Nikon DX vs FX

Some of the most frequently asked questions from our readers are around DX and FX format sensors. What is DX and FX? What are their differences? Which one is better and why? If you have similar questions and want to get a clear understanding about these formats and their differences, along with seeing actual image samples from both, this article is for you.

Before diving into sensor formats, it is first important to understand what a sensor is and what it does in a Digital SLR camera. It is easier to understand how sensors work by comparing them with the human eye. The lens in front of the camera essentially functions as the cornea of your eyes, gathering ambient light and passing it to the iris. The iris then expands or shrinks, controlling the amount of light that enters the retina, which functions almost exactly like a camera sensor. The retina is light-sensitive, meaning it can adjust its sensitivity based on the available light. If there is too much light, it decreases its sensitivity, while automatically increasing the sensitivity in a dim environment, so that you could see in both extremely bright and extremely dark conditions. Remember what happens when you come out of a dark place to a very bright, sunny environment and vice-versa? Either your eyes will hurt and everything will seem too bright, or you will have a hard time seeing at all – due to sensitivity of the eyes that have not yet adjusted for the new environment. The sensitivity of your eyes is just like the sensitivity of the sensor, also known as “ISO” in photography. But sensitivity comes at a price – high sensitivity levels ultimately decrease image quality, similar to when you have a hard time seeing in a very dark environment. This degradation of image quality is first visible as “grain” or “noise” in the pictures, followed by loss of detail, sharpness and color in extreme levels of sensitivity. When I say “extreme”, I mean extreme to the digital camera, not human eye. Even with all of the latest advancements in sensor technology, cameras are not even close to seeing the range of light the human eye can see in various environments.

Captured with Nikon D700 FX Camera

Captured with Nikon D700 FX Camera

The sensor is the most important component of a digital camera, because it is directly responsible for capturing an optical image and converting it to an electric signal, which later gets optimized and converted to a digital image by other camera electronics. Just like your computer screen, sensors contain millions of pixels, except they are there to collect light, not display it. When you see a digital camera with 12 megapixels, it literally means that the camera sensor contains 12 million tiny pixels for the sole purpose of gathering light. Think of those pixels as buckets that attract light particles – the larger the bucket, the more light particles it can store in a given amount of time. These buckets are known as “photosites” and their size plays a huge role in sensor sensitivity and ability to accurately gather light in various lighting conditions. Bigger buckets are always better than smaller ones, because more light particles can be stored in those, without getting over-filled. The information about light particles is then passed on to the camera processor, which assembles a digital image starting from the first pixel all the way to the last. And all of this happens in a matter of milliseconds!

While larger pixels (or bigger buckets) work best for sensors, they are also extremely expensive to manufacture. To keep the costs low and product accessible to a broader customer range, many camera manufacturers produce smaller sensors. Obviously, as the size of the sensors decrease, so do the number of pixels. To combat this problem, manufacturers have been cramming more and more pixels into tiny sensors while simultaneously increasing the efficiency and throughput of each pixel. Unfortunately, this resulted in a “megapixel race” among the manufacturers and we are seeing more and more pixels in the modern sensors, despite the fact that the size of the sensors has pretty much remained the same.

1) What is DX?

When Nikon entered the digital world of SLR photography, their first Nikon D1 DSLR had a smaller sensor to make it more accessible to professionals (it sold for $5,850 when it was announced). It was about 2/3 of the size of the 35mm film and it only had 2.66 megapixels. The camera quickly gained popularity and more updates of the same DSLR followed – some with more resolution and others with more speed. Nikon eventually dubbed the smaller sensor “DX”, which is approximately 24x16mm in size and is still being widely used in all entry-level (Nikon D3000/D5000), semi-professional (Nikon D90) and even professional (Nikon D300s) cameras. Obviously, the number of megapixels went up significantly with the latest DX sensors having 12.3 effective megapixels (4,288 x 2,848 resolution), which means the pixel size has also equally decreased, resulting in higher pixel density. Nikon has been able to do so because of new advancements in sensor technology, better noise-reduction algorithms and more processing power.

Historically, all digital sensor formats have been measured and compared against 35mm film. In the case of DX format, due to the sensor being smaller than 36x24mm (size of 35mm film), the subjects appeared slightly more magnified when compared to film. This was normal for the DX format, because smaller sensor meant that a smaller area of the lens towards the center was to be used and everything else discarded. However, photographers kept on comparing this difference in field of view or angle of view to the traditional film and new terms such as “crop factor” and “equivalent focal length” were born. Why did this happen? Because a photographer with a DX digital camera using a 50mm lens appeared to have the same view as a film photographer with a 75mm lens and nobody wanted to accept this change as “normal”, again, relative to film.

Nikon DX vs FX

Nikon DX sensors, for example, have a crop factor of 1.5x. What this means, is that relative to 35mm film, the image will appear enlarged by approximately 50%. So shooting with a 24-70mm lens is “equivalent” of shooting with a 36-105mm lens on a film body. This is where things got messy and people started getting confused about focal lengths and sensor sizes. How can you say that a lens is longer in focal length with a DX sensor, if the physical property of the lens has not changed? A 24-70mm lens is a 24-70mm lens no matter which camera body it is on and no sensor can change that. The whole “equivalent to mm” verbiage can be too confusing, because it is equivalent only relative to 35mm film. At the same time, how do you explain that a 200mm lens on a DX sensor has an equivalent field of view of a 300mm lens on film? That’s why it has been quite common among photographers to compare this new field of view problem with film.

2) What is FX?

In August of 2007, Nikon released the long awaited full-frame Nikon D3 FX camera with 12.1 megapixels. It was the first Nikon DSLR to have a 35mm equivalent digital sensor that measured approximately 36x24mm in size with a 4256×2832 resolution. Nikon realized that cramming more pixels into a tiny DX sensor was not helping in low-light situations and the only way to increase the sensitivity of the sensor was to increase the pixel size. The 36x24mm full-frame sensor is more than twice larger in size than a 24x16mm DX sensor. By keeping the number of megapixels low relative to the size of the sensor, Nikon increased the pixel size by 2.4 times, thus having much larger photosites to store light particles. What this meant, was that the sensor could have higher sensitivity levels and see a much larger range of light from blacks to whites, known as “dynamic range“.

With the full-frame FX sensor, the terms “crop factor” and “equivalent focal length” are no longer valid, because an FX sensor is the same size as film. This means that if you took a film camera and a full-frame digital camera, mounted 24-70mm lenses on them and took pictures of the same subject, both would produce a similar view, not a magnified one like with DX sensors.

Let’s now move on to advantages and disadvantages of both DX and FX sensors.

3) Advantages and disadvantages of DX format

Let’s start with DX. What are the advantages and disadvantages of DX formats?

Advantages of DX format

  1. Cost – obvious advantage, because the sensor is much cheaper to manufacture.
  2. Lens sharpness and vignetting – since DX sensors use the center of the lens and discard the corners, many professional lenses will perform extremely well on DX, because the center of the lens is always optimized for sharpness than the corners. Vignetting is also typically much less pronounced on DX bodies than on FX, again due to corners not being used. For example, the older version of the Nikon 70-200mm VR II lens performed beautifully on DX bodies and quite poorly on FX bodies, which is why Nikon had to update it with a better version for full-frame cameras.
  3. Low-cost lenses – since the corners are cut off for the DX format anyway, manufacturers started offering smaller and more compact lenses for DX sensors that cost much less than regular lenses for film and full-frame sensors.
  4. Reach – this part is a little controversial, again due to comparison in the field of view between DX and FX sensors, but due to the size of the sensor and its crop factor, DX sensors generally provide a better reach than full-frame sensors. Some people say “well, you could simply crop an image from a full-frame sensor and have the same result as what DX provides”, which is not true, mainly due to megapixels and pixel size. If a DX sensor is 12 megapixels, cropping an equivalent field of view from a 12 megapixel full-frame sensor would give you much smaller resolution (approximately 5-6 megapixels). However, it is a different story if you have over 25 megapixels on a full-frame sensor – cropping 12 megapixels out would yield a similar result as DX, if the size of the pixel is the same. There are a few other things to consider like depth of field, but generally, it will be the same.
  5. Size and weight – cameras with DX sensors are generally smaller and lighter than cameras with FX sensors, because full-frame sensors are currently only being used on high-end professional cameras that are bigger and heavier.
Nikon FX and DX - Field of View

Nikon FX and DX - Field of View Differences

Disadvantages of DX format

  1. Noise in high ISO levels – the biggest disadvantage of DX, as I pointed out above, is the small size of pixels, which results in noisy pictures and much less sharpness and detail in higher sensitivity levels. See image samples below for comparison.
  2. Smaller dynamic range – compared to FX, DX cameras have a smaller dynamic range, largely due to pixel size and density.
  3. Problems with wide-angle lenses – due to a difference in the field of view, wide-angle lenses are not so wide on a DX body anymore. A 14mm ultra wide-angle lens is more like a 21mm lens when compared to a full-frame camera, which means that you can fit a lot less in your frame. This is generally not a problem in environments where you can move back and still fit more, but presents a problem when working very close to a subject in tight space environments.
  4. DX lens incompatibility with FX – if you have DX lenses and one day decide to switch over to FX, you will have to purchase non-DX lenses to utilize the full resolution of a full-frame camera. DX lenses do work on FX sensors, but only at half the resolution.
  5. Lens diffraction – DX sensors cause more lens diffraction when small apertures above f/8-f/11 are used.
  6. Smaller viewfinder size – due to a smaller mirror and pentaprism/pentamirror used on DX cameras, the viewfinder on DX is smaller and not as bright when compared to FX.

Mirror size differences between D300 and D700:

Nikon D300 vs D700

Nikon D300 vs D700

4) Advantages and disadvantages of FX format

Now how does FX compare to DX?

Advantages of FX format

  1. Scalability – due to the large size of the sensor, FX format allows two different configurations: one with lots of resolution (Nikon D3x) and one with better sensitivity and speed (Nikon D3s) for different needs. For example, landscape and fashion photographers need large print sizes and would therefore want more resolution, while wildlife and sports photographers need the speed and low amounts of noise in dim environments.
  2. Higher sensitivity and lower noise – as I have pointed out above, pixel size plays a significant role in sensitivity levels of the camera, along with controlling noise levels at high ISOs. For example, Nikon D700 (FX) has a similar number of pixels as Nikon D90/D300s (DX) and yet the pixels on the D700 are much bigger in size than on D90/D300s. So, if you were to compare ISO 800 on these cameras, the Nikon D700 image would look much cleaner compared to Nikon D90/D300s.
  3. Large dynamic range – again, bigger pixel size allows collecting more light particles, which results in larger dynamic range when compared to DX.
  4. No field of view issue – with FX, forget about such things as “crop factor” and “equivalent focal length” – you get a similar field of view as if you were shooting film.
  5. Lens compatibility – FX lenses are backwards compatible with DX lenses, meaning that they will work perfectly on DX bodies as well.
  6. Lens diffraction – compared to DX, lens diffraction is typical to 35mm film and starts to affect image sharpness at smaller apertures above f/11-f/16.
  7. Larger and brighter viewfinder – large sensor means large mirror and pentaprism, which means a large and brighter viewfinder. Focusing with a large viewfinder is much easier, because you see more details.
  8. Wide is truly wide – an ultra wide-angle lens such as Nikon 16-35mm f/4 is not really that wide on a DX body, because of the crop factor. This problem goes away on FX and you get the true 16mm field of view as you would if you were using 35mm film.

Disadvantages of FX format

  1. High cost – large FX sensors are expensive to manufacture than DX sensors. Nikon’s FX sensor is a flagship product and the company only uses it in professional-grade DSLR cameras such as Nikon D700/D3s/D3x.
  2. Lens sharpness and vignetting – because FX utilizes a much larger area than DX on the lens, corner performance on lenses might become an issue, although Nikon has been updating their lens line and releasing new lenses that deliver outstanding corner performance for FX sensors. For example, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lenses were both introduced specifically for FX needs.
  3. Size and weight – larger internal components, rugged body and professional electronics all add up to the weight, making FX cameras the heaviest in Nikon’s line of DSLRs. With the release of the D700 DSLR that has a similar size and dimensions to D300s, Nikon has diminished the gap between top of the line DX camera and FX, however, the difference is still quite large when compared to entry-level DSLRs such as Nikon D3000/D5000.

5) DX and FX – high ISO image samples

Now let’s move on to the good stuff – a real image comparison between DX and FX sensors in high sensitivity (ISO) levels. In this example, I used a Nikon D300, D700 and D3s cameras and tested each at ISO 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400. Images from the Nikon D3 would look identical to the ones from D700, which is why it was not included in the test. Here is the sample are that I used for the test:

Sample

I cropped the lower center portion of the image from each image. I used the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D lens @ 35mm for this test with the default camera settings and shot in RAW. In order to get the same field of view on the Nikon D300 camera (due to 1.5x crop factor), I had to change the focal length to approximately 23mm on the lens. The below images are 100% crops and they are NOT resized in any way, so the sharpness and noise levels are somewhat accurate. Each image is tagged with the camera and ISO information and I highly recommend clicking on the images to be able to compare them through our image viewer. EXIF data is also preserved for those who want to see the camera settings. High ISO noise reduction was set to “Normal” in all cameras. No sharpening was applied to any of the images. I did not bother comparing ISO lower than 800, because this is a high ISO test. One thing to note though, is that Nikon D300 has a little more noise between ISO 200 and 800 compared to Nikon D700/D3s.

ISO 800 (Left top: Nikon D300, Right top: Nikon D700, Left bottom: Nikon D3s):
Nikon D300 - ISO 800 Nikon D700 - ISO 800 Nikon D3s - ISO 800

The difference between DX and FX is already pronounced at ISO 800. The image from the Nikon D300 DX sensor looks looks noisy and we are beginning to lose a little bit of sharpness. Nikon D700 and D3s look almost identical with no visible noise.

ISO 1600:
Nikon D300 - ISO 1600 Nikon D700 - ISO 1600 Nikon D3s - ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the Nikon D300 is extremely noisy and there is clear evidence of loss of sharpness and detail in the image. Nikon D700 starts having a little bit of noise in the shadows and Nikon D3s is still very clean.

ISO 3200:
Nikon D300 - ISO 3200 Nikon D700 - ISO 3200 Nikon D3s - ISO 3200

The situation at ISO 3200 changes dramatically. Nikon D300 looks pretty bad, while Nikon D700 is still retaining sharpness, but has some noise in the shadows. Nikon D3s is shining again with the least amount of noise in the picture.

ISO 6400:
Nikon D300 - ISO 6400 Nikon D700 - ISO 6400 Nikon D3s - ISO 6400

At ISO 6400, the image from Nikon D300 is unusable. Nikon D700 has a considerable amount of noise and starting to lose some sharpness, while D3s has a touch of noise but retained all sharpness and details.

As you can see, the difference between DX and FX is substantial. If we measure the above in full stops, the difference between DX and the most current FX sensor is around 3 stops. Take a look at these two images for comparison:

Nikon D300 - ISO 800 Nikon D3s - ISO 6400

The image on the left is Nikon D300 at ISO 800 and the image on the right is Nikon D3s at ISO 6400! When I look closely, the image from the Nikon D3s actually looks sharper than the image from D300, which means that there is even more than 3 stops of difference between the two. In addition, despite the fact that I used the same color profile, white balance and saturation levels on both images, the image from the D3s has better colors.

6) Conclusion

As I have explained in this article and demonstrated with the above image samples, the difference between DX and FX sensors is quite clear when it comes to overall image quality. The first generation Nikon FX sensors from D700 and D3 are about 1.5 stops better than DX counterparts, while the second generation D3s FX camera is over 3 stops better than DX. The size of the sensor and pixels within the sensor is extremely important and FX shows that it is a far more capable sensor than DX when it comes to noise, dynamic range and other factors.

The big question that everybody asks at one point or another, is if FX is so much better than DX, will DX be eventually phased out and completely replaced by FX? My answer is probably not for now, definitely not until the cost of FX goes down significantly. Nikon will probably continue producing and selling DX lenses for a number of years.

I hope my article will help you to clearly understand the difference between the two formats and remove all confusion around DX and FX sensors. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Morten

    Yet another great article that gives a detailed overview of the subject at hand. Thanks for all the effort that has been put into this.

    • Morten, you are most welcome! Thanks for the feedback :)

      • 165
        ) Franz Elizondo

        Thanks Nasim, Great explanation.

      • 327
        ) Abel

        Nasim Mansurov,

        I am wanting to upgrade my camera which is a nikon D5200 w a 70 to 300 lens. I need a camera and or lens combo that I can use at field level for my son’s high school football games. And of course, most of the games are at night and under different lighting from not so good to just less than ok. I have noticed a lot of noise, especially in pictures from a distance and at higher iso’s.

        I have only been taking pics for the last several months, but I want to provide the best pics i can for my son and i share them with the team on shutterfly. What suggestions do you have for a camera that will fit my needs? I also need it to be somewhat weather proof as I have been known to shoot in the rain. And, I would like a camera that takes several shots per second, I think my is 4 to 6, but I would like a faster one. Am I asking for too much? Oh, and I am on a budget…. :)

        Thanks for your help and I look forward to your response.

        Abel.

        • 333
          ) Eric

          Hey that’s a tough situation to shoot in, honestly you have a great camera and a great lens. The “upgrade” I think that would best suit you is a tripod. You should never shoot more than 85mm without VR or without a tripod. But if you are set on upgrading your camera, the D610 is the way to go. It doesn’t look like that line will be refreshed for another year or so, which is always a plus. It had the best low light out there right now besides the DF, it’s light weight, and shoots 6FPS. Oh! And it’s “cheap”! For a lens, that’s a different story. If you want a good lens for those conditions you will probably end up paying just as much as the new camera. The 300mm f4 prime (http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/1909/AF-S-Nikkor-300mm-f%252F4D-IF-ED.html) is a great lens for sports. And being a prime lens it will be sharper than a zoom. These two lenses alone will cost you around 4000 dollars though. I think your lens/camera combo is great for what your shooting already and don’t reccomend such a big upgrade. Maybe you could get some nice image editing software. That alone can make a huge difference in your images and doesn’t cost 4000 dollars.

          • 334
            ) Abel

            Thanks Eric. How much can I expect to get for my camera lens combo if I sell locally? I may upgrade this fall or next.

            Thanks for the info.

            • 335
              ) Eric

              You could easily get 1000$ for your camera+lens combo. Your looking at 500 dollars for the camera body and 500 for the lens via Craigslist or eBay.

    • 83
      ) Kevin

      Thank you so so much for this, as far as being to long NEVER. There could never be to much information, you have “Cleared” the clouds hanging over me and answered my Question.
      Be Safe,
      Kevin

    • 97
      ) Kim

      Thank you for this very nice overview of characteristics and advantages of DX vs. FX. This is an issue often discussed, especially among wildlife photographers. I wonder whether anyone made a realistic comparison of this two combinations:

      1. DX camera (e.g. D300) with a long tele (e.g. 500/4 AF-S VRII) @ ISO 400
      2. FX camera (e.g. D700) with a long tele (e.g. 500/4 AF-S VRII) + TC-14EII @ ISO 800

      These two combination represent a real choice in field obtaining an image with the same field of view at the same lighting conditions.

      Kim

    • 200
      ) Cori Thompson

      You have a a fantastic way of explaining a somewhat confusing topic. I’m new to the world of DSLRs and I will return to your site for future explainations…as I’m sure I’ll need them!

    • 350
      ) Barry

      Excellent article. Thank you for taking the time to put this great article together. Do you have any idea when the Tamron 150-600 Nikon lens will be available again? I have one on backorder.

      Again, thank you.

  2. 2
    ) sm

    Thanks. Lots of effort must have gone into this. Very nicely done. Btw, can you write something on tripods, how to choose, what to buy, your personal recommendations?

    I look forward to your post everyday…

    • sm, you are most welcome!

      Sounds good, I will put tripods on the list of articles to write about :)

  3. 3
    ) Tom

    Thanks for the article and the sample photos. Great job.

    • Tom, I wanted to correct myself from yesterday’s conversation. It looks like battery power has no impact on AF performance and autofocus on the D700 works exactly the same way as in D3. This was concluded through some rigorous testing by a group of professionals, which matches what Nikon said about AF on D700. However, there is a difference in AF performance between D300 and D700 – D300 is inferior in focus acquisition speed and accuracy.

      I apologize for giving you misleading information :)

  4. 4
    ) Matt Mathai

    Thank you for this article. It’s a very clear explanation of the differences between the sensors.

    I shoot pro soccer and baseball using a D200 (with a DX sensor), and when I make the change (almost ready to buy a D3S) I will lose the 50% extension in reach. I suppose I could shoot in crop mode at the expense of resolution, but I guess I’ll learn through practice.

    • Matt, you are most welcome!

      First of all, you will not lose 50% reach – the crop factor multiplier is 1.5, not 2x. For example, if your focal length is 300mm and you are on DX, your equivalent field of view relative to FX is 450mm. So, when you switch to FX, there will be no crop factor and you will be shooting true 300mm.

      In terms of FX, trust me, once you switch over to Nikon D3s, you will forget about the reach. Sharpness, clarity and contrast are going to blow you away and you will get much better results than on your D200. No need to shoot in crop mode – just shoot regularly and you will see what I mean :)

      If you want to upgrade to a D3s, make sure to take advantage of the current Nikon rebates that are ending this weekend. Even if you do not need a lens, buy the cheaper 70-300mm or 18-200mm VR II and you can sell them at a good price.

      Let me know if you have any questions. By the way, I will be posting some image samples from the D3s on my blog very soon.

      • 11
        ) Matt Mathai

        Hi Nasim, thanks for the reply. You’re right, it’s not a 50% loss in reach, it’s a loss of the 50% gain going from 300 to 450mm, i.e. a net 33% loss. :)

        I’m eager to see the results from the FX sensor. I know my friends who use D3 and D700 bodies have been extremely pleased. I’ll definitely do some experimenting shooting full-frame vs. in crop mode.

        The thing I’m looking forward to most of all is the low-light handling of the D3S. It should allow me to use much faster shutter speeds without much additional noise. Goodbye motion blur!

        Sadly, I won’t be able to buy the new body for another few weeks – Uncle Sam must be kept happy.

        I just discovered your blog recently, so haven’t had a chance to look through all of it, but another area I’m really interested in is workflow. People tell me that I should shoot RAW, but I’m concerned that handling the large number of images I get during a game might be too difficult. (Right now I just use jpg format.) Perhaps a workflow tool like Lightroom might come in useful to make things easier. There’s so much to learn…

        I look forward to seeing your sample D3S shots.

        • Matt, borrow or rent an FX body for a day or two and try it out in a real environment to see the difference.

          Nikon D3s is the low-light king right now – nothing else matches the high ISO performance of the D3s, especially above ISO 6400. And yes, with those kind of ISO levels, you can certainly increase the shutter speed by a huge margin. Sports photography and wildlife photography are very similar in terms of requirements and I find that the D3s is the ideal tool for both as of today.

          In terms of workflow, I highly recommend shooting RAW. Check out my RAW vs JPEG article that I have written a while ago – it gives all the reasons why you should be using RAW instead of JPEG.

          Hope this helps.

          • 18
            ) Matt Mathai

            Thanks, Nasim.

            I’m going to play w/ shooting RAW to see how I can fit it in with what I do. As I mentioned in my response to Jason, the amount of data is a concern. I might have to shoot JOG for sports and RAW for all other applications.

            Speaking of Lightroom, do you have any experience with Aperture? I have Macbook Pro and iMac computers, and was wondering if Aperture might work better.

            Yet another friend pointed me to Photo Mechanic, and I might give that a trial as well.

            Thanks for this blog – the responsiveness from you and your readers is fantastic!

        • 15
          ) Jason Tey

          Hi Matt, I thought I’d reply here as an interim in lieu of Nasim with regards to file formats. I used to shoot everything in JPEG and after moving to RAW, I found out that there are so many advantages that RAW offers in post production. Especially when playing around with light levels. Nasim has an article here: http://photographylife.com/raw-vs-jpeg

          As for using Adobe Lightroom 2, I started using that halfway through last year and WOW, what a difference it makes to workflow and post production. You can do things so much faster in lightroom. Post production (saturation, exposure, sharpening, noise reduction) that used to take me 30 mins in photoshop now takes only 5 mins in lightroom. Can’t sing its praises more! You can download Lightroom 3 beta and give that a try for free at the Adobe website. (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom3/)

          • Jason, you were reading my thoughts! Great minds think alike :)

            I fully agree with you on Lightroom! Don’t know what I would do without it.

          • 17
            ) Matt Mathai

            Thanks, Jason.

            I understand why I would want to shoot RAW for regular shooting. The prospect of having that much control over the output is very appealing to me. The increased speed of processing also sounds good to me.

            Where my concern specifically lies is in the amount of data captured while shooting sports. I shoot in bursts, so I might come back from a game with 1800 images. RAW file sizes are huge, and while I know storage is getting cheaper by the minute, that’s still a lot of data, particularly if I wanted to shoot RAW+JPG. (I don’t know if I need to do that.)

            Funny, I had downloaded the Lightroom 3 beta yesterday afternoon. I’ll play with it this weekend.

  5. 10
    ) Jason Tey

    Hi Nasim from Perth Western Australia.

    I’m a manager in the IT (AV Integration) field as well and I think your blog is excellent. You have thorough articles on most fundamental photography topics and your writing style makes things so easy to understand. Thank you! I have learnt so much. I just want to give you some words of encouragement as I browse through your blog on a daily basis and it forms part of my morning coffee ritual at work.

    I’m glad you wrote this particular article, because one thing I’ve not really been able to find a definitive answer on in the DX/FX realm is image detail. I’ve been shooting quite substantially with my D90 since January last year, probably shot over 40,000 images. But I notice that when I compare similar images shot with DX vs FX, the FX images seem to have just a sharper detail to them. The blurred backgrounds on DX also seem slightly grainy and not as smooth as what I see with the same lens on FX cameras (e.g. with my 85mm f/1.4). Is this true or is my mind trying to trick me into upgrading to FX? I hope you understand what I’m trying to describe here.

    Thanks

    • Jason, thank you so much for your feedback, I truly appreciate it. Readers like you inspire and boost me to write more about photography, which I passionately love.

      In terms of your DX and FX experience, you are not the only one who feels that way :) I photograph birds and other wildlife a lot and FX does make a huge difference in terms of sharpness, especially when the subject is not very close and the image is viewed at 100%. Despite the fact that I lost some reach on FX, my D300 is now gathering dust on the shelf and I do not take it with me to photograph wildlife anymore. I figured that it is better to have a sharp, noise-free image that I can crop, rather than having an out of focus and noisy image that fills the frame.

      In terms of noise in out of focus areas on DX, one thing that always bugged me was the fact that you get slight noise even when using base ISO 200! This problem is definitely not present on FX sensors and base ISO always looks extremely clean…

      • 13
        ) Jason Tey

        Hi Nasim, Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        I think as opposed to sharpness, what I mean is that D3 and D700 images of people and events (like weddings) seem to yield images that have a lot more detail in them. Like every wrinkle on the face, and lines throughout the photo seem so crisp and full of detail. I look at images captured by the likes of Joe McNally and Ryan Brenizer (http://ryanbrenizer.com/blog) and when trying to capture similar images on my D90, it never quite comes out with that same true-to-life quality and fine-ness in detail. Is that what you mean by your wildlife shooting?

        You know, about 2 months after I bought my D90, I also bought a D700 at a closing down liquidation sale. At that time it was a bargain at $3k USD. However I’d just started photography and didn’t know there would be much difference between the two so I sold off the D700. In hindsight I regret doing that but if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have so much experience with the DX camera. However I’m looking at waiting for the next update to the D700 and from there I’ll decide which upgrade path to go. I’m assuming you have both the D700 and D3s? Lucky you!

        God bless, Jason.

        • Jason, the details you see on a website might not be necessarily because of the sensor. Many photographers over-sharpen their images and separate their subjects from the background through layers in Photoshop. So what you see on the web, in almost all cases, is a processed image with plenty of sharpening applied to it.

          Sharpness is a very relative term and there are many things that contribute to image sharpness. Camera lens, for example, is in many cases more important than the camera sensor. A portrait that was taken with a pro lens like Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 or 85mm f/1.4 will always stand out when compared to something like Nikon 18-200mm VR. Subject isolation and smooth bokeh play a huge role on how image sharpness is perceived by the human eye.

          In terms of wildlife, focus accuracy is one of the most important factors and AF on FX truly works better than on DX in my experience.

          Don’t regret that you sold your FX. Nikon will be releasing an update to Nikon D700 close to the summer of this year and it will be a much better camera than the D700 :)

  6. 19
    ) sm

    hi Nasim, great post and comments. For a person using a DX camera (D 90), and planning to upgrade to a FX in the near future ( 1-2 years), how should I go about buying lenses which would work on my current D90 as well as future FX cameras? I currently use 18-200 (all purpose travel), a 10-24 ( for landscapes) and a 35 1.8. All these I beleive work only on DX format cameras. If I can, I would like to buy my newer lenses, keeping future FX purchase in mind. I do a little bit of evrything except sports and wildlife.

    • SM, what lens do you want to purchase?

      You could still keep your D90 with DX lenses as a backup when you upgrade to FX, or you can sell them at a good price later. You have great lenses that will keep their value, as long as you take a good care of them.

  7. 21
    ) maja

    excellent explanation
    thank you

    • Maja, you are most welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions.

  8. 22
    ) Paul

    Been using D300 – News paper work – Time to pick up a new camera body this summer – Shoot alot with 300mm 2.8 at 1600 – 2500 ISO – considering the D700 with full size sensor ….. I know what I’m getting now with the D300 and can produce pretty consistent images but would always like to do better …. wish I could find a review of a subject shot with both camera bodies with a 300mm wide open at 40 yards at high ISO – If you know of one please let me know – No doubt the D700 produces better image quality with short lenses – with the 1.5 multiplier on the DX do you think there would be any ground to gain with the FX or do you think the image quality would remain about the same or less …….
    Thanks for any direction you might give

    • Paul, the field of view on the Nikon D700 would obviously be smaller compared to D300 due to crop factor. However, the image quality on the D700, especially on ISO 1600-3200 would without a doubt be superior when compared to D300. Another thing with crop factor sensors, is that they tend to have noise even at the lowest ISOs, while FX sensors have no noise at base ISOs.

      • 25
        ) Paul

        Thanks for the info …. I do wish I had a 700 to try for about 10 minutes …. I could tell pretty quick ….. I live in a small town ….. my concern was after the additional cropping the final image quality would be about the same ….. if you happen across a rewiew that’s relevant to the 300mm or larger at high ISO’s let me know …..
        Thanks again for the help!

        • Paul, if focal length is an issue, you can add the 1.4x TC to the 300mm f/2.8 and recover the difference. There is no difference in sharpness when you add the 1.4x TC to the 300mm, because the lens works so darn good with teleconverters…

          I do not have the 300mm f/2.8, but I do have the 300mm f/4.0 and the difference between FX and DX is huge. Check out some of my bird photography to see some image samples.

          Hope this helps, sorry for a late response :)

          • 29
            ) Paul

            I’ve used the 1.4x TC on the 300mm for wildlife work and like it when there’s enough available light – I shoot alot of night sports – A typical Friday night put me of a football field at ISO 2500 shooting at 400th of a second at 2.8 on a monopod – under those conditions adding the 1.4 pushes me to nearly f4 – to keep my speed up on the D300 I’d have to raise the ISO and it gets pretty ugly at 3200 or 6400 – I’ve got a D700 coming this week – figure I’d give it a shot – It’ll be interesting to see the difference under those conditions – I know what the DX sensor will do ….. looking forward to up loading my first with an FX – I’ll cover a night baseball game and do some night work on the town square – maybe the D700 will take adding the 1.4 TC at 6400 and stay pretty clean of noise – it won’t take long to find out – I appreaciate all the info and feed back!
            Thanks!

            • 30
              ) Paul

              Is there anything on the set up menu of the D700 that I particularly need to pay attention to that’s different than the D300?
              Seems like most of the focus settings are the same ….
              Tks
              Paul

            • Paul, if ISO 2500 was acceptable to you on DX, ISO 6400 will also be quite acceptable, for sure. For my photography, I personally prefer to keep ISO under 1600, but use 3200 and even 6400 every once in a while.

              I am sure you will be more than impressed with the quality of your images from an FX sensor. For me, it is a night and day difference, especially for fast-action photography. The bigger viewfinder will also let you see more and focus better, so you will have a lot more keepers.

            • Paul, did you already receive your D700? :) Yes, most of the focus settings are the same, so the learning curve for you is very minimal.

              Good luck with your photography, looking forward for your shots from the D700!

  9. 26
    ) Dawn Taylor

    Wow…you make me really want the D700! I am going to have to do some serious thinking now. Replacing all my DX lenses will be an added expense to the change and may not happen as fast as I’d like it sure seems like it would be worth it in the long run. Thanks so much for your help.

    • Dawn, you are most welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions.

  10. 33
    ) Paul

    Well I’ve run probably 5K shots through the D700 – Tried to use it in a variety of environments – the more demanding situations I shoot in – Low light – the swing of a batter at the plate ect. – Had alot of thoughts going through my head concerning it the last couple of weeks – Still got some things to determine – It’s my first work with the FX sensor.
    First thing I noticed – my 24-70 2.8 was a 24-70 again – had to make myself move closer even shooting ‘grip and grins’ for the paper. I’ve used DX for about 10 years. Funny we’re such creatures of habit.
    The weight – I’ve been a full size camera body guy for a long time – anything other than that just doesn’t feel right in my hand – It is noticeably heavier than the D300 with the same MD10.
    The camera set up was very comfortable – similar to the 300.
    Framing FX vs. DX – for some aspects of the sports I shoot the crop factor with the full size sensor is an issue but nothing that the 1.4 TC can’t take care of when ample light is available. I loose a little pop in the shot with the TC but usually make a small adjustment in exposure or editing to bring it out a little more – The DX-FX cropping feature on the menue is something I will probably work into my shooting work flow under certain situations – first time I’ve ever had that feature available and I like it so far – remember I shot mainly for news papers – the loss of image size is rarely an issue.
    Noise at High ISO – 1600 and above I consider a high ISO – some guys consider anything 800 and over high – but their usually not sports photographers – I shoot alot of night sports at 2500 – I’m amazed at the difference in the noise levels in the FX and DX senors – I didn’t realize I had developed a habit of shooting the DX a little hot – Guess it’s a carry over from the TriX 400 BW film days – always shot it a little hot – with DX even at ISO 200 any shadows which the camera sees as underexposed is going to have quite a bit of noise in it – I use the exposure compensation setting to dial things up a little better – use the histogram alot setting exposures – anyway – the FX sensor is so much cleaner throughout the shot – How much faster can I shoot? – I’d say as clean as the FX is at 2500 I can push it to 4000 when I need the speed and not pay to high of price for the adjustment –
    Well I guess that’s enough for the time being – I’ll post an up date from time to time – maybe I’ll figure out if I can load a shot or two …….
    As far as the FX vs. DX senors I appreciate all the info you’ve given me – I have to say I found everything you’ve said to be accurate – I’m pleased with my investment – I just have to apply the info to the type I do ………
    Really wish Nikon had gone full size years ago!
    Thanks again!
    Paul

    • Paul, thanks for sharing your experience with the Nikon D700!

      Yes, the D700 is certainly heavier than the D300 (170 grams difference), so I tend to only take the battery grip with me when I shoot landscapes and need to use the L bracket. As you noted, the feel is exactly the same as with the D300, even with the MB-D10. When it comes to slight loss of reach, I too do not consider it an issue for my wildlife photography, because I attach the 1.4x TC in most cases and the nice thing is, if the lighting conditions are poor, I still have the chance to remove the 1.4x TC and get superb autofocus and low-light performance out of the camera and lens. For the glass that I use (Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II, Nikon 300mm f/4.0 AF-S and Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0 VR), adding the 1.4x TC is almost unnoticeable when it comes to contrast and sharpness. I’m so used to the 1.4x TC, that I rarely go out without it when I need the reach.

      In terms of noise, one of the annoying things about DX, is shadow noise as you pointed out – never was a fan of it. Having grain in pictures at base ISO is not pleasant and running noise-reduction software is just a waste of time. Once you see how clean the images are on FX, it is hard to go back to DX – my D300 has been gathering dust on the shelf for months now!

      I am very happy to see that you are enjoying your D700 – it is a nice review from a pro-sports photographer and I am sure many other photographers will find your review very useful.

      Thank you once again for your feedback! If you would like to share some of your images with our readers, you could either upload them to Flickr and then provide the URL here, or we could put them up as a case study, in which case it would probably be best to email me the images.

      Sincerely,
      Nasim

      • 35
        ) Paul

        I really appreciate all your work on the DX-FX info …… in every situation I’ve encountered to date your information has been on the money …….
        I used it over the weekend covering an indoor swim meet at the University of the South …… shot from a range of 1600-2000-2500 ISO at a variety of shutter speeds dialing the camera into the conditions and the noise level or should I say lack of noise is great ….. it was the type situation I could have worked through with the FX – BUT it would have taken alot more time in editing …..
        great to start with a better original image!
        Thanks again for all your help ………

        just a note – taking a look a lightroom3 – downloaded the trial – never used anything but Nixon and Photoshop in the past …… using Capture NX2 presently – all the importing and exporting is really different ……. haven’t found the word “save” or “save as” anywhere! HA!
        but giving it a shot …… found a couple features I really like!
        Paul

        • Paul, I’m glad that you are enjoying your D700 and trying out LR3.

          Lightroom is very powerful, I would recommend to get Scott Kelby’s LR book or view some of the online articles/videos on LR3. Easy to learn and yet very powerful!

  11. 36
    ) buji

    Great discussion Nasim, better one that I came across on the internet. I am a D90 user and have been planning to move to FX because I do have to increase ISO in my settings and the grain get to noticeable on the D90. I have started to buy FX lenses only and am using them on the D90. I use the Noise Reduction in CNX2.
    I have not upgraded, because all the rumors out there about the D700 upgrade (you also mentioned it). I am waiting to see what comes out, depending on that I may go for the new D700 or the D3s.
    Here are my three questions:
    1) Is the D700 upgrade coming out soon?
    2) Did you ever needed Noise Reduction, if yes what worked best for you?
    3) I use CNX2 because I have been reading that it reads the Nikon NEF files best? You mentioned that you use Lightroom; do you see any benefit of having CNX2 for the reason if it reading NEF files best?

    • 37
      ) sm

      hi Buji,

      I use LR (Lightroom) for capturing D90 raw files and LR3 is pretty good in my humble opinion. I like to keep things simple and using LR simplies the workflow quite a bit. It also has Noise Reduction within it, which I beleive works pretty well. See Nasim’s latest post on this.

      Btw, which FX lenses are you currently using on D90? Whats your experience with them?

      • 38
        ) buji

        Thx, I actually saw the post on Noise Reduction right after my comment, which is very helpful. I considered Dfine, but understood it does not currently plug into CNX2. A few people have remarked the strength of LR, incl workflow efficiencies. I’ve considered it, but I really like CNX2, so I’ll need more convincing I guess :)
        I’ve used the 50mm/1.4G (love it!) as my main lens for the last 18 months and just got the 24-70/2.8 for zooming flexibility in near range. 70-200/2.8 vrii in my dreams, but out of reach for now.

        • Oops, should have read your comment before responding, oh well :)

          The best way to see if you like LR3 is to try it. I believe Adobe gives a 30 day trial version for free…

    • Buji, there is plenty of speculation in the air about an update to D700. Some people say there will be one this summer, others say there won’t. I would wait at least until Photokina to see what happens. I’m suspecting an update to D3000 and D90, and not sure about D700. Schedule-wise, it was supposed to be released this year, but Nikon might delay the release until next year for financial reasons.

      In terms of noise reduction, I do use it for shots above ISO 1600, but selectively. I recently wrote an article on noise reduction, so check it out.

      Capture NX can read some image attributes other software can’t, but I don’t really use those (such as sharpening/saturation and d-lighting) – I tweak those in Lightroom and it is working out great for me.

      Hope this helps.

  12. 39
    ) Yousif Dafalla

    Thank you very much.
    This is a very useful and Fantastic Article.
    Thank you again

  13. 44
    ) Ben

    Very clearly and thoroughly explained. Thank you.

  14. 46
    ) Eric

    Nasim, Another great article. Since I visited your site, I can’t stop reading all your articles!

    I bought D5000 last year and to be honest, I wish I bought FX back then. I still think D5000 is great camera but I really want FX now.

    I’m a hobbyist and not a professional photographer, meaning that I don’t making living or sell my pics (at least not yet).

    Am I just being “wanting next best thing” if I buy D3s or D700 ? It is alot of money but I really wanna get my hands on D3s.

    What do you think?

    • Thank you Eric! Well, if you switch to FX (especially D3s) from D5000, it will certainly be a big change for you. Not only in terms of weight, features and new functionalities you will have to learn, but also image quality…

      Let me warn you though – buying cameras is always a bad investment. If you only shoot for fun, I would buy quality lenses and a good camera body like D90/D700 instead (D90 replacement should be out this year). If money is not an issue for you, then go for the D3s and get some good-quality pro-level lenses.

      • 50
        ) Eric

        Nasim, Thanks for the reply. As you might’ve guessed from other posts on your blog, I ended up getting good used D3 instead of D3s new or D700 new or used. I knew I always want some D3 or D3s level of Speed and 100% viewfinder but just couldn’t spend money for D3s. I got a good deal on this used D3 and very happy with it. I could’ve saved some money for D700 used but I knew I would regret not getting D3 or D3s. Thanks for the reply and great site!

  15. 47
    ) Dan Wynne

    Great article Nasim.
    I’ve got a d5000 with kit lenses 18-55 and 55-200. I did alot of baseball photos this year and was very pleased with the results, I’ll be doing soccer this fall. But I’ve tried taking the camera indoors for basketball and volleyball. As you know I either have to settle for noise at a higher ISO or blur with a slower shutter speed. I’ve been considering picking up the 70-200 f2.8 VRII and wanted your opinion, worthwhile investment for my DX body or will noise still be too much of an issue at the higher ISO?
    Thanx! – Danny

    • Dan, shooting indoors with a DX body is certainly going to be challenging. Ideally, it would be best to get an FX body + 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII, but if budget is an issue, I would go for the lens first and see how you like the results. If you are dealing with dim indoors environment, you might have to use flashes instead…

    • 72
      ) Wayne

      I just came across this article and your questions. I have been shooting just what you talk about in varying light conditions of school gyms, including those that have motion detector lights that go out for half the court when there is no activity like you find during an elementary school basketball game.

      I went from a D100 (plus extras) to a D200/grip and 800 flash and a 70-200VR 2.8. I set the flash to Fill mode and high speed sync, Shutter Priority 1/250 (Nikon’s crappy flash sync speed) and almost always bounce the flash off a back wall. That gives even lighting and not the “deer in the headlights” look of a direct flash. The D200 does a very good job of exposure adjustment and controlling the flash.

      My reason for explanation is to second Nasim’s comments on “lens before camera”. The 70-200VR 2.8 is remarkable! In tough light, it works great with the camera to track a player through the mayhem. The old days of having to predict a focus spot are just a memory. The setup is bulky with everything attached but I find it reasonably balance with the battery holder.

      My biggest complaint with the DX is the small viewfinder area. I wear glasses and I lose even more viewfinder area, especially the information portion and don’t like the feeling of moving my face around while concentrating on the subject. I have found that I just let the camera do the work after initial setup when doing sports shooting. That issue, and higher ISO/low noise, has led me to go with a D700. I don’t have any time on it yet so can’t compare low light gym shots.

      We’ve all read it before and some of us seem to fight it, just like I did (or do) …..good lenses before new camera…..find a good used 70-200VR 2.8 for sports in difficult situations and you will buy a new bag that keeps it attached and ready.

  16. 51
    ) iulia cosman

    Thank you for the article, it was extremely helpful clearing the difference between DX and FX, the importance of the size of the pixels etc. It made a very big difference in my undesrstand on whitch camera suits whitch photographic need.
    I started to shoot weddings with a D90 but I really need a better camera and started reserch on which one to choose.I undestand the great difference between DX and FX, and I can’t decide between D700 and D3s.Is it worth spending almost twice the money on D3s for wedding photography? Could I get aproximatly the same results from D700 with good lenses?

    Thank you.

    • Iulia, yes, the Nikon D700 is a great camera and you can certainly get very comparable results to D3s if you use the camera right and have good lenses. I know many photographers use the D700, although they can easily afford the D3s…

  17. 53
    ) Brooke

    Ah, thank you VERY much for writing this! I’ve been looking for an article saturated with information and not so many opinions. It seems everyone likes to voice their concerns but never the facts haha. Your article was extremely helpful to me. I have a perfect idea of what type of upgrade will suit me. Thank you =^_^=

    • Brooke, thank you for your feedback – I’m glad you found the article useful.

  18. 54
    ) Jacques

    Very well written and clearly explained. Thanks!

  19. 55
    ) Clifford

    wonderful explanation! thanks

    Clifford
    D80, 18-200mm VR

  20. 56
    ) Hans

    This is an awesome article!

  21. 57
    ) Praveen

    first of all thanks for this wonderful post, explaining the topic very clearly. its very easy to understand for a amateur like me. Appreciation for the effort you have put for this.

    THANKS AGAIN.

  22. 58
    ) Jim

    Great article! It answered all my questions but one:

    Are lenses made specifically for the DX format still subject to the ‘multiplier’ of 1.5, or has that already been taken into account? For example, is the 70-300 DX lens that came with my D90 still comparable to a 105-450 FX lens on an FX sensor? I want to buy a ‘standard’ lens for the D90, and in my 35mm film days that was a 50mm lens. So, do I get a 50mm DX lens for the same field of view, or should I get a 35mm DX lens?

    Thanks!!

    • Jim,

      I have just recently posted an article on “Equivalent Focal Length and Field of View“, which specifically answers your question. To make the long story short, the multiplier of 1.5 has to be applied regardless of whether it is a DX or FX lens – the lens optics stay the same. So yes, the 70-300mm will be comparable to 105-450mm in terms of field of view and your 35mm will be like a normal 50mm lens.

  23. 65
    ) jim

    Excellent article! NASIM IF YOU HAVE A 300 MM F4 LENS, WHAT IS THE BEST SENSOR FOR SHARP WILDLIFE SHOTS-DX OR FX?

  24. 66
    ) Hector

    Hi Nasim:

    Thanks for your detailed information. It would help me to determine the correct camera for me and the pro or cons of each sensor. Actually I am really interest to buy the D7000 that use DX sensor. The lens that I am interest is the 28-300 f/3.5 AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. This lens is for FX camera, but has a good zoom. As I read in your articule, FX lens can work in DX cameras. If I use this FX lens on DX camera, can the focal length can be affected or reduced. I really appreciatte your recomendation.

    thanks

  25. 67
    ) Eric

    this is probably the best article i’ve read on this topic. the ISO 800 vs. 6400 comparison on d300 vs d3s speaks for itself and is rather eye-opening.

    i currently shoot with d90 and d300s and am considering an FX move. i need to pull the trigger today (Nov. 27) b/c its the last day for Nikon Rebates. i’m planning on picking up 24-70 and 70-200 II and down the line adding 50/1.4 and 85/1.4, probably 70-300 as well. i do mainly PJ and concert shooting so landscape and wildlife arent a huge priority for me right now. i do have a sigma 15-30 i can use for W/A on FX, but i’m not sure i need 16-34 or 14-24, though they both sound fantastic.

    i know i will keep much of my DX kit for times when i need to be stealthy or weight is an issue and i like the d90 w/35/1.8 combo for street (the d300s also matches well with the sigma 30, size- and balance-wise.)

    …anyway, i am still on the fence over D700 vs. d3s. i’m a little concerned the d3s will make me forget about the d300s, which i love, but for concert shooting in low-light, there is none currently better. so that’s a plus for d3s. i’ve gone as high as 2500-3200 with the d300, which is a body i’m very comfortable with, so it’s hard to imagine what clean 6400 would do for my shooting.

    OTOH, it looks like the d700 is very competent at ISO 3200, with usable 6400, which would still give me a boost over d300s in similar situations. the d700 is more portable than D3s and has pop-up flash for quick fill. but in terms of cross-compatibility, d90, 300s and 700 all share the same battery and d300/700 share the same grip. this could be very useful in the field, especially in travel situations, since you can essentially switch batteries/use spares for all three cameras. however, the d3s uses a different battey–which means a different kind of spare and different type of charger. i do want to do more travel shooting in the future, and not sure a d3s would really be that great there–its too big/bulky and not unobtrusive at all. also too expensive–why take a $5k camera to a country where it represents 5-10x their yearly income?

    so, therein lies the rub–to go for the smaller, lighter body with better cross-format compatibility and very good high ISO, or to shoot the moon and nab the bigger, bulkier body with excellent high ISO? i suppose i can always get a d700 down the road, maybe when they fall to $1500 or so, which will probably happen when the d800 comes out.

    you probably wont be able to respond before i make my decision, but i thought i’d lay out my line of thinking, in the hope it will help others in similar situations. i’m not sure i’m really asking a question anyone can answer but me, anyway. so, suffice to say, nasim, you have confirmed that FX would be a good move for me. keep up the good work!

    • Eric, given how much D700 has come down (currently $2,349 + rebates), I would personally go for the D700. Not that I don’t love my D3s, but if you own a D300s, the D700 would make not only a good economical sense for you, but also sharing batteries, charges, etc. I used to travel with my D300 + D700 and two lenses and having one charger is certainly a bonus. My wife does not like the D3s because it is too big for her and too heavy/bulky. The weight is not an issue for me, but when I travel now, I have to take two separate chargers… In addition, the battery for the D3s is also pretty darn expensive.

      Plus, the D4 is going to be much better than D3s when it comes out early next year.

      By the way, are you going to be purchasing your gear through B&H?

  26. 69
    ) mike

    A very nice article for a beginner professional. In this [republican created] down economy and crushed housing market [ex-carpenter] the only other skill set i have to fall back on is photography.

    Since I haven’t been active in this for well over a decade or two [since the advent of digital & my basement dark room was scorned}, I'm currently looking for a new set-up.

    I have, i believe, narrowed it to the D700. I like the new Olympus E5 [any comments?] & the Cannon Mark, but the D700 seems untouchable for the money, do to your article.
    Thanks

    p.s. i only recently secured the site, so it is not up yet and i am waiting for my business license.

  27. 73
    ) John

    Thanks for the article. Very clear explaination, details, expert knowledges….that help me decide to submit my purchase yesterday
    Estimate time for delivery from B7H is this coming friday for D700 and 18-120 f4 for $3328 after $300 saving.
    I need your advice for couple of extra glass in the future. I am a beginner, not a pro photographer.
    Thanks
    John

    • John, looks like you got yourself a sweet deal! :)

      Let me know if you have any questions on lenses in the future, will be glad to help!

  28. 77
    ) david leung

    I can’t say enough thank you(s) for making the explanation so simple.

    • David, glad you found it helpful, thanks for stopping by!

  29. 78
    ) Mike

    Thank you. I stumbled on this looking for a simple answer. You provided a complex answer in a simple way. Well done!

  30. 81
    ) Mon Montero

    Hi Nasim, i just want your advised because some of my friend have a D700 camera (body only) and he want to trade in to my newly bought D7000 kit, but his D700 have already 80,000 shutter release (actuation?) and my D7000 have only 600 actuation, i really want to have a FX body camera, because i always shoot indoors and mostly low light situation, but my budget is very tight so I decided to by DX body (D7000) Until now i don’t know if i will trade my camera or not..What do u think? Thanks in advanced..

    • Mon, 80,000 shutter actuations is not too bad. My D700 has over 150,000. As long as the camera is in good condition, you should be safe.

  31. 82
    ) Prajakt

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks a lot for such a nice article on important subject.

    I need some help in taking decision on Nikon FX camera. I am using Canon 40D for last 3 years and mainly into landscape photography. I always wanted to venture also into candid photography, but 40Ds high ISO performance restricted me to some extent. Over the period, I personally feel that Nikon’s metering and high ISO performance in field, are more advanced than equivalent Canons. I have made up my mind to switch to Nikon brand. I had targeted intially for Nikon D700 but its a more than 2 years old body now. I have seen couple of high ISO snaps from D7000 which look comparable till ISO 6400 to Nikon D700. I am worried about my probable investment in D700 considering a relatively older technology to D7000. Also there is a risk of Nikon launching another full frame (D700S / D700x) in next 2-3 months. The current cost of D700 is stabilized and is in good range. But if Nikon launches another full frame, the cost would be again touching $3000. With these parameters, would you recommend going along with D7000? Or should I wait for Nikon to launch another full frame body? Or a combination of D7000 and full frame lenses like 16-35 F4 would be good? Please do reply me back.

    Regards,

    Prajakt

    • Prajakt, I would personally go with an FX camera. Wait until Nikon releases another FX body. Not only will the prices on D700 drop, but that new FX body might be well worth the money (when compared to D700).

      • 90
        ) Prajakt

        Thanks Nasim for your response inspite of your busy schedule. I would wait for Nikon to release there new full frame body. I have another query, if you can please respond to. In India, when I discussed with my friends, they are of the opinion that going forward there would be much R & D on APS-C sensor and DX lenses since the number of users of DX bodies are huge compared to FX bodies. Becuase of this, the cost of DX bodies, DX lenses would be much regulated that FX counterparts. And this might lead to very limited availability of options on FX lenses. Will it be a valid argument to think about DX bodies and DX lenses?

        Do reply :-)

        • Prajakt, no, I disagree with your friends. DX is not going to die for sure, but I would not worry about price regulations, etc.

  32. 84
    ) Vlad

    Hi Nasim.
    I have a question. In Nikon D3s specifications said that you can switch from FX to DX format.
    So, if I put 70-200 lens on D3s in FX it will be full frame, but if I switch to DX same lens on D3s
    will become 105-300 and I can see it through viewfinder 50% bigger ? Have you tried it with your D3s ? Let me know if it works that way.
    Thanks Vlad

    • Vlad, no, it doesn’t work that way. There is no magnification between DX and FX – all you are getting, is a cropped image. Always shoot in FX mode when using FX lenses and crop in post-production, if necessary.

      • 125
        ) IAN

        Hi Nasim…. came across your site today and you seemed to answer many of the queries I had. Well presented…. But! had been looking for a second body for my Nikon D300 (DX obviously) and my wife bought me a D700 body. All my DX lenses are not fully usable as talked about on your site and above threads. D700 certainly has better ISO across the board. The other thing I wanted from new body was use for wildlife and landscape but these are opposites in terms of photo gear needs – unfortunately.
        I know I can postcrop the FX image rather than use DX mode, but still I will be removing pixels with a smaller resolution image so max print size ability will be reduced. On screen a reduced (cropped)file size at 100% looks little different to 12mb FX view at 100% – but my print quality will not be equal? Is this right?
        Using DX mode on the D700 will give me only 5mb to start with as well, and so likely be the same print quality.
        I have a Sigma 120-400mm f4-5.6 so less reach yes but thinking this may still be the best lens to use with the D700 as often in need of fast shutter and low light/high ISO need. The Sigma 10-20mm wide zoom I have is really not good on D700 as have to use DX mode so don’t get the full frame gain.. so thinking may stick to using it on the D300 in good light.
        I have the option to return the D700 body but don’t think will be happy with a D7000 etc anyway… should I put up with the DX/FX issue and these lenses??
        What are the cost and lens options for FX use to cover these – I have been impressed with the Sigma range as actual Nikons are quite pricey?
        Any advice welcome… and again thanks for great discussion
        Yours
        IAN

  33. 85
    ) Pedro Albuquerque

    Hi Nasim,

    Just to thank you for the great post, couldn’t be clearer. Thank you.

  34. This is a fantastic post, I was confused prior to reading this post, even the specialist Nikon dealer in London didn’t convince me either way. FX for me now!

  35. 91
    ) Waseq

    Thanks for the article man!

    I am planning to go for D7000. What do you think about that? DX sensor with 16.2 megapixels. Do you think the large number of pixels in the small sensor be problematic? moreover i was confused by the 4 digit naming….previously Nikon’s 4 digit series were all entry levels. So do u think there is a catch here?

  36. 92
    ) Scorpionbee

    Hi Nasim,

    Your article is excellent and it helps a lot for someone like me, trying to upgrade from DX to FX. I have a question, I understand that using DX lens on FX model the image will be cropped by 1.5x. Which means if I use my 18-200mm DX lens on both D300 and D700, the cropping of the image should be about the same. How about the noise level? Will D700 do much better job than D300 or since it is cropped, they will be about the same?

    • Scorpionbee, no, you got it wrong. The crop factor is related to the camera sensor, not the lens. Therefore, your 18-200mm would be 27-300mm on D300 and 18-200mm on D700. However, because it is a “DX” lens that is created only for cropped-sensor cameras, it will only work at half the resolution on the D700.

      And yes, FX is always going to be better at handling noise than DX, due to larger pixels.

  37. 93
    ) Snack

    No wonder why this article is at the very top rank when I did google search on DX vs FX.

    I’ll also check out your other articles as they’re very useful.

    Many thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  38. 94
    ) Vaibhav

    Awesome !
    Got all the info !

  39. 95
    ) Greg

    Great article! This will help me a great deal in making the jump from the D60, much appreciated!

  40. 96
    ) Philip Hymas

    What an excellent explanation. I have been trying to decide whether to by a 55-300 DX lens for my Nikon D5000 or a 70-300Fx . As I am an optimist and hope one day to be able to afford a D700, I think I should go for the FX lens in spite of the extra weight and cost. Do you agree ?

    Thanks again for your great site

    Best
    Philip

    • Philip, yes, I agree – the 70-300mm is also a better lens than the 55-300mm DX.

  41. 98
    ) Nikki

    Nasim,
    Wow, what an incredible informative blog page. Thank you so much for providing great information on photography. I just sold my D60 a few weeks ago (greatly underrated camera btw). Tomorrow, I will purchase my very first D700. Words cannot describe my excitement! I was on the internet browsing FX vs. DX and found your site. Any questions I had as to whether or not I should take the plunge into the FX world were answered here. I feel confident that I am making the right decision. Again, thanks for lending your expertise to us photographers.

    • Nikki, congratulations with your purchase and yes, you have made the right decision. The D700 is a phenomenal camera and you will not be disappointed.

  42. 99
    ) Al Craig

    Many thanks for this very helpful overview and comparison shots. I’ve been trying to work out whether or not to convert back to full frame and you’ve just made the decision for me. Excellent level of detail – enough to guide a choice, but not too much to read.

  43. 110
    ) Al Craig

    Ok, so sorted the wait ready for the new Nikon full frame replacement for the D700, and now for the software. I’m running a Mac Pro at home and Macbook Pro when I get away from work. I’ve been using Nikon’s Capture NX2 for some time, but find it a little clunky at times. I’ve also got a trial version of Aperture 3, but keep hearing a lot about Lightroom 3. I always shoot in RAW, and am generally most interested in creating shots that will be good on screen or printed up to poster size from time to time.

    If I go for Lightroom, do I also need the full Adobe CS5?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • 112
      ) Kevin

      Mr, Craig
      If I may put some info into this, I also “used” NX2 and did indeed shoot in RAW. Went through all the PS programs and also have LR 3.3 …… They have trial versions on CS5, I would research them and see what you want and what may suit your taste. Yes I use my CS5 with LR 3.3 and the results are simply amazing. But then again we all have different taste and needs that we would like to acomplish.
      Be Safe Be Well,
      Kevin Atwell

  44. 111
    ) Aravind

    Hello Nassim,
    Wonderful and much detailed article.. anyone can easily understand. Thank you so much.
    My question for you is, I have a D300s with 18-200 VR II lens. I am planning sell my D300s to move to D700. Should I keep the 18-200 lens or sell it?. If I sell, then which would be the better lens I can go for to satisfy 18-200 result. I cannot spend too much at this time. Your help on this is really appreciated
    Thanks
    Aravind

    • 113
      ) Kevin

      They would have to pry my 18-200 mm from my cold dead hands……. Absolutely love this lense… Just sayin
      Cheers
      Be Safe Be Well
      Kevin

  45. 114
    ) Al Craig

    Hi Kevin

    Thanks for that. I guess I need to get hold of CS5 to try it out. At the moment I find that NX2 does most of what I want for straight photos, but lacks the ability to do some of the things that photoshop can do, and may be more clunky in the process.

    Best regards

    Al Craig

  46. 115
    ) Rusty

    Hey Nasim,

    thank you for that article. Reading through it cleared the question – and a lot of other things as well – perfectly. Best thing is: I did not get bored while reading and even discovered a few things I can now follow up.

    Excellent work!

    Rusty

  47. 116
    ) kiai pancal

    Hi Nasim, i plan to buy d3s but i still haunted by dust in the sensor. I have d700 and the sensor easy to get dusty. so i like to know after i buy d3s how i should do in order to clean or do the maintenance by my self.

    So far with my d700, i always put in my drawer and now the dust come to the view finder chamber, so i need to send back to Nikon services.

    My questions:
    1. how often you clean your sensor
    2. how to maintenance d3s from dust in sensor and view finder
    3. how to clean it properly and using what ?

    Thank you in advance.

    br

  48. 117
    ) Jm

    This was well written, well-elaborated and concise. Thank you for the effort and knowledge shared.

  49. 118
    ) Rauphiluba

    thank for the information about DX and FX difference, even starter like me yet wants to have the most powerful camera, FX has to be the one, but yes, it depends on your wallets.

    thanks any way, God Bless.

  50. 119
    ) Stela

    Waw… I was surprised especially as you actually apologized for a long post!! No apologies accepted, because this is a very good article.. I am more on a beginner side and the article really helped me to understand some basics :) and with that finally as well the difference between fx and dx :)
    Thank you for your time! :)

  51. 120
    ) kiai pancalan maut

    twice i red articles from this site and i end up bough the thingy, first 28-300mm and second D3s… and i happy with it specially the d3s, now i feel that i want to sell my d700 and upgrade it to another d3s…

    lastly the combination d3s+28-300mm is deadly, now i rarely use my sb700 and only bring sb400 for travel and use it only in case really emergency…..

    Thank you Nasim… !! and good job …

  52. 121
    ) khalid

    Hi Dear,
    Thanks for the information. Actually before i was trying to go for Nikon D7000 Dx. but now i don’t like to buy any of because i really need a true pictures for my photography, while the FX is extremely expansive that i can not afford so i will wait for until the low price of FX. but its may new brand comes so that will take times could you please give me some suggestion. i am totally confuse.

  53. 122
    ) Pads

    Hello Nasim, this is good stuff! My question is pretty much similar to khalid’s inquiry. If I am to jump to the FX realm, would you recommend for me to wait for the D700 upgrade (since it’s been out for almost 3 or 4 years now) or just go ahead and jump the gun with D700+24-70 combo (or any lens for that matter)? I just wanted to get the value on the camera body I am aiming for especially since the release of the D7000 was very promising and growing to be the best and most recommended one on the market. The D3s is a bit of stretch for me to reach especially sine the price of the body alone would cost me like a D700 combo already.
    Do let me know your 2 cents on this – or should I just get the FX lens of my choice and wait for the nex FX body to be released? Currently using D90 + 17-55mm. Thanks in advance!

  54. 123
    ) Rob

    Nice post and plenty of explanatory details. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  55. 124
    ) Logan

    Hi Nasim,

    I am new to DSLR world. I had zillions of question in my mind to decide a good entry level camera to buy, but info given in this site cleared most of them. This DX vs FX is really awesome, very simple & easy for a novice to understand the jargons. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

    Regards,
    Logesh

  56. 126
    ) IAN

    Hi Nasim…. came across your site today and you seemed to answer many of the queries I had. Well presented…. But! had been looking for a second body for my Nikon D300 (DX obviously) and my wife bought me a D700 body. All my DX lenses are not fully usable as talked about on your site and above threads. D700 certainly has better ISO across the board. The other thing I wanted from new body was use for wildlife and landscape but these are opposites in terms of photo gear needs – unfortunately.
    I know I can postcrop the FX image rather than use DX mode, but still I will be removing pixels with a smaller resolution image so max print size ability will be reduced. On screen a reduced (cropped)file size at 100% looks little different to 12mb FX view at 100% – but my print quality will not be equal? Is this right?
    Using DX mode on the D700 will give me only 5mb to start with as well, and so likely be the same print quality.
    I have a Sigma 120-400mm f4-5.6 so less reach yes but thinking this may still be the best lens to use with the D700 as often in need of fast shutter and low light/high ISO need. The Sigma 10-20mm wide zoom I have is really not good on D700 as have to use DX mode so don’t get the full frame gain.. so thinking may stick to using it on the D300 in good light.
    I have the option to return the D700 body but don’t think will be happy with a D7000 etc anyway… should I put up with the DX/FX issue and these lenses??
    What are the cost and lens options for FX use to cover these – I have been impressed with the Sigma range as actual Nikons are quite pricey?
    Any advice welcome… and again thanks for great discussion
    Yours
    IAN

  57. 127
    ) SRUTAYU

    thankz a lot for ur guiding !!!

  58. 128
    ) Aaron Lucas

    Hello
    I am planning to purchase a Nikon DX camera preferably D7000 or D5100, but I would be switching to FX camera in the future. So, I would like to know if I should purchase DX lenses for a DX camera or can I use FX lenses on a DX body without any limitation or problem? Plz help.

  59. 129
    ) Raul Rojas

    Thanks for this great post! However… looks like you forgot to put time in the equation. I would add that DX is lighter and can take exactly the same quality photos in about twice the time. For landscapes, daylight moving objects, unless you need a real high speed shot. they are better. I understand that you as a professional of photography are trying to justify the need of such a big sensor, but, to be honest, most of the people want to buy a camera they can afford, with excelent quality and don’t take pictures of 1/8000 shooting speed. For all of us, wellcome DX!!. Regards,

  60. 130
    ) Milinda

    Thank you very much for the sharing of your valuable knowledge and experience. It is a great post which explains everything in detail. Thanks again!!

  61. 131
    ) Paul

    I Just want to extend my great appreciation for your work on your Web site. I learned much from this and other articles here. Thanks again!

  62. 132
    ) Michael Hubbard

    Very informative; i have a much clearer understanding of the diferences between FX and DX formats. Based on this information I think I will purchase FX capable lens for my D300 because i think my next camera will be a D700. Thanks for all of the good information and the way it was presented.

    • You are most welcome, thank you for your feedback!

  63. 134
    ) yusuf

    thank u so much… It was really really informative, I could not find a better explanation on this topic.
    thanks once again.

  64. 135
    ) sherrybythesea

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I recently received the Nikon D700 FX as a gift from my husband and am having a hard time selecting the right lens (es). I really want a general all around lens I can use for shooting photos of my family, and I also need a lens for work, which is shooting interior and exterior photos of houses. Everyone keeps recommending DX lenses to me, telling me that there is really no difference in the lens for FX. Can you recommend which lens (es) you would use for what I’m doing?

  65. 136
    ) chris hine

    Having a D300s and D90 I was wondering what all the fuss was about FX, I now know and thanks to the fact that I have non DX lenses woll be pursuing a D3 with passion to get more from my photography hobby, thank you so much.

  66. 137
    ) Glenn Franco Simmons

    Thank you for such a thorough analysis. I am considering an FX, and your article made me realize that my first inclination, a D3X, is my choice. After reading another site, I was starting to think a D3S would be better, but my passion is flower macros.

    I have a D500 and a Nikon film camera, N60, and I like the fact that FX will more closely approximate what I could do with my N60 for my specific uses, which include many macros.

    Plus, I have my D5000 to shoot in situations that are more appropriate for it, but I contemplate using the FX for all shots.

    When looking at the Nikon site, I did notice a variety of FX cameras with different specs.

    You have done an outstanding job here, and I really appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this.

  67. 138
    ) Martin

    Thanks Heaps Nasim – I didn’t realise te difference in noise between the two. I thought I was tossing up between Nikon d7000 and a Canon D7, but it seems I should be tossing up between DX and FX.

    Or should I? I used to shoot overexposed images on ISO 1600 on 35mm for the washed our and grainy effect. And also, do I really need to shoot at 6400, if I never could before on film? Or does this open up a whole new world of low light photography for me?

    The more I lern the harder it all becomes; awesome :-)

  68. 139
    ) Bill

    Thanks, Nasim, for your very concise and clear explanations of the differences between DX and FX cameras. Until today, I didn’t really have a clue, but I am really noticing the limitations of my D90, especially in low light. By the time I can save to replace my DX with an FX, they will probably be on generation 3+, which works for me. In the meantime, I will be buying FX compatible lenses, which as you so ably pointed out, are not the same as DX lenses which I probably would have bought as my skills progress. With that said, I am very impressed that you could say so efficiently through words and examples what the other “professional” websites seem to be unable to do… that is to simplify and explain in a comprehensible way the differences in sensor formats, picture outcomes and lens compatibility implications to a newly emerging amateur enthusiast.

    • Bill, thank you for your feedback! I am glad that you found the article useful and easy to understand – that’s certainly my goal. Have a wonderful rest of the week.

  69. 140
    ) Tony (NZ)

    Nasim, many thanks for the information you impart. Your approach to photography is absolutley fantastic, surpassed only by your willingness to impart your knowledge and skills in a format that is concise and understandable. As a Nikon user for many years, I struggle with the new technology but find that reading your posts helps immensley and usually puts things in perspective.
    I wish there was someway I could return the favour you do the whole photographic community, but in the meantime my ‘thanks’ will have to suffice. Let us know should you ever consider a visit to New Zealand.

    • Thank you for your feedback Tony, I really appreciate it! It is my dream to visit and photograph New Zealand someday!

  70. Excellent post. I’m in the market and totally sold on FX (and almost sold on the D3s vs. the D700). I dabble in video as well, and manufacturers are starting to roll out camcorders with interchangeable lenses (finally!). It looks like I can get double the value from FX glass. Got anything on D3s vs. D3x?

    • Ted, D3x is for landscape and fashion photographers that need the high resolution for large prints. If you need a camera with the best low light capabilities, there is nothing out there that even remotely compares to the D3s.

      And by the way, B&H has the Nikon D3s in stock right now, which does not happen very often.

  71. I actually found the article where you discuss this in detail right after I asked the question. Very well done, totally get it now. I’m leaning toward the D700 for my next step up, thinking that for the price point on the D3s I would want better resolution (not that I quite need 24 megapixels…), for which I’m obviously going to have to wait. I don’t suppose any of y’all who’ve been following Nikon for decades have a strong opinion on whether D700′s successor is being announced in the next few weeks? B&H and other retailers are conspicuously out of stock. Judging by the recent evolution of DX models, it might include a resolution bump worth waiting for.

    • Well, whaddyaknow? I just found your post from 8/20 and I guess I’m not the first one to wonder about the D700′s successor…

    • Ted, I would wait till the end of September for a potential announcement. Yes, it will be worth the wait.

  72. 148
    ) Newton

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge on FX and DX, nice article.

  73. 149
    ) Charles

    Nasim , Thank you for the time spent in explaining the differences b2in the DX and FX Nikon Sensors.
    For me the most important thing to have in mind is lens diffraction limitation of the DX factor.
    And while the DX megapixel count goes up , diffraction will limitation will be more of a problem.
    I Was using An F4 and I am waiting to use my 35-70 AFD f:2.8 , 80-200 AFD f:2.8 along with my fast primes on the new D800 (?).
    How do you think these pro caliber lenses would perform with the latest FX nikon Sensor ? Should someone consider changing to the new pro zooms and primes ?
    Charles

  74. 151
    ) JOGINDER

    Nasim,

    this is one of the best site to learn A-Z about photography… I am from India, keep on posting informative topics related to photography…

    Joginder
    INDIA

  75. 152
    ) Logan

    Once again, a nice article. I just recently understood discussions about the difference between canon and nikon product lines (pixel and sensor size;wherein canon aims to have high pixels compared to nikon’s focus on larger sensors.) and reading your article about DX and FX gives me a clearer picture of the difference between full-frame and cropped sensors.(although is have a canon. ☺☺)

  76. 153
    ) PJ

    I admit I’m a skimmer. The short answer though is if you buy a DX camera there is no point in buying an FX lens, correct?

    And no the article is not too long. I appreciated the thoroughness.

  77. 154
    ) Vijayakumar

    Nasim :

    Thank you very much for the lucid explanation of DX and FX formats. I have one doubt. In case two different lenses are available , say 24-70mm DX and 24-70mm for DX and FX cameras respectively, will their actual focal length be different ? And if I use these lenses on DX and FX cameras respectively, will there be a crop factor ? I mean will I get the same picture from both the cameras ? Does this crop factor appear only when I use a FX lens on a DX camera.

  78. 155
    ) daniel

    tks Nasim, very informative and extremely helpful for me.

  79. 156
    ) Kike

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for this excellent post. Your are really good and I appreciate you spend your time sharing this kind of articles with all of us.

    I was wondering why Nikon doesn’t put larger pixels (for better sensitive performance) instead of increase the number of pixels on DX entry-level cameras.
    I have a D5100 and I would prefer to have less noise at high ISOs with a 12mp/14mp sensor than a 16mp sensor. Actually, I think 12mp is enough for non profesional shooting. Isn it?

    What do you thing?

    Thanks!!

  80. 157
    ) Priyesh Singh

    Hi Nasim,

    I have been reading your website and the material and advice available is really awesome.

    Need one advice from you. I have sold my Nikon D90 in june this year and have to buy a camera in December from India. I live in Tanzania and we don’t get good deals here that’s why am buying from India when I will travel there.

    I am thinking to upgrade to FF after using my friend’s D3 for sometime. Love the bright viewfinder. If budget would have permitted would have gone strt for D3S. I was zeroing on D700 with 24-120F4 lens. Now is it still a good buy to have it in December as I wanted to wait for any replacement model coming in market before that. Also I like to take some wildlife photos as well (Tanzania is famous for its parks, serengeti etc are here itself). I have a Sigma 50-500 OS lens but I take more of normal day to day shots like at beaches etc.

    So looking at my usage, what would you advice, should I still remain with DX and go for a D7000 (although I don’t really like it due to buffer size and 3 shots braketing only) or go for D700.

    Please advice.

    Thanks and following you.

  81. 158
    ) Rosy

    should i get the d700 now or wait for the d800. i have a nikon d80 and would love to upgrade. i have a ‘starting’ photography business and i concentrate on portraits/family picutres/newborns, etc. I’ve been asked to do family shoots at a daycare – they will be outdoor. I think i can get by with my Nikon D80 and my Tamron 17-50mm 2.8lens for this occasion –
    but it’s a debate i have. this shoot can generate many future referrals. Would i get better results with the d700
    i truly am not waiting fo rthe latest and greatest – but everyone states i should wait for the d800, please be honest with your responses

  82. Thank you so much for this article.
    I’ve been doing a lot of research and at last, I found the most useful post. Your explanation was really clear, specially for me which I had no idea about DX vs FX.
    I appreciate when I find people that invest their time to clarifying such complex topics.

  83. 160
    ) B J Roy

    Extremely helpful. Thanks for all the detail. You have help me make up my mind – I was leaning toward the FX because of Dynamic Range issues with what i photograph most. Not leaning any longer — taking the jump. :) Again thanks.

  84. 161
    ) Jaouad

    I hesitated to buy a FX lens for a DX camera! but I’ll buy it quietly)

    Thank you very much

  85. 162
    ) Callum

    Hi Nasim,

    Sorry for yet another query for you – I seem to have a lot for you at the moment!

    I was wondering if the D7000 has changed your opinions at all in the DX vs FX debate in terms of low light ability?

    I still can’t decide what best suits my current needs – I prefer the lighter weight of the DX bodies and I have 3 lenses I am happy with for use on DX, but at the same time I got to look at a D700 with 24-70mm f2.8 at the weekend and the weight didn’t bother me too much (but that was just playing around with it in the shop and not having to carry it all day!).

    I’ve seen on another website a slightly tongue in cheek comment that the abilities of the D7000 now make it less sense to buy the D700 for most people (by that I assume they mean amateur/hobbyist photographers) for the price difference.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    Callum

    • 163
      ) Callum

      Just another thought – are lenses like the 24-120mm f4 good enough to make the most of FX cameras or do you really need to go to the pro lenses?

      Thanks.

  86. 164
    ) Gandalfsson

    Hi Nasim

    I agree with you in the iso-department = fx vs. dx (nobody can not agree with you, I think, in this matter).

    I have the D700 and the D7000 and the D700 is the clear winner in this area.

    But you are not 100 % right in the dynamic range department – the D7000dx has better DR than even the mighty D3x (even minor difference) !!! (I also have the D3x, just bought it)

    But who would have expected that, I must say ?

  87. 166
    ) Vinny

    Hi Nasim,

    I upgraded my equipment this year with the plan to purchase both a DX and FX Nikon body. I have both DX and FX lenses. I opted for the D7000 over the D3oo as my DX purchase mainly due to the reviews and the fact my wife had the option to simply use the auto button so she could actually use the camera. I planned to move forward with the purchase of of a D700 this month, but now I am pausing. Should I wait until I have the cash for a D3s? I have been super impressed by the D7000 so I no longer feel the hurry to get an FX body. Is the D3s that much superior to the D700? I am willing to wait if the difference is there. I am not a pro but would consider myself an advanced amatuer.

  88. Fantastic article; thank you for taking the time to explain so clearly and in so much detail.

  89. 168
    ) mobeme

    Hi Nasim

    Thank you for this great article. I’m confused about one thing though. As I understand, DX implies a 1.5 multiplier to get the 35mm equivalent focal length. Does DX format also have a bearing on the minimum aperture if using FX lenses? Reason I say this is because in this article http://www.photozone.de/nikon–nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/626-nikkorafd8518dx , a AF-D 85mm f/1.8 lens is said to be “equivalent of roughly a 130mm f/2.8 lens” i.e. the minimum aperture is multiplied by 1.5 too, effectively making the lens slower (?).

    Many thanks in advance. G.

  90. 169
    ) endri

    I got a d 7000 and want to bye a fix lens! Can you anybodu explain me the difference between 35mm&50mm?!

  91. 170
    ) Yayan Eterang

    Hi Nasim,
    I’m from Batam, Indonesia. Just wanna say I love your articles.

  92. 171
    ) Danny Sanders

    Outstanding! Just the info I was look looking for.

  93. Добрый день, Насим. Может посоветуете, я стою перед выбором: в наличии D300s + 24-70 ф/2.8, хочу перейти на FX формат, как вы считаете на что лучше потратится: D700 + 70-200 ф/2.8 или D3s ? Снимаю в основном репортаж (свадьбы и прочее).

  94. 173
    ) Eric

    Thanks very much. A very informative comparison study which shed a lot of light (no pun intended) on the subject for me.

  95. 174
    ) mohammad sharifi-rad

    Dear Master
    Enjoyed reading your website and was really helpful.
    Thanks a lot
    mohammad sharifi-rad

  96. 175
    ) sung

    thank you for your great article. I was confused before, now i can actullay
    describe it to my peers.
    thank you again and i hope you keep writing article as helpful as this!

  97. 176
    ) Keith Doe

    This was a great little article and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Very insightful and, as i’m reading this over my cereal I’m feeling as though i’ve learnt something already today!

    Just purchased myself the Nikon D300S and a few accessories (battery grip, 16-85 vr lens) and i’m seriously looking forward to getting out and having a proper shoot with it! Hurry up christmas holidays!

    Many thanks.

  98. 177
    ) Kirk

    Utterly fantastic article. I have now got an education in sensor formats and what they mean to me. So well explained that all of my questions on the topic have been answered thoroughly. I appreciate the effort you’ve put in to write this article, as well as the fact that you have made it search engine friendly so it is easy to find when searching “DX vs FX” on Google. Great work!

    I shoot mostly indoor hockey games and the ISO noise on my D5000 is significant and annoying. Great camera for shooting outdoors in good light and portraits, but not so great for fast moving, dim light situations.

    Now I need to save up more cash for an FX body. Better yet, I now know why they’re worth so much more money. I’m telling my wife that it’s your fault. She’ll likely be in touch. haha

  99. 178
    ) mikgadhoke

    Excellent review and put so nicely in words.

  100. 179
    ) Wilson

    Your “Benefits of a High Resolution Sensor” article led me here. Just try to get down to the basics to thoroughly understand pixels, sensors…

    Definitely achieved the goals with this excellent article. Thank you for the clear explanation to make things easier to all the readers!

  101. 180
    ) LarryDC

    This was a very Excellent posting. It addressed just questions I had about DX & FX. I am an old film photogher moving to DSLRs, this posting has helped me to select my next camera.

    Thanks
    Larry

  102. Thanks so much for this information. You write in a way that makes it clear for everyone to understand. Looking forward to reading your old posts as well as new ones.

  103. 182
    ) a au

    Thanks so much for this information and I get more understanding on the camera.Can I ask you. If I want to get a new camera, is D700 better or D7000 best.

  104. 183
    ) Mike Butler

    Found this article through Google and want to thank you for the best explanation of DX and FX I have seen! I own a Nikon D200 and a Nikon D300 and am thinking of buying a new D800 when it FINALLY appears. Of course, I have a bagful of lenses I have used on the 200 and 300 and don’t want to spend another fortune — the cost of the new D800 will be enough! It seems that for most of the photography I do, my current lenses will suffice until I win the lottery. Thank you!

  105. 184
    ) Prabhu

    Hi Nasim

    I am a new introducer. i read your article of DX and FX was excellent.

    Thank you,
    Prabhu.

  106. 185
    ) gwenhael appere

    thank you very much for this article, it answered a lot of my questions…forums can be useful, but also very confusing sometimes ! Thumbs up also for your website, lots of useful information, and great pictures.
    Still, i would like to ask you a clarification :
    - you mentioned that Nikon FF bodies can automatically detect a DX lens, and therefore automatically “switch”to DX mode…As an example, my 16-85 used on a D700 in DX mode would give me the same image as on a D300s, but with a lower resolution…correct ? But can I use the D700 with an FF lens (let’s say, 24-70) in a “DX mode” (is there such an option) ? Other than the field of view, would anything else change ?
    Thanks for your comments !
    Gwen

  107. first of all, I want to thank you for explaining the Points between the DX and FX .. I really Appreciate that… going back to my Question ,, which is ;- i’m confused between D90 And D7000 ,, and I know that The D7000 is much better than D90,, but still want some tips anything you can give i will appreciate it .. and what lenses you recommend me to purchase? and do you recommend me to purchaase only the body and get a e.g 18-200 mm lens instead.. and what do you think about 50 mm f/1.4 lens …. I will be grateful if you could help me >>>

    have a nice day sir :)

  108. 187
    ) kevin sweeney

    i enjoyed your article and found it to be very informative and well written it helped me understand
    dx vs fx

  109. 188
    ) Ian

    Fantasic article, thank you – the blinds have been lifted! I have been waiting to see what the new Nikon FX camera specs would be as I have long been disappointed by the noise that I get from my DX. With 36mps, will the D800 be any better at coping with noise in low light than a D300?

  110. 189
    ) Krishna

    Really nice explanation with better example.
    pictures with very low light would be more useful.

  111. This is a very informative post. I had one question, when they refer the the FX I believe they also call it “medium format”. If this is correct what would the DX be and what is “full format”.

    Also, thank you for the ISO comparison. I was worried this was a problem with FX too, but it does not seem to be the case. I really need an FX format camera now.

    Thanks again!!

  112. 191
    ) Ray Schneider

    This string of comments is fabulous! Thanks all. As I take a lot of my photos while traveling overseas, I tend to carry just an Nikon 18-200 VR lens with my D200. And I post-process most of my good shots including sharpening etc.

    So my question is, will a photo taken with the 18-200 that is sharpened etc, in post-processing look comparable to a photo taken with a higher quality lens like the Nikon 24-70 that is also post-processed? Or will the better lens always produce images that are better, all things being equal.

    PS: I’m anticipating going FF to either the D700 or D800 – I would still anticipate using a lens like the Nikon 28-300 VRII because I travel so much – any advice?

  113. 192
    ) aVi

    Very informative. Thank You. What lens would be most suited to the nikon d7000 for low light conditions i.e. indoor and night photography? Please advise.

  114. 193
    ) Adil

    Dear Nasim
    I have been following your website for a few days now and I have learnt so much from your articles. I am very grateful to you and appreciate the clarity in terms of the language you use.

    I have one question for you today.
    Do the FX format Nikons come with VR/IS on the body?

    Adil

  115. 194
    ) CJ

    Hi Nasim,

    I’ve been looking for this answer for a long time. In just one shot you’ve enlightened my mind. Thanks a lot. I’m a beginner of this as I called profession. You’re helping a lot of people, and manufacturers as well. More power to you. . .

    God bless!

    CJ

  116. 195
    ) Martin

    Hi Nasim,

    Fantastic article, thank you.

    I am going to upgrade my Nikon D3100 to either the D700 or D800 (when it arrives) but which should I go for. My hobby is shooting landscapes and I feel I will get a better image with a full frame camera, also as this is just an hobby which if any wide angle lens would you advise. The Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 costs around £1300 but is there a slighly cheaper Sigma, Tamaron etc that you think would be suitable for my needs.

    Thanks

    Martin

  117. 196
    ) Venu

    Hi Nasim,

    By google search for DX vs Fx I landed on this page. Your blog about DX vs FX explained it all in a great detail. And I was convenced that you are the right person to ask about my upgrade qustion. Background : This is what I have now : Nikon D80, Nikon 18 – 200 VR ( unfortunately its a DX lense not FX) , Nikon 50 mm 1.8 ( FX) , Tamron 90 mm f2.8 Macro ( FX lense) , Nikon SB – 400, And a Potrait Studio setup in my basement. I am an amature photographer. Nowhere close to a professional. Its my desire to improve my photography skills to a Pro Level. But currently my foucs has been ‘Potraits of my Kids’. Now the actual question : I have been owning a Nikon D80 since 2007, and I am very pleased with it. I am feelign a little short handed with 10 mega pixel resolution on D80, to be able to take BIG prints without loosing quality. D7000 (16 MPix) looks tempting. Also I read in your blog that D700 is the worlds best DSLR . D700 is still 12 mega pixel. What would you suggest me to upgrade to from D80? to D7000 or D700. I know they are DX and FX . My primary goal is to have best over all DSLR ( DX or FX) since I can use all the lenses ( except 18 – 200 with DX crop) and be able to take BIG prints . Also aware from reading your blog that more mega pixels in a small sensor would introduce noise at low light conditions. Please suggest me the best for my needs. The usage is for personal and family but I would like to have a capable camera so I can learn to become professional with it. Your suggestion is very valuable to me.

  118. 197
    ) edwin

    Hi Nasim

    Thank you for your very informative website.

    I have a Nikon D90 and have a (far) future plan to invest in an FX camera. I also want to do Macro photography. I am wondering if I should buy a DX macro lense now because it is cheaper or buy an FX macro lense with the thinking that I might buy an FX camera in the future. I am thinking of the 85mm macro lense.

    Thank you.

    Edwin

  119. 198
    ) Paolo

    Hi Nasim,
    Awesome article. Exactly the explanation I was looking for. I had my D300 stolen and was thinking of replacing it with the D700 or the D3s. But now there is the D800 and the D4 coming out in about a week, and am not sure which way to go. Any thoughts?

    Thanks, Paolo

  120. 199
    ) Stephan

    Hello Nasim,
    Great writeup… thank you much.
    Regarding DX lenses, which are especially made for Nikon bodies having the smaller sensors, does it mean on a camera body with the smaller sensor a DX lens will compensate for the crop factor and capture an image at the stated focal length? Or will a 50mm DX lens on a, say D7000 (DX Model), still equate to a 75mm lens when compared to a film camera?
    If you covered this before and I missed it, I apologize, but I couldn’t find the answer here.
    Thanks,
    Stephan

  121. 201
    ) Rattiporn

    Thank you very much. Your article is very informative. I am now have a clear understanding between DX and FX lenses.

    Cheers, =)

  122. 202
    ) Bishwa

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks so much for putting this info up for beginners like me. I really appreciate how clearly you explained the issue, which was confusing me for a long time.

    Best wishes,
    Bishwa

  123. 203
    ) Manoj B.

    Well explained… thanks a lot…

  124. 204
    ) Bhaskar Ray

    Hi Nasim,

    Good evening. I am using D90(Dx format) with 18-105mm kit lens. Kindly advice me what sort of zoom shall I use for my wild life photography with D90 ? will 70-300 mm do the needful? I believe it is a Fx lens. Also advice me shall I buy Fx lens if I need to upgrade to D 800 because then Dx lens will be useless in D 800 or any Fx body. I am an ameteur photographer.

    regards

    Bhaskar

  125. 205
    ) akhil

    hi your comments and ur presentation is simply amazing. the thing is im actually new into this and know very little about all the convo’s taken place up could u suggest me any camera which would suite me. i am looking into D90 and the price factor suits me. i just want to know if Sony a35 is worth buying aswell.
    thank you

  126. 206
    ) Siva Prasanna

    Wow… what an explanation! Thank you!

  127. 207
    ) Martin Shellabarger

    I am looking for a camera for stop motion animation, and have it on good authority that the FX sensors will cause a greatly reduced DOF in a stopmo environment, and DX will have a greater DOF. Since shooting will be on a tripod under studio conditions where I can have longer exposure times, the image noise problem at higher ISOs is not going to be a problem. What are the differences in the DOF between FX and DX model lines?

  128. 208
    ) Velayudhan KK

    Hi Nasim,

    I appreciate the way you have explained the differences, pros and cons. It really helps any amateur photographer. This has helped me in deciding what gears I have to select fo rmy use.

    Thanks!

  129. 209
    ) Thepics Itook

    Great Information. I learn a lot reading your post.
    Thanks.

  130. 210
    ) Yudi

    It really did!!:-) Thanks a Lot! Great Info!

  131. 211
    ) mjohn

    Excellent… Got completely cleared on the doubts of DX and FX formats.

  132. 212
    ) Elizabeth

    Outstanding, clear and precise explanation. This has helped me tremendously in deciding which camera to buy for my needs. Thank you!

  133. 213
    ) CJ

    Hello,

    Thanks for such informative atricle. Just a quick question, I am planning to buy Nikon D5100 over Canon 600D. One of my friend pointed out that we cannot use FX lenses with D5100 but we can use all lense range in Canon. Is it true?

    Thanks

  134. 214
    ) musti

    hi nasim
    i ve a very important question; u mentioned above that :

    “Large dynamic range – again, bigger pixel size allows collecting more light particles, which results in larger dynamic range when compared to DX.”

    well here is my question; after expeed 3 processor on d3200 u still think same? I can imagine probably u dont have chance to have it yet its released but not in the stores till may but whats your opinion about this?

    thanx a lot and i love your work :)

  135. 215
    ) AMITAVA MAITI

    Dear NASIM,
    This is the first time i am going to buy a DSLR camera , after lot of query i decided to buy NIKION D5100, my question is is it a FX camera or should i fix FX lence on it….

    • 216
      ) Adil

      Dear Amithava,
      D5100 is a DX format camera. You can use both DX and FX format lenses on D5100. FX lenses are costlier compared to DX lenses, but have its advantages. The biggest advantage is that your investment does not go waste if you decide to upgrade to a FX (D700, D800, …) format camera in the future.

      Adil

      • 217
        ) AMITAVA MAITI

        Dear Adil,
        Thax a lot for your valuable information.

  136. 218
    ) AMITAVA MAITI

    Dear Nasim,
    Can u tell me when we can expect NIKION D3200 in india ?, now i am lit bit of confuse which one i should go…..NIKON D3200 or NIKION D5100. As per the price point is concerned D3200 is Rs.5k less than D5100 and the technical specification is concerned i think D3200 will be lit bit ahead so please suggest me which one i will buy..

  137. 219
    ) noush

    Dear Nasim,
    I’m very grateful for coming across your post, and your site. Really helps with my learning about DSLRs. This really takes ‘what to buy’ on to a new level. It’s hard enough when deciding between a Nikon or Canon!

    I used Nikon SLR through art and design college (20 years ago) so I possibly have a slight favor towards Nikons but not through any knowledge, and it feels like the Digital SLRs bring more choice, flexibility yet more confusion. I’m a total novice in this area.

    A couple of years ago I wanted to get back in to using an SLR as my instamatic Canon broke, so bought a Nikon D5000 with a kit lens (18-55mm) as a starting point. Partly due to budget and also that it feels compact in size. Although some of the time the quality of the pictures are decent, I find the auto-focus really slow, and it really struggles in low light. So now I want to buy the Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G. But this lens sounds better suited to FX bodies, and before I go ahead and start to collect lenses do you think it’s worth considering getting a second hand D7000 (or another more advanced FX body) from amazon? Or if I am starting to get the kit all again, would you know if getting the equivalent in quality with a Canon would be a better for lower budgets?
    I get so many mixed views from professional photographers, most of whom favor Canons over Nikons, but it’s not clear why. Some of them are fashion photographers.

    Essentially I would like to (over time) get additional lenses to be able to make the most of photographing portraits (natural, not studio based), landscapes, architecture, occasional wildlife, and of friend’s/family’s children, so some sports action. Indoor and low light also required. I live in the UK so low light is an issue, but I do travel to sunny climes. Can one camera body and multiple lenses manage all this?

  138. 220
    ) Ron

    Thank you for a fantastic explanation of the dx vs. fx formats. For me it becomes a matter of economics.
    With so much invested in dx it would be hard to go to fx for better lighting and frame size when you could try to reframe your shot or work on the lighting of the shot with a dx. I love that d700 though and it still may not be out of the question. Again, thanks for the time spent on a well written article.

  139. 221
    ) Stu

    Hi Nasim

    Great info. MY dad was a pro but never saw the digital revolution. For similar quality and sharpness do you suggest not using more than f11 in the DX format?

  140. 222
    ) Jiss

    Wonderfull article. A very usefull one

  141. 223
    ) Mike Butler

    I agree with Jiss (above). I currently own a D300 and have loved it to death for the last 4 years. My previous D200 still lives in my office safe as my spare (but the D300 is so reliable, the D200 has never been needed).

    I have toyed with making my next Nikon a full frame, and this article has answered quite a number of questions for me. Once I convince my dear wife that a D4 in an indispensable addition to my photographic armoury, (and the money that was to be spent on our next holiday can be diverted to such a noble cause) I will be in there with both feet!

  142. 224
    ) skelertor

    very informative. Now I understand better.

  143. 225
    ) Ashwin Kumar

    Great Article… very informative… thanks a lot!

  144. 226
    ) Mark

    Thank you, this is very helpful. I’m currently using a Nikon D50 and want to upgrade (maybe to the D700 or D7000). I shoot mostly gardens and landscape and I publish in magazines. Would you say I’d be happier the with D700?

  145. Beautifully explained. Made the concept crystal clear, specially by mentioning the advantages and the disadvantages. Length doesn’t matter if the content is good! :)

  146. 228
    ) Gonzalo

    Do not want to sound cocky but I think this is a VERY important question: What do you think of the new Nikon D800 with its FX sensor but incredible pixel count? Does it bring the same noise and detail problem of a DX sensor? Seems to me that unless they have some improved technology in place cramming up more pixels in any sensor (including full frame FX) will produce noise even starting at ISO 400 or so. Would very much appreciate your opinion. I never tried a D800.

  147. 229
    ) Mike

    The best explanation and reason for upgrading I have read, really good Nasim, my D300s could be my backup camera if the D600 shapes up, of course we will all wait untill Nasim runs his rule over it first, hopefully not to long to wait.

  148. 230
    ) Nnenna

    Thanks so much, very nice learned a lot. Nice breakdown

  149. 231
    ) Tiki Leff

    This article is extremely helpful. I am a professional photographer myself and I knew the differences but the depth you went into is phenomenal. Thank you very much.

  150. 232
    ) alena

    Thank you very much for explication Nasim.

  151. Hi Nasim,

    Really a great post. I am now much clear about the difference between Fx & Dx. Thanks again for this post.

    • 287
      ) Ray

      I really doubt that anybody out there will ever have the ability to look at a photo that went through processing (printed or screen) and say: “Ah, this was shot with a camery that has a FX sensor built in.”

      • 293
        ) nestor

        It is not so easy, but it all depends on the print size (I don’t mean pixels) and if you push the cameras to their limits. If you use at base ISO I agree with you, just try ISO 6400 or 12800 on DX and tell me if you can note the diference between DX and FX. Personally I don’t justify such high ISO but for some people it makes the difference. Processing helps, making the DX better, but processing both FX is best.

  152. 234
    ) Manuel Álvaro

    Thanks great post, :)

  153. Thank you for the thorough explanations! Great info.

  154. Finnly some one explained it in a proper human being language the differences betwen FX and DX, thank you very much for this.

  155. 237
    ) Piyush Bhatt

    Thanks for the information. You have talked about FX lens on DX body.
    How about DX lens on FX body does it go well equally. eg Nikon D800 body with 18-300 mm NiKon DX lens. Is there any major disadvantage compared to 28-300 mm Nikon FX lens.

  156. 238
    ) J Clark

    Great post. Very detailed and explains everything very concisely. Thank you for putting in the time.

  157. 239
    ) K Zaragoza

    This was a very helpful post. Thank you for detailing everything for us. More power to you.

  158. 240
    ) Jay

    Thank you for the information. Very helpful.

  159. 241
    ) naveen

    Very informative. The picture comparison really helped understanding the difference. Thank you !

  160. 242
    ) Tomas Wahrmann

    Excellent article and very clear and useful explanation.
    Thank you!

  161. Great post. Really helped me in taking a decision for Fx Vs Dx format camera.

  162. 244
    ) Ata

    Dear Nasim,

    Thank you so much for your very useful article.

    This one was the best as the others.

    I think that your origin is back to Azerbaijan, if yes, I’m from Tabriz/IRAN and i will be glad if i can speak to you in Azeri.

    With best Regards.

    Ata.

  163. 245
    ) Robert

    Great article thanks.

    This helps me understand the differences and maybe guide me on my 1st DSLR.

    My 1st thought was the Nikon D7000 but may consider the D600 now!

    Cheers

  164. 246
    ) Dina

    Thanks for the great article

  165. 247
    ) sandeep Patil

    Nasim, I have a new Nikon Dx camera D5100. I have taken hundreds of photographs but No any photograph has equals the quality of Fx camera images. My images are of low contrast & sharpness. I want to become a professional photographer in the nature & wildlife field. So how much is necessary to buy a Full frame camera like Nikon D800 ?

    • 280
      ) Swap

      it more of depends on the Lens quality and post processing …

    • 286
      ) RxGus

      I had a d5100 for 2 years, prior to getting my new d600. I won several photo-contests with that camera, and took several pictures that ended up on magazine covers.

      Honestly, good pictures come from the photographer and not camera.

      Work on your post production editing, and your composition… the d5100 will take care of its end of the deal. It really is a great great camera for its price.

    • 294
      ) eTomcat

      Perhaps it is the lense you are using and not the camera. You can try (borrow or rent) a better quality lense and see what difference it will have on the image quality (contrast, colors, overall sharpness, etc.)

  166. 248
    ) Ananda

    Thank you for this easy-to-understand explanation.This is exactly what I need to understand… the very basic difference between the two. Thank you once again.

  167. 249
    ) Hal Stewart

    Thanks for writing so many informative articles. I believe you have an error in the DX vs. FX article. You commented that the Nikon 70-200mm VRII had to updated to work better with FX. As I understand it was the VRI that worked well on DX but not on FX.

    • 251
      ) Hal Stewart

      Sorry I read the comment again. My error – statement is correct.

  168. 250
    ) John

    Thank you for the info about DX and FX.
    I’m planning to purchase Nikon D600 but thinking around to find single lens that suitable for shooting scenic, people, night view, and some object zooming focus.
    Any lens recommend for this kind of shoot?
    If I just use this AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR II DX does it enough?
    Does DX lens can fix into FX DLSR body?

    Hope someone can help.

    • 253
      ) John

      Having used AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED VR is a kind of one stop for all (plz don’t flame me.. :) ). I have used it for around 3 yrs and its a good lens to start with. Now i ‘am going for Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D as i need to take more portraits..

    • 254
      ) John

      Yup, DX lens should fit well with FX body..

      Quote from Nikon site..
      “On an FX-format camera with a DX lens mounted, the camera will automatically engage its built-in DX crop mode, thus recording an image only from the center section of the sensor.”

      http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And-Explore/Article/g588ouey/the-dx-and-fx-formats.html

      • 255
        ) John

        Thank you for the explanation.

        Does AF-S 18-200mm FX lens available in the market? Should I go for FX or DX lens, since the picture captured from FX lens are very impressive me. Or any recommend FX lens suitable for all-in-one shot.

  169. 252
    ) rylle

    Great post. I have learned so much from this. Thank you very much..

  170. 256
    ) Sylvain

    Hello,
    Great review.
    However, something fundamental is missing, the depth of field. If you take the same picture (same composition, same aperture) with a DX and FX the depth of field will be different, shorter on FX. For the same compo you can blur the background more easily with a FX than a DX, with a DX than a point and shoot or a cell phone …. this is not a feature of the cameras but optically fundamental.

  171. 257
    ) Vinoth

    Excellent information

    Very clear and useful explanation about DX and FX sensors.

    Thank you

  172. 258
    ) waki

    Hi!
    Excellent post, but I have one question..

    I’ve just started with photography and got Nikon d3100 (don’t ask me – my finances were short)
    And since I’ve got 18-105mm dx lenses in a kit I’ve got a question..
    I’m intending to buy some short “normal” lenses like 35mm or 50mm for indoor photography. I also possess sb-910 and am looking forward to get better equipment when I’ll be able to. But could you just tell me what the difference is if I use FX 50mm 1.8f lens on a d3100 versus DX 35mm 1.8f lens.. since they all cost about 200€ and I’m not convinced in any yet. I know I’ll buy a fx camera but it might still take a year or two, maybe more.. so therefor I do not know which to choose

    Thank you for your information. I learn a lot everyday and Photographylife helps me pretty much with it!

  173. 259
    ) MJohn

    @waki
    HI,
    adding my 2 cents
    both are wonderful lenses as they can stop down to 1.8. well 35mm will be more wider than 50mm and can take more wider area than 50mm. however 50mm can take portraits well from a distant (it is 75mm full frame equivalent) and produce beatiful bokeh backgrounds.
    so it depends on your requirements. using your 18-105mm kit lenses at 35mm and 50mm, see that you exactly require and buy accordingly.

  174. 260
    ) waki

    @MJohn
    Thank you for your reply. But I think you didn’t understand the question exactly.. so let me put it like this,
    I have a DX body and now I’m wondering what are the pluses and the minuses of using FX lenses on it..

    • 261
      ) Sylvain

      @waki
      The only minus of using FX lenses is the price (FX more expensive) and the size (FX lenses usually bigger).
      That it. After it will depend on the quality of the lens (FX lens usually better).
      For your case between the 35mm-DX and 50mm-Dx they both coast about the same price and size the same. So @MJohn is right compare 35 and 50 mm shoots and see what is the best for you.

    • 295
      ) eTomcat

      @waki
      and my 2 cents… :)
      - Regarding the IQ you can find reviews on the net for both lenses

      - Regarding the usability both will work on FX camera (if you plan to go with one in the future), however with the DX lens the FX will work in “crop” mode, not using the whole sensor

      - Last but not least is the fact the lenses are “usually” less sharper in the corners. That being said, using FX lense on a DX camera you are going to use more the central zone of the optics, so you could expect better IQ, while with DX lense you are using the optics from border to border. Again, this is in theory, it all depends on the quolity of the lenses you are comparing.

      Hope, that answers your question :)

  175. 262
    ) Renato

    Fantastic help. Thank you!!!

  176. 263
    ) Dian Miao

    This article really helped me.. Thanks a lot.. :)

  177. 264
    ) Dian Miao

    One question here.
    Let say D5200, 24.1 megapixels on APS-C or DX format CMOS sensor. The size of pixel is quite small and it might has noise in high ISO, if I lower image quality say 14 megapixels, is it can improve the noise in high ISO?
    In other word, 24.1 megapixels on DX format sensor (image quality set to 14 megapixels) compare with 14 megapixels on DX format sensor (image quality set to 14 megapixels). Is it the noise level same for both sensor in same high ISO?

  178. 265
    ) jimmy72

    I still don’t get the ISO performance thing. Bigger pixels means more light gathered and better low light performance…that I understand. But full frame sensors have more pixels. I haven’t tried a full frame camera yet, so I am not saying they are not a lot better in low light, I am just saying that I don’t understand why….. Look at this fairly realistic example:

    full frame sensor (24mp) 36×24 = frame size 864mm
    cropped sensor (12mp) 24×16 = frame size 364mm

    …so the pixel size for the full frame is:
    864 / 24 = 36 (lets just forget the millions to make it easier)

    …and for the cropped frame
    364 / 12 = 32

    So in this case is it right to assume that the full frame camera gathers just a bit more light (12.5% more)? That means that a camera costing often 5 or 6 times as much as a DX will give me just an eighth of a stop better performance.

    So either the difference is barely noticable or my maths is wrong.

    • 266
      ) Sylvain

      @jimmy72
      Hi,
      This article has been written in a time (March 2010) when no or few FX (or DX) format had more than a ten of millions pixels existed. D800, D4, D600 wasn’t here yet so it refers to D3 and D700 (and equivalent for other brand than Nikon), compared to D90, D300 etc ….

      You are right now the pixel density of FX reach the pixel density of some (old) DX but the detector improved and the low light performances improved for a fixed pixel size.
      But you must compare same generation of FX and DX, for instance D600 and the new D3200 24m and 22m of pixels respectively, you will see that pixels in D600 or D800 are larger than in D3200.
      If you compare D800 and D7000, the pixel density is the same but you compare a new camera to a already 2 years old camera.

      • 267
        ) jimmy72

        I see what you’re saying, Sylvain. Thanks for the response.

  179. 268
    ) vanessa

    great great article! tks so much for explaining it so simply… the best. i am choosing a camera and your site is so helpfull – congrats!!! tks again for this one!. bjs =)

  180. 269
    ) Prejeeth

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you for the awesome article.

    I’m a software professional but very very interested in photography. I did my majors in photography but did not pursue it since i needed some money to start with. It’s my inner desire (always been) to do good photography basically landscape (nature lover!) and portrait. Recently i purchased a D7000 but i’m very confused (money factor!) and want to switch to FX (love the image quality). Please advise if i should go with this huge investment.

    Happy clicking!

    - Prejeeth

  181. 270
    ) Mal

    Hi Nasim
    Thank you for this excellent article. You know your stuff and know how to explain it. I’m an aspiring landscape photographer and am currently using a D300s. I’ve never been totally happy with the dynamic range; in bright conditions it’s still short of the mark – even with filters, this article has now explained why. I’m seriously considering upgrading to a D700, which should give me a big dynamic range advantage.

    Many thanks

    Mal

  182. 271
    ) Maria Botnari

    Hello Nasim! thank you for all you posts!! they all are extremely useful to me!
    I have Nakon D7000 and 50mm 1.8D lense. I am looking to buy a compatible with full frame camera, zoom lense for general and wedding photography, what do you think about 16-35mm f4G ED VR? I would love a sharp lense, i like very much the 24-70 mm you recommended in your Weddinh Photography lense post, but it is to expensive right now.
    Thank you very much again!

  183. Hi Nasim

    Thanks for your lucid and wonderfully informative articles. Thanks to you I started out my wildlife photography with a Nikon 70-300 VR lens and then again on your advice just bought a 300mm F4 lens with 1.4TC since I found that I could not get close enough and losing clarity on the 70-300 when cropping.

    I plan to give my D5100 with 70-300 to my son to use.. I now need a body to go with my 300mm F4 with 1.4 TC. I have shortlisted D7000 and D800. Any advice which way to go? Money wise I can afford a D800 though it will be a bit of a stretch..

    Thanks
    Peter, Mumbai, India

  184. 273
    ) Michal Minar

    Thank you for perfect explenation, very usefull.
    Regards,
    Michal, Slovakia

  185. 274
    ) Dr.Adel Fawzi

    Thank you for this clear explanation and waiting for the price of FX cameras to become within the reach of the amateur consumer.

  186. 275
    ) Haggar

    Try this Nikon D600 with Nikon 24-85mm 3.5 AFS VR for $1999.98 http://www.adorama.com/INKD600K1KE.html

  187. 276
    ) Dr.Adel Fawzi

    This is a very useful article and as said let us wait till the FX format cameras become less expensive so that they can be within the reach of the amateur photographer.

  188. 277
    ) Harv Meyers

    I want to get a 24mp camera to use for bird photography. I expect some extensive cropping for far away birds. Which would you recommend, the d600 FX with higher quality sensor or the d3200 with a built in 1.5 zoom factor. Would the FX format offset the crop factor.

    Great article, by the way, thanks

  189. 278
    ) Swapnil

    Hey Nasim,

    I really enjoy reading this article. I would like your thought about my confused situation .

    I currently own Pentax.. I love the camera but as Pentax does not have any Service Centre in my country I am unwilling to investi in pentax Gear and Lenses. So i am moving to Nikon.

    I my budjet is around $2000 -$2300 USD. So i was planning D7k + good lens , but recently NIkon announce D600 FX body with great discount around 2k body and lens , no all of sudden a FX body with 24-85 and a fast 50 mm lens (without crop factor ) falls in my budjet. This is causing lot of confusion.

    I enjoy photography, It is my hobby not carrier and i will invest in more lenses in next years but right now I am not able to decide Nikon D600 vs D7k. I do know the benefits of FX and DX and their cons too, but unable to decide anything as both are in my budjet.

    Thank you in advance.

    • 279
      ) Swapnil

      Please pardon my TYPOS and spellings.. :(

  190. 281
    ) vimal

    very informative post for like me
    thanks
    dr v k dhawan

  191. 282
    ) Olayinka

    Thank you very much for the exclusive explanation.

  192. 283
    ) Eliya Amanoeel

    Thanks for this great article. I really enjoyed reading it and got so much informationto learn from.

  193. 284
    ) Vanessa Adams

    Great article. Helped me to make my decision.

  194. 285
    ) Enni Kallio

    Thank you for the post. This really helped a lot.

    I have been looking to upgrade my nikon D80 into a newer camera and now I am pretty much pondering between D800 and D600. I take pictures in a variety of settings (sports, landscape, inside events, portraits etc.). The only difference I see in D800 and D600 is the megapixels, the exterior and the price.

    With a FX image sensor what difference does it make if you have 36.3 or 24.3 megapixels? Some say that the D800 shoots grainier pictures at higher ISO than D600 due to its higher megapixels, is this true?

    • 289
      ) Joshua Boldt

      Many websites where they do camera testing are showing that the D600 has slightly lower noise at high ISO than the D800, but it’s not noticeable to the eye so you really wouldn’t be able to say it is “grainier” on the D800. On the other hand, the D800 has a tiny bit better image quality and a little better dynamic range (its ability to distinguish differences between whites, blacks and all the greys in between), but again it’s not noticeable and only shows up in extensive testing. Statistically negligible is what you would call the quality differences between the two.

      The difference between the 24 MP and 36 MP pictures they take is that the 36 MP picture has more data to work with and would stand up to enlargements better if you are printing them, or arguably stand up better to cropping.

      The big difference between the two is the camera quality. The D600 is not a professional quality camera.

      The D600 has a smaller autofocus area which only has 39 focus points of which 9 are the cross-type (the fancier focus points that work better). Compare that to the D800 which has a wider autofocus area which has 51 focus points of which 15 are the smarter cross-type. This makes the D800 a better autofocus camera if you are taking pictures of moving things, but if you take pictures of mostly still objects you might not see the difference.

      The D800 has a better resolution screen on the back which is reinforced to keep it from breaking, pro level weather sealing, a tougher pro body, 20% less delay when you click the shutter, twice the maximum shutter speed, a larger viewfinder, pro controls and menu items, and more.

      The question when deciding on a purchase between the two is do you need that extra pro stuff. If you don’t need it, you can get virtually the same quality pictures from the D600 for probably 700 bucks less. Some people who have bought the D600 are pining that they wished they had the pro features. Some are OK with it. In many way, the new D7100 looks like a better camera to me than the D600. My choice now might be between the D7100 with much faster frames per second but a smaller DX sensor, or the D800 with the FX sensor but which might not keep up with me at 4 fps.

      • 302
        ) Ads

        Actually the difference between a D600 and D800 at high (>3200) ISO is pretty marked when viewed at 100%. I’m tossing up between the 2 and after renting both for a day to compare I’d call the D600 to be about 1.5 stops better in terms of noise (again when viewed at 100%).

        I regularly print up to 1m diagonal, and for my tastes I’d rate the D600 as passable at 12800 ISO, and the D800 not usable at 6400 ISO (I think about 5000 would be its limit), though the D800 has slightly more resolution at this print size. Of course we all have different tastes/tolerances when it comes to noise so your mileage may vary…

        If you only print 8x10s or view on screen/online a lot of noise is masked by downsampling, but then again there’s little reason for spending the extra $$$ for 36mp if that’s all you are going to do with it.

        I haven’t bought either yet as my next photography trip isn’t until Jan, but if I had to buy now it would be the D600 and spend the change on glass.

        • 306
          ) Calimagne

          Most helpful post I read today. Comes from someone who doesn’t compare numbers on a spec sheet but the ink jetted pixels on papers. Thank you very much.
          Calimagne

  195. 288
    ) samantha

    This is by far one of the most helpful post on the web I have come across. Thank you for taking the time to really explain everything so detailed!

  196. 290
    ) miki

    Well 3 years later after you published this nice text come D600 and its probably means FX will leave us sooner than we was thinking…

    • 291
      ) miki

      l mean DX ofcourse :)

      • 296
        ) Xavier

        Well, there are still big diference between DX and FX lens prices, so i think DX will last at least tree more years. In fact, they just released the D7100. So, for starters and no pro, DX is still a better choice (unless you have a lot of money).

  197. 292
    ) Roger J.

    This is a great post. My daughter is minor-ing in Photography at college and has informed me that she needs a camera that better than the D40 she shoots now. I was thought I was doing good getting the D40. The lens is detachable, that means the camera is practically professional, right?
    Anywho…I have some answers now…but A LOT more questions….
    Great post. Thank you!

    • 297
      ) Xavier

      In her case I recommend the D7000 or D7100. Great cameras and she still can use all the lenses she have been using until now. IMHO.

      • 298
        ) Roger J

        Sweet. I guess I’ll sell a kidney and get her one…
        Thanks for the response!

  198. 299
    ) vinay

    Very informative…….cleared my doubt in regards fx dx but increased ma trouble over finalising below zoom lens selection

    55-300mm vr (dx) and 70-300mm vr (fx)

    as per bove discussion fx senors have wider view compared to dx sensoe and usinge the above fx lens on my dx camera will function fully

    So this mean the max. reach of 50-300 mm will be greater (say 350) compared to 70-300mm lens (f x)
    And dx lens at 55mm will peform as of 70 mm

    Is it so? As fx one has faster autofocus compared to above mention dx and I don’t wan to sacrifice reach,would it be good to bet more 200$ for this……which one i should choose…..please help

  199. 300
    ) Pete

    We don’t all need the high ISO advantage of FX (1-2 stops) – so I think this article is quite narrow and rather misleading when it comes to generalisations about IQ. If you compare IQ at base ISO and up to 400, you will see no meaningful difference between DX (APS) and FX. Even small chip compacts in good light at base ISO can produce comparable 12x 16 prints. Everyone’s obsessing over high ISO but at low ISO it’s all pixel peeping nonsense, just learn to get the best out of what you can afford. If you want a real step up in IQ you really need to go to large format filmcameras.

  200. 301
    ) Jagannath Bal

    Actually in past i was using NikonF 7o0 & Nikon F80 but lator on digital camera took up the market then I stopped purchasing SLR but tried to get sony compact camera with carl-Zeiss lenses ,gave me wonderfull result.Now I am intrested to go for SLR FX series.which one will be better ?I read FX600 of Nikon is good & professional camera but today I read from column that it is a non professional camera.How to judge ? Am a ameature photographer.

  201. 303
    ) miroy

    is it possible to use a full frame sensor on a DX body?

  202. 304
    ) Mike

    Great explanation of difficult subject. Kudos!

  203. 305
    ) Calimagne

    With 13 NIKON lenses from 15 to 400 (AI & AF) for the 35mm analog NIKON cameras, I want to buy a digital camera that suits them best. I don’t know know the possibilities of the FX Nikon cameras but I don’t want to get a DX and the loss in angle of my wide angle lenses is not the only issue I have with the DX sensors. I don’t want to schlepp around more glass than I can use. With a projected picture circle of 44mm in diameter of my old lenses I don’t want to project a picture on a DX sensor that requires a picture circle of only 29mm in diameter. I understand that the picture quality is best in the center so from the quality stand point it would be okay to use FX lenses on a DX camera. Scientifically I know enough about my lenses but not yet enough about the cameras. I understand that using old AI lenses on a D4 will not allow me to use the full potential of the features the camera body offers and so I don’t want to waste money on features I won’t be able to use. I just want to make the best pictures with the lenses I already have. I also own. Hasselblad 500C with Carl Zeiss lenses (60, 80, and 100mm and a shift converter). Too bad the Swedes do not offer a digital film magazine for it.
    I always thought Canon and Nikon came up with the FX camera bodies to make AI lens owners happy.

  204. 307
    ) d3xmeister

    Some good informations, but also many missleading information and interpretation. Too many to comment. Just one example: saying that bigger pixels makes for low light performance and DR, which was demonstrated to be wrong by DxO and sensorgen for years. And now all those misslead readers want to trow away their cameras because they get bad photos, with no contrast and color and sharpness etc.

    STOP ! Your D3100 or D5100 can take amazing photos, even with the kit lenses. If you’re photos suck, that’s you. If you don’t get the same crappy photos with FX, I’ll pay for it myself.
    The difference between those formats are visible only when shooting in extreme condition, or when you stare at every single pixel from 2 inches away. They don’t make good or bad photos. An because the differences are not that big, photographer’s skill can make a bigger difference.

    Go to flickr, pick the latest DX camera, look at the pictures.
    Go to flickr, pick the latest FX camera, look at the pictures.
    Do you see a difference ? Show them to your friends or family, but don’t tell them which is DX and which FX. Can they thell what gallery is made with what camera ?

    Geez, stop spending money for NOTHING.

    Now if you are a pro, or you have a ton of money and a ton of passion go ahead buy FX, or better still, I recommend a Hasselblad H4D system.

    • Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it.

      A couple of comments on what you wrote. Dynamic range will vary between FX and DX at pixel level. DxOMark downsamples their images to 6 MP for all of their tests, including dynamic range. This obviously diminishes the difference between DX and FX. The results would be different if you cropped low-res FX like D4 and high-res DX like D7100 and compared pixel-level performance. At pixel level, pixel size matters. But I agree with DxOMark’s methodology – nobody looks at pixel size anymore. You would never compare a small print to a large print: prints are comparable at the same size. Hence, the dynamic range advantage of FX kind of fades away indeed (keep in mind that the article was written 3 years ago).

      As for your D3100 / D5100 comment, of course it is true – any modern camera is capable of making amazing pictures. Heck, even iPhone images can look great nowadays. Remember, it is always about the person behind the camera!

      At the same time, you are mixing in the small image phenomenon here. When you present a small JPEG to a person, I doubt they will see any difference between FX and DX. If you do it right, they won’t even see the difference between FX and a cell phone camera. Does it mean that the cell phone is as good as an FX camera? Of course not! Print the photos from both at their full resolution at 150-300 dpi, hang them on the wall and you will see which one looks better. There is a reason why top landscape and fashion photographers shoot with medium format cameras. Even FX does not cut it when you need to hang a huge print on a wall (although D800/D800E surely did diminish that difference). So this is not about the sensor size or camera type – you get what works for you. As you said in your last sentence, if you have the money and passion, there is nothing wrong with even getting a MF camera…

      • 309
        ) d3xmeister

        Yes, you are right. First, sorry I did not knew the article wa so old.
        What made me wrote the comment was when I read some of the comments from people saying ,,Oh, right, that’s why my photos were so bad, lacking contrast and clarity, I should buy an FX camera,,

        A little story. When my won was born, I had a Olympus E-620. At first it was OK since he wasn’t moving much. Having in-body stabilizer and a Panaleica f/1.4 I was able to get away with shooting at ISO 800 and 1/30. When my son started moving, I needed 1/125 at least, but the E-620 couldn’t really cope with more than ISO 1250. Went to a store, bought a 5 bulbs pendant for every room (I only have 2 :)) and voila, I was shooting at 1/125 ISO 320. A lot cheaper Than buying a new camera and shoot at ISO 3200. On Nikon I was amazed what the 18-55mm can produce when I learned how to used it to its strenghts, after at first I thought it sucked.

        That said, I am a gearhead, went trough many cameras, and FX comming soon :) Just wanted to let people know that their cameras are usually capable of great pictures, if they put just a little bit of effort. If your photos with a D3100 and 18-55mm suck, your full frame photos will suck too. That doesn’t mean ff is not better, but I see soooooo many poor photos comming fro the D800e, and that’s a pitty.

  205. 310
    ) Prof. G.

    Wonderfully intuitive and insightful article, as usual.
    Interesting thoughts – same lens (Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR) , same subject (a gray seal at 100 feet), same ISO (800), same shutter speed, same f stop — one photo from D600 and from D7100 –
    Both cameras have the same megapixels (24) – but D600 is FX while D7100 is DX – so, the image on the FX sensor will be smaller than on the DX – we crop both so that the image will be 8×10 –
    The FX had to be downsized more than the DX to get to that size –
    therefore, since both cameras had the same megapixels, would not the DX have better IQ – since it didn’t have to be “downsized” as much???

    Best regards — I love the exchange of ideas here — I am always learning — Thank you.

  206. 311
    ) Saul

    Great article, thank you very much

  207. 312
    ) PranavShar

    thank you so much for posting such information. very helpful.

  208. 313
    ) Marcin

    Hah, I just read this article even though I have read your site for quite some time. That is why I write this comment after a couple of years. Superb work, I must admit.

    But the reason I am writing this, is quite different – I did notice your last name, of course, but I got interested in the books you have on the shots in this article. Lev Tolstoy and, more importantly for me, Boleslav Prus and “Pharaoh” ;)

    Greetings from Europe and keep up with good work! ;)

    • Marcin, that’s funny, always wondered if anyone would note the books :) And Pharaoh is amazing, had that book forever!

      • 315
        ) Marcin

        Thanks for the prompt reply! Right now, I just have to take a closer look at all the photos you have published here. Just wondering what more I can find :)

        But seriously, I just need to be more active in the comments section. Your website is very valuable. It is so refreshing to read an insight and reviews from somebody who can really make amazing photos – not your regular internet pixel-peeper.

        I do agree about “Paharaoh” though ;)

  209. 316
    ) Prof. G.

    I re-read this article — excellent — what I particularly liked about the comparisons was the apparent downsizing of the images from the FX format cameras — so we are viewing the same size images — I hope I got that correct — apparently, the FX wins the IQ contest.
    Thanks again.

  210. 317
    ) Larry

    Spot on! I am a hobbiest with an “old” Nikon D100. I am aware that current cameras far exceed those early capabilities, but I got lost in the marketing mumbo-jumbo. Quite frankly, I think Nikon is making a big marketing mistake with all of their models. Do I buy this one or that one? What am I missing if I buy the other one?? Confusion leads to inaction. You have perfectly cleared up the FX vs. DX issue. Now I can move on to number of mega-pixels, white noise reduction, speed, HD video … on and on.

  211. 318
    ) Steven

    A well written article like this will goes a long way.
    Only read this article at middle of 2013, i believe some beginner will still very much appreciate this articles in the years to come!

    Thanks Nasim.

  212. 319
    ) Billy P.

    Excellent article. Would I be able to achieve purer white and maybe less grain when shooting jewelry with the FX format?

    Thanks for the wonderful information provided.
    Billy P.

  213. 320
    ) Pete

    Hi, I made the earlier post (#300).

    I wonder what your thoughts are on the recent Ken Rockwell article : )

    http://kenrockwell.com/canon/comparisons/sl1-vs-5d-mk-iii/index.htm

  214. 321
    ) manolis

    μπραβο σας!!!
    ειναι η πρωτη φορα που ξεκαθαρισα τοσες αποριες που ειχα για αυτες τις δυο φορμες DX & FX.
    ευχαρηστω πραγματικα!!!!

  215. 322
    ) Wael

    assalam alikom

    it’s good subject i understood many things from you i didn’t know before.
    according to nikon in this page
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/simulator/
    the FX lens will work with DX camera as DX lens with DX camera but FX lens with FX camera will give you wider angle than DX lens with FX camera.
    so using DX or FX lens on my DX camera won’t affect the angle of view.
    am i correct or i missunderstand something here.
    thanks .

  216. 323
    ) David

    Thank you for the article. I agree with you wrote about the difference in noise performance between DX and FX. The question I have is : why they keep increasing the number of pixels in new cameras? Now all nikon a are 24 Mp. And why people keep saying that noise performance of nikon d7000/71000 is getting better and better? Because the the greater number of pixels the less size of a pixel, so noise performance supposed to be worse and yet people say opposite.

    Thank you for your time.

  217. 324
    ) ma

    this article is so useful..keep it up..thumbs up X100000 for ya…i’am newbies..

  218. 325
    ) lily

    oh my goodness.

    first of all, thank you SO MUCH for this so well and BEAUTIFULLY written post that even a layman like me with no photography background can follow!!!

    I do have some questions, i hope you will answer , just to see if i really understood,

    1. so “photosites”(bucket) is jsut another word, but basically refers to the SIZE of each pixel right ???
    2. given same number of pixels, the LARGER the pixels (or in otherwords bucket/photosite), the better the quality. right?
    3. however, given the same size of pixels, the larger the QUANTITY of pixels will only result in higher resolution but not necessarily better quality of the pictures?
    4. when you say d3x is simialr to d700, does that mean d700 is more catered for more pixels as opposed to catered for better sensitivity etc like d3s?? what do you use for wedding photography?

    before reading this article, someone told me that upgrading would only change my “view point” , but oh boy it totally improves the quality of image by so much more just from seeing your imags above!!

    do you have a similar/equivalent post for canon as well?

    again, thank you SO SO MUCH for sharing this and taking the time to write this out so beautifully!!!! clipping it for future reference in case i forget for sure!!! :)

  219. 326
    ) Oleg

    Very nice [objective] and intuitive explanation! Thanks!
    Lev Nikolaevitch on the background of photos: respect!

  220. 328
    ) Aasim Shehzad

    Nasim,

    The brevity of explanation without compromising on details and substantiated with pictures makes your article easily fathomable for a beginner like me. May God keep the oil of passion burning in you. God Bless

  221. 329
    ) eric

    Awesome article When taking MACRO pictures of say, a bug or flower , is an FX camera (Nikon D800) with an FX lens (Nikon 200mm) going to give a better result than a DX camera(Nikon D80) with a DX lens(Tamron 180 mm) ?

  222. 330
    ) Rainer

    All true!
    The initial post is from March 2010. The DX have vastly improved and even the Nikon D90 was outstanding in regards to noise control. I now use my old D90 as a converted Infrared Camera.
    The D7000 and D7100 are more than adequate to cut for Pro work. There is no need to go for the full frame unless you want to shoot Advertising Billboards. Software also helps complete your results to high standards if used correctly.
    All in all the DX along with adequate Pro Software is all you need for many Pro work.

  223. 331
    ) Bztina

    I loved this article and could fully understand all the comparisons. I was wondering what would be the FX camera of choice now it is a few years later. Nikon doesn’t even show the D3s on their website.
    What are your suggestions? Thank you for taking the time to share info:)

  224. 332
    ) William

    What would you recommend as a gift for a friend. An older fx dslr or a newer dx dslr? Is there a particular older fx dslr that you would recommend as a best value?

  225. 336
    ) George

    Thanks for this, just got a D4 with a f1.4 58mm Nikkor Lens a week ago, have no idea what’s Full Frame, FX, DX… your article is sure helpful!

  226. 337
    ) Jesus

    Many thanks for this fantastic article ! It has helped me a lot. But I would apreciate your advice: would you buy Nikon (pro: FX; con: a bit expensive) D610 or D7100 (pro: good camera; con: maybe a new one in 2014 and buffer problems). Now, I have a Nikkor 70-300 and an old, but perfect, Nikkor 35-70mm. Again, thanks.

  227. 338
    ) Sammy

    I just got a new D800 Nikon camera from my in-law in USA. I have being using D90, not really taking a professional photography but develop interest for photographic. I used the D800 with Nikon flashgun SB910 but I still find my pictures most of the time dark. Please what can or what setting can I use to improve my pictures. My D90 is not so much of stress to but I am beginning to like the new D800.
    Thanks for all your help I have read may of your article. More grace to your elbow.

  228. 339
    ) Invalid

    The D300 images are underexposed.

  229. 340
    ) Vivek Borulkar

    Awesome, Nasim….

    Thank you.

  230. 341
    ) Kara

    Thanks for the incredibly informative article — it’s much appreciated!

    I have one question that hopefully wasn’t already addressed. Can I used an FX lens on a DX camera? I own the D5100 but would eventually like to switch to a full frame camera body. I know you said that DX lenses can’t really be used on FX cameras, but is that also the case the other way around? If so, would a 35mm FX lens on a DX body be a “true” 35mm, or would it still be enlarged?

    Many thanks in advance!

  231. 342
    ) Wael

    dear Kara
    i use 70-300VR which is FX lense on D5200 (DX camera) and it’s working as DX lens
    when you use 35mm DX lense on DX camera you will get same result as
    when you use 35mm FX lense on DX camera but not as
    when you use 35mm FX lense on FX camera (in this case you will get wider shot=more items in your photo)
    to be clear check this site
    http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens/simulator/
    i hope it’s clear now

  232. 343
    ) wksoh

    Fantastic article. Straight to the point….. THank you!

  233. 344
    ) Robins

    I have Nikon D5000 with DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-55 3.5-5.6G VR lens. I want to buy a FX format 50-300mm telephoto lens. Is my camera body compitable with any FX lenses. If yes then suggest me some NIKON FX lenes.

  234. 345
    ) Chris Raymond

    Hi,
    thank you for the great articles, many have helped me understand photography and equipment.

    I have a question regarding changing from DX to FX gear.

    I currently use a D7000 and a number of lenses, the Nikon AFs 16-85mm is one of them and I love its performance. The D7000 has plenty of resolution for prints up to A2 so I dont really need more mp.

    My reason to go to FX is for the shallow DOF available from fast lenses compared to DX, not the mp.

    If I go to a D600 or equal 24mp FX, should I just keep my DX standard lens. Apart from the obvious mp loss when the D600 crops to DX (about 10mp) is there any real difference in performance between my lens and the AFS 24-85mm FX lens.

    Test data on the net seems to show that the 16-85mm on DX has less distortion, vignetting and CA than the 24-85mm on FX. If 10mp is ‘good enough’ should I just keep my current standard lens?

    Is it easier to design lenses for DX compared to FX?

    Thanks
    Chris Raymond

  235. 346
    ) robin almson

    Hi, Thanks for your knowledge transformation about photography and cameras. Really usefull and interesting.
    I need your help that i am a beginner in photography field. I would like to purchase a camera
    Which brand and model is useful for me only dslrs. I dont want to go for high end cameras.
    As you have a good experience and eposure in the field of photography. .
    Kindly suggest me.
    Also please mention the difference between SLT and SLR in your site.so that it will help others.
    thanks

    Robin

  236. 347
    ) sylvanus owobu

    is the resolution of DX and FX the same that is what i really want to know

  237. 348
    ) Bernard

    Great article. For now, as a newbie I’ll stick to my DX and perhaps only invest in a prime lens and one other. I already have the kit lens and a zoom. The reality is I can’t afford a FX and even if I could, the financial benefits to be derived are not there.
    One other important reason to stick to my DX, the average person you shoot for doesn’t really go into details about crop factor, dop, etc… All they want to know is that their pics (on the surface) look great! Professional photographers are the ones that get caught up in the technical details lol.

  238. 349
    ) Mark Eddy

    This was a great article, very informative… thanks.

    I’ve reconnected with photography as a serious hobby after having to leave it behind in the mid 70′s. The technology now is amazing, and I’m having a great time learning as much as I can about it all. I’ve become a bit of a birding fan. I’ve had some decent results, but nothing like I see a lot of other people getting with birds and animals.

    I’m wondering if you might give me a bit of advice on which gear I should upgrade first: glass or camera. I have a D3100 with an 18-55 VR, 35mm 1.8 and a 70-300 VR lens.

    My budget isn’t much, and I’m going to have to pick and choose carefully, probably going the craigslist route. Where will I see the biggest improvement: glass or camera? I’ve considered getting either a 70-200 2.8 VRI, a Sigma 150-500 or a 300mm F4. In cameras, I’ve been thinking of either a D300 or D7000, or converting to FX with a D700.

    Probably can’t do everything at once, but I’ve been thinking I’d be doing best to work toward ending up with a 1.4 converter / 70-200 2.8 VRI on a D700.

    Do you have any suggestions? Thanks again

  239. 351
    ) Sam Veerasingam

    HI Excellent explanation;
    thanks

    Sam
    From Jaffna, Srilanka

  240. 352
    ) Lalu Chavan

    Thank You Sir,

    I have decided to upgrade to FX format after reading your article. But I am still confused when I read review s of camera’s on other sites. I am not able to decide whether I should go for D600 or D700.

    If I go by your article then D700 should be a obvious choice as the pixek size is bigger than d600 but most of reviews I have read seems to suggest d600 and hardly any difference in terms of performance. I am really confused please help.

    for reference http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon-D600-vs-Nikon_D700/score

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