Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of an image or a video frame is simply the ratio of its width to its height. Typically, the aspect ratio is written in a whole-numbered notation (e.g. 4:3) or in a normalized notation (e.g. 1.33:1).
The first table contains an overview of standard aspect ratios, used by image, film and video applications.
Since the displayed aspect ratio of most video standards does not correspond to the native aspect ratio of the video, the pixel aspect ratio has to be changed from a square format to a rectangular format. The second table contains an overview of popular pixel aspect ratios.

Standard Aspect Ratios

The following table contains a list of popular standard aspect ratios.

Aspect Ratio Comment
1:1 (1:1) Square aspect ration - used in some cameras for medium format photography.
5:4 (1.25:1) Aspect ratio of computer displays with SVGA resolution.
4:3 (1.33:1) Aspect ratio of standard definition TV and video (PAL and NTSC), aspect ratio of computer displays with VGA, XGA, UXGA or QXGA resolution and aspect ratio of many digital photo cameras.
3:2 (1.5:1) Aspect ratio of small picture photography (36mm x 24mm) and 35 mm film (motion picture). Aspect ratio of most digital SLR cameras.
16:10 (1.6:1) Aspect ratio of widescreen computer displays with WXGA, WUXGA or WQXGA resolution.
16:9 (1.77:1) Widescreen format for standard definition TV (SDTV) and standard format for high definition TV (HDTV).
(37:20) 1.85:1 Aspect ratio of standard cinema film (sometimes 1.66:1).
(47:20) 2.35:1 Aspect ratio of cinema film in "Cinemascope" format (anamorphic format) (sometimes 2.39:1).
Standard Aspect Ratio

Pixel Aspect Ratios

Normally, the pixel aspect ratio is 1.00 (width:height is 1:1) - however, in several video standards the pixel
are defined as non-square. The following pixel aspect ratios are relevant:

Pixel Aspect RatioComment
0.90 Pixel aspect ratio for NTSC to display frame size of 720 x 480 (DV) or 720 x 486 (D1) in 720 x 540 (=> resulting display in 4:3 format)
0.95 Pixel aspect ratio for D4/D16 videos, to display them in 4:3 resolution: 1440 x 1024 (D4) is displayed in 1365 x 1024 and 2880 x 2048 (D16) is displayed in 2731 x 2048.
1.00 Standard Resolution with pixel aspect ratio 1:1.
1.07 Pixel aspect ratio for PAL to display frame size of 720 x 576 (D1/DV) in 768 x 576 (=> resulting display in 4:3 format)
1.20 Pixel aspect ratio for NTSC widescreen (anamorphic) to display frame size of 720 x 480 (DV) or 720 x 486 (D1) in 864 x 486 (=> resulting display in 16:9 format).
1.33 Pixel aspect ratio 4:3 used for HDV 1080 and DVCPRO HD 720. In case of HDV the frame size of 1440 x 1080 is displayed in 1920 x 1080 (=> resulting display in 16:9 format). In case of DVCPRO HD 720 the frame size of 960 x 720 is displayed in 1280 x 720 (=> resulting display in 16:9 format).
1.42 Pixel aspect ratio for PAL widescreen (anamorphic) to display frame size of 720 x 576 (D1/DV) in 1024 x 576 (=> resulting display in 16:9 format).
1.50 Pixel aspect ratio for DVCPRO HD 1080: In this case the frame size of 1280 x 1080 is displayed in 1920 x 1080 (=> resulting display in 16:9 format).
1.90 Pixel aspect ratio for D4/D16 widescreen (anamorphic) videos and images, to display them in 16:9 resolution: 1440 x 1024 (D4) is displayed in 2731 x 1024 and 2880 x 2048 (D16) is displayed in 5461 x 2048.
2.00 Pixel aspect ratio for anamorphic videos or images with 2:1.

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