Oskar Barnack was a pioneer in photographic history. Back in 1914 he had the courage to think differently and constructed a small camera which used cine film: the Leica. He doubled the image format from 18x24 to 24x36 mm, and accordingly the horizontally positioned film made images in landscape orientation - except when the camera was turned.
Reportedly, Barnack judged the 2.3 aspect ratio to be harmonic. I do not like it, but I do not mind if others do. However, I ask myself: why do I have to live with this format as soon as I pick a camera with a sensor larger than four thirds? For sure, I can also invest a lot of money and buy a medium format camera. But why do I have to spend a lot of money and carry heavy equipment as soon as I do not want to take 2:3 images? Very simple: because it was always that way since Oskar Barnack's Leica.
But this is not the only point. I ask myself also: why do I have to turn my camera for 90 % of my images so that I can not hold it comfortably? Or buy a bulky vertical grip to make it halfway comfortable? Plus an L-grip in order to attach it reasonably easy on a tripod? The camera makers are well aware that it does not have to be that way. Already in the early days of photography plate cameras had backs which could be attached for landscape or portrait orientation, and manufacturers of medium format cameras had some thoughts about it. The cassettes of the Mamiya RB/RZ 67 and of the Fuji GX680 could be rotated. Both manufacturers forgot this when they made digital medium format cameras. Neither the Mamiya AFD not the Fuji GX645 (aka: Hasselblad H) or even the fairly new Fuji GFX-50 have rotateable backs. Strangely, even the digital back for the classical square Hasselblad 500C was arranged for horizontal rectangular pictures. If you tried to work with a focusing hood with a camera turned to vertical, you will know this is a good way for photographic adventures. All this would be easily solved if the rectangular sensors would be replaced by a round sensor.
This sensor with a diameter of 28 mm covers the image circle of APS-C lenses completely. For rectangular images, part of the sensor will not be used, but it has the benefit to use different aspect ratios and orientations in a variable manner.
When looking at the construction of current lenses you will see that the baffles of some lenses will not allow for larger sensors. Put in a different way: even though all this is quite obvious, it is not even in the thinking of camera makers. Surprised by this? Even recognizing that a mirror and a prism are not necessary took years for the the established camera makers. It has also to do with the customers who still assume that a good camera must correspond to a 35 mm single lens reflex. I am quite sure: Oskar Barnak would have done it differently. As it is, it will remain a dream for the time to come.
3. November 2022 Author Helmut Berghaus
jenseits der 80 fotografiere ich analog wieder mit Kleinbild, also 2:3, was mir auch nicht gefällt. Deshalb berücksichtige ich bei der Bildkomposition meistens etwas beidseitigen Beschnitt. Die Kameramontage beim selten benutzten Hochformat ist weniger mein Problem.
Auf die Frage nach dem Grund für das Festhalten an diesem 2:3 Format erwähnen Sie Oscar Barnacks Leica und
daß es seitdem halt immer so war.
Allerdings haben sich schon früher Andere gegen dieses unharmonische Format zu wehren versucht.
Etwa 1940 konstruierte der Ungar Dulovits eine interessante Spiegelreflex für das Format 24×32, deren Produktion
der Krieg verhinderte. Erwas später griff Nikon mit der Nikon I das Format noch einmal erfolglos auf.
Die in Ihrem Beitrag angedachten digitalen Möglichkeiten wird wohl leider die Allmacht der Industrie nebst ihren
Konstrukteuren, die nie fotografiert haben, verhindern.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen vom Niederrhein, Hemut