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Photography Question 

Tops of Photos Getting Cut Off

Hi all,
I've been noticing lately that the tops of my digital pics are getting cut off when I have the photos printed. When I asked the man at Ritz why this was happening, he explained that digital cameras save photos in more of a square shape, so when you try to print a 4x6, the top (or bottom) will get cut off. My questions:

1) Is this true?
2) I'm thinking of getting the Digital Rebel ... will the same thing happen with a Digital SLR??

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10/3/2004 11:38:55 AM

Naomi Williams   It may be that the photos are being stretched to fit the frame.
Digital camera photos are not the same shape as those of a 35mm camera (because the ccd is a different shape), but you should still be able to get them printed without the heads being cut off, though.

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10/3/2004 10:24:56 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Most digi-cameras have sensors in 4:3 format, which exactly matches traditional TVs and computer monitors. Enlarged, a full-frame print is 4.5" x 6", so that to get a 4x6 print, 1/2" is cropped off.
35mm film and digital SLRs like the Digital Rebel record images in 3:2 format, which give 4x6 prints without cropping. On the other hand, this format has considerable cropping in 8x10 images - 2" cropped from a full-frame 8" x 12", where the 4:3 format loses only 2/3" from the full-frame 8" x 10.66".

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10/4/2004 8:26:26 AM

Scott Pedersen   When I upload to york the digital prints are 4 X 5.3 or 5.6 something like that. They are not 4 X6 and I am givin that choice at the time I do my order. The digital format is different than a standard 35 mm soThey are not cropping off anything. I did understand this was something photofinishers were going to for digital so maybe Ritz hasent caught on yet.

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10/5/2004 3:50:52 AM

Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
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  I crop my images in Photoshop (either on my camera card or a CD) before taking them to the developer. This way I can be sure they are being cropped to suit me.

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10/5/2004 6:16:34 AM

Gail Cimino   You should check your camera manual, you may have the option to change this yourself. I have a Kodak EasyShare DX6490, and I can set either 4:3 or 3:2. I have been using 4:3 and trying to train myself not to crop too tightly in the camera, so that in Photoshop I can crop for any size print I want.

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10/5/2004 11:01:10 AM

Ken Henry   At the kiosk select the proper size for digital, approx 4" x 5" or ask for full frame pictures.

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10/5/2004 11:55:29 AM

Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  The first time I had my prints from my Sony Mavica printed, most of my prints were cut off at the top. I was horrified. The photo lab explained to me about digital format, etc. After that, before I get my photos printed, I go into Photoshop, create a new canvas(4x6, etc.)and drag my original photo over to the new canvas, then I do a free transform to fit the image in the canvas. With the Mavica, I noticed that when I resize, I get a lot of cropping, but with my new Canon Rebel, it's just perfect. My photos would fit in a 4x6 with virtually no cropping. This actually kind of surprised me after my experience with the Mavica. I guess the 3:2 format (as Jon mentioned above) explains it. I also agree with Jon about cropping in 8x10 prints.

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10/5/2004 6:32:05 PM

Ken Henry   It's not the problem with digital cameras and their size of prints. You're not going to a lab who has the new equipment to make the correct digital size prints. 4x5 to 4x5.5. Therefore, like I said, you must tell the lab to make full frame prints, no cropping.

Hmmmm...Ena, I'm not familier with the Rebel Digital. Is it actually exposing a 35mm format 4x6 proportional image?
Is your monitor proportional to 4x6 size or just about square in size?
If you look at your 'square' monitor and the 4x6, do you see everything in the 4x6 print(top and bottom) that you see in the monitor?
Or are you stretching out the image to 6"?

So, if I have a Rebel and look thru the 'square' monitor and make the exposure
then it will do one of three things, if I understand correctly.
1. It will add to the 6" sides that I will not see in the monitor, or
2. It will automatically crop the top and bottom out, or
3. It will stretch out the sides to 6" making people fatter.

Digital format is basically the same as a 645 medium format. You're going to get a 4x5 size print., etc.

Therefore, the only 35mm digital format cameras are the Canon 1DS and Kodak DCS.

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10/5/2004 10:31:01 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  >>"Therefore, the only 35mm digital format cameras are the Canon 1DS and Kodak DCS."<<

This is not true. The 1DS and Kodak DCS Pro series are the only ones with a digital sensor that is the same dimensions as the 24mm x 36mm film frame of 35mm film. But all of the interchangable lens digital SLRs by Canon (Digital Rebel, D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 1D, 1D mk II, 1Ds, 1Ds mk II), Nikon (D70, D100, D1_, D2_), Fuji (S2 Pro, S3 Pro), Kodak (DCS series), and Pentax (*istD) use the same 3:2 format as 35mm film. The Olympus DSLRs use 4:3.

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10/6/2004 6:16:50 AM

Ken Henry   Thank you John for correcting me. I have only a Canon A75(non SLR) digital. I have used a Rebel and it didn't appear that the monitor size was 3:2 ratio. So of course my assumptions. Is that so with other digital SLR's monitors?

My thoughts of course were based on full frame 35mm because of my architectural and interior work using very wide angle lenses 14mm and up, and shift lenses 24mm and up.
So someday Canon may come out with another full framer for only $2,000 or less. And all I need are manual controls.

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10/6/2004 11:10:01 AM

Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Hi, Ken. No, I don't think the Rebel actually exposes a 35mm format 4x6 proportional image. When I go into Photoshop to get a 4x6 size, I actually have to resize it by dragging at the corner of the image to get the size proportional (i.e., stretching out the image to 6") but when I do that, there is virtually no cropping of the image (I will get the whole image into a 4x6 canvas)--bottom or sides. And yes, I do have a square monitor.

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10/6/2004 11:21:15 AM

Ken Henry   Apparently the Rebel is 4"x5.3 instead of 4"x6".

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10/6/2004 5:04:35 PM

Gail Cimino   Ena, I'm a little surprised at the technique you describe - creating a 4x6 canvas, free transform, etc. All you need to do in Photoshop is go to Image > Image size and change either the width or the height. You should keep "constrain proportions" checked. The "resample image" option is a whole other discussion, which has been addressed previously on this site . You should know about this even using your method - because you're actually resampling when you use free transform.

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10/6/2004 8:28:24 PM

Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Hi, Gail. Yes, I do use the Image>Image Size in PS (that is what I use when I resize the photos I enter into BP's photo contest) and I have also used "resample image." I guess I use the method I use to reassure myself that my image will indeed print correctly in the size I want. -Ena-

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10/6/2004 9:02:42 PM

Ken Henry   Ena...why do you feel you need to distort the photo and stretch it to 6" when the proper image is 4"x 5.3"?

Are you thinking that there is some sort of digital error and you feel it must be corrected to 4x6?

Do you feel you need to use the whole 4x6 paper so that there is no waste?

That's like me taking a 645 medium format photo of you which prints out to 4"x5" and stretching you out to 6".
You shure would look funny.

APS format is a 4"x7" image. So, should that be 'corrected' to 4"x6"?

There are a variety of photo formats producing a variety of images sizes.

There is a consumer misconception that ALL digital images should be 35mm format size. And those mini-labs are satisfying the consumer by producing cropped full size 4x6's. And if asked by an aware consumer that there is something wrong with their photo, and what's the mini-lab's answer? Ask them. The Best answer I like is "that's the problem of Digital, they have different sizes". Wow!

If you don't have a lab nearby who can produce the proper size photos for you, send your images by email to and they will mail you the finished custom photos. And it's better quality than my Epson 2200.

I appoligize for my offensive attitude towards you here regarding this matter.

Regards, Ken

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10/6/2004 10:12:29 PM

Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Hi, Ken. Nope, I am printing my images at home with a Canon i960. I only go to a lab if I'm printing a bunch of photos--and I don't even send it to a lab--I use a Kodak PictureMaker machine and I print from a CD.

Also, I don't distort my photo when resizing because I drag one of the corners while holding the SHIFT key. If you don't hold the shift key, then of course, your image will be distorted--but then, you probably already knew that :-)

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10/8/2004 6:27:42 PM

Ken Henry   Thank you Ena, Fortunatly I'm able to use graphics design artists to redesign, correct, 'manipulate' my images for me. This gives me time to work behind the camera. I would not be able to afford the type of equipment and programs these designers have.
I have learned to become a better photographer because of these artists. One time I had a really dificult lighting situation. And I told the artist,
"Why don't I just take the picture with what I can do and you can do the rest in the computer. (we were making a catalog of stairways for a mfr)He Say's,
"I charge $175.00 per hour, become a proficient and true photographer by getting it right the first time." (I do have another who charges only $25 per hour.)
So, I pursue that final, pure, unadulterated exposure. And it does get easier.

regards, ken

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10/8/2004 8:38:13 PM

Karrel Buckingham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/28/2004
I have had this same problem (in fact, I have 35 photos sitting beside me, with parts cut off, check out pix of Timothy with his missing snout & antler tip). You have to resize them before you take them to a do-it-yourself print machine. At Ritz Camera, if I give it to the guy, they come out correct without me resizing them. In fact, he has told me to give him as much information as possible and he will print them correctly.

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10/11/2004 10:52:44 AM

Lorraine Jones
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/10/2004
  Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Thanks, Karrel, for posting.

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10/11/2004 2:09:36 PM

Emily C. Barker   I use to print all my photos. As of right now, the print "standard" sizes, meaning 4x6, etc. But they promote that they are working on other sizes. Anyway, you can post your picture to their website, and then move the picture around so that it is cropped just how you want it. It will still get cropped, but you can decide where you want it cropped.
Hope this helps. Emily

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10/13/2004 12:03:58 PM

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