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Monday, 15 March 2021


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I find I can't hold the iPhone (Xr in my case) as still as I can with my regular camera, a Lumix GX7. I wonder if Apple will ever build in stabilization.

Shooting square? Now that sounds interesting. I guess I'll give it a try.

And I think you'll find the Fuji MF digital cameras can all be set to shoot square and show the crop in the finder or rear screen. If you are a Jpeg shooter the crop is baked in. If you shoot raw you'll get the whole width of the sensor and, depending on the post processing application, you can proceed with the square of you might have to re-crop. If you shoot Raw+Jpeg you'll always have a ready guide for raw cropping.

Interestingly enough, you can also shoot squares, and see the images as squares on the screens, in most other modern digital cameras as well.

Nice panorama, nice clouds. You must have noticed the little dog-cloud in the last image...?

Panorama made with Russian Горизонт camera-

I mainly shoot 4:3 portrait (vertical). A perfect fit for magazine or catalog photos, that I shot in a former life. It also works well for viewing on a phone. In my neck of the woods, the phone has replaced 4x6 prints for viewing photos.


I've done a few panoramas, but they are not how I see the world. If I need wide I just crop to 16:9. Or simply do a triptych of 4:3 shots (6x8 inch).

I'm glad that you are having fun!

"Shooting square is fun."

Your Fujifilm cameras allow for square images that show as such in the finder. I play with this at times. The good thing is no contorting to rotate the camera for vertical orientations. If your LCD flips out, then it's as good as a waist level finder.

When I was using twin lens Rolleis back in the day, I had etched lines in the ground glass finder corresponding to both horizontal and vertical aspect ratios for 8X10, so I could compose while taking the photos. I don't think I have ever printed a square photo.

When panos work, they REALLY work (for me, anyway). One of my favourite examples of this is the book Isla, by Ernesto Bazan.

The ability to see and shoot square is one of THE primary advantages of digital, far as I'm concerned. Shooting in square format is perhaps 'easier' because it's a more democratic use of space- there's less real estate to balance on either side when one composes. It's either centered or not (so much).

Panoramics are even more of a different mind set; often, they're hard to previsualize- unless you're specifically thinking them in advance. Sometimes, I've come back and kicked myself for not having thought of it- again, with digital, that too has now become more doable, w/o a panoramic specific camera.

I've certainly have had fun in the past year with a newer iPhone and its two lenses. Glad it's got a camera for more than just to photograph! In some ways it's like having my old Rollieflex along for the ride with the bonus that's it's also a Rolliewide!

BTW, an inexpensive and easy solution to temporarily disable the camera that isn't/wasn't wanted on your phone is to just place a small strip of duct tape across the lens. Problem solved! ;-p

Wait to shoot with the 50r!
Yes, a square monochrome view is easy.
and you are right to love saquares

Here's a little info I recently put together, just out of interest:
Sensor Sizes (mm)
Sensor Dimensions Area Diagonal

1/2.5 5.8 x 4.3 25 7.2 iPhone XS/12 Pro (Wide + Tele)

1/1.8 7.2 x 5.3 38 8.9. iPhone 12 Pro Max (Wide + Tele)

1/1.7 7.3 x 5.6 43 9.4 Leica C (Wife's camera)

4/3 17 x 13 225 22

APS-C 23.6 x 15.7 370 28

35mm 36 x 24 864 43 'Full Frame'

iPhone camera sensors are getting close. The iPhone Tele's are really what we would call 'portrait' lenses but a not too distant zoom is rumored. Note the iPhone 12 Pro Max has image stabilization as well.
May have to format this post Mike, if of interest!

Lately I've really taken to square format and it has nothing to do with Instagram. Maybe because it is pretty new to me, it is priming my creative juices. I've been shooting with a Rolleiflex 3.5f and a Mamiya 6 with film. I think that most if not all digital cameras can shoot square format as a choice in settings. I know my Fujifilm and Sony cameras do. If you have an LCD that can be flipped into horizontal plane facing up, it's like shooting square with a waist level finder.

I’ve never been a pano fan. Too gimmicky I think. Like a lot of these in camera special effects, they sometimes ruin a good picture. In my humble opinion!
This picture of yours Mike, is not so obvious a panoramic photo, perhaps because it has as it’s beginnings the I phone held vertically. I think?
I zoomed in on the shadow of yourself and the utility pole, and that made a nice composition. The rest, not so much!😁

I think most modern digital cameras have the option to shoot square format, and many of them preserve the entire raw file as well, so you can "undo" your choice later, if you like. The Fuji GFX works that way.

Shooting something close with a pano is not a bad thing! For how I do it, it's usually pretty necessary, but yeah the iPhone's autostitching can mess things up.

I don't shoot especially wide panos digitally (I have a Widelux F7 and Noblex 150 for that), but I'm fond of horizontal widescreen-ish frames of at least 2:1. The key for me is to break up the frame with vertical elements, somewhat akin to a comic strip with its 3 frames, so it can be organized more easily and be more readable.

Being close to a subject is a great way to place a vertical dividing element in the frame: the round hay bale placed close to the camera is probably the foreground rock of panoramic landscape photos!

Square is definitely OK. Don't get me started about all the stupid vertical phone videos out there. A menace. End of the world as we know it. Etc.

Why not take a small camera with a good sensor and do Panoramics with it rather than the phone?
As for Square digital - Hasselblad completely trashed their legacy by going to 645 rectangles for digital.

Mike, your X-t4 will shoot square if you want, or 16:9,but for some reason not 4x5 or 6x7. What is the matter with these firmware designers?

Sorry, it's the X-H1 you have isn't it? I believe it will do the same though.

The Hasselblad X1D cameras and all Fuji GFX series cameras you can set to different aspect ratios. As it is with the XF series cameras, you probably need set it to allow at least some kind of JPEG capture in order to do this (RAW+JPEG should do if you want to keep your RAW files). And you can set the JPEG profile to one of the monochrome or Acros profiles so you can use the EVF to see the world in black and white squares!

"Shooting square is fun" goes right up my alley. The square format TLRs and Roleiflexes were fun to use - no need to worry over portrait or landscape mode.

A square resembles a circle and a circle resembles a square.

My favourite is now shooting in B&W square format and that has now become my signature style. All my digital cameras have one preset mode to shoot in square format.

My own favorite panoramic photographer is Josef Sudek, who used a rebuilt Kodak swivel lens camera to produce images of Prague and its environs that are simply magical.

That Fuji GFX 50R that you've been promising to review shoots a nice square. It's square in the viewfinder, and square in the JPEG (cooked and cropped as you requested). If you shoot RAW, it comes into Lightroom "auto-cropped" to square (but the rest of what the whole sensor saw is there waiting for you if you undo the crop).

Even when shooting squares with 126 film, I was a non-conformist..


Nice light.

Mike, didn't you also shoot with a Mamiya 6 at some point?

[Yes, I forgot that, but thinking back, I cropped almost all of the pictures I took with that one too. --Mike]

"I'd rather shoot with a large single-shot panoramic camera—only then I wouldn't be be doing panos at all."

Question of definition? I think of panorama in terms of the format of the result, in some sort of combination with horizontal angle of view, not by the technique that ended up there. And of pano as simply short for panorama or panoramic

So sure, I've made lots of panoramic photos by stitching, and many have turned out well. OTOH, the projections used by all purpose apps, such as LR, PS and Affinity, are often inaccurate, vertically bulgy in the center and/or with strange bends in straight lines.

It's also easy to make them using Super/Ultra/Hyper WA lenses and cropping. These may easily be much wider than the XPan with 30 mm lens or 6x17 cm on 220 film with 90 mm lens, the old ideas of panoramic to which you refer.

With the right subject, it's also possible to use a fish-eye lens and correct to rectilinear with pleasing results.

How the sausage was made is of interest to sausage makers. Taste, texture, etc. are what matter the the one eating them. \;~)>

In recent weeks, I, too, have been using my iPhone as my sole camera— as an exercise in self-discipline; to make myself learn to use it well.

Shooting square does get rid of one of the ergonomic problems, but does not get rid of the major drawback of the iPhone (or any smartphone) as a serious primary camera.

To hearken back to the superb post Mike put up on the topic of viewfinders, the principal problem I have with the iPhone is indeed the viewfinder.

If I hold the phone up to compose, at a distance from my face where my eyes can focus on the LCD screen (the viewfinder), the image on the LCD covers only a tiny portion of my field of view. Compared to a hold-up-to-the-eye camera viewfinder, I'd say the viewfinder is about .10 to .15 magnification at the most, by my reckoning.

It may be my elderly eyesight, but I find that it is quite hard to compose precisely, anticipate a moment well, or even line up verticals properly on the dinky little LCD.

It is odd, though. I never used to experience the same problem with a tiny waist-level TLR viewfinder. Come to think of it, perhaps it is because, in a TLR, I used to glance at the viewfinder at waist-level only to reassure myself that the framing and focus were correct, but otherwise looked directly at the scene when assessing it and taking the picture.

But, with a smartphone, it is impossible to do that, with my arms and the phone itself blocking a good part of my view of the scene—ergonomically speaking, I am forced to used the LCD viewfinder to get an unobstructed view. It makes for an unsatisfactory experience in picture taking.

Are you still using the iPhone 7 plus? I checked the TOP archive but was not entirely sure.

Don't want to get you overspending, but getting last year's iPhone model is relatively good value. I got the iPhone 11 Pro around Christmas this year to play around with the ultra wide 13mm lens. The 11 or 12 Pro have a really great lens combo (13mm, 26mm, 52mm in 35eqv) and are a bit more pocket friendly than the Plus models.

Shooting in square IS fun AND a challenge, just as you say. The enforced square was something I loved about Instagram when it first appeared (I've been on IG since almost the very start). Unfortunately the very simple app for sharing fun, creative photography is now...well, it's been Facebookized.

But, there are a bunch of digital cameras that will shoot directly to the square. I think they are mostly the compact type. The very first "high rez" digital camera I used was a Leaf DCB and it was natively a square sensor. But for regular folk-style cameras, the first one I had was a Lumix LX-3 and I loved setting it for square AND black and white. That camera lasted for years but finally gave and I bought a Canon G7X MkIII which I can do the same thing with. Great stuff and both cameras were/are wonderfully capable.

A few examples:

Dan D wonders “ if Apple will ever build in stabilization” but they have done since iPhone 11.

On the iPhone 11 one can also shoot square videos but only by using the “dragging shutter button” shortcut as far as I know.

I love shooting square with my Fuji cameras. There is something about being "restricted" that make me more creative. Here is my favourite one to date. Feel free to post it if you like.


[url=https://flic.kr/p/2hVNRW4][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49179318243_8dd40a04ec_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2hVNRW4]Oak">https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49179318243_8dd40a04ec_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2hVNRW4]Oak">https://flic.kr/p/2hVNRW4][img]https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49179318243_8dd40a04ec_k.jpg[/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2hVNRW4]Oak Bluffs, Marthas Vineyard, MA[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/10025089@N05/]Zack Schindler[/url], on Flickr

My first camera, gifted to me by my parents when I was under 10, was a Kodak Instamatic 126 Electric Eye.

It shot 126 film. 26mm x 26mm.

I thought nothing of it at the time, but my first exposure to taking photos was all square format.

Thanks to Mike for reminding me!


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