adrian vila
May 10, 2017 · 3 min read

If you’ve read “I blame Instagram”, you know I’m shooting using square format now. There are plenty of reasons to do that, but that’s a topic for another post. For now, let’s say I shoot square format because I want to.

Well, you might also know I shoot mainly with Sony cameras. I own several of their cameras from different lines: point and shoot (RX100mII), APS-C (a6000) and full frame (a7II). All of them have rectangular sensors (3:2) so that’s, obviously, the aspect ratio by default. Any other would be a “waste” of the sensor you might think. I could agree with that. I don’t, but I could.

Sony seems to agree with me though, since they offer 16:9 on all of those cameras. They seem to think there might be someone out there who wants to shoot using that format and “waste” the top and bottom part of their sensors. So if you shoot RAW+JPG using said format, you’ll get a 16:9 jpg file and a “full sensor readout” 3:2 RAW file. That’s all good, and what one would expect.

Sony doing a Sony.

But for some reason, Sony seems to think shooters using their RX line of cameras have different needs from those shooting APS-C or full frame alpha cameras. My “old” RX100mII supports another two aspect ratios: 4:3 and… yes, 1:1. Like 16:9, this is just an overlay on the viewfinder and a crop from the RAW file to produce a 1:1 jpg. But of course, the main advantage of having this aspect ratio available is the composing of the frame: you don’t have to “guess” what will be out of the frame and what will be in the frame when you crop later in post production.

“Upgrade”, they said. And lose features on the way, they didn’t say.

Mysteriously enough, these aspect ratio options are not available on the bigger (and yes, more expensive) cameras. Why? No one really knows, but I’ve found people online requesting this feature on the bigger cameras years ago, and Sony’s response to my request doesn’t bring any hope:

In case you were thinking it: no, the square grid doesn’t really fix this and I refuse to put tape on my LCD. Didn’t pay $$$ to be playing with tape.

I really hope they eventually add this option via firmware update. Unless I’m missing something here, it’d be pretty straightforward (they already support it on cameras running the same software) and something some people would really appreciate.

Because lately, I’ve been thinking a bit about that X-T2 from Fuji.

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adrian vila

Written by

Medium Format Film Photographer based somewhere in the US.

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