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Question: digital photofinishing and aspect ratios ...

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Question: digital photofinishing and aspect ratios ...

Old 07-20-04, 12:51 PM
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Question: digital photofinishing and aspect ratios ...

I'm going to finally start sending out some digital picture files out to print ... but now i'm encountering a concept that many of you i'm sure are very aware of: aspect ratios.

I understand that most digital camera files are 4:3 aspect ratio

BUT

regular 4x6 prints are typically 3:2 aspect ratio?

I got this info from dpreview's site

http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glos...t_Ratio_01.htm

So, when I checked out ofoto.com and looked into photofinishing it said that they will "autocrop" to fit a 4:3 into 3:2 aspect ratio if one chooses a 4x6 print size ... unless you specify not to. That would seemingly entail possible loss of information and so forth unless you prepare the pic beforehand.

So, what's my next move?

Should I actually *gasp* force myself to learn my Jasc Paint Shop Pro to modify my digital pics to a more 4x6 friendly aspect ratio? Is that what most people do? Or do most people just blindly send out their digital pics and hope it all turns out well?

If I decide to upcharge some prints to 5x7 size will I end up with unused space kinda like borders because the 4:3 aspect ratio fits too easily within a 5x7?

Sorry for the ignorance. I'm just learning as I go along. Thanks.
Old 07-20-04, 02:33 PM
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My camera (Kodak) has a 3:2 ratio, same as 35 mm film. That fits nicely with 4x6." I use other software too, but the Kodak software allows me to preview and crop exact aspect ratios corresponding to 5x7", 8x10" etc (It's best, or perhaps only good, feature). If I'm getting that kind of enlargement, I always crop myself to ensure I get what I want. If I had a problem on basic 4x6" print (I don't) I might go with their autocrop, unless I felt strongly about a particular photo.

Even with exact 3:2 ratio, they have a little "overscan" and you lose a little around the edges. I haven't tried to calibrate too exactly.
Old 07-20-04, 08:38 PM
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I use BonusPrint from my developing and they'll print them out for you at their native AR for the same price as 4" x 6" (Actual size is something like 4" x 5.3")

Although with my new camera, I too have the 3:2 setting, so that's what I'll be doing from now on.
Old 07-20-04, 11:23 PM
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I would recommend just cropping the shots yourself. this way you avoid having shots come back with half of people's heads missing or important parts of the shot cropped out. You can learn PSP or pretty much any other program to do it. I do my cropping in Photoshop. Acctually, you can try Picasa. It's a nice little photo-organizing software but i just noticed it has cropping features (4x6 5x7 8x10). It's free too http://www.picasa.com/google/.
Old 07-22-04, 11:26 AM
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A couple of thought from comments above....as for the Kodak 3:2 ratio shots...I also have that on my CX6330. However, I use the full 4:3 only because it yields the best quality. Its more work since I then have to crop all of the pictures one at a time (I use Paint Shop Photo) but again, the quality is better.

Some shops will print the 4:3 shots...just be careful with this print option as there aren't many photo frames that will accomodate this size.
Old 07-22-04, 01:38 PM
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Ofoto has free software to download that you use to upload batches of photos into an "album" on their website. From there you order prints.

This free software has a few picture editing features like fixing redeye. And it also crops to an aspect ration of your choosing.

What I do it take the original prints and copy them into another folder and use the ofoto software to crop them to 4x6. I upload that to ofoto and order my prints. If I want a 5x7 or something else, I use to ofoto software to crop a copy (as before) of the pic, upload it, and order the prints.

I believe the software even has an option to select the image quality (how much its compressed) when you save the cropped image.

What would be really nice is a program that would show a bunch of large thumbnails that you specify cropping for individually, then the program would do the cropping en masse.

Last edited by Johnny Angell; 07-22-04 at 01:41 PM.
Old 07-23-04, 10:16 PM
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Great info ... thanks all.

Johnny, I was reading a link somewhere that showed how PSP can do batch processing for the exact thing you're talking about.

Of course, i'm still a huge PSP rookie so I can't remember where or what you do off the top of my head .... but i'm confident that most photo editing software (especially the likes of Photoshop and PSP etc ) have this capability embedded somewhere.

That's the inherent pros Vs cons with digital compared to traditional 35mm film.

I've got an absolute ton of files that I want to get going and print sometime this millennia ... but because I want to do it right it means that I have to at least consider cropping and editing before I send it out.

At least with trad 35mm film you just drop it off and forget about it. You're really mostly concerned with price and print quality.

With digital it's almost paralysis by analysis if you want to do it right - which means controlling much more of the medium than before but with potentially much better results. A tradeoff as per usual with most things in life.
Old 07-23-04, 10:35 PM
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Instacrop is a great tool for autocropping pictures in batches with previews, adding frames, etc. It's $30, and I think there's a trial download on the site. Haven't used IRfanview in a while, but that does batch cropping as well and its free, but doesn't have an interface that works as efficiently and easily as Instacropper.
Old 07-23-04, 10:41 PM
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i've been getting the 4xD (the 4x5.something mentioned above) from dotphoto. This size is cool because it fits perfectly on a quarter-folded or half-folded piece of 8.5x11" paper and makes good cards. You can get good card-stock paper and card envelopes at an office supplies store... voila! cool, cheap cards.
Old 07-28-04, 09:34 PM
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Update:

Well, I just ordered my first set of prints.

I ended just going through the www.photolab.ca site (Canadian, eh!) to try it for the first time. What the hey.

They have either their upload client or you can do a piecemeal alternative. Once you get the pics upped you can choose the usual print size and use their cropping tool to do what you like.

Most pics I was able to get a satisfactory crop but a couple I ended up picking a 5x7" instead to compromise at a higher price per print. The 4x6" wasn't going to cut it.

We'll see what the quality is like and if it turns out as advertised.

Maybe next time i'll do most of the cropping work on the comp first to save a bit of time (didn't do that this time) and try other vendors.

Comment:

I do agree with another poster that mentioned how stupid it really is for photo vendors to "shackle" you to "standard" print sizes when the default size for a consumer digicam is bigger than a 4x6" or even a 5x7".

I understand that it's an expensive investment to move towards appropriate sizing when the industry has already set their "standards" a long time ago ... but i'd pay a bit more per print if I could just get past the whole cropping issue. If I wanted mess around with cropping and the whole aspect ratio issue i'd rather do it on my own terms rather than be dictated by the print mediums currently offered.

In short: we, as consumers, have to conform to the industry rather than force the industry to conform to our wants and needs. Hopefully things will change in the future - as long as consumers raise their voice and say "This is stupid".

Anyways, i'll update (if I remember) how the prints turned out.
Old 07-29-04, 02:18 PM
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Just a semi-interesting note about this - I noticed that my local Costco offers 8x12 enlargements for digital prints, instead of 8x10, to avoid cropping.
Old 07-29-04, 04:27 PM
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Originally posted by Dirk
Just a semi-interesting note about this - I noticed that my local Costco offers 8x12 enlargements for digital prints, instead of 8x10, to avoid cropping.
I just got a couple of those last Saturday - really nice surprise
Old 07-29-04, 04:31 PM
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do they make 8x12 frames?
Old 07-29-04, 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by crankyman
do they make 8x12 frames?
They do, but be careful. I did 8x12's at Costco, bought frames, picked up the prints and they had white borders on the sides so they didn't completely fit the frame. I ended up cutting them down to fit 8x10 frames with no white sides.
Old 07-29-04, 05:52 PM
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Hmmmm... interesting. Don't remember having a white border on mine, but I've only framed one of them so far. I'm going to have to check when I get home.
Old 07-29-04, 10:31 PM
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Eh... 8x12 isn't a normal "digital" size. 8x12 is a 2:3 aspect ratio--just like 35mm film. 8x10--an aspect ratio of 4:5--is much, much closer to the "digital" 3:4 ratio.
Old 08-14-04, 05:00 AM
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Well, I said that I would report back with my first impressions of print quality from www.photolab.ca ... and it's not bad at all. A couple of thoughts ...

- overall the quality look decent. Maybe slightly soft though ...

- funny, the overall tone looked markedly different from the prints as opposed to what I see on my 19" monitor at home. I'm not sure how to really describe it or what I can attribute the difference(s) to.

The digital files on my comp look ... brighter. The prints look less "flashed". They don't necessarily look dull ... it's just that i'm not sure whether my monitor is correctly showing the true colors ... or whether the digital prints are actually off a bit .. or whether it has something to do with the ink and paper ... or a combo of both?

I do know that there are products that calibrate your monitor for you if you are serious about digital photography. Something that it tunes your monitior to show the true colors. Oh well ...

- cropping done on the website came out as advertised/expected which is a good thing I guess.

- value is good and I would probably order from them again.

However, now it's time to see if Costco is half-decent for prints.
Old 08-14-04, 08:56 AM
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Originally posted by bill_n_opus
However, now it's time to see if Costco is half-decent for prints.
At least in the US, the "Costco" online service is actually the Kodak lab for online printing, with a special price for Costco members (trust me, you wouldn't like the "normal" Kodak price), perhaps not the cheapest but decent given Koday quality, paper, etc.

However, in store printing at Costco is not Kodak, it is a machine run there by an employee.

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