In my opinion, 16:9 always look better when it’s horizontal. The subjects seem more ‘vast’ and larger when it’s cropped to 16:9, but at the same time, I don’t feel like I’m looking at something that’s wider – I’m just seeing ‘more’.
I’ve decided to try 16:9 jpgs to see if I like them, and so far, as long as I keep things horizontal, they’re not bad.
However, if it’s 9:16 (vertical), the effect is a bit different:
Granted, it’s not an apples to apples comparison of the same subject at the same distance-to-subject. I obviously focused and recomposed on the second shot so I was able to adjust the camera to get more foreground for added depth. I didn’t do this for the first shot since I wanted everything on the same focal plane for that one.
The format of this blog also forces images to be a fixed width, but not a fixed height, so the 16:9 image was resized to fit the confines of the blog, however, the 9:16 image was able to maximize its height since its width was already close to the fixed width. This formatting limitation (or feature?) gives the vertical picture more screen presence.
Anyway, it’s an exercise in perception. Normal human field of view is approximate, depending on the focal point. However, since our eyes are side-by-side and not on top of each other, it’s more natural to see wider things than it is to see taller things. The illustration below shows that even at greater than 155 degrees, an image, if rectilinear, still looks ok:
Sometimes, I miss having a wide-angle or an ultra wide-angle lens, but being able to crop and force perspective is almost the same thing.