The shape of your image’s frame strongly affects its composition, as well as bringing about a different look and feel. This is why it pays to know your aspect ratios – and how to use them.
All FUJIFILM X Series and GFX system mirrorless digital cameras offer the ability to shoot with different frame shapes, also known as aspect ratios. Of course, you can crop an image to whatever aspect ratio you like in post-production, but there are some advantages to selecting a frame shape in-camera while you’re shooting. You’ll be able to see how your composition is affected by your choice of frame and make adjustments accordingly.
You can do this on your FUJIFILM camera by following the below steps:
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean your cropped frame is then fixed in stone. If you’re shooting RAW files, you’ll see your aspect ratio in-camera when you shoot, but your images will be captured using the whole sensor. When you open these RAW files in your favorite image-editing software – like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom – the aspect ratio you shot with will be remembered, but you can change, remove, or adjust it with the application’s Crop tool.
Choosing an aspect ratio is largely a matter of personal taste, but each has its own advantages and can even evoke a different look and feel in your image. Let’s explore some common aspect ratios, see where they came from, and how they can be used creatively.
The 3:2 Aspect Ratio
This is the native aspect ratio of sensors in X Series cameras, as well as the vast majority of other digital cameras out there. Since 3:2 is the default aspect ratio that most photographers use without even thinking about it, it’s very familiar to us.
In some ways, the 3:2 ratio is jack-of-all-trades, master of none. It’s plenty long enough to get everything in and doesn’t give excessive white space – though there’s nothing extraordinary about it, and some photographers view it as being a little too wide for their tastes. Nevertheless, this is a safe bet and a good fit for common print/frame sizes, like 4x6in.
© Afton Almaraz
The 4:3 Aspect Ratio
The 4:3 aspect ratio has its origins in 645 medium format film. It’s also the old standard TV size, so it’s a recognizable shape. Many photographers like 4:3, because it’s less elongated than 3:2, making it more suited to portraiture. This is the standard shape of sensors in FUJIFILM GFX cameras.
The 1:1 Aspect Ratio
There was a time when some medium format cameras shot square 1:1 images in order to give magazine editors the freedom to crop pictures vertically or horizontally, without losing too much image quality. These days, you’re more likely to find people doing the opposite – cropping their rectangular images to a square frame.
Platforms like Instagram have made the square frame popular again, and that’s great, because this perfectly proportioned frame is ideal for many kinds of photography – particularly when a high degree of symmetry is involved. Try centering a subject for powerful impact, or positioning a subject away from the middle to create tension.
The 5:4 Aspect Ratio
Perhaps the most traditional film format of all, this aspect ratio is reminiscent of the sheets of 4x5in or 8x10in film used in large format cameras, and isn’t too far away from the square 1:1 format. Portrait photographers prefer the 5:4 shape.
The 16:9 Aspect Ratio
This elongated aspect ratio is the same as what’s used for wide-screen TVs and close to the formats used by the movie industry. The long, thin proportions are great for landscape photography, but also for giving that cinematic look and feel to portraits and documentary photography. It’s also a good bet when you shoot video.
The 65:24 Aspect Ratio
Available on GFX cameras, this panoramic format is long and thin, and can create striking images of landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture. It can be tricky to use at first, but with some practice it will become a firm favorite! All X Series cameras feature a Panorama function, which creates a similar image shape.
Your Next Steps
- CHALLENGE Can you photograph the same scene using all of the aspect ratios on your camera? Try it, and make a mental note of how you have to change position, focal length, or vantage point in order to get each one to work. Post your sets of pictures to social media with the hashtag #MyFujifilmLegacy. You can also submit your work here for a chance to be featured on our social media channels
- WATCH Check out our video below to learn more about aspect ratio