As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
In the realm of photography, photo size is one of the most important factors out there. It has several impacts on the entirety of the topic. The topic for today’s discussion is, which photo size should you choose? 4×6 vs 5×7?
In general, 5×7 is the best choice for any user. However, there are several factors to consider. Such as the cost, the aspect ratio, the purpose of the image, etc. In general, a 5×7 image tends to be larger than a 4×6 image. But there are other differences as well regarding these two.
In this article, I will be talking about both of these photo sizes in detail. As well as the key differences between them and which photo size you should choose.
Key Differences Between 4×6 and 5×7 at a Glance
As stated earlier, a 5×7 image has a larger area than a 4×6 image. A larger area means a bigger image. But this is not the only difference between them. Let’s take a quick look at some of the crucial differences between these two photo sizes provided in the table below.
4×6 vs 5×7
|Cost||Slightly lower||Slightly higher|
|Size of the Picture Frame||4″ x 6″||5″ x 7″|
|Possibility of Printed Borders||Possible||Not possible (Unless frame size changes)|
|Clarity of Detail||Lower||Higher|
|Preferred Size for Albums||Preferred||Not preferred|
|Preferred Size for Home Printing||Preferred||Not preferred|
These are some of the key distinctions between a 4×6 photo print size and a 5×7 size photo.
Which Photo Size is the Better Choice?
I have talked about the key differences between both of these photo sizes. But, which one is the better choice? I will discuss this below.
There are two different aspect ratios to tackle in this case. One is the aspect ratio of the camera which took the actual photo. Or to put it more simply, the aspect ratio of the actual photo file. And the other is the aspect ratio of the printed photo.
If your original photo is in 3:2, and you wish to print It in 4×6, you would be able to print your whole photo. But if you wanted to print it in 5×7, a small portion of your photo would either have to be cropped, or you’d need to print a white border to compensate. You can clearly see this in the above image. This is often a major drawback for many people. Similarly, if you wish to print a 7:5 photo in 4×6, you would again need to deal with a white border.
As can be seen, a 5×7 image size is bigger than a 4×6 print. To be more precise, a 5×7 sized photo will have an extra inch added to both its’ width and height.
This is an important factor to keep in mind before image printing. If you are printing them to fit a certain size, then you need to mind the size.
If you wish to make a collage of pictures, you may want to opt for a 5×7 print, as it will give you more area to work with than a 4×6 print.
As I have discussed in the previous paragraph, a 5×7 print size image is slightly larger than a 4×6 print size image. So, technically, to print a bigger image, you’d need a bigger canvas and a larger amount of printer ink.
And what does that entail? Definitely a bump in the cost. Hence, if you wish to significantly lower your cost for a large number of prints, you should opt for the 4×6 size, if the drawbacks in size aren’t a major issue for you.
However, if the 5×7 size is a must for you, you have to deal with this bump in the cost. The cost can vary from location to location.
But in general, each 4×6 standard photo costs around 0.18$, and each 5×7 standard photo costs around 0.25$.
So the 4X6 is the winner here.
Most photos taken in a 3:2 aspect ratio will be perfect when printing in the 4×6 size. But the issue arises when you wish to print a 3:2 photo in 5×7. A part of the photo will need to be cropped. And it will not look as aesthetically pleasing as a 4×6 print.
Moreover, the 4×6 image composition factor is 1.5. This means that the width to height ratio is 1.5:1. But the composition factor for a 5×7 image is 1.4. Which is lower than a 4×6 image.
This means that a 4×6 image will have a clearer, crisper, sharper image than a 5×7 image size.
Size of the Picture Frame
As discussed earlier, a 5×7 print will be bigger than a 4×6. Therefore, a 4×6 photo will require a smaller frame than a 5×7 print.
So if you are printing them to fit them in a specific frame, you definitely have to consider their size as a factor. Not to mention, bigger frames are comparatively costlier than smaller frames.
Also, you might want to consider the factor of borders. This brings us to our next point.
Possibility of Printed Borders
Oftentimes to introduce a bit of aesthetic elegance into our printed photos we may print a solid color border. In some cases, it might be designed as well.
So, if you print in 4×6 size, it is already smaller than a 5×7 image. By adding a border, you are making it even smaller. Which might make it a bit hard to see. But then again, you could also add a border and print the same image but in 5×7 size. Which is a far better alternative.
Sadly, there are no such options available for a 5×7 print. Unless they are custom-made.
Clarity of Detail
As discussed previously. A 5×7 image is larger than a 4×6 image. Thus, the bigger the picture, the easier it is to see. Which makes the details in the image clearer to the viewer.
This means the clarity of the image is better in the 5×7 size than in the 4×6 image.
Preferred Size for Albums
Most albums are made with the 4×6 image size in mind. Thus if you wish to make an album out of your photos, you are better off sticking to the 4×6 size rather than the 5×7 size.
Preferred Size for Home Printing
I have mentioned earlier that it takes a bigger canvas and more printer ink to print a 5×7 image. Which will directly affect your costs.
Therefore, if you wish to print the photos for home purposes, and want to remain cost-effective while doing so, it is the better choice to print in the 4×6 image size.
I have explained the key differences between 4×6 vs 5×7 image sizes. As well as explaining the pros and cons of each of them.
The 4×6 image size while being a bit small and less costly, can often be a bit of a drawback when printed for use. For a clearer and more detailed picture, 5×7 remains the best option for users, at the expense of a higher cost.