4:3 vs 16:9, which is better?

Streets of Hong Kong
When it comes to the aspect ratio of your photos, often times we get stuck with the standard 4:3. The reason is because that’s the dimension of our sensor and that’s the photography world’s standard. Right! We don’t intend to change that. And I’m a fan of tradition. I’m in favor of the 4:3 format as well. It’s just more simple and we see more in a picture this way.

So why the aspect ratio 16:9?
It’s the international movie standard these days. The advantage of that is you see the picture broader or at least it’s visually telling you to see to through one end to another. It fools your brain that you’re seeing more. Now all the computer/tv screens are in 16:9 and not to mention the smartphones as well..you just want to view it this way now. It reminiscent of the movie scenes. So anything you view it with 16:9, it reminds you of a so and so movie.

What type of pictures can convert/crop into 16:9?
I think photos of streets are best to be shown in 16:9. Many details won’t be lost while some landscapes you’d lose many foreground and such. Portraits/street photos, you really want to maintain a good amount of the people’s body. So yea, after observing many online amateur photographers’ work, i believe photos of city street and even rural country side are best presented in 16:9. Of course it’s also a matter of personal preference and up to your composition style.

I’ve got an accumulated input of photos and i’m going to illustrate two of the most obvious ones. They looked very ordinary in 4:3.

4:3

Streets of Hong Kong
The bottom part of the road is gone. In 16:9, it’s more clean and you eyes would concentrate on what’s going on over that side of the street. It saves your viewer’s time moving the attention across the street

4:3

Streets of Hong Kong
in 16:9, the stairs is guiding your way to look up ; although not much to see only two ladies finished their way up.

The best way to describe photos of city streets in 16:9 is to save your viewer’s time to think about where to look from. And the advantage of shooting streets straight across or directly from the side is that we get to see the whole section of street clearly. It’s almost like a panaroma.

I like shooting streets when i see interesting elements in it. They were all taken with Ricoh GRD IV. The trusty wide angle helped so much to present these photos in 16:9. These are merely a few from my collection. I’m no pro, not sure how to make it into a nice album on my blog. Please enjoy and comment.

Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong
Streets of Hong Kong

Our streets are spreading from both sides, I’m in favor of 16:9!!! And anything other than streets, keep them in 4:3. They won’t go out of fashion.

6 thoughts on “4:3 vs 16:9, which is better?

  1. somehow, your photos do convince me that i should consider 16:9 for street photography! i will try the format out with my photos.

  2. I’m a tight shooter so 16:9 will not work for me. I don’t even like the 3:2 aspect ratio of APS-C sensors so usually I end up cropping to a 5X7 print ratio. Still a wider aspect ratio does make sense for environmental portraiture.

    1. Highly depend upon the focal length. You are absolutely right. My X100 has a apsc sensor which is 3:2. It’s by default wider. The 35mm lens gives me a tight perspective sometimes. I rarely crop my photos off the X100. Id still experiment it when i get a chance. Thanks for your feedback, BitofLight.

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