square photos here on you will see all photos of mine I think are good. In other words I don't feel qualified to say this but will say it anyhow...

    It seems to me that the square is somewhat neutral. It does not add dynamics to the photo in the way a rectangle does. Somehow this seems to make it more difficult to successfully use the square. The further away from square the stronger the dynamic the shape itself lends to the photo.

    For example. Imagine a print 2 feet tall by 6 inches wide. Regardless of subject the shape of the print itself has a strong visual presence.

    Angles and shapes, things, within a strong rectangle seem to interact with the shape in a way that does not seem to happen with the square.

    It seems that to be successful a square has to have 'better' compostion than a rectangle. No, I don't know what better is. Wish I did. The rectangle seems to constrain the subject whereas the square demands the subject speak for itself. Maybe.

    Again, I'm probably may be way off base here, just my personal observations. I am certainly not qualified to be making such statements.

    I almost always print full frame. Am about to order 645 format mask set so that I can compose a decent rectangle in camera, prefering to print a bit of the film rebate to form a black frame. Sizes vary but are usually 10x10 or 15x15. I only have a couple 16x20 crops from square. A couple family portrait shots along with three landscapes which seemed 'more' succesful as rectangles than squares. More successful does not mean it actually was/is any good.

    One thing worth noting, I have had many comments from non-photographers who think the square photos are "totally cool", "how did you do that".

    vic... :)
  23. Now I do square pictures, so this is not a criticism of the format, but why would artists through the centuries avoid the format ?

    Not that I know the reason, but I remember reading that painters often used frames that had short (S) and long (L) dimension bound by Golden Section Rule (S/L = L/(L+S)).
  24. Hi, using 6x6 I usually print square what ever, e.g. if done on 24"x20" paper I just center the image and then cut the paper later leaving 20x20.

    If i'm doing to print via digital, I scan the film using an Epson 700 scanner, at 4800dpi, play around in photoshop and then print up to 24"x24" myself, a well exposed and scanned 6x6 looks amazing at that size. I have had much larger prints professionally made on lightjets, the largest to date has been 40x40 (cut down from a square print on 40x60), and they too looked amazing, as long as you have the shutter up and camera on a tripod, (I use a Bronica SQ-Ai). 6x6 has a lot to offer a photographer wanting large prints and fine quality!

    As for the advantage of 6x6, well you can take a photo and crop later on if you decide you want to, as you often notice something in a frame when it comes to printing that you did not notice when you were taking the photo (well I often do!), so is useful. Plus a square photo will stand out from the crowd! In a studio, it is great to be able to mount the camera on a tripod and not have to keep rotating etc depending on the shot etc.

    I think when it comes to square, you either love them or prefer not to like them, not many people are in between.


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