Which photographers prefer to move to the square format?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by asimrazakhan, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Lately I've been attracted to the square image. It's geometry reflects simplicity and minimalism to me. A square is just a circle with four corners. :) But beyond that, I recently realized that with my 35mm film gear, I usually take 50% or more vertical shots per roll. And I shoot mainly travel photography... scenes, outdoor portraits, street shots, etc.
    The way I've been seeing my 35mm vertical shots is that I wish they were a bit wider. The vertical 35mm photo seems too tall and narrow. I think even the 6x7 vertical shot would be very nice. I wonder if 6x6 would be the winner for me or would I find it too limiting at times.
    What makes you PREFER the square format?
     
  2. Asim, I've used the square format for years for colour slides, and much prefer it to 35mm (and 645) for the same reasons as you - I find it much too elongated, especially for vertical compositions. Square images also project much better than their 35mm counterparts, but you do have the option to crop if necessary - something I rarely do in practice.
    If you use an SLR, the other adavantage is of course, you don't need a prism finder.
     
  3. Hi Asim,
    Whatever you are doing now you will find the future different, that is why I always look for a multi format camera, i.e. Fuji GX680 III even the Bronica can sing some sweet tunes with a 35mm back and for Digital the very best of all the Panasonic TZ10 cannot be beaten, if you want to laugh at that then all I can do is respectfully suggest you find out just what the TZ10 is capable of, 16:9 - superb for both Portrait and Landscape plus 3:4 and 3:2 gives you a lot of serious flexibility. It never pays to be dogmatic when it comes to Aspect Ratio.
    Cheers,
    Adrian.
     
  4. Mainly, portability.

    Just an anecdote: I`d say for some the square format is maybe subconciously related to high quality images, something I have used several times in photo contests, sending square-cropped photos from any (135, 6x7, 4x5" formats). There was always someone telling me about Hasselblad.
     
  5. My first images were all square format. I was 7 years old, shooting with a Kodak Instamatic in 127 format. I think it always looked good to my eye, and I still love shooting square with my Hasselblad. There is a neatness about square format that enhances strong subjects. But I also like 4x5, 6x7, and 6x9 formats. I find 35mm, and DSLR formats, very odd looking to my sensibilities.
     
  6. I suggest that quite simply square format yes it has become associated to high quality images as it has been said, but this was not due to mere chance, but quite simply because over the years, professional photographers found the best medium format quality was given overall by the likes of 1)Rolleiflex; 2) Hasselblad. I quote in this order since this was the way chronologically it happened 50's Rolleiflex then 60's and 70's Hasselblad...just see Antonioni's "Blow up" cult moivie as a testament of that.
    Hasselblad then if you like is the ultimate multiformat film camera! Just crop it if you need either way you like, the lenses are so excellent that the argument you are missing out in format is totally outweighed ! Demonstration of its versatility is that it's the camera you can more easily use upgraded to digital with either Phase One or even with the Hasselblad own digital backs and also the very reason why this is proving so successful that Hasselblad released the CFV50 Digital back. Just try for yourself how amazing the lenses (CFE CF and CT* and even C when used in the right conditions) are when used with digital backs, even 50 yrs old lenses (not many "old" lenses can stand this test) and that will show the level of excellency Hasselblad always sought and provided over the years and you will have your answer to why and who made Square format synonymous of professional top quality!!
     
  7. There are even square format cameras in 35mm available -- for example, the Tenax I and II cameras. Then again, my favorite format is 67, which is only provided by rather bulky cameras...
     
  8. Looks like we are brainwashed into 6x6 sorry but the Hassleblad is not a Multiformat camera it has one format only and that is 6x6 you cannot stretch it to 8x6 or any other format, all you can do is CROP ! Any self respecting photographer that feels the need to crop images is no doing his or her homework right from the start.
     
  9. Adrian:
    Didn't Avedon crop images on occasion? One would be hard pressed to put him in the category of a photographer who did not do his homework when composing.
    Most of my images are square. at one point, I sold my Blads in favor of 645 cameras because I got tired of the square. Less than a month passed before I was missing
    the square format... because it is what I prefer. Was is Paul Strand who had his 5x7 camera modified to a achieve a slightly less elongated aspect ratio... because it is what he preferred?
    To answer the original question... I simply do not know. I prefer the square, even though I find 35mm and 645 far easier in terms of composition. When you get it right in a square, it just seems.... right. When I crop, I generally do so in such a way to produce a smaller square.
     
  10. I don't always prefer square, but I found it useful, and sometimes crop to square anyway.
    When I first tried a Rolleiflex TLR, it was very frustrating, nothing worked for me.
    I realised I was so used to picking scenes which worked with a rectangle, I had to think about different locations that would provide a frame filling square composition, it was very instructive, helping to break the mind out of a format defined by the standard SLR.
    Of course the other reason for using square is that you can indeed crop, you can take a picture without rotating the camera, but with the eventual rectangular crop in mind.
    I don't like doing that, I feel I'm wasting film. It works though, and you've still got more picture than on 35mm.
     
  11. Well I have been shooting with Hasselblads for over 30 years, I love square. Well at least I thought I did until I discovered I had not done my homework (Adrian Wilson).....I love people that have all the right answers.
    Every one loves something different, thats why so many different cameras and formats exist.
    I am always drawn to square composition first, even have square rugs in my rooms....go figure. I also love not having to rotate the camera while shooting, it is a real time saver while shooting on a tripod, or candids with a flash. I also wear glasses, and its easier to have a corrective lens ground for the viewfinder if you don't have to rotated the camera (astigmatism).
    Yes some people hate hasselblads, maybe because they don't have one? Its sure no one fault but their own. But some people love them too, I always heard it takes all kinds of people in this world. But I sometimes wounder why?
    Some post on this forum are positive and helpful, some are just selfish opinions.
    But don't listen to me as I have not done my homework.....apparently?
     
  12. I prefer square images, but that's just me. I sell a lot of square portraits and candids.
    I am always drawn to square, even have some square rugs in my home.
    I have been shooting with Hasselblads for over 30 years. I really love not having to rotate the camera while on a tripod, or shooting candids with a flash.
    I have found that customers are excited to have a wedding album that is different from others, 10X10s etc. but you can also commit the crime of cropping if you like.
    I also can get corrective lens made for the viewfinder (astigmatism) which I could not do if I rotated the camera.
    But alias I have not done my homework according to the expert above, so please disregard this post. Some people know everything I guess.
    You know they make a lot of different cameras in a lot of different formats, everyone likes something different, you decide.
     
  13. Sorry for the double post....guys!
     
  14. Hi,
    Homework or not when you have a job to do you need to maximise on your potential, I spend a lot of time photographing trees, and a format like 16:9 is superb for some subjects, but hopeless for others, it is important to realise that you not only need to maintain flexebility but also be able to demonstrate this in the field, if all my images were based on 6x6 it would be a sad job, and considering the number rattled off on one day alone it can be difficult to remember exactly what sort of aspect you were looking at for any particular image. Sorry if I sound boorish or whatever but one single format as one single fixed focal length would be a serious handicap.
     
  15. After completing a huge project of digitizing my late father's square photos taken between 1955 and 1964 I have gained a huge appreciation for the square format and didn't think twice when I saw a nice Bronica SQ-A on the shelf.
    But as far as aesthetics are concerned I think my favorite is the 6x7 dimension. I like square better than 645 or 35mm but like the look of 6x7 best. But that's just me...
     
  16. stp

    stp

    I shot rectangles for decades, and I had come to see the world in terms of rectangles. I purposefully acquired a square format (Hasselblad) simply to shake up my vision a bit (and to experience the mystique of a Hasselblad). It has been an absolutely wonderful experience. Some compositions are simply made for squares. I've been looking as posted photos with an eye toward format, and I've seen many rectangular photos that I thing would do as well or better as squares, some squares that I thing would to better as rectangles, and still others that are rectangles or squares that are wonderful for that particular composition. I simply enjoy going out with a square format camera to look for square format composition. It's a welcomed challenge and renews my view of the landscape.
     
  17. I think in general it doesn't matter and you compose for the format you're using. For a particular shot one format may work better than another. What I do like about square though is I don't have to think about whether I want vertical or horizontal. I just have to compose, and I find that simplifying the process of taking the picture leads to stronger images.
     
  18. This is an interesting topic and I too am drawn to the square image - particularly in black & white. However, I shoot digital and so, when I am composing an image in the viewfinder, I am mentally cropping out parts of the scene I will later crop out in PS. I know this is unusual but I don't have any other camera and so I am working with what I have. Does anyone do this? If my 5D mkII had an option for square images, I would use it 90% of the time.
     
  19. Lately I've been attracted to the square image. It's geometry reflects simplicity and minimalism to me. A square is just a circle with four corners​
    My first camera was a TLR so I am very comfortable with square format. However I have always wondered (since the first time I took a picture) why they don't use the circle or round format which is the real nature format. I guess the reason (from the beginning) is to avoid wasting film. But now film is much cheaper than prints and the round format can fully use the image formed by the lens. There will be no need of taking vertical shot (like the square format) and there is no worries about not holding the camera straight because it's always straight. If you see "A square is just a circle with four corners" then a circle is just a circle without corners, how simple it is!
     
  20. I wish dSLRs were all square format, and we'd crop after taking the shot, and never have to rotate the camera unless we wanted flash on the side.
    However.... Aspect ratio (height vs. width) depends entirely on the subject, and the desired outcome.
    I'll shoot panoramic verticals, various rectangles and squares, and panoramic horizontals; depending on subject / outcome. For me, the pre-visualized outcome is entirely what drives the aspect ratio, the camera used, the way I crop.
    Will post 3 images here, to illustrate. First image is panoramic vertical, next image is square, and last is panoramic horizontal. Each image is "right" in the format I shot it in, and doesn't fit other formats.
    The panos were shot with a Widelux swing-lens camera, while the square image was shot with a Rolleicord V.
     
  21. Oops, glitch on uploading.... here's the vertical pano. Dead Horse Mill, Crystal CO
     
  22. The square format is a practical choice, not an artistic one. It was designed for cameras which cannot be easily turned for a vertical exposure (e.g., Rolleiflex TLR and Hasselblad SLR). Whether you "prefer" the aesthetics of a square image is purely personal. Suffice to say that artists from the classical Greek period to present prefer a rectangular format, often in an highly formalized fashion (q.v., golden ratio).
     
  23. Asim, Since all lenses that I'm aware of form a circular image at the film plane I'm surprised that there aren't more square format cameras. I mean, it seems to me that a square crop would make most efficient use of the circular image formed. Just thinking! The attraction of the square for me is the fact I don't have to turn the camera on it's side to frame an image, choosing a post exposure crop instead if the subject demands it. And, if using flash, one never has to worry about an unexpected change in the lighting pattern from the flash which is now on the side instead of on top where it usually should be. Best, LM.
     
  24. Having a glitch with uploading to the thread. But Asim, here's the examples I intended to share. Two squares from a Rolleicord V TLR, and 2 panoramics (a vertical and a horizontal) from a swing-lens Widelux FV.
    Vertical pano, Widelux FV, Mill at Crystal CO:
    http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/12052351-lg.jpg
    Square, black & white, NW Ohio Oilman:
    http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/12052350-lg.jpg
    Square, color; Sharon looking at map, Colorado:
    http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/9025097-lg.jpg
    Horizontal pano, Widelux FV; Ray & Jet's, Genoa OH:
    http://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/12052352-lg.jpg
     
  25. dlw

    dlw

    I don't always shoot square, but when I do, I prefer Dos...wait, I mean Rolleiflex.
     
  26. I have used 6x6cm square and 24x36mm, 6x7cm, 6x9cm, 4x5 inch, and 8x10 inch rectangular formats. I love them all.
     
    I prefer the 24x36mm and 6x9cm formats when shooting landscapes.
     
    I prefer the 6x7cm, 4x5 inch, and 8x10 inch for general shooting.
     
    I prefer the 6x6cm format when I am taking waist-level shots, ground-level shots, and fast action shots where I do not have time to be concerned about vertical or horizontal orientation.

    .
     
  27. A square format is certainly NOT limiting, because you can ALWAYS crop in the darkroom (or PhotoShop), if you're so inclined. I'd find the comment that "any self respecting photographer that feels the need to crop images is no[t] doing his or her homework right from the start" offensive, if it weren't so silly. Not that's there's anything wrong with a photographer deciding to always print full format, if that's what they like, but cropping is an equally valid approach [despite the '70s affectation of printing a black line with a filed out carrier as proof of some sort of mythic purity].
    FWIW my favorite format is square [6 x 6] but I almost always crop. I don't especially like square prints and, while I generally know if I'm composing for a horizontal or vertical [marked by a ruled overlay on top of my Rolleiflex's focusing screen] I value the option of being able to occasionally change my mind in the darkroom. I don't mean to say that there's anything inherently RIGHT about my approach and I appreciate that others may make an aesthetic decision to print square images or to always print in whatever format their original negative [or sensor] dictates, but I can't understand having universal disdain for another photographer's choice to crop, to change the proportion of a printed photograph, which, for me, is a valuable [and even essential] tool.
     
  28. In answer to your question Asim, I find the square lends itself to tighter composition and can be quite elegant. As others have said, the black and white square can be particularly pleasing to the eye.
    Andrew.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/15573720@N00/
     
  29. I enjoy looking at the world through a big square piece of ground glass (SL66), but I usually crop a little even if the image is nearly right as a square.
     
  30. Some things said must not go unchallenged...
    1. There are many other aesthetics completely foreign to Greek culture, ancient or contemporary. I am not Greek, and do not hold the artistic sensibilities of that culture as standard. Who cares what Greeks thought?
    2. Every time I pick up my Rolleiflex or my Hasselblad and compose on the glass, I make an artistic choice. To dismiss it as something less than that is simply ridiculous.
    3. A single lens is not so limiting to a talented photographer as questionable ability is limiting to the lens in question. I read an interesting remark regarding this on some other forum long ago:
    "beware of a man with only one gun. He probably knows how to use it." The same applies to lenses. I would wager Cartier-Bresson might have agreed with me.
    4. Who the hell decided what one must do in the field? I often make photographs using other than "correct exposure", mix unrecommended developers very imprecisely, and completely ignore temperature and recommended development times. You might be surprised by what I am able to produce using my non-standard methodology.
    Walk the dogma. Take it for a loooooooooong walk.
     
  31. I used to shoot weddings with a Rolleiflex and a Hasselblad, and I love square photos. Unfortunately I found that clients almost always want rectangles, so they usually ended up cropped.
     
  32. To Russ Britt and to F Ph It's so funny Adrian Wilson seems very "Square" himself having failed to understand what I meant with Hasselblad being the quintessential "multiformat camera".
    As plenty here, it seems I have being a working photographer for quite a while now but have "failed to do my homework". Reassuring though that quite a few of us understood who I was referring to in terms of top professional photographers that used the square format. Avedon who failed clearly big time to do his homework if you have ever bothered seeing any of his work where contact sheets are displayed. 90% of his published editorial work from the 50's and 60's was shot on Rolleiflex and Hasselblad and then cropped.... there you go I think he should have gone for evening classes thought by Adrian Wilson I guess. With him the likes of Helmut Newton etc...a big class Adrian would have been very busy teaching them how it's done!!
     
  33. I am not offended by Adrian's "homework" comment - recognising that it probably applies well enough to amateurs like me ;))
    OTOH, I found two of his other remarks to be somewhat contradictory:
    that is why I always look for a multi format camera, i.e. Fuji GX680 III​
    and
    the Hassleblad is not a Multiformat camera it has one format only and that is 6x6 you cannot stretch it to 8x6 or any other format, all you can do is CROP !​
    Now the Fuji GX680 is natively a 6x8 format camera...so to get any other format or aspect ratio from its standard back, doesn't the same "all you can do is crop" argument apply? Sure, there are backs for the Fuji in other, smaller formats, but there are also 645 backs for the Hasselblad - and they both give identically dimensioned images with all of the various digital back formats out there. So for both cameras, to select either a square or rectangular film format, you either crop or you choose the appropriate film back. In that regard, is there really a fundamental difference between them?
     
  34. Hi Ray,
    The Fuji GX680 filmbacks take format masks and you can buy dedicated focusing screens to match, ( I have nearly sold out now ) The mask reduces the image by adjusting the actual film size, acting on the transport system, so on 6x4.5 you double up on the number of shots as opposed to shooting in 6x8. I must be honest as I regard cropping as a sign of failure a bit like Photoshop, where Photographers rely on these tools as a last resort to save the day. A WYSIWYG approach is far better, it makes the job far more pleasurable when images are downloaded and viewed for the first time. Similar comments apply to the Lumix, where the aspect ratio is altered to take maximum advantage of the 14mp sensor. The choice is yours, if you are happy with a one horse race that is your choice, if your clients are happy with the outcome, then all well and good, I happen to like maintaining a considerable degree of flexibility which I hope is reflected in the end product.
     
  35. almost always want rectangles, so they usually ended up cropped​
    I have to say, although I like the square, my experience is like Matt's. It is always much harder to display square shots as 90% of all frames and matte are rectangular. There is also the practical side that paper, whether for digital output or silver, is not square either, so it is inefficient to cut squares out of it. But all of these things can be surmounted by someone committed to the square, but it usually costs more (larger rectangular frames are required to mount equivalent area square shots to rectangular shots, larger printers to get equivalent area pics etc.).
    I think that Ed is correct that the original square formats for TLRs and Hasselblads are square for practical reasons not because of artistic vision, although 'blad afterwards stressed the "primacy of the square" in their marketing. Interestingly this was swiftly abandoned with the transition to the H series.
     
  36. I figure there's so much real estate on a medium-format square negative, that it doesn't really matter if you have to crop a little.
    But I also prefer, like several above, to shoot with whatever format will give me the shape I want in the final result. And squares are suited to some subjects, standard rectangles to other subjects, and panos to still another range of subjects.
    In a Color Photography class I took this past summer, the final project involved multiple images on a single theme. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to shoots squares of squares, ie, square photos arranged in 3 rows x 3 columns, and printed on a nearly square paper. Result attached. Disclaimer: photos 2 & 3 are from one negative. But given that they're only being enlarged slightly, it doesn't much matter.
    00XoWQ-309175784.jpg
     
  37. Doug Grosjean,
    I love the concept for your final project for your Color Photography class.
     
    What grade did you get for the project?

    .
     
  38. RE: Adrian's statement that he " regard cropping as a sign of failure"; surely that is only the case if one's intention is to only print everything that appears on the negative. That's fine, for those who want to impose such limits on themselves, for whatever reason they might consider important, but for some others,myself included, that's not even a consideration. YRMV :)
     
  39. John, thanks!
    I don't remember exactly, it was either an A or a B on that assignment.
    I don't remember becaues I was taking Geology and Color Photography, two subjcets I've wanted to take for at least 30 years.... Together it was 6 credits, but in half the time due to summer schedule. So I was buried, while absorbing like a sponge. In general, I did great on the shooting assignments (composing, using color, and being technically correct on focus and exposure), and slightly less well on printing (I'd gotten out of the pre-req of b/w, due to having a good b/w portfolio, so was learning enlarging in Color Photo while everybody else already had it).

    Was a fun course. Color concepts & composition, being shown work of well known photogs, critiquing each others' photos, and color printing from negs (enlargers, color filtration, then running the prints through an RA4 process machine).

    That assignment was shot on an old Ciro-Flex TLR, after using a dSLR to get correct exposure. But I shot other assignments in there with a 35mm Widelux, and with a manual 35mm SLR. Syllabus said 35mm SLR, manual, but prof said if I could complete the assignment satisfactorily on one of my other cameras, go ahead.
     
  40. On reflection, I regret my last post. I think that Adrian only meant that he regarded cropping as a PERSONAL failure, for himself. If I'm correct about that I admire his self-imposeddisipline, even though I don't share it.
     
  41. The subject of cropping and my own self imposed discipline, as a professional Photographer I expect to be able to produce images that are above and beyond the norm of the average individual, not only using my equipment to its maximum potential but at times stepping over the boundary of accepted parameters and refusing to be brainwashed into thinking " You cannot do that because it's impossible " Anything is possible if you apply yourself and maintain a Professional attitude, sooner or later you will find the answer you are looking for, but if you are not prepared to work in a highly disciplined manner that road gets really hard and can often lead to failure. Cropping is like walking out in an untidy manner, it suggests an untidy mind, more akin to well I can fudge it when I get back because I can't be bothered now. As stated previously it is important to be Professional in your approach towards your work and your clients, but it's your practice as a Photographer, the ball lies in your court !
     
  42. Something that nobody has mentioned in the crop - no crop debate is that if you don't have to crop, if you can shoot the finished product exactly as you want it, it saves time back at the lab / shop.
    So I'm not ready to side with either camp. If I can shoot w/o cropping, I'm glad. But if I have to crop, I crop.
     
  43. Just re-ordering the photos on my profile page, and came across this one. It was shot with modern gear (Nikon D90 dSLR), but the composition seemed to cry out for a square crop. So I did, the subject (Diane) loved it, as does everybody that sees it. It's Diane, involved in a gleaning project for a food bank, at an orchard outside Toledo in October 2009.
    The photo was used by a local newspaper, in a story about the job support club that Diane is involved in, because the gleaning was a project that the job club took on. The paper cropped it to rectangular - go figure. Shrug.
    00XoYU-309201584.jpg
     
  44. "Cropping is like walking out in an untidy manner, it suggests an untidy mind"
    There may be some truth to that, in which case I'm proud of my own, untidy, right-brain dominated mind. I might well feel different if I had to consistently produce for clients, instead of the few individuals who happen to buy my prints.
     
  45. Adrian, there are 2 ways to look at this issue:
    1. Finding a composition within a composition. I guess this is what you are trying to avoid. The final image should be considered from the start and not like: "Hey this part looks better than the whole image I originaly took." I do agree here. This does to some degree indicate a lack of concentration and preparation before release is pressed.
    2. Shooting WITH the intention to crop because the current gear does not produce the format most suitable for the final image. I think you will agree, that this does actualy comply with your standards since the final image is considered from the start and the cut area was never part of the final product.
    Anyway, from my point of view, square format is just another format. Each subject or composition calls for it's own aspect ratio.
     
  46. I shoot and develop traditional B&W with three formats: 6 x 6, 6 x 9 and 35mm. My favorite camera is a Rolleicord. I will crop or frame prints in the darkroom according to what feels best for the particular photo. I notice that the vast majority of my 6 x 6 negatives get printed square, and usually full frame. These include a wide range of subject matter. My conclusion is that I prefer the square format, but don't know why.
     
  47. Louis, re your statement - "Anyway, from my point of view, square format is just another format. Each subject or composition calls for it's own aspect ratio" - my opinion is the same. Over the many years I have been an art lover, I have from the beginning noticed the unique aspect ratio a master of painting will choose for each work. With photography it is different; we have a limited number of aspect ratios to choose from, and have to frame each photograph within one of them. The skill lies in framing a picture so that if it is necessary to crop the photograph, it will be to the advantage of the subject and composition. At times the masters would select a standard aspect ratio, such as a tondo, and used their skills to make the composition fit the canvas. Louis, thanks for your concise expression of what had been a vaguely understood conclusion of my own.
    http://www.michelangelopaintings.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/michelangelo-doni-tondo-or-doni-madonna.jpg
     
  48. Lubos, sorry for calling you "Louis" by mistake, in my entry.
     
  49. When it comes to the practical business of marketing images to publications, it was long a preference of art directors to have square format and somewhat looser composition because they and not the photographer decided whether an image was best used as a horizontal or vertical. Photographers with 35mm and/or DSLR cameras, especially with zoom lenses, tend to crop too tightly, leaving the AD no room for trap or alternate cropping options.
    Regarding the statement that "Hasselblad is not a multiformat camera" above, as I recall they came out with the 16 Back well before Mamiya "invented" the 645 format.
     
  50. uk

    uk

    Jon, "a master of painting will choose for each work".
    My understanding is that the square format hardly existed in art history until the 20th Century and the arrival of the Rolleiflex. Can you shed any light on that ?
    I thoroughly enjoy square images and square format cameras, possibly through years of conditioning from Hasselblad an Rolleiflex users. I currently have 3 6x6 camera, but my captures with a past Mamiya 7 definitely enabled me to have more flexibility whilst providing 6x6 whilst maintaining a higher quality with non-square frames.
     
  51. I shoot and develop traditional B&W with three formats: 6 x 6, 6 x 9 and 35mm. My favorite camera is a Rolleicord.​
    A Rolleicord (V) is my favourite camera too.
    I notice that the vast majority of my 6 x 6 negatives get printed square​
    I like to print mine square too but it doesn't always work.
    With non-square formats I tend to favour vertical over horizontal format but I think I might be obsessed as I found myself rotating a folding 6x6 camera by 90 degrees last week!
     
  52. I shoot square camera's only, sometimes while composing a shot I think that it will work better rectangular. If I would
    have a rectangular camera I would use it, but, because I don't I shoot square and crop later, the result is the same. I
    think cropping can enhance an image, it's the end result that counts.
     
  53. Gary, one artist I have found is Gustav Klimt; had seen these famous paintings many times but never made the connection to his having met the challenge of painting a picture on a defined confined square canvas. There may have been more square paintings by him, but some were condemned of his paintings and some were destroyed, some by German police at end of WWII. Klimt died in 1918. It is possible - who knows if probable - that he was acquainted with early film formats; notice on this list that the very first format 101 was square.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_format
    http://www.oceansbridge.com/paintings/artists/k/Klimt_Gustav/oil-big/The_Kiss,_1907-08.jpg
    I have just now found this fascinating essay on Klimt's paintings which goes into his liking for square paintings. Well worth reading - I think it may express the undefined attraction some of feel for the square film format.
    http://www.all-art.org/symbolism/klimt3a.html
     
  54. I have used all formats of 120: 645, 66, 67, 69, well except maybe 612.
    I have settled on the Mamiya 7, which is 67. The reason is that if I need a rectangular frame, I can use 67, but I still retain the full 66 frame, if I crop. This will ensure a very large negative.
    Why not 69? Well, the 69's are much bulkier and they don't have meters. Also I found that I usually shortened the 69 a bit. So after cropping I'm back usually to 67, but only after additional work, which is avoided by using 67.
    But I still retain a Rolleiflex 3.5F. I just cannot part with the exquisite shutter.
     
  55. Robin Smith wrote:
    "I think that Ed is correct that the original square formats for TLRs and Hasselblads are square for practical reasons not because of artistic vision, although 'blad afterwards stressed the "primacy of the square" in their marketing. Interestingly this was swiftly abandoned with the transition to the H series."​
    Hi Robin the choices both Hasselblad, and Rollei with their Rolleiflex, made, were very precise ones. Have very compact camera systems that could offer the best optical and mechanical quality possible hence the best reliability. That is exactly what they achieved and that is why it has been recognized by professionals the world over that made them their workhorses for the last 70 odd years. The square format has been consequential to these needs.
    The only other offers, later in time, were the Mamiya RB then RZ and eventually (in a timeline) the Fuji GX680. The RB was and probably is still if you have one , a great camera but very cumbersome and really heavy, similarly for its optics. The RZ marginally lighter faster to use but less reliable. Very good lenses though, even if not at the same level of both reliability and optics of the Hasselblad Carl Zeiss. I used to assist so many photographers in London before going self-empoyed myself who used either Hasselblad or RZ's...I can truly tell you, never had one single failure on Hasselblad kit (on the equal assumption of well kept and regularly CLA'd equipment) , had instead quite a few due to malfunctioning contacts of lenses on the RZ and if you are on location it's a bugger!!! You can double bodies but if you need to double lenses too it becomes complicated!!
    Optically then the Carl Zeiss work better on the digital platform. Demonstration...you can technically still use the RZ (no idea if RB too but probably I'd think you can) quite succesfully with digital backs but it's not as common and as good as the Hasselblad V system used with CFV backs or phase one.
    Further demonstartion, on ebay you can get Mamiya lenses for 2 a penny and instead CFE lenses are difficult to find and when available they are still quite expensive. I will tell you more, even 40-50 yrs old Hasselblad lenses, considering their age, still hold their price well at an average of 250-350 Euros depending on lens and condition, not to mention the 40C that still sells at around 500-600 depending on condition. And this is for a 40/50 yrs old lens!!
    The Fuji gx680 then is such a monstrousity if you are asking me. Great camera in a sense (bulky), great and very complex engeneering (great and complex ingeneering doesn't always mean greater reliability) and this for achieving what? Effectively as others said a 6x8 camera where you can "crop" the neg in order to step down to another lower format.
    In order to make such a "monster" practical to use you need to be ...back to the square!! Yes that is the principle of a rotating back the only way to have practically a portrait mode, imagine otherwise having to turn on its side a 5Kgs camera!! Yes 5kgs + loads of batteries because you need them to operate this camera. And again 5kg, so if you are on location imagine the following scenario 5+5=10 so sat least ten kilos just of main body and 2nd spare body this versus Hasselblad say 503cwd at 1155gr so 2310grs so both main and spare body!! I guess you might start seeing WHY the square format became the most widely adopted and the best optically and mechanically. Simplicity, best optics and as a result a compact reliable system.
    To answer then your argument of the H system yes they went to rectangular format and no surprise it's digital, conceived 60yrs later and there is a motor inside to cock the shutter so why not!? Professionally in any case even the "square" of the V was used "square"...ever seen a square fashion magazine?? Practicality man, practicality... ;-))) But then you'd see an exhibition of Avedon or Bailey and all "squares"...
     
  56. "Cropping is like walking out in an untidy manner, it suggests an untidy mind"​
    Nick Knight, Avedon, David Bailey...all notorious "disorderly people"....LOL
    When it comes to the practical business of marketing images to publications, it was long a preference of art directors to have square format and somewhat looser composition because they and not the photographer decided whether an image was best used as a horizontal or vertical. Photographers with 35mm and/or DSLR cameras, especially with zoom lenses, tend to crop too tightly, leaving the AD no room for trap or alternate cropping options​
    Now, the above text quoted from Don Douglas is clearly coming from someone who knows what professional work and requirements mean.
     
  57. Gianni - wouldn't it depend on whether you were selling images to an art director, vs. selling images to a client?
    In the former, loose compositions would be best. In the latter, tight comps would be best.
    So, as always, it goes back to shooting with the final product in mind, from the start.
     
  58. Hi Doug an Art Director is my client, but yes I do see your point. If you work direct to the end user and you are your own A.D. and have direct dealings with your client yes you'd be the one ultimately "calling the shots", but then you cannot tell me that a professional photographer is not "worthy" or even disorderly if he doesn't "crop in camera", such a statement being very superficial and oblivious of the reality of so much of the commercial world that saw many of the photographers that made photography what it is nowadays!!
     
  59. Optically then the Carl Zeiss work better on the digital platform. Demonstration...you can technically still use the RZ (no idea if RB too but probably I'd think you can) quite succesfully with digital backs but it's not as common and as good as the Hasselblad V system used with CFV backs or phase one.​
    It would be a big mistake to attribute the lower usage of digital backs on the big Mamiyas to lower optical quality. The main reason is simply that the MFDB sensors are so small that a 6x8/6x7 camera has a massive "crop factor", and it makes sense to use a 6x6 camera instead...and even more sense to use a 645 camera, which is why the only actively developed MF SLRs still left are 645s (Mamiya/PhaseOne, Hasselblad/Fuji, and Pentax).
    BTW yes, you can use RB67s with some digital backs, but the choice is wider with the RZ67.
    Further demonstartion, on ebay you can get Mamiya lenses for 2 a penny and instead CFE lenses are difficult to find and when available they are still quite expensive.​
    You could be confusing cause and effect here. It is in considerable part because they are difficult to find that they are still expensive.
     
  60. Ray Butler wrote:
    It would be a big mistake to attribute the lower usage of digital backs on the big Mamiyas to lower optical quality. The main reason is simply that the MFDB sensors are so small that a 6x8/6x7 camera has a massive "crop factor", and it makes sense to use a 6x6 camera instead...and even more sense to use a 645 camera, which is why the only actively developed MF SLRs still left are 645s (Mamiya/PhaseOne, Hasselblad/Fuji, and Pentax).​
    Ray , I never wrote that I attribute lower usage of digital backs to lower optical quality. I wrote that Hasselblad cameras made, for their size due to its square format a better platform. I also quote from my own post:
    The only other offers, later in time, were the Mamiya RB then RZ and eventually (in a timeline) the Fuji GX680. The RB was and probably is still if you have one , a great camera but very cumbersome and really heavy, similarly for its optics. The RZ marginally lighter faster to use but less reliable. Very good lenses though, even if not at the same level of both reliability and optics of the Hasselblad Carl Zeiss.​
    So I said, if you wish to read again, that Mamiya made to great cameras with great optics but non "as" reliable as Carl Zeiss and despite being great lenses still a notch down from Hasselblad as and I talk from experience there are more chromatic aberrations to be corrected on Mamiya lenses used on digital than on CFE lenses used on digital. My main point though and I wish to stress that, was not so much on the quality difference - note "difference" not "lack of" - but on reliability on assumption, in both cases, of equipment as carefully and regularly CLA'd. This was my point and I stick by it 100%.
    Of course then "crop factor" is yet another additional big element in the RZ being less popular as a "digital" platform.
    You could be confusing cause and effect here. It is in considerable part because they are difficult to find that they are still expensive.​
    Once more I don't understand what you are saying different from me and I believe I am not confusing anything at all. CFR are rare for a very good reason, whoever has them keeps them as they are excellent and fully compatible even with the H system by means of a CF to H adapter. Try having a look at procentre.co.uk (UK Hasselblad) how long CFE lenses stay on USED EQUIPMENT web page. A week or two and they've sold. The used Mamiya lenses don't have much of a market as professionally not too many people want to keep them so they flooded the market, hence they are a 2 a pence. So what are we saying here that is so different.
     
  61. Once more I don't understand what you are saying different from me and I believe I am not confusing anything at all. CFR are rare
    CFR should have read CFE, obvious mistyping mistake I wish to apologize for...
     
  62. What makes you PREFER the square format?​
    Absolutely nothing.
     
  63. "Absolutely nothing" - So you don't have a format preference then?
     
  64. In 35mm, I shoot almost everything vertically; and I get tired of rotating the camera and shooting in that awkward position. If there's a 35mm camera that shoots vertically when the camera is held horizontally, let me know. I've only found one way to have that: put a Rolleikin adapter in a Rolleiflex TLR. It will give you vertical shots with the camera in normal position. Plus, you are only using the center of that fantastic Zeiss lens, and the results on 35mm film will blow you away.
     
  65. I attribute one of the reasons that a lot of people like square photography to the fact that a lot of people in the say 30 to 70 age bracket got their first contact with 'artistic' photography on an inherently square format; the record sleeve. Keep in mind that a lot of the great albums had some kind of great art of photography on them and they all had one thing in common all are square.
    And even when the pictures aren't square the framing of the album covers still was. So for a lot of people the only or at least some of the first 'art' they have come in contact with is square
     
  66. CD covers are square - 4-3/4 inches, give or take 1/64"
     
  67. CDs ended the art of cover design as we knew it. Far too small.
     
  68. I find the perfectly symmetrical square format, like well-rounded people, to be quite a bore. The rectangle is biased toward its object, and more interesting.
     
  69. "I find the perfectly symmetrical square format, like well-rounded people, to be quite a bore".
    Uninteresting subject matter is boring, not the choice of format.
     
  70. I love the square format but I wish they were cheaper to process.
    Here in UK, prices are outrageous. I just started my love for 120 but feeling the damage in my wallet already.
    I guess for long term, probably best to get myself a 35mm rangefinder to play with and rollei for special occasion only.
     
  71. I'll just be weird and say it speaks to me in a way regular formats don't.
    It's perfect for protraits-the square reflects and redirect attention to the subject. the square emphasises the person in the image, not the background (as much)
    also, you don't need to turn the camera sideways for pictures. vertical and horizontal composition can be made asis.
     

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