Croppyity-Crop! — My Flickr Game

I unwisely mentioned, in a DPReview comment thread, that I loved the Canon EF 135mm F/2 lens for its wonderful “croppability.”

The photos I’ve taken with the 135 continue to look wonderful when tightly cropped. When I’ve shot dancers, for example, it has given me a workable equivalent of a 300mm F/2 lens which, if such a lens existed, would likely cost upwards of $12,000, instead of the $700 I paid for a used 135.

I said “unwisely” because the expected, in fact, happened. A person replied to my comment in scornful tones of great authority, admonishing me that no real photographer would ever shoot with a view to cropping. They would – obviously – get it right first time, in the camera, so that no cropping would be required.

I didn’t reply, but shrugged and walked away. Lots of people hang out in photography gear sites looking for opportunities to appear taller by cutting off other people’s heads. A jolt of ego-juice refreshes their spirit.

Meanwhile, photographers who make a living with their cameras very commonly talk about the quality of cropped images taken with certain lenses. Not every image can be attractively composed in the 3:2 format of a full-frame digital camera. Details need to be emphasized, and distractions need to be removed.

I have a weird little camera-nerd game that I enjoy. While deciding which lenses to buy, I visit the Flickr photo galleries to view photos taken with those lenses, and I’ve bookmarked hundreds of  images that I love. Along the way, I’ve realized that perhaps 20% to 40% of the photos I admired could be improved by clicking the images in Flickr to enlarge them and then reframing them accordingly. Of course, not all of the photos can be appropriately cropped by the Flickr enlarged view.

An example is this photo by Jacopo Colombo of a famous site in Iceland, Landmannalaugar. It’s lovely as-shot, but I believe it gains impact when enlarged, placing the tip of the highest peak in the far upper-left corner of the frame.

It makes the figure of the woman holding the camera the focal point of the image, giving it a human interest and human scale. It strengthens the idea of the image by enlarging the flowers in the meadow to a point where they are visible. It emphasizes the contrast between nature’s impersonality as represented by the mountains in the background, and the flowery meadow and human figure. Finally, it clarifies the image by revealing the wonderful sharpness of the Canon lens. In short, I think it tells a stronger story.

The most croppable lenses I’ve owned include the Canon 24-105 F/4 L, Canon 135mm F/2 L, and Fujinon 90mm F/2. There are many others that I admire but cannot afford — a ridiculous example would be the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH, at $11,295.

If you’d like to play, here are 27 personal favorite photos on Flickr, all taken with the wonderful Canon EF 24-105 F/4 L IS USM. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT saying that ALL of these photos could benefit from cropping.

Candidates for Cropping?

I selected photos that I felt it would not be completely ridiculous to consider cropping. If you just want to look at good 24-105 photos, I’ll post links to all 114 of my bookmarked photos below.

  1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattew85/25496680423/in/pool-ef50stm/
  2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimtoft/30664606455/in/pool-eos6d/
  3. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mahernaamani/24279244159/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  4. https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercohn/25606135715/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/25529269900/in/pool-eos6d/
  6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andre_yabiku/26169010112/in/pool-eos6d/
  7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/131735581@N02/23214676264/in/pool-eos6d/
  8. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/26392164530/in/pool-eos6d/
  9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rg69olds/27717647064/
  10. https://www.flickr.com/photos/84488652@N06/26832437124/in/pool-eos6d/
  11. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/29378643486/in/pool-eos6d/
  12. https://www.flickr.com/photos/48616868@N00/29433231141/in/pool-eos6d/
  13. https://www.flickr.com/photos/crones/29932869430/in/pool-eos6d/
  14. https://www.flickr.com/photos/simonweb92/30026309470/in/pool-eos6d/
  15. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitryk68/30489924631/in/pool-eos6d/
  16. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/30478670232/in/pool-eos6d/
  17. https://www.flickr.com/photos/48616868@N00/28980184070/in/pool-eos6d/
  18. https://www.flickr.com/photos/23845489@N08/24918282244/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  19. https://www.flickr.com/photos/131912989@N02/25513388925/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  20. https://www.flickr.com/photos/princeprestigephoto/31601182393/in/pool-1455650@N25/
  21. https://www.flickr.com/photos/128680398@N04/22468861018/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  22. https://www.flickr.com/photos/114288680@N03/22855917126/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  23. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/26318970631/in/pool-eos6d/
  24. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/25736902010/
  25. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/25562763875/
  26. https://www.flickr.com/photos/click100/44127142825/in/pool-canon24-105/
  27. https://www.flickr.com/photos/judge171/30799949238/in/pool-canon24-105/

All Canon 24-105 F/4 L IS USM Bookmarked Photos:

  1. https://www.flickr.com/photos/trochford/32102032668/in/pool-canon24-105/
  2. https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan-photos/46093817965/in/pool-canon24-105/
  3. https://www.flickr.com/photos/atoxtavato/45998417435/in/pool-canon24-105/
  4. https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrs/46993654051/in/pool-canon24-105/
  5. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yarns101/46043861935/in/pool-canon24-105/
  6. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yarns101/46006110915/in/pool-canon24-105/
  7. https://www.flickr.com/photos/reecegarsidephotography/27547798005/in/pool-eos6d/
  8. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fun-fotografie-verholen/23589842545/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  9. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/46324443571/in/pool-canon24-105/
  10. https://www.flickr.com/photos/isarcuri/23588121856/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  11. https://www.flickr.com/photos/78728469@N02/46347797255/in/pool-strobist/
  12. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/24777472695/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  13. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/19279516578/
  14. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/31603317277/in/pool-canon24-105/
  15. https://www.flickr.com/photos/25517957@N03/33057901728/in/pool-canon24-105/
  16. https://www.flickr.com/photos/119351046@N08/23792957725/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  17. https://www.flickr.com/photos/112607534@N02/15873371770/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  18. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajayabalaka/22159855124/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  19. https://www.flickr.com/photos/liofotos/23672406753/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  20. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ahp-photography/24154866001/
  21. https://www.flickr.com/photos/trail66td/22553443253/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  22. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattew85/25494998444/in/dateposted/
  23. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattew85/25496680423/in/pool-ef50stm/
  24. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimtoft/30664606455/in/pool-eos6d/
  25. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lauradrakeenberg/16766740707/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  26. https://www.flickr.com/photos/isarcuri/22813994139/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  27. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_murphy/25097186046/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  28. https://www.flickr.com/photos/trail66td/24918574523/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  29. https://www.flickr.com/photos/danielsak/27143538484/in/pool-eos6d/
  30. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mahernaamani/24279244159/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  31. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rg69olds/27376422804/
  32. https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercohn/31604478946/
  33. https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercohn/29471674255/
  34. https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercohn/25342618666/in/pool-eos6d/
  35. https://www.flickr.com/photos/petercohn/25606135715/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  36. https://www.flickr.com/photos/24151892@N06/25139168073/in/pool-eos6d/
  37. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/25529269900/in/pool-eos6d/
  38. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkvols/25515508343/in/pool-eos6d/
  39. https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshuawindsor/25588065254/in/pool-eos6d/
  40. https://www.flickr.com/photos/24151892@N06/25617233383/in/pool-eos6d/
  41. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andre_yabiku/26169010112/in/pool-eos6d/
  42. https://www.flickr.com/photos/139304929@N02/26244827791/in/pool-eos6d/
  43. https://www.flickr.com/photos/juliencoquillat-photographe/25919669761/in/pool-eos6d/
  44. https://www.flickr.com/photos/133839130@N05/25858472244/in/pool-eos6d/
  45. https://www.flickr.com/photos/achille5997/17975204773/in/pool-eos6d/
  46. https://www.flickr.com/photos/barrykelly/25542611236/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  47. https://www.flickr.com/photos/131735581@N02/23214676264/in/pool-eos6d/
  48. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/26392164530/in/pool-eos6d/
  49. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rg69olds/27717647064/
  50. https://www.flickr.com/photos/84488652@N06/26832437124/in/pool-eos6d/
  51. https://www.flickr.com/photos/r_topor/27393025962/in/pool-eos6d/
  52. https://www.flickr.com/photos/128488549@N04/27203514494/in/pool-eos6d/
  53. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/27893448555/in/pool-eos6d/
  54. https://www.flickr.com/photos/13983694@N06/27733980590/in/pool-eos6d/
  55. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephane57540/28060499155/in/pool-eos6d/
  56. https://www.flickr.com/photos/128056224@N03/27941367191/in/pool-eos6d/
  57. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ndelbrueckfotografie/29006053716/in/pool-eos6d/
  58. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/29378643486/in/pool-eos6d/
  59. https://www.flickr.com/photos/48616868@N00/29433231141/in/pool-eos6d/
  60. https://www.flickr.com/photos/crones/29932869430/in/pool-eos6d/
  61. https://www.flickr.com/photos/simonweb92/30026309470/in/pool-eos6d/
  62. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmitryk68/30489924631/in/pool-eos6d/
  63. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/30478670232/in/pool-eos6d/
  64. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gunman47/30160560914/in/pool-eos6d/
  65. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartnice/46089206924/in/pool-canon24-105/
  66. https://www.flickr.com/photos/130823621@N07/28857830774/in/pool-eos6d/
  67. https://www.flickr.com/photos/48616868@N00/28980184070/in/pool-eos6d/
  68. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jacopirmin/29502454195/in/pool-eos6d/
  69. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yarns101/46006110915/in/pool-canon24-105/
  70. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yarns101/45971557775/in/pool-canon24-105/
  71. https://www.flickr.com/photos/svenbergerfotografie/28715589175/in/pool-eos6d/
  72. https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_murphy/25359798142/in/pool-eos6d/
  73. https://www.flickr.com/photos/23845489@N08/24918282244/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  74. https://www.flickr.com/photos/131912989@N02/25513388925/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  75. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeweinhold/23525408331/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  76. https://www.flickr.com/photos/rg69olds/22564392573/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  77. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nimbus20/22214184033/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  78. https://www.flickr.com/photos/princeprestigephoto/31601182393/in/pool-1455650@N25/
  79. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrwoodchip/31099490625/in/pool-1455650@N25/
  80. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ahp-photography/24154866001/
  81. https://www.flickr.com/photos/128680398@N04/22468861018/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  82. https://www.flickr.com/photos/114288680@N03/22855917126/in/pool-2023253@N24/
  83. https://www.flickr.com/photos/glendaler/26515704531/in/pool-eos6d/
  84. https://www.flickr.com/photos/aljones27/25982992750/in/pool-eos6d/
  85. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dazsmithpics/26318970631/in/pool-eos6d/
  86. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/25736902010/
  87. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/25562763875/
  88. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/20870476303/
  89. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/20736804974/
  90. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/19113811340/
  91. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/16634006448/
  92. https://www.flickr.com/photos/picturesbysteve/26642895331/in/pool-eos6d/
  93. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/35154577193/in/dateposted/
  94. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/29625078356/in/dateposted/
  95. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/27355930465/in/dateposted/
  96. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/26173839060/in/dateposted/
  97. https://www.flickr.com/photos/ramireziblog/17392579973/in/dateposted/
  98. https://www.flickr.com/photos/captainchaoz/46202833585/in/pool-canon24-105/
  99. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andre_yabiku/46387891394/in/pool-canon24-105/
  100. https://www.flickr.com/photos/143945011@N08/47038990232/in/pool-canon24-105/
  101. https://www.flickr.com/photos/eduardohaskel/31176186277/in/pool-canon24-105/
  102. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/31782801448/in/pool-canon24-105/
  103. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/44669980485/in/pool-canon24-105/
  104. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/30532072387/in/pool-canon24-105/
  105. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/44646694904/in/datetaken/
  106. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/43503289600/in/datetaken/
  107. https://www.flickr.com/photos/158622923@N02/44874953554/in/datetaken/
  108. https://www.flickr.com/photos/click100/30135361367/in/pool-canon24-105/
  109. https://www.flickr.com/photos/click100/44127142825/in/pool-canon24-105/
  110. https://www.flickr.com/photos/25517957@N03/29512698267/in/pool-canon24-105/
  111. https://www.flickr.com/photos/79096810@N04/26058646065/
  112. https://www.flickr.com/photos/eric_vidal/8539304848/
  113. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fabshooting/16181221760/
  114. https://www.flickr.com/photos/judge171/30799949238/in/pool-canon24-105/

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