thinking with pictures

what’s your aspect?

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What part does aspect ratio play when composing, capturing and then displaying an image? Since the frame is what determines inclusion versus exclusion from the image, surely the choice for one’s aspect ratio in the settings menu affects what is in or out of the frame. But which visual experience more closely approximates the angle of view in stereoscopic human eyesight? The vertical field of coverage is about 170 degrees and the horizontal is almost 180 degrees. So that would seem to vouch for the 1:1, square, aspect ratio. But TV engineers concluded 4:3 was best. However, by using a ‘normal’ lens, no matter what aspect ratio is selected, the resulting image is only a fraction of the whole, wide visual experience of the unaided pair of eyes. And so, while not mathematically identical, to give a facsimile of human vision, the best solution seems to be for a ‘normal’ lens (equivalent to 36 to 60mm lens on a 35mm film camera or Full Frame dSLR) shooting in vertical (portrait) orientation and stitching 4-5 overlapping frames to form a large, wide and tall finished picture. See this logic in more detail and with illustrations at


Author: gpwitteveen

Better Outreach is my aim. See to know more.

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