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Explore Aspect Ratios With the GFX System
Find a new view by changing aspect ratios and discover how they can improve your photography
As well as the size and quality of the pictures you create, your GFX camera will let you control the aspect ratio of the frame. This option is found in the IMAGE QUALITY SETTING menu under IMAGE SIZE. Alternatively, you can access this through the Q Menu.
So, why would changing the aspect ratio be useful? It’s all about giving you the maximum number of options when it comes to both the composition and display of your pictures.
An aspect ratio is simply an indication of the relative height and width of an image. The two numbers that make up the ratio tell you the shape of the frame. Typically, you’ll see aspect ratios like 16:9, 3:2, or 4:3. These examples start out as rectangular and get closer to square, until you get to 1:1, which is, of course, equal on both sides.
The GFX Advantage
While most digital cameras will offer different aspect ratios, the GFX system offers two distinct advantages – the number of aspect ratios that you can choose from and the resolution of the files that are produced by the G Format sensor.
Seven aspect ratios are on offer, so whether you enjoy shooting panoramas, square images, or anything in between, the GFX system will meet your needs. Let’s take a look at how changing aspect ratios works and why it can be so useful…
Change the Aspect Ratio for Creativity
Today, we have the choice to create pictures in all sorts of aspect ratios, but it used to be that the shape of an image was strictly governed by the dimensions of the film in the camera. So, what began as a natural restriction of the medium has now become a creative choice.
The most common reason to photograph in a particular aspect ratio is because the shape fits the scene you’re capturing, or the vision of the image in your mind. Say, for example, you’re using a 4:3 ratio and objects in the scene are a little too close to the center of the frame. You could then switch to a 5:4 or 7:6 ratio and have a tighter composition.
Or it could be the opposite. For instance, when capturing a panoramic view, you might go for a wider 16:9 or 65:24 shape.
Alternatively, you might want to give pictures a traditional framing. Many medium format film cameras used film with a 6x6cm or 6×4.5cm (or ‘645’) size, so for those you’d just switch to 1:1 or to 4:3.
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 1:1
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 3:2
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 4:3
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 5:4
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 7:6
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 16:9
Photo © Ken Kaminesky | 65:24
Change the Aspect Ratio to Fit Your Medium
There are more technical reasons to change the aspect ratio, too. Say, for instance, you’re creating a series of pictures that are likely to be viewed on a TV set or monitor – you would probably choose to compose and capture in the 16:9 format, which those screens commonly use.
Or if you know you’re going to print your pictures on a certain size of paper, then you can set an aspect ratio that fits perfectly with that. For instance, photographs in the 5:4 aspect ratio will be the perfect size for 8x10in prints.
How Your GFX Sensor Helps
Of course, when you change the aspect ratio, you’re not actually changing the shape of the sensor, just cropping the output from it. The G Format image sensor has a native 4:3 ratio, giving 8256×6192 pixel images on GFX 50S and 50R cameras, and 11648×8736 pixel images on GFX 100. Cropping into this native aspect ratio of the sensor, you’ll always produce lower-resolution pictures than the original maximum.
Fortunately, your G Format sensor has such a high resolution to start with that this isn’t a problem. So, if you decide to use the 1:1 aspect ratio with the GFX 50S or GFX 50R, you’ll still end up with a big 6192×6192 pixel file. And on the GFX 100, a 1:1 format photo is 8736×8736 pixels!
Check out the table below to see how the output resolution of the sensor changes as you alter the aspect ratio.
|4:3 (standard)||51 megapixels||8256×6192|
|4:3 (standard)||102 megapixels||11648×8736|
How the View Options Help
Whichever GFX camera you have, the G Format sensor has a ‘native’ aspect ratio of 4:3. By default then, that’s the shape of the view you’ll see through the viewfinder or on the touchscreen on the back of the camera.
But when you change the aspect ratio, part of the view is cropped off in the viewfinder or on the screen to make composing in this new format easier. You’ll also notice that any guides you’ve added to the viewfinder will adapt to the new shape of the image – clever, right?
You can add the guides by pressing MENU OK, going to the SET UP menu, and picking SCREEN SET-UP to access the SCREEN SETTING menu
Choose DISP. CUSTOM SETTING
Then pick FRAMING GUIDELINE. The different types of guidelines can be chosen in the SCREEN SETTING menu
Do You Need to Reset?
One final thing. Remember that the aspect ratio doesn’t reset when you turn off the camera and turn it on again later. So, you could end up shooting in a format you don’t want. Just head back into the Image Size menu to fix this.
Alternatively, ensure you always shoot both JPEGs and RAW files together. That way, you’ll have the JPEG, which will be cropped to whatever aspect ratio you were using at the time, and the RAW file, which simply records the whole sensor image every time.
Want to Change Aspect Ratio Often?
If you like to change aspect ratios a lot, then you might like to map the IMAGE SIZE option to a function button on the body of the camera.
To do it, press and hold the DISP BACK button to go straight into the FUNCTION (Fn) SETTING customization screen
You can then scroll through the various options, and when you find the button you want to assign IMAGE SIZE to, just scroll right and choose that option