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Thread: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

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    Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    While all the other big camera companies worked to maintain traditional film formats in the digital world, forcing a square peg into a round hole, so to speak, Olympus determined to start with a blank screen. Olympus decided that since computer monitors, and digital presentation in general, was four by three, their cameras should be designed for this reality. A classic case of working with what the world offers.

    Personally, this strikes me as brilliant.

    However, the world as shifted to sixteen by nine. That is, on occasion, a four by three screen can still be seen in the corporate environment, but hardly anyone owns one, least of all the kind of people who keep up with the cutting edge of digital photography.

    Thus, the question: Oughtn't Olympus stay true to their original philosophy and abandon the 4/3 sensor and develop a 16/9 sensor?

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Quote Originally Posted by daysleeper View Post
    While all the other big camera companies worked to maintain traditional film formats in the digital world, forcing a square peg into a round hole, so to speak, Olympus determined to start with a blank screen. Olympus decided that since computer monitors, and digital presentation in general, was four by three, their cameras should be designed for this reality. A classic case of working with what the world offers.

    Personally, this strikes me as brilliant.

    However, the world as shifted to sixteen by nine. That is, on occasion, a four by three screen can still be seen in the corporate environment, but hardly anyone owns one, least of all the kind of people who keep up with the cutting edge of digital photography.
    Well put - good thinking - unfortunate that the world moved the goalposts!
    but 3:2 although better, doesn't fit either - added to which 16:9 might be a good ratio for videos and movies, but it's not too good for images.

    personally I always like Ax sizes where two sheets of the smaller size makes one of the next size (i.e. two A4 sheets side by side make one A3 sheet). it fits the golden rule nicely and looks good.

    Quote Originally Posted by daysleeper View Post
    Thus, the question: Oughtn't Olympus stay true to their original philosophy and abandon the 4/3 sensor and develop a 16/9 sensor?
    Well, no, for the reasons above

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    With the original 4/3 standard, the "4/3" referred both to the size of the imaging circle (equal to that of a video camera tube of 4/3" diameter) and to the aspect ratio. The Micro 4/3 standard explicitly includes multi-aspect ratio sensors, so the "4/3" now refers purely to the size of the imaging circle. Hopefully Olympus will join Panasonic in offering cameras with multi-aspect ratio sensors. I'd like to see other manufacturers do this for APS-C and 35mm frame as well!

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    I have NOTHING on my wall that is 16:9 other than a vertically hanging Chinese watercolor which might be close, but actually is even longer. For years I has shot with 35mm only to find myself often trimming off a bit of the edges to make it closer to 4:3 or even 4:5.
    Other than the hideous wide screen video format, which someday I might conceivably shoot but now do not, I would object to any camera capable of 16:9 and not 4:3 (or so). Since video seems to be the format that needs less resolution, at least it seems feasible to produce a 16:9 crop on a 4:3 sensor and keep the video folks happy as well as me provided that the engineering compromise doesn't screw up something in still photography.
    -bob

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Somewhat off topic, I don't like the current trend in computer displays. 16:10 displays are become scarce, and all the good deals are on 16:9.

    I like:
    1920x1200 not 1920x1080
    2560x1600 not 2560x1440

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    Somewhat off topic, I don't like the current trend in computer displays. 16:10 displays are become scarce, and all the good deals are on 16:9.

    I like:
    1920x1200 not 1920x1080
    2560x1600 not 2560x1440
    Quite agree - Apple still seem to be sticking to it

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    Somewhat off topic, I don't like the current trend in computer displays. 16:10 displays are become scarce, and all the good deals are on 16:9.

    I like:
    1920x1200 not 1920x1080
    2560x1600 not 2560x1440
    +1

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Lots of good points - but the one that struck home was Bob's "I have NOTHING on my wall that is 16:9"

    We have lots of paintings and, now I look at them, hardly any are 16:9.

    If 'composition' is important in an image - and to me this is perhaps the first thing that turns a snapshot into a picture - it is almost certainly easier to achieve good composition within a square or 4:3 frame than in a 16:9 one.

    And surely both lenses and sensors are more efficient when working for a square image than a 16:9 one?

    Tony

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amin View Post
    With the original 4/3 standard, the "4/3" referred both to the size of the imaging circle (equal to that of a video camera tube of 4/3" diameter) and to the aspect ratio. The Micro 4/3 standard explicitly includes multi-aspect ratio sensors, so the "4/3" now refers purely to the size of the imaging circle.
    One of internet fallacies. 4/3 standard says nothing about the frame ratio.
    Only the image circle diagonal is specified at 21.63mm, which is close to the vidicon picture tube effective picture diagonal of 22.5mm. The 4/3 refers to the tube's outside diameter of 4/3 inch. 21.63mm was chosen as this is usefully half of the full frame diagonal (36x24mm) ie. 43.3mm.
    4:3 ratio is close to the maximum area of a rectangle written into a circle (square is the maximum) and makes a better use of the image circle than 3:2 or 16:9. The old TV sets had circular screens and picture tube based computers were 4:3. Also for broadsheet publishing (big sheet of paper folded in half vertically) near-square formats were better from layout/cropping point of view. 8x10inch , 4x5 inch, 6x7cm, 6x6cm...
    4:3 is better for portraits, packshots, architecture ; 16:9 and 3:2 for landscapes and horizontal action (cinema).
    A lot of printing now is based on Ax standard, each next size is half (double) by folding. The ratio is here square root of 2 (ca 1.414). 4/3 is 1.33 and 3:2 is 1.5, both make equally good use of the print area in terms of cropping. 16:9 is 1.77 and is the most wasteful in cropping to Ax.
    FourThirds and m43 is capable of recording in many of the display formats (multiaspect, Ax conscpicuosly missing) so the issue is moot.

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    multiaspect 4/3 and square sensor

    With the use of an oversize sensor, 4/3 multiaspect preserves the constant diagonal (21.63mm) and angle of view (AOV) for a given f -length for all frame shapes except 1:1.
    One can imagine a massively oversize sensor 18mmx18mm, a square written over the image circle of 21.63 diagonal. That would leave the user freedom of deciding the final crop in post-- based on preferred frame shape, composition and compromises with picture quality towards the corners. That would still be a 4/3 standard, given the mount specs were preserved.

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    correction

    To write a square over a circle with 21.63mm diagonal it needs to be 21.63x21.63 of course. Or 22mm x 22mm to round off.

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    16x9 becomes very problematic when you want want to use a portrait orientation....talk about a lot of black space on your screen.

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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    I guess I'm one of the few that like the perfect square. Easy to compose, both for portraits and landscapes) and prints (particularly larger gallery wraps) look good on the wall. I'm happy to see some digital cameras now offering a 1:1 aspect ratio option, even though it is a crop. Would be even nicer to see an affordable digital camera with a high res square sensor.
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    Re: Can 4/3 thrive in a 16/9 world?

    Surely 1:1 is the optimum for a chip and a lens?

    Everything else is a crop?

    Or is my schoolboy geometry failing me!

    I used a TLR Rollei for years and never had to hold it on its side !!

    Tony

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