BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Becky Eastham
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2007

Prints: Borderless, Ratio

I was wondering why when I shoot pictures on my D300 and get them printed, there are always white borders around the pictures. Can you not get borderless prints with digital?

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6/11/2008 11:23:01 AM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Becky, your question topic says "print sizes," but you didn't mention a print size in your question. To answer your question about getting borderless prints with digital: Yes.
Now, as to what you are getting from your print service, you need to take that up with them. Perhaps you need to specify borderless.
What you need to ensure is that the photo is set to the specific aspect ratio for the print you want.

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6/11/2008 12:56:39 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Becky,
You are asking: How do we avoid or circumvent a format mismatch when ordering prints? Your camera, the Nikon D300, has an image sensor that measures 15.8mm by 23.6mm. Thus, the format ratio is 23.6 ÷ 15.8 = 1.5. It’s nice to know the format ratio because we can use simple math to calculate what print size we need to order to avoid a format mismatch.
First, we decide on a paper width. Let’s say the lab has 3 1/2 inch width paper in stock. We multiple 3 1/2 x 1.5 = 5 1/4. This tells us that if we order a print on 3 1/2 inch stock, the length must be 5 1/4 inches.
Let’s try another width. The lab has 4 inch paper in stock. We multiply 4 x 1.5 = 6. Thus, we can order 4 x 6 prints.
Table of perfect format matches for your camera in inches: 3 1/2 x 5 1/4; 4 x 6; 5 x 7 1/2; 6 x 9; 8 x 12; 10 x 15; 11 x 16 1/2; 12 x 18; 14 x 21 ... Note: all lengths are 1.5 times the width.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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6/11/2008 5:03:52 PM

Bruce A. Dart   Hi Becky,
Alan is correct, albeit very technical.The so called "standard" sizes have never been the same ratio as you go from size to size. The 3-1/2 x 5, 4x6, 5x7, and 8x12 are more nearly the same aspect ratio as most 35mm and now digital cameras. The 4x5, 8x10 and 16 x20 are close to the same ratio. If you have a "full frame" image made you will get all of your image but it may not fit the standard sizes. An 8x10 would crop about 20% of a 35 mm image. Now with digital, it's slightly more. When you are counting on "what you see is what you get" you will be disappointed unless you keep this in mind. Why manufacturers never truly "standardized" the sizes is beyond me. Even now, as popular as digital is with hardly anyone still shooting film, you can only obtain 8x12 frames, for example, in a custom shop. An 11x14, a popular size for decades, doesn't fit either of these aspect proportions (as you can see from Alan's calculations.) when getting prints made with any lab, however, sometimes you have to specify (or ask what their equipment is capable of)about borders or not. There is much to be said for finding a good processor and sticking with them to produce consistent results.
Most people make an assumption that making prints is an EXACT science, when in fact there are many variables. Teaching film classes I used to point out that you could send the same negative to the same lab on three different occasions and conceivably get three very different results. While the equipment is better, electronic files can do the same.

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6/17/2008 5:30:54 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Print sizes thus format size: Photography was born in the Victorian age owing to the success of Daguerre 1839. Oil painting had dominated for centuries thus canvas and frame sizes were fixed by a flourishing industry. Most came from the discovery of the Golden Section/Golden Mean by Pythagoras plus the universal appeal of the 1.6 ratio in use for thousands of years.

As photography evolved it moved away from the silver plated copper sheets of Daguerre to glass plates. Again a flourishing industry was already in place making tiny window glass for cabinets. Most large camera formats were born due to convenience and price of cabinet size glass.

At first photo paper and glass plate sizes were matching. The Dutch dominated in paper making. They had perfected a machine that made a singe paper sheet that measured about the distance between the outstretched hands of the machine operator. This sheet was cut into smaller sheets, the idea was reduced waste. The English consumed large quantities of 8x10 drawing paper.

Thomas Edison invented motion pictures. For the film, he turned to Kodak, madding a deal with George Eastman. Kodak was making 70mm wide film for their “you push the button we do the rest” box camera. Edison’s engineers, for economical reasons, slit the 70mm thus making the finished film 35mm wide. Further they punched sprocket holes on both sides to facilitate smoothly transporting the moving film. The space between the sprocket holes allowed for an image 24mm wide. They set the height at 18mm thus for many years motion picture projected a rectangle with a ratio of 1.33.

The 35mm still camera: The German camera maker E. Leitz marketed the Lieca camera. Their chief engineer, Oskar Barnack designed this camera around surplus motion picture film stock, it was plentiful. The Lieca camera retained the 35mm film width and the 24mm frame width however since the camera was to be held mostly horizontal, Mr. Barnack doubled the 18mm height making it 36mm. This the current full frame 35mm remains 24mm height 36mm length a ratio of 1.5.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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6/17/2008 8:09:04 AM

Amy L. Maalmi
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2007
  Hi Becky. I'd just like to ask where you are printing your pictures? I work for Inkley's as a photographer and their print lab allows you to choose whether you want borders or not. However, for some odd reason, they have decided to make default for those borders to "Add borders", so if you don't uncheck that, you get them whether you wanted them or not. If you are printing there, or one of their affiliates (Wolfe or Ritz) this could be your problem. Hope that might help.

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6/19/2008 4:39:12 PM

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