This guide will help you pick between 4×6 and 5×7 photos by walking you through an in-depth comparison between the two.
Both 4×6 and 5×7 are two of the most popular photo print sizes out there.
Both these print sizes are highly versatile and can be used in various applications.
However, since the two sizes share many of these use cases, you may find it a bit challenging to pick the right one for you, and that’s where this guide comes in handy!
Today, I’ll compare the 4×6 vs 5×7 photos briefly so you can choose the size that fits your needs.
Table of Contents
A 4×6 photo is any photo that is 4 inches wide and 6 inches high. This corresponds to exactly 10.16 cm wide and 15.24 cm high (or 101.6 mm wide and 152.4 mm high)
This photo sizing is considered one of the most common photo sizes in photography because it strikes an excellent balance between clarity and size.
It’s also considered a standard photo print size because it matches an aspect ratio that’s available in many cameras, so it’s also perfect for various uses, such as portrait framed images and postcards.
A 5×7 photo is any photo that measures 5 inches wide and 7 inches high, which is equivalent to 12.7 cm wide and 17.78 cm high (or 127 mm wide and 177.8 mm high)
While the 5×7 size photo is still quite popular, it’s not as common as 4×6 photos because it’s not often used as a standard picture frame size.
What Are the Differences Between 5×7 and 4×6 Photos?
The short answer to this question is that it’s really up to your personal preference and what you’re looking for.
However, let’s further explain the differences between the two regarding some essential aspects to give you a better perspective.
As previously established, 5×7 photos are slightly larger than 4×6 ones.
This gives them a slight advantage if you prioritize photo size while printing above all else, especially if you need a larger photo to fit in more details, as in collages.
The aspect ratio is the ratio between a photo’s width and height, which is essential for determining how it appears digitally and in print.
In the case of 4×6 photos, the aspect ratio is 2:3, which is a standard aspect ratio that you’ll find in all types of cameras out there.
On the other hand, 5×7 photos have a unique aspect ratio of 2.5:3.5. This means that you’ll need to crop them or add a white border to them to fit most commercial frames.
In most cases, printing photos charge you by the photo size. In that case, you should expect a 4×6 photo to cost you less than 5×7 photos.
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For instance, Shutterfly charges $0.19 for 4×6 photos, compared to $1.04 for 5×6, which makes it around 5.4 times more expensive and can add up quickly in large batches.
If you’re planning to frame the photos you capture, you should keep the frame dimensions in mind while making up your mind here.
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This is because 4×6 frames are more widely available than 5×7 frames.
As a result, you’ll have to either crop the 5×7 photo to fit a more available frame size or add a white border to the photo and fit it in a larger picture frame
Image Composition Factor
Speaking of framing issues, altering the composition or dimensions of your photo may not always be a viable issue, especially because of the image composition factor.
For instance, if you use the camera grid to apply the rule of thirds while taking a photo, altering the photo’s dimensions will compromise your work.
This is another advantage point for 4×6 photos, as you’ll not have difficulty framing it without altering the photo’s composition.
Resolution and Details
When it comes to clarity of details, you’re typically looking for a larger photo, which gives this one to 5×7 photos.
However, the size alone doesn’t guarantee a clearer photo, especially if you capture many fine details. That’s why you should also consider the photo resolution while capturing it.
Ideally, if you scan your photo at a higher pixel per inch (PPI), such as 180 to 300 PPI, you’ll get a better resolution for both photo sizes.
Which One Is the Preferred Size for Home Albums and Printing?
The perfect size for most home albums and digital prints among the two is 4×6 inches.
This is mainly because 4×6 prints are a much more common size with a standard aspect ratio, so you’ll be able to find a wider variety of frames at an affordable price.
On the other hand, 5×7 usually involves pricier, less widely available frames, with the only workaround here is to alter the photo’s composition through cropping or adding a white border.
The size of a printed photo highly depends on its resolution and your desired print quality.
In other words, you can print larger sizes if you maintain a high PPI.
For example, a 300 PPI photo allows you to print up to 6.67×10 inch photos at a resolution of 2000 x 3000 pixels, maintaining excellent details up close.
Are 4×6 and 5×7 the Same as 6×4 and 7×5 Respectively?
4×6 and 5×7 are not the same as their inverted counterparts. While each pair has a similar aspect ratio, they differ in terms of orientation.
For instance, 4×6 photos have a vertical orientation (suitable for portraits), but 6×4 photos are horizontal photos, which are better for landscapes.
The same rule applies to 5×7 and 7×5 photos too.
As the Content Manager of Shotkit, India Mantle brings with her a lifelong love for photography that she developed during her childhood, watching her father document their family moments with his Nikon EM. In her free time, you find her enjoying the awe-inspiring natural beauty of her home, Northern Rivers, Australia.