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One of the many joys of using the S2A is the square format of the 6×6 frames. This is partly practical in nature because it means there is no distinction between “landscape” and “portrait” format and so no awkward rotating of the camera is required, making it quicker to set up and compose on a tripod. However, there’s also the aesthetic nature of the format. In many ways a square format isn’t ideal, it provides a completely symmetrical frame and so the rules of thumb like the “golden” ratio don’t really work, and it can be difficult to balance the composition when bold elements are placed off-centre.

evening coffee

On the other hand when it works it can work really well – it’s a challenge, and I wouldn’t be shooting film with a camera that weighs a couple of kilos if I didn’t like making things difficult for myself. I find the square format works well with strong shapes and lines, and the restricted frame makes it well suited for single subjects. I also find it can work with negative space much more pleasingly than a rectangular format.
For landscapes, it can go either way, you get more height for a given width on a horizontal rectangle, but you can’t get the same sense of a sweeping vista before you that a 3:2 format can provide, or manage quite the same towering skies. In less open landscapes on the other hand, it seems to work more successfully, providing a more intimate atmosphere beside a woodland riverbank or in a city street, where a wider frame might end up just showing a blank wall on one edge.
I think it suits my own style fairly well – even before I got the S2A or the Zenith I would find a square crop in many cases suited my intentions better than the normal rectangle.