Sequence viewing > Aesthetics Index - Resource - © Lloyd Godman

The dimensions of the Camera Frame

The format of the camera us use has certain proportions - 2:3 in the case of 35mm. This is a proportion based on two simple numbers and the frame can then be sub-divided according to this ratio.

There are many other format ratios like 1:1 for 6x6cm, 4:5 for 4.5x6cm 4x5" and 8X10", etc. The sub-division of the frame might include ratios like 1:1, 2:1, 4:5, 5:8.

Renaissance artists decided that these ratios produced a static division in the image and by contrast more dynamic divisions could be created with more interesting ratios. he olden section, which was know to the Greeks is the best known "harmonious" division. Based on pure geometry and the elegance of the division lies in the fact that all the areas are integrally related. The ratio of the small section to the larger one is the same as the larger section to the entire frame. Sub-division of the 35mm frame according to the golden section is very close to the frame itself - 2:3.

Mouse over




While a painter might deliberately divide the frame in this way photographers tend to work in a much more intuitive manner. However making yourself aware of the proportions of these divisions allows you to apply them in an approximate way when framing the subject.

The golden section is not the only method of creating harmonious divisions and if you are interested you can find info on this.

Most photographs are taken with a format equivalent to 35mm film

While it has a balanced proportion it is also quite familiar and predictable. Other film formats include.

Film formats

Each of these has is own size or area and the larger the area generally the more quality or more information the negative contains.

However, in our consideration for design we need to consider the ratio of one side to the other.


With 4.5 X 6 cm 120 roll film, the ratio is the same as 4x5" and 8x10" sheet film. Often this is refereed to as the ideal format.


Want to learn more? - do a workshop or one on one with Lloyd Godman

Comment on this resource











110 cameras 110 cameras