2

This topic is touched on in How important is the viewfinder coverage percentage? (Figures like 95%; 100% for Canon 7D?), but is not central to the question or answers.

I own a Nikon D3200 which has ~95% viewfinder coverage. Because of this, I sometimes get little surprises at the the edges of my pictures. Obviously, I would "get it right in camera" if I could, but that's impossible to guarantee when I'm not actually seeing the image that the camera is taking.

I've been considering adding a 95% crop as my first post-processing step to mitigate this issue. I've already considered the following:

The final image will be the same as the viewfinder image

I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong here. This fact outweighs the negatives that I have been able to think of.

It adds an extra step to post-processing.

I'm fine with this. Applying a preset to each import will not take much time. I could also apply it during import if turns out to be even a little bit of a hassle.

I lose 5% of my resolution

The D3200 has 24.2MP resolution, so I'm still left with 23MP. That should still be plenty of resolution for most needs.

I don't take landscape photos

This is the main style of photography that I imagine would be most affected by a universal 5% loss of the image, where every little bit you can get in frame usually helps.

So...

Amy I missing anything here? Am I underthinking it and missing something important, or is this really no big deal and the right choice for my workflow?

  • 1
    crop is artistic tool. I almost never keep original crop, for example, because 24:36 ratio is too wide for most things, such as portrait. Don't worry too much about losing those 5%, because chances are you will crop much more in post – aaaaaa Dec 10 '15 at 0:39
  • Actually landscape photos or similar are those situations where you can get the "perfect" framing right on the spot as you got time. Matching the crop to the viewfinder coverage could help there to streamline post-processing. – Grebu Dec 10 '15 at 19:30
3

I don't think you're missing anything significant. I can think of two smaller things, though: a pro and a con.

On the "pro" side: lenses are almost universally weaker at the edges and corners, with increased vignetting, loss of sharpness, greater chromatic aberration, and so on. By cutting off the edges, you're cutting off the technically worst part.

On the "con" side: if you make prints, and especially if you order them from a commercial service, the edges are often not 100% aligned there either. If you compose and crop tightly, you may end up with stuff you wanted cut off.

And, I guess, not really con but maybe something to be aware of: you're decreasing the apparent field of view of your lenses by a small amount. If you're using prime lenses (or often use an extreme end of a zoom) you may become accustomed to that exact framing, and if you switch to a higher-end body with 100% coverage, you'll have to relearn. This mostly depends on your style, and how sensitive you are to that kind of thing. I mention it because the fact that you are thinking about this at all indicates that you might be.

Overall, though, I think you've basically got the advantages and disadvantages down.

  • You could turn the con round to a pro because if you're printing, especially for cards etc, then you have a bleed area already in the image – laurencemadill Dec 10 '15 at 0:10
1

It is worth to note that, if you use eg. Lightroom and apply the crop in an import preset, you can change your mind at any time later, so there is no disadvantage at all.

0

The final image will be the same as the viewfinder image

I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong here. This fact outweighs the negatives that I have been able to think of. It adds an extra step to post-processing.

Not generally. Even if you've a viewfinder that provides a TTL view, it is typical for distortion corrections to be applied in-camera now. So what you see is not quite what you get anyway.

Now I advocate a policy of framing loosely anyway. This gives you a safety margin for cutting things off accidentally in those never-repeatable shots. It also means that if you do a slight rotation to correct a shot you have room for the required crop after it.

I lose 5% of my resolution

The D3200 has 24.2MP resolution, so I'm still left with 23MP. That should still be plenty of resolution for most needs. I don't take landscape photos

Losing 5% area is losing a tiny 2.5% of linear resolution, and that's hardly noticeable in practical terms ( even way below 24Mp ).

If pixel counts are your concern for your image then you've missed the big picture completely. And bare in mind that Nikon's flagship D5 has only 16 Mp, so if it's good enough for pros, what do you need all those pixels for ?

I cannot ever recall someone berating me for not having enough pixels in my shots. Forget pixels.

It is, I think, a mistake to think that you have to religiously stick with what framing came out when you shot. The whole point of post processing is to let you make the most of the scene and that includes cropping an image (aggressively!) to get what you want.

I shoot street stuff a lot and, more often than not, a precise framing when I shoot is not practical. You'd lose the moment.

So I frame loosely and crop as needed in post.

And I did that when I has a 6 Mp DSLR, not just now.

  • nikon D5? hm... – aaaaaa Dec 10 '15 at 0:41
  • Good points, "perfect" framing is hard to achieve with moving subjects, random situations etc. Getting the "perfect" frame right in camera puts unnecessary pressure on the photographer. Not saying that framing is unimportant though. – Grebu Dec 10 '15 at 19:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.