Why DX has no Future

Although I called this article Why DX has no future, I believe it applies to all cropped sensor DSLR cameras, not just Nikon. Earlier in 2012, I wrote an article called “The Future of Digital Cameras“, where I shared my thoughts on what I think will happen with DSLR, Mirrorless and other camera technologies within the next few years. One of the main points of the article, was my opinion on DSLRs and why I think they are here to stay for a long time. I did not clarify what I meant by DSLRs, because the DSLR technology defines how the camera works, not what type of sensor or features it has.

FX and DX camera

As I am sure you already know, DSLRs today come in different sensor sizes. There are expensive, pro-level DSLRs with full-frame sensors equivalent to 35mm film in size, as well as cheaper DSLRs with much smaller sensors (about twice smaller in size than 35mm, generally referred to as “APS-C”). Historically, DSLR manufacturers have been producing APS-C cropped-sensor cameras for three main reasons: lower cost, smaller size and lower weight. The smaller size of the sensor meant that the camera’s internal components such as the reflex mirror could also be made smaller and the entire frame of the lens did not have to be used, making cropped-sensor DSLRs and lenses lighter, more affordable and a little more compact in comparison (see my DX vs FX article).

The End of the Small Compact and the Rise of the Mirrorless

With personal computing making its way to phones and tablets, instantly reaching millions of people, the message has been clear – people want smaller and more capable devices. This change in consumer behavior is very obvious. If just a couple of years ago the general population was carrying compact digital cameras to capture their everyday moments, now most people just resort to smartphones with built-in cameras. We live in a very connected world today and people are willing to give up a little on quality, as long as they are able to instantly share a picture or video with friends and relatives. They do not want to carry multiple devices – convenience has become hugely important. That’s what has been shattering the compact camera market for sometime now and as I have previously pointed out, I believe the small sensor compact market will pretty much disappear within the next few years.

At the same time, the relatively low cost of advanced digital cameras, along with increased online presence via blogs, Internet forums and social media have spiked up general interest in photography. People want to create more appealing pictures that look better than what smartphones can deliver. Many, however, are not willing to live with the large size, heft and bulk of DSLR cameras, which gave rise to the mirrorless interchangeable-lens market.

With the increased popularity and tense competition between manufacturers, the mirrorless market has been rapidly expanding during the last few years, resulting in a number of mirrorless camera systems from every major manufacturer. The last two years have seen a flood of mirrorless offerings and it seems like the product line is quickly getting bigger every year, with new lenses and accessories making their way to the market. Micro Four Thirds, being the oldest and the most popular mirrorless system today, uses sensors with a 2.0x crop factor and has the largest choice of lenses. Sony and Samsung entered the mirrorless market in 2010 after Ricoh with APS-C sized sensors (1.5x crop factor). Nikon, Fuji, Pentax and Canon were the last big names to introduce their mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras within the last year. While Fuji, Pentax and Canon chose to use APS-C sensors as well, Nikon did not want to cannibalize its entry-level DSLR cameras, so it chose to use a much smaller sensor with a 2.7x crop factor on its Nikon 1 system (which I believe was a huge mistake). Long story short, everyone wants to be in the mirrorless market, and most companies seem to be settling on bigger, APS-C sized sensors that have been traditionally used in DSLR cameras.

APS-C Mirrorless to replace APS-C DSLR

With mirrorless cameras producing superb image quality that matches or even surpasses some of the current APS-C DSLR offerings, DSLRs have less and less advantages to offer to compensate for their large size and bulk. High-resolution electronic viewfinders (on higher-end mirrorless cameras) look very impressive, making analog viewfinders in DSLRs look ancient. Autofocus performance has been getting better and better year after year, especially with hybrid AF systems using both contrast and phase detect AF. Lens selection is growing rapidly. Processors and memory are getting faster and beefier. Very soon we will be seeing wireless connectivity options. I believe all this will eventually result in mirrorless pretty much taking over the small sensor APS-C DSLR market, just like the phones are taking over small sensor compact cameras. And since entry-level DSLRs and lenses account for the majority of the total sales in the DSLR arena, this would take a huge chunk away from the overall DSLR market share. Japan has already seen mirrorless surpass DSLR sales and I believe this drastic change is coming to the rest of the world pretty soon.

The end of high-end DX?

With Nikon’s introduction of the cheaper full-frame Nikon D600, it makes little sense to keep a high-end DX camera like Nikon D300s in production. We might see one more high-end DX camera like the Nikon D400 soon, but I doubt we will see any more high-end DX cameras in the future. The cost of full-frame sensors has decreased dramatically over the last few years and it is pretty clear that a budget FX camera would compete head to head with a high-end DX camera. Would you choose a faster DX camera with more features over an FX camera with far better image quality? I don’t think so, not unless the high-end DX camera is significantly cheaper than the low-end FX and has significantly more features in comparison. And Nikon is not the only one to do this – Canon is doing the same with a full-frame EOS 6D.

Both Nikon and Canon know very well that people most likely will not spend thousands of dollars on a small sensor DSLR anymore. However, given that entry and mid-level DSLRs still have a cost advantage over mirrorless for now, both will aggressively continue to push more cropped-sensor DSLRs into the market. As I have already said, I doubt these will be high-end APS-C DSLRs, but we will surely see more entry-level and mid-level DSLRs like Nikon D7000 introduced in the next few years – until mirrorless completely takes over the APS-C DSLR market.

DX for sports and wildlife photography

Many sports and wildlife photographers prefer to shoot with DX, because it gives them better “reach” (due to the crop factor), which translates to smaller lenses and lighter camera bodies (actually, that’s not true – see this article for thorough explanation). They like the faster FPS speeds and robust AF – two important features we only see in top of the line DSLRs like Nikon D4 today. Unfortunately, I do not think Nikon wants to keep these folks in consideration, not for long. I think Nikon’s general stance on this situation is “sports and wildlife folks often shoot with expensive telephoto lenses, so they should be able to afford high-end camera bodies”. At the same time, DSLRs like Nikon D7000 have gotten much faster and better, so Nikon might be just bringing those high-end features to cheaper mid-level cameras, instead of trying to sell an expensive APS-C camera body.

Full-frame DSLR is here to stay

When Nikon introduced the D700, I sold my D300 and all of my DX lenses. I made the switch. I tried to go back to DX a couple of times afterwards (when testing new DX cameras), but I was already spoiled and it was hard to go back to a smaller sensor. If you have shot with FX and DX (or still shoot with both), you know exactly what I mean. DX just cannot compete with FX, period. Tones, colors, ISO performance, dynamic range, depth of field and bigger viewfinder – a number of factors that draw the line between APS-C and full-frame. This difference in sensor size will always be there, just like the difference between full-frame and medium format.

Mirrorless cameras will most likely shatter the APS-C DSLR market in the long run, but I believe they will do little to harm to the full-frame market. Even if we see full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras soon (Sony is rumored to announce one fairly soon), it would require a different lens mount and a whole new set of lenses for full-frame mirrorless. No matter how fast everyone tries, it will take a long time to catch up with what full-frame has to offer today. At the same time, Nikon can keep the flange distance the same and simply remove the mirror on full-frame DSLRs, essentially making a mirrorless full-frame. So if that happens, the DSLR technology will disappear, but the mount and the lens selection will be the same. So as far as Nikon is concerned, full-frame cameras will most likely continue to evolve, with or without the mirror.

My Recommendation

During our two day workshop past weekend, we inevitably spoke about camera gear during the breaks. Mirrorless was a big part of the gear talk. After a short discussion, I expressed my thoughts on DX cameras and lenses and gave my recommendation to stay away from purchasing DX lenses. Some of the workshop participants were quite surprised by what I said, but they took it quite well after I told them why. As many of you already know, aside from the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX and a couple of other low-cost/high-quality DX lenses, I rarely recommend purchasing DX lenses to our readers (especially purchasing expensive lenses like Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G DX). Maybe because I did not have much faith in DX to start with, or maybe I expected this to happen one day…

No matter how many lenses like Nikon 18-300mm we will see in the near future, I simply do not see the DX market growing. Definitely not after full-frame goes mainstream with the D600 and future cheaper FX DSLR cameras.

I could be wrong – only time will tell.


  1. 1) DavidW
    September 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Nice article, Nasim
    I completely agree with you. In fact, I have been outspoken in my belief that Nikon will soon abandon its support for the DX format and concentrate on FX for all their DSLR camera lines. Moreover, I do not believe Nikon will not replace the D300 with a D400 and believe the D600 *is* the D300 replacement. I also second your recommendation to avoid DX lenses, if possible, and concentrate your investments in FX lenses.
    However, as vocal as I have been, I am not nearly as articulate as you so I thank you for your latest entry and I fully agree with your assessment.

    • 1.1) kt
      December 30, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I generally agree that use of high-end DX format based DSLR will wane as FX format DSLRs become more affordable but don’t hold your breadth. I think that is still 3-4 years out at the very least. Compare the least expensive DX format (aps-c) camera D3200 at $500 vs FX format camera at $2000. That’s $1500 difference today. That’s quite a lot for most folks. So, DX is here to stay for the mainstream folks. DX lenses are also here to stay to meet these bodies’ needs.

      I think for FX to come into the mainstream territory, it has to cross the $1000 mark. once there, you would definitely see the market dynamics change. and I believe that’s where your predictions will come true.

      • 1.1.1) Vitaliy
        January 26, 2013 at 1:46 am

        This is a reply to the original article.
        Honestly, the whole argument that DX format will go away because the people that buy expensive lenses will buy expensive cameras sounds like BS.
        What about the argument that DX lenses are cheaper because they require less expensive glass.
        And the beginner photographers will not have unlimited funds, so they will go for the more affordable option (DX over FX). This is especially true considering the improving quality of DX format DSLRs.
        So if anything, the DX format is here to stay.
        Moreover, I belive it can easily compete with FX where low light performance is not a limiting factor. Let the history judge us.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          January 26, 2013 at 7:36 am

          Vitaliy, the article assumes that the cost of mirrorless cameras and lenses will come down significantly, perhaps even lower than DX cameras. When that happens, there will be no reason to buy DX cameras anymore, since both mirrorless cameras and DX cameras will have the same physical sensor size.

          • Nishant
            April 18, 2013 at 11:43 pm

            I think that enthusiast Compact are gonna die sooner though. that is one category that looks stupid right now. Other than entry level enthusiast cams, the price diff between them and entry level mirrorless isnt much and yet mirrorless are better cameras for most part.

  2. 2) Rebecca
    September 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    “sports and wildlife folks often shoot with expensive telephoto lenses, so they should be able to afford high-end camera bodies”
    Well we don’t have much choice when it comes to Nikkors.

  3. 3) Wally
    September 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Good article – as usual!
    I’m sure your crystal ball is accurate. As proof, I purchased a D7000 five months ago. Once the check cleared, I figured DX would become obsolete. LOL! Fortunately, I’m having fun learning the basics and will continue to travel around the learning curve. In the meantime, I’ve started saving for a full format camera and some great big heavy lenses.

  4. 4) Luis C.
    September 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Holding for 2 years before my first serious camera purchase has proven valuable. I have forced myself to take pictures with small point and shoots and now my iPhone.

    I was ready to make the jump and had agonized over the purchase of the camera, I rented, borrowed and tried all the current offerings from Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, etc… Slowly I began to depict the difference between FF and Crop sensors, it was subtle but it was undeniable. I made arrangements to purchase a D7000 as the great compromise and 2 days before I went to buy on JUNE 14, the D600 pictures leaked.

    What’s another 2 months? Well, it’s about to be answered by Nikon’s announcement tonight, so excited!

  5. September 12, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    This is kind if ridiculous. There are people out there that don’t need a full-frame DSLR but a small, consumer class APS-C is not enough. Yes, a professional APS-C/DX zoom is around $1300. But the body costs 1/2 as much as the full-frame body, too. If somebody wants to get into wedding photography and has a limited budget for the body, a zoom lens and a strobe with a light modifier a DX body is the definite way to go. They can shave almost a grand off their total purchase price and $1000 is a LOT of money.

    APS-C/DX will always be here to stay as a “bridge” format between consumer and professional systems.

    • 5.1) DavidW
      September 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      My belief in the obsolescence of DX is based on supply and demand. If FX sensors maintained their current pricing, I would agree with you that DX is here to stay. But like everything high tech, I predict the price of an FX sensor will soon be competitive with an APS-C sensor. Assuming this is true, all pricing advantages of a DX over an FX system would be gone. Couple this with the added advantages of an FX system and there will no longer be a market for DX cameras.

      • 5.1.1) JD
        April 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm


        Articles like this amuse me. DX is on the way out, FF is the only way to go, Price will drop, supply and demand. I think I’ll write an article on how FF frame will soon be on it’s way out because digital medium format cameras (like hasselblad) blows FF frame out of the water for better and sharper and crisper colour reproduction because of blah, blah, bah…..and with the price of those sensors coming down to the point of affordability, who will want to ever shoot FF frame again. We will all be amazing photographers!!

        DX is more than likely here for a while. FF sensors are not coming down in price any time soon. This is now 2014 and counting. Do you realize the cost of manufacturing a full frame sensor? And as each year passes with improvements to those sensors through research and development the price will more than likely increase . . Anyhow an interesting read.

        • Gene
          April 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Man you sound just like my coworkers who keep saying PC will survivor in the age of smartphones and tablets. Traditional DX DSLR is truly stuck between a rock and hard place – cameraphones not only squeezes out PnS, but they are starting to encroach onto crop sensor DSLR as well, and then there’s FF. Have you even bothered to keep track of industry sales figures YoY for the past three years. It’s truly awful for crop sensor DSLR and PnS markets. Haven’t you wondered why the camera innovation has slowed down lately? The only thing that makes sense is a DX mirrorless, but we all know the camera manufacturers are artificially crippling that market and delaying the inevitable, except for Sony (which unfortunately is killing their traditional APS-C DSLR market, but they already embraced the inevitable, thus taking a short term hit).
          Btw, Nasim’s point is NOT that FF will dominate the market, but that FF will continue to survive for a long time. He also makes the point that DX format will survive, but probably in the MILC form. What’s probably much bigger issue now is whether the DX lens and current FF lens lineups will survive.

          • JD
            April 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm


            I guess the point I am trying to make (and trust me, you might be surprised what kind of “up to date ” gear head I am) is reiterating a comment made earlier by another poster . These debates are always about the gear and not photography. New innovations (firmware, pixels, DX ,FX, sensors ) will NOT make you a better photographer. I know a few people that could take and print a photo with a disposable film camera, that would out rival any photo that is taken by the average person who happens to have the expendable cash to afford the best of the best digital thinking this will make them a better photographer. It isn’t about the the “sharp detailed” images that seem to be so important to the pixel peepers. Just like owning Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1965 Fender Composite Stratocaster (Lenny) isn’t going to make you able to the play the blues like he did.

            Advancement in all forms of technology? Bring it on! We are living in a great age right now (hopefully for the better)

            • Gene
              April 20, 2014 at 7:57 pm

              Eh? Who said anything here about making people a better photographer with FF or new innovations in camera technology? Of course the discussion here is about the gear (for the mass market especially), not the actual photography. But I think Nasim’s point here is that the form factor for DX DSLR is pretty much dead, and I agree. Did you read his first line stating “Although I called this article Why DX has no future, I believe it applies to all cropped sensor DSLR cameras, not just Nikon.”, or just skimmed the article? It’s just an observations on what the mass market will end up preferring, with sales figures in each gear category to back those claims. Did anybody mention that cameraphones or FF would make you into Ansel Adams? I bet that if someone had to choose between a larger DSLR camera with the much larger lenses than the smaller MILC with much smaller lenses, with the exact same crop sensor at the same price, they’ll take the smaller MILC in a heartbeat. And guess what?! So did all of Sony’s customers, which is killing their legacy Alpha line. PnS looks to be almost completely phased out from the major manufacturers right? You think the same won’t happen to the DSLR crop sensor cameras too? It’s almost like saying horse-and-buggy is still alive and kicking. Yes I see them in Central Park too, but I think the only people left that still use them are the Amish. And the Amish are NOT backward technology people – they just refuse to adopt it (actually they are quite adept business people). Thus niche market.

              Let’s summarize what we’re really talking about here – FF will stay alive because pros will continue to rely on the product line for their income, regardless of body and lens form factor. Prosumers will most likely flock to MILC due to the equivalent performance of crop sensor DSLR in a much smaller body and lens form factor. Consumers will just end up relying on their cameraphones because it’s there all the time. anybody else who still relies on film or disposables, etc, are considered niche. Now is there anywhere in this statement of anything mentioning of the quality or skill of the photographer?

    • September 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Sean, I said that DX would disappear due to mirrorless cameras having the same image quality at an equivalent price and smaller package. The definition of “professional” for FX has just been downgraded with the Nikon D600. And you can expect future FX prices to go lower than $2K. In my opinion, there will be no need for a bridge camera – you will have entry-level FX, mid-level FX and pro-level FX with pricing and features separating the three.

      • 5.2.1) ralittle2
        September 13, 2012 at 6:23 am

        I understand your logic, but… I can also see the other side to a prosumer DX body, aka D400. If I understand your logic, and boil it down to:

        1) Mirrorless is rising due to size factor (agree, but not interested)
        2) FX sensor price will continue to decrease thus making D600-type cameras more affordable.
        3) Advanced amateur and sports photographers will accept cameras with poorer quality build quality, lesser AF and slower FPS.

        In essence I see no reason to narrow the market when there is room for several cameras that might overlap a bit, but require little in development costs. Camry’s are nice cars, but sometimes you want more.

        So, what would I do?

        D4 – top of line FX
        D900 – D700 FX replacement
        D800 –
        D600 –
        D400 – D300s replacement
        Dxxx – multiple consumer cameras. I doubt Nikon needs a 3200, 5200 and 7200. Drop one and add the D400.

        And the V1 cameras too.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          October 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

          Ralittle, I do not see Nikon making a D700 replacement – the D600 and D800 are the replacement. As I have pointed out in the article, we might see another high-end DX like D400, but it might be the last one…

      • 5.2.2) Manish
        October 5, 2012 at 6:18 am

        Then you have to rewrite your DSLR buying guide. According to which, you have suggested to buy DX like Nikon D7000.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          October 5, 2012 at 9:11 am

          Manish, can you please go back and re-read the above article? I talked about the future of DX, not its current state. Five years from now, I will make sure to change my recommendations. For now, DX is light, affordable and smaller, so I will continue to recommend it.

          • Nisei
            December 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

            My Recommendation
            … I expressed my thoughts on DX cameras and lenses and gave my recommendation to stay away from purchasing DX lenses.
            I rarely recommend purchasing DX lenses to our readers…

      • 5.2.3) Neil
        February 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

        I’ve enjoyed the read and all the reply’s. I believe the views to be somewhat contained within what the current options are rather than where they might be. Looking forward with an open mind, I can envision a specialized sensor that can be used with either a DX or FX setting in one camera body. Camera companies are pushing forward better tech in smaller units. Just because DX & FX are as such now doesn’t mean it won’t change tomorrow. I’ve shot with an FX indoors and a DX outdoors, if I had switch I could flip to go from one to another, life would be good…

      • 5.2.4) Alex
        May 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        What I do not understand is – if mirrorless is going to kill DX, why do you think that FX will survive ??
        Interesting article, but I do not understand one simple thing. Many mirrorless cameras are already as good as DX IQ-wise because they are using 1.5 crop sensors… They are going to kill DX DSLR because mirrorless technology wins over DSLR. Right? Then put a FX sensor in it and it will kill the FX DSLR the same way it is killing the DX, no?.

        There is also a completely different theory. Sensors as such are becoming better and better and the technology advances benefit the DX : smaller pixels now are able to catch photons of light much better and cleaner. In several years there may be no visible meaningful difference in IQ between a FX and DX 24 mp sensor. So the old mantra of bigger sensor having better IQ will not work anymore in 99% of applications. It will be a choice between DoF, reach, low light performance and glass cost… and it will be a nightmare for Nikon marketing dept.

    • 5.3) John C
      September 12, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      It is true that some people want a pro DX for specific reasons, but not enough in comparison to those who want other products.

      I don’t think that Nikon wants to support that bridge anymore, and I don’t think it is very profitable for them to do so. They want two well defined camps. How many pro level DX lenses have we seen in recent years? How many DX WA primes? Here are the newest offerings:

      24 1.8
      85 1.8
      24-85 VR

      What does that say about the bridge?

      DX is consumer only now and going away quickly, Nikon just had better get something together with a larger sensor mirrorless so they don’t lose their DX sales to the competition.

      • 5.3.1) Marco
        September 13, 2012 at 6:59 am

        Well said. Surely they’ll have to launch an APS-C mirrorless camera now that Canon has done it. The NEX lens ecosystem is steadily growing too.

  6. 6) noushervan
    September 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm


    Right on the target. Eagerly waiting for the news of Nikon d600.

  7. 7) Michael Dixon-Brooks
    September 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I shoot Olympus Micro 4/3 and Nikon DX, one day I’ll probably get a FX camera but I’m with Sean, DX is a way for people to get into DSLR after point and shoot and a cheaper option that FX.

    • October 5, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Michael, sure it is now. But wait until entry-level FX gets close to $1K and mirrorless gets much more affordable. The demand for DX will just not be there anymore. Why would you want to get a bulky APS-C DSLR, if a mirrorless APS-C camera would cost the same and weigh less? We know it is all about convenience, size and weight – that’s why tablets are quickly taking over the world of computing. Just 3-4 years ago, people on planes were primarily using laptops. During my last trip to Seattle, I only saw a couple of laptops and the rest of the crowd was using iPads, Kindles and other tablets.

      • 7.1.1) JR
        October 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

        Nasim asked: “Why would you want to get a bulky APS-C DSLR, if a mirrorless APS-C camera would cost the same and weigh less? We know it is all about convenience, size and weight…”

        Nasim, do the following pictures exemplify what you mean by the “convenience, size and weight” advantage of the mirrorless camera? If so, I’ll take the “bulky” DSLR any day. Unless you’re using tiny lenses with mirrorless, I see no advantage. In fact, I think it looks awkward and downright silly to stick such a small back on a massive DSLR lens.

        A lot like buying a so-called tablet,then attaching a keyboard to it beause you realize that typing on a tablet is, well, not as cool as you thought it would be.



        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          October 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

          JR, you are giving an extreme example of a superzoom lens on a mirrorless camera – something I personally would never want to do. The advantage of the mirrorless system is size and weight and your shown example is certainly not a representation of that. Why don’t you look at the Olympus OM-D with a prime instead and compare it to a DSLR with a similar prime? You will quickly see the difference there.

          I have an iPad and I use a case that comes with a keyboard for convenience. I still like this setup better than carrying a laptop, because it is lighter, has better battery life, more compact and I do not have to deal with bulky power cords. Again, it is all about convenience and that’s why people are buying more tablets than computers today.

          Mirrorless gives you options to go ultra light with small lenses. What is the option with a DX DSLR? A Canon pancake looks as silly on a DSLR as the 18-200mm on a mirrorless…

          • JR
            October 5, 2012 at 11:21 am


            You mean an Olympus OM-D that tries to look like a DSLR? LOL!!!!

            That reminds me of folks who buy economy sized cars, then attach a trailer to the back of it to carry the stuff they can’t fit in the trunk. Might as well have bought an SUV or a larger car, to begin with! A lot like the tablet craze. It’s nice for READING, and the battery life is fantastic; I’ll give you that. But, for doing any SERIOUS work, it’s a joke. If anyone does any serious computing(I suspect that a LOT of folks who frequent this forum do) they will tell you that a tablet is not the tool for doing so.

            The reason to own a smaller camere is to NOT shoot primes; otherwise why buy such a small footprint. I can take the battey grip off of my D7000(or even my D600) and put a 50mm prime on it and, although it may not fit in my “pocket”, it will surely fit in a very small camera bag and prove to be a nice “walk around” system.

            I laugh when I hear all of these folks touting the usefulness of mirrorless systems and how tiny they are and blah, blah…but, then I come back to the same blog/ers and find that they are buying grips, battery packs and flashes for their system? Why? The answer is obvious. They realize that while going small has its benefits, going TOO SMALL has its drawbacks.

            Granted, there are times when you NEED/WANT to have a camera that fits in your pocket. I will never argue with that. But, I don’t want an interchangeable lens camera for that kind of shooting. I’m not a spy, nor pretend to be Tom Cruise in his latest blockbuster. If I go somewhere and need a pocket camera, I take my daughter’s point-and-shoot 12MP Kodak(don’t even know the model name) and it does the job quite admirably; some times yielding amazing images.

            The point, Nasim, is that you argue against “bulk”, “size” and “price”, yet heavily promote FF gear. It would seem to me that if you believe what you say, namely that “is all about convenience, size and weight”, then why aren’t you talking more about DX cameras with sensors that may challenge FF? It’s a reality. It’s out there.

            Basically, you’re saying that we will have TWO LINES of products by, say, Nikon and Canon:

            1. Mirrorless systems that are so small that they disappear in your hands, if you’re not careful.

            2. FF DSLRs that use *MASSIVE* and *EXPENSIVE* glass.

            So, it would be like Toyota only having the Corolla and the Sequoia….and NOHING in between. After all, it’s “all about convenience, size and weight”; oh, sorry…..except for those that don’t care about “convenience, size and weight”!

            Do you see the problem?

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              October 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

              Yes, that same OM-D that is much smaller and lighter: http://www.wirefresh.com/olympus-om-d-e-m5-size-comparison-with-lumix-lx5-and-nikon-d300/

              Sure it looks like a DSLR, but it is not one. It does not have a mirror, one less component that could fail overtime. As for your tablet argument, what do you define by “serious” work? Serious work for me is reading, writing, browsing the Internet, accessing my emails and responding to them. That’s what I do most of the time and a tablet can easily accomplish that. If I need to do something more complex, like using Lightroom and Photoshop then I use a PC. A tablet or even a laptop could not compete with a fast and powerful PC, no doubt about that. Don’t look at your particular/occasional needs, look at the general needs of most people. Tablets are popular for a reason and that’s what is driving the demand and diminishing the popularity of laptops.

              Mirrorless is designed to be small and compact. I would never buy a mirrorless system that has the same size and bulk as a DSLR. And I do not have to give examples – look at what happened in Japan last year, where the sales of mirrorless surpassed the sales of DSLR cameras. Look at some of the comments on this website, where people are buying mirrorless cameras to accompany their big and heavy DSLRs for everyday situations. Size, weight and bulk are important factors that heavily influence people’s decisions. Again, look at the current computing market…

              Yes, I do heavily promote full frame gear, because I believe that people should choose a DSLR to get the best image quality out of a 35mm size sensor. And DX will never be able to compete with FX, just because of the sensor size alone. Just like FX cannot compete with MF. The day a superb DX sensor comes out, we will see a similar sensor on FX. Being twice bigger in size, FX will always be superior than DX.

              Whereas DX and mirrorless currently only compete in price and features. Sensor sizes are mostly the same or very similar on both. The day the technology catches up and prices come down to the same level, demand for DX will not be there anymore. And as you know from the past, it is the market that drives the product. Film became niche because of the low demand. I believe DX has the same fate as film, becoming a niche product with very few people that use it in the future.

              So what I am trying to say is this:
              1) Mirrorless is smaller and lighter than DX and at some point in the future will be cheaper (again, less components to deal with). Naturally, people will choose mirrorless over DX for these factors alone.
              2) Full-frame cameras will stay for serious photography, mostly for commercial and high-end work. A niche on its own, similar to medium format today.

              In a very distant future, all SLR-type systems will probably be replaced with “mirrorless” counterparts…

            • JR
              October 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

              Thanks for participating in this spirited conversation, Nasim!!! I believe that you’ll agree that this is a serious topic, worthy of debate, and one that affects the photography community.

              First of all, if you look at the top of this topic you will see where I agree that lighter and cheaper(all things IQ being equal) are my preference; has been and always will be. My wife and I take enough “survival” stuff on our backpacking trips and to add heavy camera gear is not fun. It’s painful! We’re not 25 yrs old anymore!

              You raise a very important point: “DX will never be able to compete with FX, just because of the sensor size alone. Just like FX cannot compete with MF. The day a superb DX sensor comes out, we will see a similar sensor on FX. Being twice bigger in size, FX will always be superior than DX.”

              Canon and Nikon can keep making larger sensors. It’s been rumored that Canon was/is working on a 46MP body for it’s EOS1 line. It’s all over the net, just browse for it.

              If Canon were to make that STRATOSPHERIC jump in MP size, you can bet everythying you own that Nikon will follow suit. If so, then what do we have? The DX KILLER!

              Why do I say that? Because if Canon and Nikon were to come out with MF-sized sensors, then what are Canon and Nikon doing? They are making medium format cameras!!! No more, no less. Who’d ever thought, back in the 70s and 80s, that these two 35mm giants would one day be making cameras with image quality that would challenge or surpass MF! That day is already here with the D800, which surpasses film 6×7 by a long shot. Digital is the photographers friend! ;-)

              If that were to happen, namely, Canon, Nikon and Sony etc. producing bodies with MF-like sensors, what happens to the “smaller” sized sensors? Will they ALL be mirrorless micro systems that fit into a flip up door on your watch? Or, will the smaller sensors be found in FF “entry level bodies”, such as today’s D600, in sizes, say, 36MP?!

              Or, will DX stick around and push the limit near 30MP? According to Thom Hogan, the physical limits of the DX/ASP-C size is 24MP. If so, then I agree with you that DX may have a shorter life span than some of us hoped and FF will indeed be the only choice outside of the smaller mirrorless.

              Think about this *VERY REAL* scenario in about 3-5 years(hypothetical #s, of course):

              Canon: EOS1 FF 46MP @$5K….EOS8 FF 32MP @$2k……mirrorless EOS FF 24MP @$1k
              Nikon: D6 FF 50MP @$6k…..D900 FF 36MP @$2k……mirrorless D FF 24MP @$1K

              If that were to happen, then DX may not be around to compete with such systems. Hence, Canon’s next move on the supposed 46MP behemoth will change the face of photography forever….probably more so than the D800.

              My devalued US $ 0.02!


            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              October 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

              And thank you for bringing up interesting points! This is absolutely worthy of a debate! :)

              You said “Canon and Nikon can keep making larger sensors”. I believe we will not see anything larger than 35mm from the two, unless at some point they decide to get into the medium format arena, which is a whole different beast. None of the current full frame lenses would work on medium format, so they would have to design a MF system from scratch. The rumored 46 MP body from Canon is full-frame, not medium format. And 46 MP body is actually not a stratospheric jump – the pixel size of the rumored camera would be more than what’s on the Nikon D3200. If you were to take the D3200 sensor and make it physically as big as a full-frame sensor, you would end up with approximately 58-60 MP. So we could easily see a 60 MP FX camera within the next few years, it is not an impossible thing to do. The Nikon D800 has about the same pixel size as the Nikon D7000, which only has 16 MP (I can’t believe I am saying this). So in a way, the Nikon D800 already is a DX killer. A couple of years ago, wildlife photographers could claim that they prefer DX because it gives them the “reach”. It is no longer true with the D800! :)

              As for your comment on Nikon/Canon matching or surpassing MF, I disagree with that statement. Is Nikon D800 excellent? No doubt, it is. It is the best 35mm camera in the world right now (in my humble opinion). However, it is not MF and will never be MF. Sensor size matters and MF will always be superior than FX. Yes, dynamic range and colors on the D800 are superb, but you are comparing it to the MF cameras of the past. Think of what a MF camera with the same sensor technology as the D800 would look like in comparison – over 70 MP of pure awesomeness! LOL :) And if you took the same sensor from the D3200 and made it 4+ times bigger to match the MF size, you would end up with over a 100 megapixels. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? And the technology is already here!

              The big factor that separates camera systems today is the sensor size. That’s why I believe DX cannot really compete with mirrorless, since they share the same sensor size. New technology versus old. Hence, my view of the future of digital cameras:
              1) Smartphones will be point and shoot cameras
              2) Mirrorless will be the new standard camera for most photography hobbyists and some pros. Wi-Fi, GPS, Apps and other features to integrate mirrorless with social media/Internet.
              3) FX (Full Frame) will be for professionals that need the highest quality 35mm digital.
              4) MF (Medium Format) will serve a small niche for a while, which might expand to a bigger market overtime, as the cost of the sensors comes dramatically down. FX and MF at some point might convert to mirrorless technology. Size and bulk of the cameras will have to stay about the same, since compatibility with old lenses/mounts will be crucial.
              6) We might see LF (Large Format) digital backs sometime soon, again, depending on how cheap the sensor technology gets.

          • JR
            October 6, 2012 at 12:12 am


            I didn’t say, nor do I believe, that Canon or Nikon will manufacture MF cameras. I fully expect them to stay in the “35mm” game. What I meant was(and evidently wasn’t clear enough), that from a *FILM* perspective, Nikon has surpassed medium format. That’s not arguable, since my D7000 has a higher dynamic range and resolution than my Pentax 645 film camera, even when shooting velvia. If so, my D600 most certainly surpassed the Pentax 6×7, and the D800 blew by it and left it in the dust!

            “Not important, or worthwhile, to compare the current crop of FF DSLRs to digital MF cameras” you say? It *ABSOLUTELY* is a worthwhile and valuable comparison. MF film has been the benchmark that has been used to gauge the progress of DSLRs. I’m sure you’ve browsed through Michael Reichman’s ‘Luminous Landscape’ site. What have he and his cohorts done for the past 6-8 yrs? They’ve devoted a substantial amount of time, and web space, to comparing DSLRs to MF film cameras of all types: Hasselblad, Pentax, Contax, you name it and they’ve compared it to DSLRS. To this very day folks are shooting with 6×7 film cameras(saw a guy on Owl Creek Pass this past wknd with a Pentax 6×7) and selling landscape prints in top galleries.

            Keep in mind, that up until the Canon 5DM2 arrived on the scene, we didn’t have a so-called “landscape” camera in the digital 35mm world. The vast majority of “landscape pros” shot MF and LF film. When the 21MP Canon proved to everyone that it could equal the quality and print size produced by 6×7 film, a new world was opened to DSLR photographers.

            When was the 5DM2 introduced? A mere 4-5 years ago!!! We’re talking about a camera that trumped the 6×7 format(some still argue that it doesn’t touch it) and only with the introduction of the D800, and now the D600, did Nikon allow mere mortals to produce quality that SURPASSES MF film cameras.

            And why I said: “Who’d ever thought, back in the 70s and 80s, that these two 35mm giants would one day be making cameras with image quality that would challenge or surpass MF!”

            What I left out was “surpass MF FILM”. My bad! ;-)

            If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to take a drive down I-25 south to Santa Fe. You will see tons of galleries that display and sell photographic prints. Some places have Ansel Adams and such names. Others, the lesser names. How many MURAL size prints do you see? By MURAL I mean 50×80 inches; prints that take up an entire wall. Very, very few. The vast majority are 16×2, 20×30, 24×36 and 30×40. Why? A couple reasons:

            #1. 16×2, 20×30, 24×36 and 30×40 have been the traditional print sizes prouduced by MF and LF photographers. Sure, you can print larger with LF(see John Fielder’s MURALS). But, MOST landscape photographers shot medium format. Those print sizes have pretty much become ‘standard’.

            #2. Most homes, even mansions, don’t have walls big enough to handle a MURAL-sized print. Imagine inviting your friends over for dinner and all they do is stare at the HUGE PICTURE on the wall, because it over takes the room, instead of adorning it. Mural size prints are reserved for public spaces and those types of prints are seldom shown and sold in galleries. Huge prints are usually printed by the photographer on commission or special request. Seldom does a gallery want to hang a mural. ONE MURAL, maybe. But a dozen? Not profitable. Takes too much wall space that can be used for smaller, less expensive prints that will move faster.

            That said, I am MORE THAN HAPPY that the day has dawned when Nikon can say that they produce cameras that make images that surpass MF film. It doesn’t matter for most landscape photographers that Nikon-Canon haven’t, or will not, surpass MF DIGITAL. It’s not important, because the traditional print sizes that most folks want to buy(even the very wealthy) are within the reach of the latest FF offerings by Canon-Nikon.

            Why I say that Canon-Nikon have surpassed MF. In my little world, of selling landscape prints, I can finally put down my MF film cameras FOREVER and shoot DSLRs without compromising quality. A BIG DAY has indeed dawned, my friend!

            And why I said that the future may bring about 40+MP bodies by Canon-Nikon. It’s not out of the question. The glass can handle it. Sure, there’s a limit to how far we can stretch FF glass, but that limit I would hope is a bit higher than 36MP. Even if 36MP is the “limit”, it still kicks MF film in the rear!!!

            BTW, you say that Nikon D800 cannot compete with MF digital. Take a walk over to http://www.dxomark.com and and see how the D600 sensor has a higher dynamic range for landscape than a Phase One back, one of the staples of landscape pros. Sure, the PO has a higher pixel count and larger prints can be pulled from it(the MURALs I was referring to earlier). But, the ability to extract so much detail from the shadows with the D600 is simply AMAZING! It would make for BETTER prints, with a wider tonal and dynamic range.

            Today I worked with some of the raw files from the San Juan moutains trip and all I can say is WOW! On one image of the Maroon Bells I was able to see individual blades of grass INSIDE the shadows of the trees. Trees that were easily 200 yards away. I used a Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 ED. Simply AMAZING!!! I couldn’t DREAM of doing that with the VERY BEST MF film camera bodies and glass.

            You think I’m happy? :-)))))

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              October 6, 2012 at 3:24 am

              JR, sorry I guess I must have misread your comment about MF film :)

              The Nikon D600 is indeed excellent. I am almost done with the review (finishing it up now). Will post it tomorrow afternoon!

            • Alex
              June 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

              Nasim says: “The day a superb DX sensor comes out, we will see a similar sensor on FX. Being twice bigger in size, FX will always be superior than DX”.

              There is one serious flaw in this satement. Our eyes are not getting better. Humans do not progress unlike tecnology. And as long as both DX and FX will be getting better and better, there will be a point when both will improve beyond the limits of our eyesight, and the difference will become so small that humand eye will not be able to recognise it. The FX advantage will become purely theiretical. And IF DX will indeed survive to this stage, it will kill FX purely for economical reason – cheaper production costs and higher profit margins. The question is – will Canon and Nikon allow it to happen?

  8. 8) John C
    September 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. I have been trying to tell me friends exactly this for 6 months now and they are still buying DX lenses! I think anyone looking at the big picture has to arrive at the same conclusions.

    I purchased a D7000 when it first appeared to replace my D200; got tired of waiting for a D400 (don’t think we will ever see it, especially with a D600 on 9/18 at $2100) and the D7000 offered a lot more than the D200 at its price point. I was happy with it until my kids started into indoor sports. Enter the D700 and the 70-200. When sports went back outside in the spring, I tried to go back to the D7000 but couldn’t. It was now my landscape/general purpose camera that I wished came with some nice WA fixed primes for doing what I really like to do. A new D800E now does everything the D7000 does, but just does it better. And is is not really that much bigger than the D7000.

    So now what do I do with the D7000 and the DX glass? It is a nice camera but it is not much more portable for long hikes or bike rides, I don’t use the reach because I like how the FX options focus better, so when I want, I just shoot FX in DX mode. For the indoor sports, the DX crop on the D700 still gives me enough MP for full screen viewing.

    So, just about ready to stop being sentimental and leave all the DX stuff go since the value would get me a truly portable mirrorless system with decent lenses. Was all set to go OM-D with the 12mm and 45mm. From what I have seen, the IQ is very close to the D7000, maybe with a touch less DR. Lots of lens choices down the road too. It also seems to be a very general purpose option and a nice second body for landscape trips.

    Then the new options were announced. Sony and Fuji both are larger sensors and seem to have excellent IQ. Had ruled out the NEX because of the menus and that the lenses were still DX size. Now the NEX 6 with some nice new and smaller lens choices (plus the fixed 24mm) and dual AF for $1000 with a small kit zoom! Had ruled put the Fuji X Pro 1 with slow AF and quirky firmware and high price, but now the Fuji XE-1! Better AF, lower price, and very nice, but limited lenses. So now I am perplexed!

    Another generation or two of the mirrorless options and they will surpass anything DX today. Which means my choice will also be outdated quickly. So it goes when things start to move fast!

  9. 9) Iqbal
    September 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Sorry Nasim, this time I’m not with you.
    I’m with Sean and Michael. I put my self as a very enthusiastic photographer. I know someday I’ll probably get an FX camera, but right now it’s simply too much out of my budget.
    Even I’m not a pro, I have couple of light modifier (a Westcott umbrella & soft box), 2 flashes, and 2 lightstand for my strobist photography. For my landscape, I bought a Lee Starter Kit that I put in my 11-16 Tokina
    If put all my money and dive right into FX way, I can only get 1 camera and one lens, that’s all, than I cannot learn anything and grow my knowledge.
    As Sean says: “APS-C/DX will always be here to stay as a “bridge” format between consumer and professional systems.”, which I agree.

    • September 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      Iqbal, please see my response to Sean above. There is no need for a bridge camera when APS-C mirrorless will be just as good, if not better. I think we will see this happening soon, within the next 3-5 years.

      True, budget is an issue today, but the price of the D600 will drop below $2K within a year. And I believe this is not the last “budget” FX camera we will see in the future.

      • 9.1.1) Elijah
        September 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm

        I think that you’ve overlooked quite a few very important aspects of APS-C vs mirrorless in your thinking. While introduction of mirrorless range of cameras have closed down gaps between compact and consumer DSLR by giving APS-C IQ in a much smaller form, this is pretty much where all the benefits are ending. There are several factor that speak in the favour of DX DSLRs outside of IQ only. Easy of use, ergonomics, excellent optical viewfinder that allows you to frame your shots precisely, quick access to menu functions, etc. – this is all very important. Not to mention that some lenses that you buy for DX can be later reused in the FX world. Advantages are many.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          October 5, 2012 at 10:16 am

          Elijah, ease of use and ergonomics are already there (look at Olympus OM-D and some other mirrorless cameras). Quick access to menu functions are also there (many buttons are programmable). And we will see many more options on mirrorless cameras going forward…

          As for the “DX lenses can be used on FX”, yes, the mount is the same, but it does not mean that they can be fully used on FX. Losing more than half the resolution is not a good use of DX lenses on FX in my opinion. It is like buying a Ferrarri and never driving it faster than 20-30 mph.

          Wait until mirrorless catches up in a year or two and you will see one major factor that will influence the buyers – weight and size. There is a reason why people are buying more tablets than PCs and laptops today…

          • JR
            October 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

            Nasim said: “Wait until mirrorless catches up in a year or two and you will see one major factor that will influence the buyers – weight and size.”

            Couldn’t you say the same thing about full frame cameras?

            It’s just a matter of time before the difference between a DX sensor and FX sensor is so miniscule that, for MOST people, the perceived advantage of FX will no longer matter. If I can print a DX image to 30×40 and looks just as good as an image taken with an FX body, why would I bother wasting money on the *MUCH* heavier FX lenses? Want to talk about BULK? Look no further than FX lenses.

            Yes, I’ve read your article on FX -vs- DX sensors, but I’ve also read enough reviews about mirrorless cameras where professional photographers claim that their mirrorless APS-C sized cameras shoot images the EQUAL of their full frame Canons and Nikon.

            As for depth of field and bokeh, it can be had with appropriate fast lenses on DX, so that’s no longer an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Nikon DX 24M body produces images on par with the D600. Or, so close that people won’t want to spend more money on larger, heavier gear.

            So, what gives? Does the knife cut both ways, or only toward the side of DX? ;-)

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              October 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

              JR, the difference is already pretty small and not just between DX and FX, but also between the iPhone and MF. Want to see proof? Check out this video:


              Jokes aside, it all depends on what you want out of the gear. I want FX, because I sell my work and I want to give only the best to my clients. That’s a part of what differs me from the guy who buys a $500 DSLR with a kit lens and offers cheap photography services on Craigslist :)

              “As for depth of field and bokeh, it can be had with appropriate fast lenses on DX”. Nope, not true. You cannot get the same DoF that I can get from an 85mm f/1.4G. You would have to design a faster lens to compensate for the sensor size. And as you may already know, a fast lens means more bulk and weight.

    • 9.2) John Richardson
      September 13, 2012 at 1:07 am

      You will have that bridge until they stop building it.

      And when they do, how long before you upgrade? FX is expensive, but sometimes in this hobby (or business) you have to bite the bullet, even if it cracks a tooth.

      Now my only concern is how they will they engineer the next wave of APS-C Mirrorless and yet let the DX people still use their glass? It is mind boggling simple to do this but will the Marketing Departments let the engineers call the shots on this? Right now there is only one consumer company that lets engineer’s call the shots and they don’t make cameras.

      • 9.2.1) John C
        September 13, 2012 at 1:43 am

        If they do APS-C mirrorless that ‘can’ use DX/FX glass (like the Nikon 1 w/ adapter) , that is OK. If they do APS-C that ‘only’ uses DX/FX glass, it will not sell.

        The attractiveness of mirrorless is smaller and lighter with similar IQ. DX glass does not fit with smaller and lighter (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/virgile-fontaine/4888471034/). To be successful they have to develop a new APS-C mirrorless with a new line of lenses. And I hope they can do it fast, or it is going to be too late. There are many good options already. Four thirds is a mature system now, and Fuji and Sony continue to make solid progress in that direction.

        The NIkon 1 was a marketing mistake. It should have been done as a fixed zoom lens, not interchangeable lens. That would have been very well received as a superior P&S camera with excellent AF performance, and still would be an attractive product. The development that went into the CX lenses should have been spent on lenses for an APS-C mirrorless product. Another CX lens was just introduced, it may be too late already?

        As is, how many people want to buy a Nikon 1 given the array of better choices out there? And the J2 version? Plus an 11-27.5 in place of the 10-30? What is going on there? I love NIkon, but I just can’t follow the logic here.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          September 13, 2012 at 1:54 am

          John, I completely agree with everything you have said!

          Nikon 1 was a huge mistake by Nikon. It has been a year and we’ve only seen a couple of lenses and a new crappy camera body. The sensor is too small to be considered for serious shooting, especially when other excellent M4/3 and APS-C choices are already available.

    • September 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Do you really think you cannot learn anything with one camera and one lens?

      I’m a long time strobist enthutiast with 10 lenses, 3 strobes & many light modifiers.
      I spent last year shooting almost exclusively with a D90, a 35mm 1.8 and a 85mm 1.4.
      It really taught me to understand ambient light, instead of just killing it as a base for strobist work.

      • 9.3.1) Iqbal
        September 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

        Really sorry, as English is not my native, maybe it has caused a misperception.
        What I trully mean is: With DX, with the same amount of money, a person can have more photography stuffs, than if he chose FX line since the beginning. With more equipment he/she can afford, he/she can opens up more and more varied doors to experiment and develop his/her photography skills.
        For example, wide angle Nikon FX lenses are expensive, relative to DX’s. In DX, we have cheaper alternatives, even from third party manufacturers, that we can start to play with.
        And I believe, people still need a real ENTRY LEVEL camera, in the form of real DSLR, to start with. With it, then he can decide if he/she wants to dive deeper into a more serious photography.
        Maybe this only applies to a self-taught or beginner photographer with limited budget like me, though. :)

        I don’t know if D600 can be considered as an entry level DSLR camera. With its current price tag, and with so much bells and whistles inside it, I don’t think it is suitable to be considered as entry level camera. I think it is better suited to semi-pro photographer.

        Moreover, we will never appreciate the benefits of FX if we’ve never tried the DX before, won’t we? :)

  10. 10) Phil Wells
    September 13, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Before I got my D5000 2 years ago, I used a Sony F828 for about 7 years. Certainly not of the same quality level as my D5000 but it took decent pictures and had a reasonable amount of flexibility. Having a built-on lens, I could not shoot any wider, tighter, or faster, and it had some quite obvious “purple fringing” on shots having a line with a lot of contrast but, for a intermediate amateur like me, it still fit the bill and even though I had my old Olympus OM-4 laying around, I never used it because I loved the instant feedback I got w/ DP.

    One of the best things about it was that it had no mirror. The screen and the VF were both video and you could see approximations of the results of the adjustments you were making in real time. I might be still using that camera today if I hadn’t hated the viewfinder. It was way too coarse and unpleasant to look at. Skinny items in the frame could actually be hidden between pixels. That was the main thing, even if it doesn’t say much about my eye, that made me go DSLR.

    So, while I had hoped for a D7100 (e.g.) that has all the D7000’s features plus an articulating screen, maybe I will take Nasim’s crystal ball advice and hang on to the D5000 and my few DX lenses until the MF7200 comes out (a rough stab at a model # for a mid-level amateur FX, mirrorless camera).

  11. 11) Pascal
    September 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Wow, really wish I found your site several months earlier. I purchased a D7000 a couple of months ago after a several years break from fhotography. My previous camera was a Nikon F-601. And while I kind of understood in the mean time that I probably will move to FX someday too, I couldn’t resist buying the 17-55 f2.8 (bought it second hand in excellent condition). When looking at lenses today I skip the DX lenses for that reason. But I’m still left with a dilemma today. One can never look into the future but today might just be an important toggle moment. Today I still could get a decent price for my D7000 if I decide to switch to FX. The D600 looks very attractive for that switch. since I had a good deal on the 17-55 lens I could limit my losses on that lens too. Nevertheless, the switch would still be quite expensive. On the other hand, the danger with waiting with the switch might even turn out to be more expensive. If in a couple of years everyone switches to FX then I won’t probably be getting a good deal for my D7000 and the 17-55 lens.
    Hmm, need a few nights of sleep over this one…

  12. 12) sade
    September 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I completely disagree.
    Full frame is not just about the sensors. The more important issue is the size/weight/cost of the optics. Full frame cameras require large lenses but there are always people who want to carry less. So, I strongly believe that as long as the same optic technology is used, we will see crop cameras.

    • September 13, 2012 at 1:35 am

      Sade, equivalent smaller and cheaper lenses are already available on mirrorless cameras, with many more coming very soon. We only have 20 DX lenses in total, most of which are mediocre superzooms like the 18-300mm. Aside from the 17-55mm f/2.8 and a couple of other DX lenses, there are very few pro-level DX lenses available on the market today. In today’s world, one still needs to shoot with good FX lenses on DX cameras today to get the best possible quality…

      • 12.1.1) Elijah
        September 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        Again, don’t overlook possibility of using pro-level FX lenses on DX. Surprisingly, using a good lens on a cheaper body brings a lot of good to the DX world. I know many people who do that! With CX line of lenses you’re completely stuck in a closed system, with no option to move anywhere. DX is a wonderful compromise: you can use FX lens if you want, or you can use native DX. And there are even more options, that for example, mirrorless won’t let you: I know C5D Mk3 user who uses 2 Nikkor lenses (14-24 and 105VR) as he simply loves them a lot. Dead easy, imagine that on mirrorless.

  13. 13) Raphael
    September 13, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Good article, but I don’t agree with the last part, “Full-frame DSLR is here to stay”

    All SLR will disappear, though of course it will take some more years, there is simply no reason to have a mirror anymore.

    And I would like to know if you had a chance to test the Fuji X pro1, I have and I found its (cropped) sensor to be much better than the full frame one in my 5D mkII (and from what I read the mkII doesn’t have big improvements over the mkII regarding picture quality).
    I’m not sure full frame mirrorless will be necessary, considering the quality I see in the first generation of this new Fuji system, though there will be mirrorless full frame cameras for marketing reasons if not else :)

    I think mirrorless are the future for professionals too, we’re not there yet for all kinds of photography, but for reporting / street photography I’d rather buy a Fuji mirrorless than a full frame camera.

    • September 13, 2012 at 1:39 am

      Raphael, full-frame will always be in demand, just like medium format. Larger sensors are there for specific needs and photographers will still want to continue to buy them. We might see full-frame DSLRs disappear one day, but as I have already said, it will take years before that happens. Building a complete lens line up is not that easy!

      Yes, I have tried the X-Pro1 and in fact, I have reviewed it right here: https://photographylife.com/reviews/fuji-x-pro1

      I loved it, but it does have a number of problems and annoyances. If it was not for those, I would have bought the system for myself.

      • 13.1.1) John C
        September 13, 2012 at 1:51 am

        With sensor prices decreasing, do you think that there is any chance down the road of seeing the oft rumored Nikon MX medium format sensor? It is not a huge market, but it would seem Nikon could get a fair share of it with with the quality of the Sony/Nikon sensor and the right price point.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          September 13, 2012 at 2:04 am

          John, when the first rumors of a medium format camera came about, I got really hopeful. Imagine a MF Nikon with an excellent sensor and high-quality AF system – that would give a kick to the MF market. Not sure if Nikon will ever do it though. Seems like a big jump for a niche product…

          • John C
            September 13, 2012 at 2:11 am

            It may be a bigger niche than CX :)

            • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
              September 13, 2012 at 2:39 am

              LOL, agreed :) I personally would get an MX right away, as long as the price was not higher than 10K!

  14. 14) KSPGM
    September 13, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I think you are letting your prejudice against the CX sensor get in the way of objective reporting! Nikon, you say, has made ‘a big mistake’!

    But I, for one, love the CX in the Nikon V1. For , instance, I used it three weeks ago with my 70-200 at an air show and had, in effect, a 200-540 f/2.8 lens. Now any FX version of that gear is going to cost me $1000’s ! and I would need a truck to carry it around! Again, last week I took my V1 and the 55-300 lens on a walkabout in London. I was able to capture images of maintenance workers working on the new ‘Shard’ office building besides the Thames HAND HELD at 810 mm ! Now please consider the potential of this for ‘serious amateurs’ like me. I do not ever publish my photos bigger than an iPad screen – and on that they are quite stunning. I am a real customer – I take real pictures – I don’t count pixels and so on – and I am impressed by this CX sensor. I has a long way to go but let’s give it a chance?

    One other thread – if Nikon also bring out a DX Nikon 1 to compete with Sony, then I can use all of my DX and FX lenses on a CX and DX sensor ….

    So please, try to remember that not all of the world out here wants FX ! I have a half-dozen or so serious photographer friends and none of us have FX. We have all invested £1000 in Nikon, Pentax and Cannon over the years – and we are quite happy with our cameras.

    No serious criticism Nasim – I love your site, but just thought a ‘cannon across your bows’ was justified!

    • September 13, 2012 at 2:02 am

      KSPGM, I initially thought CX was going to be a good system. But it has been a year and none of the good promised primes have seen the light of the day. Things are moving too fast in the mirrorless market and Nikon is too slow to react. In addition, with everyone having at least a 2.0x crop factor mirrorless mount, Nikon is clearly in a disadvantage here. It might have an edge over the image quality for a year or two, but it is a matter of time before other options prevail. Canon will do pretty good with its EOS M, Fuji and Sony are already doing good with their APS-C mirrorless and M4/3 is already mature enough. I just don’t see Nikon surviving this game with its tiny 2.7x crop factor sensor…

      I really wish Nikon does something quick. Releasing cameras like J2 will do absolutely nothing.

    • 14.2) John C
      September 13, 2012 at 2:08 am

      Nikon did not design the Nikon 1 for you, and there are not enough folks out there doing what you are doing with it to support the platform. You use it as a tool for a very specific set of situations and desired outcomes. There is nothing wrong with that. But that does not make it a multipurpose system camera either.

      My wife has a J1. She likes. It replaced her old Canon P&S. She takes pictures of the kids with it and it works great. Wonderful AF and no delay. I got the adapter and have played with it a bit with my lenses. Would I pack with my 70-200 and 300mm to go on a trip? Never. Want any DOF? Or a shot of the Grand Canyon in early morning light? Or anything wider than 27mm? If so, it is not the answer.

  15. 15) KSPGM
    September 13, 2012 at 2:15 am

    Not a good arguement John C.

    I might say, would I pack my D300s + 10-24 + 24-85 + 70-200 to go out for the day in the West End? No of course not – but I can pack my Nikon V1 + 10-30 +30-110 in my small shoulder bag and have the same range covered. It’s all about compromise isn’t it?

    • September 13, 2012 at 2:19 am

      KSPGM, but you could say the same thing about other mirrorless cameras out there, which have better sensors and lenses (especially M4/3). Nikon 1 is not much more compact than say the Sony NEX or the Fuji X…

      Again, I would love to see Nikon thrive with its CX mount. But given the number of excellent choices today, I just don’t see how it will survive in the long run. If it makes enough great lenses and keeps refreshing the sensor with better sensor technology, then it might be a different game. I would hate to see Nikon lose its market share to others, so I am hopeful that Nikon has something in the works!

  16. 16) KSPGM
    September 13, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Yes Nasim, I fear you are corresct. Nikon will lose the race, not for bringing out a smaller sensor , but for not supporting and developing it quickly enough – which is a shame since I have 10 or so great Nikon lenses and I would hate to have to jump ship!

  17. 17) John C
    September 13, 2012 at 2:35 am

    No, it is about choosing the right tool for what you do, with as little compromise as possible. And if you pack your Nikon 1 with the two lenses and are happy with the results, that is all that matters. You can’t control depth of field well, you are limited on dynamic range, and you can’t get good low light performance. If those things are not important to you, then the Nikon 1 satisfies your requirements.

    Just know that there are many options of similar size/weight that do everything better than the Nikon 1, with exception of AF tracking in some cases.

  18. 18) Tim
    September 13, 2012 at 6:41 am


    Well written! Thanks for your thoughts on this. However, for some that have heavily invested in APS-C format, this article may not be liked.

    I sold my Nikon D40 after three years as I did not see any forthcoming prime lenses for DX format, in particular wide angle prime lenses to take advantage of the small and light body of D40. Therefore, I was convinced that Nikon is not going to support DX in a long run!

    APS-C DSLRs have been around for a decade or so, it will also take a long time for them to go. After all, many lenses are quite nice and will be cheaper on the second hand market.

    I am still keeping a APSC camera, which was give by my father (Sony A100 and lovely Tamron 17-50 + Tamron 90mm) to use a big flash for events like weddings. Like Nasim suggests, I will not spend a penny more on this system.

  19. 19) seasons
    September 13, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Full frame 35mm is just the standard we have today. Who knows we will have ultra full frame >35mm in the future? At that time, we probably will see another great article from Nasim, “Why FX has no future”. :D

    • 19.1) JR
      September 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Well said, seasons, well said. Probably the most sensible post thus far on the topic.

      I’ve always cared MUCH more about the image and less about the gear, and sadly, it’s gotten to the point that it’s MOSTLY about the gear and less about the image. I’m old enough to remember when one could “invest” in, say, Canon, Nikon or Pentax and be set for many years. There was little worry about obsolescence. Keeping a camera body(ies) and supporting lenses for a decade, or longer, was part of the norm, rather than the exception.

      That all changed when digital sensors replaced film; and, well, we’re here, at Nasim’s blog discussing the ever-moving target that is photography equipment. It’s mind-boggling how *FAST* everything changes!!!

      While I should be eagerly awaiting my brand new Nikon D600 body(arriving tomorrow from B&H), a machine that is “supposed” to change the future of the photography market, I’m on Nasim’s blog reading about the death of DSLRs, as we know them! LOL!!!

      Frankly, I’m starting to dislike, if not outright *HATE* photography equipment! Note, I say “equipment” and not photography. Of course, you will reply by saying: “you can’t separate one from the other. Can’t have images if not for the equipment.” Sure, that’s true. But, when camera technology is moving so rapidly, it’s difficult to take any system seriously enough to make a considerable investment, without eventually losing your shirt….and pants…and car….and home…..and family!

      For anyone, other than the newest/youngest photographers who only know digital cameras, to spends THOUSANDS OF $$$ each year on NEW STUFF is a foreign concept. Yeah, new gear is cool and sexy, but ultimately there’s a “budget” point where one has to ask: What am I doing?! I’m spending thousands of $$$ EACH YEAR, buying new camera equipment.

      My D600, which I’ve yet to shoot a single image with, may very well be considered obsolete gear, or “old-fashioned”, by whatever mirrorless system is being brewed in the bowles of Sony or Fuji, today!

      I’ve been doing music and photography for a couple decades now, taking time from one, while resting from the other and some times managing to juggle both at the same time with varying degrees of success. Music instrument technology moves at a snail’s pace in comparison to photography equipment.

      True, we now have digital plug-in technology, that will make ANY sounds available from your computer, but it’s not doing anything that wasn’t available through a REAL ochestra or even an advanced synthesizer, like the Yamaha CS80.

      Many musicians are realizing that having EVERY SOUND IMAGINABLE at your finger tips isn’t so cool and a lot of folks are heading back to 40 year old analog synthesizers as the basis for their “sound”. What about guitars, drums and violins? For as much as technology may have TRIED to change these instruments(ie. electronic drums), the pros that are worth listening to are mostly playing analog instruments. Even so-called neo “electronic artists” are buying up analog gear that Jarre, Vangelis and Kraftwerk were using many decades ago!

      Maybe Roman has it figured out when, in another thread, he mentioned he just recently bought an RZ67 MF film camera. Good for you, Roman! Turn back the hands of the clock, brother!

  20. 20) KSPGM
    September 13, 2012 at 7:15 am


    I agree with your logic if Nikon have a CX/DX/FX mirrorless system with interchangeable lenses then that seems to me to be the future they are mapping out. CX is just the start – and a bold one, since only Nikon took that path. Nasim things they have made a big mistake. I do not. I think they are developing a consumer ladder for those dropping off the compact rung in favour of either mobiles or ….. what… CX leads to DX…leads to FX ? It is mainly about size isn’t it. If not then we would all carry FX for its greater photographic qualities. But why then are so many small consumer cameras sold? Size. They fit in your pocket/handbag. If consumer cameras are eaten up by mobiles then those of us who want more control and ability to change leneses for different purposes must be offered alternatives.

    I dream of a Nikon V2 DX to sit alongside my Nikon V1 CX. I can use all my DX lenses on both, gain the reach advatage on the V1, gain the image quality on the V2 and …maybe one day a V3 (FX). And if I just want it to sit in my pocket for an evening with friends in a restauatnt – I have V1 plus V1 lenses – nice and compact. Is this NIkon’s long term strategy?

    Any thoughts Nasim?

    • 20.1) John C
      September 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      The Nikon 1 has exactly one class leading feature. The AF. And you severely cripple that as soon as you put the DX or FX glass on it. You get single point AF-S with no AF tracking. So yes, you end up with an 810mm telephoto from a 300mm, but one that can only use single point AF-S. Is that really a reach advantage?

      If it had a fixed 4x or 5x zoom lens, it would be a very attractive option compared to the Canon G1 X and Sony RX100. As an ILC system it is simply not competitive. Those that are would be just as unobtrusive in the evening at a restaurant, plus give much cleaner images at the higher ISO that would be required in that environment.

      DX mirrorless will hopefully come from Nikon, but it can not rely on current DX lenses if it is to be successful, the DX lenses are too large. As you said, the market here is for small. There are already DX sized sensors with very good IQ, much better than the Nikon 1, AND which are nearly the Nikon 1 body/lens size.

      Sony NEX-5R, 16 MP APC-S, 111 x 59 x 39 mm, 276 g
      24-75 equiv. lens, 30 x 65 mm, 116 g
      Estimated kit price $750

      Nikon 1 V1, 10 MP CX, 122 x 76 x 36 mm, 294 g
      27-81 mm equiv. lens, 42 x 58 mm, 115 g
      Original kit price $900, now $600

      Nikon D7000, 16 MP APC-S, 132 x 105 x 77 mm, 780 g
      27-83 mm equiv. lens, 74 x 79 mm, 265 g
      Now $1200

      So for an extra $150 over the V1, you get a baby D7000 with a general purpose zoom range (albeit with a strange menu driven interface).

      I have been Nikon for over 20 years now, have lots of money invested, but I can’t defend CX as a mirrorless ILC option. My wife has a J1 (same sensor as V1) as a P&S replacement and it is perfect for that application if you don’t mind changing lenses. But it is nothing more than a very good P&S replacement.

  21. 21) Patrick Sullivan
    September 13, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I was in on this discussion – there is a huge difference between the size of a Fuji X-1 and a Nikon D7000 when the sensor is the same size and roughly the same capability. Walking around all day in a foreign city, I already know which one I would choose.

  22. 22) Tomsky
    September 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    While I agree on the long-term ramifications of the current development(s) I still see a mid-term future for DX even in DSLRs.

    So there’s the brand new “consumer” D600 but where are the quality, affordable and not too heavy DX optics for it? Not in Nikon’s portfolio at all. Just take a look at their ludicrous FX lens offerings below the pro-grade humongous f2.8 2lbs+ monsters. Lots of old, abysmally performing rod-type AF designs dating back to the analog era – which includes all the vastly inferior primes of older design – outright size/design/performance disasters (16-35/4VR with only the ultra-c****y 18-35 as an alternative) and a bunch of under-performers (24-85VR, the 24-120ies). The telephoto zooms (70-300 and 80-400) seem to be OK but I haven’t had the opportunity to test the new 28-300 super-zoom yet.

    Of course there are no true pro-grade DX optics left anymore as the system never fully matured before the professionals migrated to full-format cameras but just to mention a handful of very decent optics for DX: 10-24 and 12-24 SWA, 16-85 and 18-70 (the latter notably being a kit lens) standard zooms, even the 18-105 kit zoom albeit mechanically a little bit flimsy, the ultra lightweight 55-300 telezoom for those on a tight weight/size budget and of course any FX telezoom can be used to the benefit of having a 1.5x inbuilt teleconverter plus only using the “sweet spot” of the lens in terms of IQ.

    Hum hoh – wish I had similar quality/weight/size/price options for my D700. Despite owning a D700 this has ultimately led to the D300 remaining my primary all-round gear (12-24, 16-85 and FX 80-400). The 700 is more or less confined to occasional use of my old specialist AiS optics or to situations where I know beforehand that lighting is going to be extremely poor.

    So, even if the long-term future for DX in DSLRs maybe questionable and probably already sealed, I would most certainly welcome a final pro-grade APS-C by Nikon as the pinnacle of DX development as it would allow me to continue some more years into the future with DX and a contemporary sensor performance. In the meantime Nikon can start to revamp their FX lens lineup to fully win me over to full-format.

    Regards Thomas

  23. 23) Amit
    September 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Nasim, I too think that DX has no future. Recently, I had shifted to D700 but I still yearn for a smaller camera because frankly I find it difficult to carry D700 with lenses.

    NEX system at this moment seems very promising. I just love the size of the new 16-50 power lens. The 35mm 1.8 also seems excellent.
    nex 6 is looking like the best mirrorless camera. With phase detect + contrast detect I believe the autofocus will be better than the previous models.
    For me, nex-6 with 16-50 kit + 35mm 1.8 would be able to handle nearly all my photography needs. The only thing I would miss is probably a good bounce flash. I usually would not carry a flash with a compact system (it will no longer remain compact) but this option should be available when I really need it.

    So are you excited about the nex system? Are you planning to review nex 6 along with the new lenses?

  24. 24) David Pacheco
    September 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm


    Interesting post. Of course, all technology becomes obselete in the long run, but as they say, in the long run, we’re all dead. :) Care to make a testable prediction? 2 years? 5? 10?

    — Dave

  25. 25) KSPGM
    September 24, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Nasim wrote:

    Again, don’t overlook possibility of using pro-level FX lenses on DX. Surprisingly, using a good lens on a cheaper body brings a lot of good to the DX world. I know many people who do that! With CX line of lenses you’re completely stuck in a closed system, with no option to move anywhere. DX is a wonderful compromise: you can use FX lens if you want, or you can use native DX.

    I am becomming more and more mistified by the anty CX community on this site. I use FX lenses on my CX – in fact my favoutite combination at present is V1+FT1+25-85VR – it is pin sharp, contrasty and beautiful colours … so I am not stuck in a closed system! I can also move all of my lenses to my DX300s …. and, yes, I do have a couple of CX lenses which reduce the size and weight of my kit by half when I need this option. CX is just one end of the photographic spectrum … not all (in fact few) of the real world community can afford or even (like me) wish to own and carry around two tons of equipment to take photographs for fun! Can we please have some more reasoned discussion of this aspect of our hobby …. or just post on the header to the site “CX users beware – you are not welcolm here’!

  26. 26) JR
    September 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Something else to consider, that IMO will expedite the death of the DSLR system, is the trend toward MASSIVE lenses; which goes directly against the grain and spirit of the mirrorless movement.

    Take, for instance, the Nikkor 16-35mm F4. Sure, it’s sharp; real sharp. BUT, the thing is UGLY. It’s one of the least attractive lenses I have ever seen. What was Nikon thinking? The thing is an ultra wide angle lens and it’s nearly as long as a telephoto! Why did they make it so darn LONG? I can’t imagine for the life of me what physical/optical limitations the Nikon engineers hit that forced them to go that long. The lens shouldn’t extend much more than 3 inches; yet, it’s around 5 inches long.

    Such a lens is OK if you’re shooting landscapes or architecture from a tripod, by yourself. Emphasis on “by yourself”. On the other hand, who would feel comfortable walking around with that thing, snapping street scenes, or candids during a trip abroad? Only the most narcissistic, I suppose; the “look at me and my BIG CAMERA” crowd.

    Then, you have the 24-70mm 2.8 Nikkor. Sure, it’s an amazing lens. But, again, it’s HUGE! Why make a lens that big and heavy? Because of the 2.8 F stop? I don’t buy that. Yes, those lenses may have to be wide, but why so long and why so heavy?

    I speak from experience, having been a promoter and torch bearer for the narcissistic “look at me and my BIG CAMERA” crowd. I went to Europe on an extended trip in 2001 and carried “L” glass that consisted of the 28-70mm and 70-200mm F2.8 dynamic duo. The very next day after getting home from that trip I put both of those on EBay and never looked back.

    I currently own the Nikkor 80-200mm F2.8 and use it mostly when I can drive to my subjects. But it’s seeing less and less use and I’m relying much more on my primes; specially for traveling abroad. I went to Costa Rica last year and left my 80-200mm f2.8 home. Sure, I missed some shots, specially of monkies, because I only carried a smaller, midrange zoom. But I know I would have been miserable if I’d taken the 80-200; specially when having to carry it on hiking trips to the many volcanoes we visited.

    I would never in a million years trade my Nikkor 28-105mm 3.5-4.5D for the aforementioned 16-35mm and 24-70mm behemoths; no matter how many pictures I was supposedly “missing”. The former is just as sharp stopped down as the other tww. I can print 20×30 with no problem from a D7000 and should easily print upwards of 24×36 with my new D600. If I need to go wider, I bring out my 24mm f2.8D. If I need to go wider than that, I stitch a panorama.

    Depth of field is the only advantage I see from the larger lenses over the smaller. No, sorry, “construction” doesn’t impress me. It’s rarely necessary to have such a heavy lens. Unless you’re working a war zone, there’s little benefit in having such a so-called “indestructible” lens. Hence, for depth of field, I carry a 50mm 1.4d prime. Gets me all of the depth of field I’d ever want or need.

    That said, I can see why people don’t want to own a DSLR system, or are moving away from them and running toward the more manageable mirrorless cameras. If full frame camera gear is going to survive outside of sports and war zone news reporting applications, major camera manufacturers are going to have to make smaller, lighter lenses.

    Otherwise, when folks go shopping for camera gear and put mirrorless system A in their right hand and DSLR system B in their left hand, and all things IQ being equal between both systems, there isn’t going to be much of a race. The lighter, smaller system will win most of the time. Why folks didn’t lug around medium format cameras after 35mm hit the mainstream.

    I am still waiting for Nikon to release an equivalent to the 28-105mm f3.5-4.5D in a similar footprint. VR or not, I don’t care. As long as it’s small, light and SHARP! IMO, one of Nikon’s biggest “lens” mistakes was discontinuing that lens. Instead, they should have added ED elements to it to improve an already impressive contrast characteristic.

    Anway…sorry for the long post, but I’m passionate about this topic and find that Nikon is going the OPPOSITE direction by concentrating on lenses that are larger than necessary and foregoing portability and ergonomics.

    • 26.1) JR
      September 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Correction to that last sentence…I meant to say that…

      Nikon is going the OPPOSITE direction by concentrating on lenses that are larger than necessary and portability and ergonomics.

      • 26.1.1) JR
        September 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

        LOL! I guess that brackets are being parsed out, ha! OK, here it goes again….

        Correction to that last sentence…I meant to say that…

        “Nikon is going the OPPOSITE direction by concentrating on lenses that are larger than necessary and IGNORING portability and ergonomics.”

    • 26.2) Alex
      July 3, 2013 at 3:28 am

      Agree. DSLR market is really strange. The one defining divide here should be pros vs amateurs. Pro photographers fear the competition and fell obliged to buy ‘the best’ gear, even if it is huge, heavy and ugly – even if sometimes they really do not benefit from it. My friend works in a very specific area where he does not even need a full frame, but he shoots with D3s,, because, as he says my clients look at my camera, not my photos, which is really bizzare. Amateurs are free from the burden of a competition, so convenience and other considerations become important. I would like to try FX but the sheer weight and bulk deters me from that. I just fell ridiculous walking around with huge lense. Even my 70-300 makes me feel like a fool sometimes. And it is considered a compact tele ! Having said that, should I decide to them a pro I would go and buy an FX set tomorrow, unless it is a very specific niche where it really is not needed. This is a completely different mindset – like a difference between ‘a must’ and ‘that would be nice’. But if we look at the current market there is a lot of amateurs brandishing pro gear (and there are some pros with a below par equipment. If mirror less will indeed kill DX it will draw a clearer line between professional photographers and amateurs/enthusiasts. I do not believe that there will be any meaningful IQ difference between an enthusiast and pro cameras, but there will be a huge difference in functionality.

  27. 27) Mark
    October 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

    More than half of my lenses can be used on either DX or FX bodies. I have been a D90 owner for awhile now, but just acquired a D600. I’m still making frequent use of the D90 and expect to pull it out anytime I want to get the extra reach out of my longer lenses. I would not hesitate to replace the D90 for an upgraded DX body when the time is right. I have the best of both worlds right now, and I hope Nikon will continue to support this kind of versatility.

  28. 28) KSPGM
    October 5, 2012 at 6:16 am

    All of my lenses can be used on either DX or CX bodies. I have been a D300s owner for awhile now, but just acquired a V1. I’m still making occasional use of the D300s and expect to pull it out anytime I want to get the extra quality out of my shorter lenses. I would not hesitate to replace the D300s for an upgraded DX body when the time is right – especially if it were mirrorless. I have the best of both worlds right now, and I hope Nikon will continue to support this kind of versatility.

    Mark … sorry about the plagiarism … but I just wanted to add the other statistical end of the perspective!

  29. 29) Jason
    October 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    Great article, I agree with the fate of DX format cameras at least in the 1-2k range when we have an fx camera for the same price. What I can see is that if FX continues to be 2k+ there will always be a demand for a highly functional DX camera for 1-1.2k.
    I have been using my D7000 for over a year now and have taken thousands of pictures with it. I have been very satisfied with the quality of the images I am able to obtain with a high resolution lens like the 24-120mm f/4 I recently purchased.
    As soon as we can get an FX body that is around 1.5k I will switch to FX and never look back. I am very hopeful that the D600 or its replacement in a couple of years will be in this price range as 2.1k is still just a little steep for me to consider since I don’t make a living with my photography.
    One of the things I really like about the D600/800 is the larger view finder. When I was shooting with my D7000 and then I would look through someones FX camera at the same scene it was so much easier to tell if the focus was correct and if I had the composition I wanted.
    Best Regards,

  30. 30) Tripp
    October 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Very interesting that you write this, while over on Thom Hogan’s site this month he’s receiving TONS of email from people frustrated about Nikon’s lack of DX support. The future of DX might be dead, but at least in Nikon’s case, only because they aren’t supporting it. In other words, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whereas Olympus/Panasonic have done a great job of releasing lenses for m4/3 that people want, Nikon, in contrast, has generally done a TERRIBLE job of releasing good DX lenses. Yet, it’s still been Nikon’s bread and butter and greatest source of profit. DX doesn’t have to be dead, but Nikon is letting it die, that’s for sure.

    And sorry, but you’re just plain wrong about the cost of FX vs. DX sensors. The cost of producing an FX sensor has come down a little bit, but the cost of DX has come down slightly too. It’s still roughly 10x the cost to produce a FX sensor vs. DX sensor. Just look at the cost of the D600: when you take into consideration the cost of the body, profit they need to make, etc., you’re still talking a sensor that costs Nikon close to $500, only slightly cheaper than the D700/D3 days. They saved money by putting it into a D7000 body and re-using many old parts.

    You really need to go read Thom’s stuff over on his site. His analysis is much more accurate, and he has a much better understanding of the camera industry and where Nikon is really missing out. Sounds like you’re just drinking the Nikon koolaid.

    • 30.1) JR
      October 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Tripp, while I don’t agree that DX should die(see all of my arguments in favor of keeping DX) and have engaged in some friendly banter with Nasim on the matter, it’s not difficult to understand why Nasim believes it will die; sooner rather than later.

      If you’re upset about Nikon ignoring DX, don’t take out your frustration on Nasim by comparing him to Thom; the former is simply writing his opinion. Actually, they both vent their opinions and neither one knows exactly what Nikon will do next. Thom is frustrated that Nikon hasn’t followed up with a D400. He loves the reach that DX offers for nature shooting and would like to see the line expanded.

      Thom bases a lot of his predictions, opinions and “wish lists” on the 1990s Nikon business model; a model where product lines were static and predictable for a decade. On the other hand, Nasim is more accepting of the current business and technological environment and doesn’t see how Nikon can survive while offering so many camera lines. Nikon is not a huge company and becoming too thin can hurt quality(something we may have already seen with the D800). Nikon has always been about producing professional and semi-pro gear, of the highest quality. To carry umpteen models WILL hurt the company. We can be certain of that.

      Instead of venting with Hasim how about writing to Nikon and ask them why they’ve decided to create a completely new sensor size for their mirrorless lineup. If DX was in their future, you’d think that they would’ve created the mirrorless line with a DX sensor. From where I sit, that was the first nail in the coffin for DX.

      I read the folowing line from another blogger(can’t remember who it was) and it sums up the issue perfectly:

      “DX was never meant to be a FEATURE, but a LIMITATION”

      How true! If 35mm sensors were afforable at the onset of DSLRs, as were cropped sensors, do you believe for a second that Canon and Nikon would have bothered with a cropped sensor? For the benefit of ‘lens reach’, perhaps? LOL! Of course not!

      DX has been a limitation, constrained by economics, no more, no less. Once FF sensors drop to a price point that most everyone can afford a FF camera, I can’t see why Canon or Nikon would persist with a cropped line.

      • 30.1.1) Tripp
        October 7, 2012 at 12:07 am

        It’s obvious over at bythom.com that Thom isn’t the only one frustrated. And I actually agree with Nasim’s prediction about DX, it’s just that I think Nikon is killing it; it’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Nikon isn’t just now stopping support of DX; you can look at their DX lens lineup and see how they are sort of forcing people to move toward FX. Whereas m4/3 has a great lens lineup and is being supported, from the beginning, by Panasonic and Olympus, Nikon has just dropped the ball.

        It’s ironic that you mention that Nikon can’t carry umpteen models; I actually agree. However, have you seen their Coolpix lineup? Nikon’s approach has been to just put something out there and see what sticks! They have no idea what customers actually want; this shotgun approach has been their MO for quite some time now. Instead of having a focused product in several different price ranges a la Apple, Nikon has iterated the heck out of tiny sensor Coolpix cameras and they had (until recently) their V1 priced the same as their top of the line DX camera (D7000).

        Your assessment of Thom vs. Nasim is way off, I think. Nasim may be correct in his assessment on the future of DX (again, the self fulfilling prophecy), but Thom far more understands customers’ needs and desires, much better than Nikon. He has been very critical of Nikon and other camera makers, and I don’t get your comment on his opinions being based on a “1990’s business model.” On the contrary, his desire for cameras that are communicating, programmable, and modular is very forward thinking. Nasim is just affirming what Nikon is already doing.

        I’m still not convinced that the cost of FX sensors are falling like you guys are saying. Everything I’ve read says they’re still roughly 10x the cost of DX sensors for Nikon, which is why the D800 is priced exactly the same as the D700 four years ago. The D600 has lots of re-used components, cheaper manufacturing (for the body and non-sensor components), and is priced lower accordingly. Which is why it costs $2100 (about what most sensible people like Thom were saying before the launch) instead of the $1500 the crowd who said “FX sensors are cheap to produce now!”

        • JR
          October 7, 2012 at 11:18 am


          There are MANY, MANY points to consider in this conversation, so please excuse my long-winded reply ;-)

          You don’t have to travel to bythom.com to find folks frustrated by Nikon continuing to ignore DX. Just read through some of the posts on this very page and you will find a number of people that don’t want, nor believe, that DX wil/should go away. Just because Nasim says it will go away doesn’t make everyone agree with him; even if he’s the owner of the site ;-) I’ve thrown my $0.02 cents out there in favor of keeping DX but Nasim doesn’t agree(he puts up good points that are difficult to argue against).

          In my case, I like the ‘performance to size/cost’ advantage of DX lenses for what I do; which is landscape and travel photography, with ocassional portraits. I need light, sharp lenses with huge depth of field. VR DX lenses gives me enough low light shooting ability that I don’t miss the HUMONGOUS 2.8 mid/wide zooms. And the latter is my biggest complain with Nikon: they make magnificent performing mid/wide FX zooms, but they are MUCH too big, heavy and expensive; while their “affordable” FX mid/wide zooms are JUNK! Loaded with distortion and not sharp throughout their entire range. A number of mid/wide DX lenses, on the other hand, BLOW the doors off the lower end FX lenses.

          But other than that, I’m loving my D600. The quality is OUTSTANDING! Far better than any DX camera or the D700. As long as I can keep shooting the older FX D zooms and primes, I’m happy. BUT….I WILL NOT buy any more FX lenses. I don’t like any from the current crop(reasons stated above) and I’m going to sit on the fence to see what happens with mirrorless. It’s just a matter of time before SERIOUS professional mirrorless systems become “affordable”(in the range of the D600) and buying more FX lenses is senseless; just like stockpiling DX lenses is senseless.

          When you say tha DX going away is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” it’s as if though you think that the Nasim’s of this world are driving DX to extinction. It’s not that way AT ALL. The Nasim’s of this world had NOTHING to do with the decision by Epson, Leica, Panasonic, Olympus et al. to give birth to mirrorless systems. When all is said and done, there’s ONLY ONE reason we’re having this conversation: *MIRRORLESS*.

          MILC are taking over and as soon as these systems can match FF DSLR quality, why would there be a need for DX? Or FX, for that matter? It’s like the D800. Even though Nasim will insist that the D800 doesn’t take business away from MF digital, he’s wrong. It may not force a Hassy owner to dump his gear in favor of Nikon, but it would certainly make someone think twice if they were looking to enter the MF digital world. Truly, you gain very little by going with a true MF digital system when the near same image quality(and better dynamic range) can be had in a Nikon D800 for a few THOUSAND dollars less! Don’t believe me? Search for the dynamic range of the D800 -vs- a Phase One camera.

          SAME applies to MILC: When(and it’s just a matter of time) these systems near, or equal, the quality of FX, who in their right mind will want to haul around the so-called HOLY TRINITY of Nikon-Canon lenses? You’d look like an idiot, carrying around POUNDS of gear, when the person next to you is shooting the SAME quality with a system that weighs OUNCES! The days will be gone when bigger meant better.

          Also, I think you’re placing too much credence on what Nasim says, as if though he’s Nikon’s pulse; as with Thom. Do you think for a minute that Nikon REALLY cares what PREDICTIONS Nasim, Thom and Rockwell make about the future of Nikon? If you do, or they do, then everyone is taking themselves a little too seriously. It’s obvious that no one really knows what Nikon, or Canon, will do because of how many times these men have been wrong; and will continue to be wrong.

          Nikon will make decisions based on what they think is best for their bottom line and not because Thom would like to continue having longer reach from his lens collection until he’s 80 years old. And that is EXACLTY what I meant by saying that Thom bases a lot of what he says based on “the 1990s Nikon business model”. Personally, I miss that model(which goes back to the early 80s for me). It was predictable. I would buy a body that I KNEW I would have for at least 6-10 years. I would then build up my lens collection and not have to worry about change. I would only have to worry about taking pictures.

          In the current technology climate, systems are popping up at a dyzzying rate. It’s nearly impossible to keep up, unless that’s all you’re interested in doing, instead of taking pictures!

          To conclude…

          I am NOT excited in the least by all of these changes. I’m from Thom’s generation, when systems were an afterthought and the image was king. Now, my three week old D600 will be outdated by something that will come out by XMas. As I’ve said in another post: I LOVE photography, but HATE photography equipment. It wasn’t like that for me during the film era. I shot with all three formats – 4×5, MF and 35mm – and I loved my equipment. I took such good care of it that I sold a Linhof Super Technika for nearly twice what I’d paid for it. Try doing that with anything digital!!


          It’s a good time to be a photographer because quality has never been higher. Yet, it’s a miserable time to be a consumer of photographic equipment because you will go broke trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.

          On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have sold my Linhof Super Technika ;-(

  31. 31) MJohn
    October 6, 2012 at 8:42 am

    An in-depth analysis. Thank you Nasim for such a wonderful article.

  32. 32) Ertan
    October 8, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Professional DX bodies are desired by some professionals. Not everyone needs control on depth of field or bigger lenses. Some fashion and product photographers prefers DX sensors due to gain in depth of field and some bird photographers prefer DX due to crop multiplier. I was really pissed when I heard Canon would not produce an APS-H body because under ISO3200 a 1DMarkIV gives more detail compared to 1DX when you take, say a bird, from the same spot with the same lens thanks to 1.3x factor, and recent DX and APS-H sensors are excellent up to ISO1600. I’d prefer a good 24MP DX D400 to 24MP FX D600.
    Especially Nikon is really not up to what I want in DX lenses, forcing you to buy Nikon FX lenses or 3rd party lenses. With a good DX you don’t need heavier and more expensive lenses or quality-degrading and costly teleconverters for extra reach. D7000, though very good, is not up to D300 standards (tougher and better weather-proof body).

  33. 33) KSPGM
    October 8, 2012 at 1:52 am


    Thank you for this very interesting thread … and for putting yourself in the firing line – which has got very heated, I think.

    I have two observations:

    a) Nasim said:

    “Mirrorless gives you options to go ultra light with small lenses. What is the option with a DX DSLR? A Canon pancake looks as silly on a DSLR as the 18-200mm on a mirrorless…”

    This is not objective reporting!! ‘Silly’ is in the eye of the beholder – it is not factual. As you know, if you have read any other comments I have made on this thread, I am an avid supporter of DX and CX – and I use my 18-200 lens on both systems! Not silly for me. It answers a specific photographic need for me.

    b) Tiltle of this thread

    The title is ‘Why DX has no future’

    This seems to have been misunderstood – or incorrectly titled. Do you mean ‘DX DSLR’s have no future’? or do you mean ‘DX Sensors have no future’?

    The mirrorless debate then seperates into two topics thus:

    – will mirrorless bodies kill DX DSLR bodies?
    – will mirroless (NIKON) bodies one day have CX, DX and FX sensors in them?

    Seems to me these are two different debates which have become muddled on this thread.

    Thanks again for your great site Nasim


    • 33.1) SS
      October 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

      KSPGM is right. This debate should be about DSLR or Mirroless not Fx and Dx.
      If mirrorless will replace Dx then it will also replace Fx within couple of years. If they can put a Dx sensor in mirrorless, why they can not put FX sensor in it?

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      KSPGM, the title of the article should be “Why DX DSLRs have no future”. I never indicated that APS-C will die – in fact, it is thriving and is doing really well with all the mirrorless offerings. So what I am trying to say, is that given that both APS-C mirrorless and DX have the same sensor size, I do not think DX will stay in demand for very long. Mirrorless does not compete with FX, but it directly competes with DX. That’s why I said that FX is here to stay for specialized needs where the highest image quality is needed, while mirrorless will someday eat most of the DX market share…

  34. 34) John
    October 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    One item that I think has not been stressed in this argument is the simple fact that the 35mm format has been around for a very, very long time. The DX format came into existence simply because of the initial high cost of FX sensors. These DX cameras were really not that much smaller, considering that the sensor is only 40% the size of the 24x36mm FX sensors. This was largely due to the DX cameras having the ability to work with FX lenses thus causing the mount to be the same as in the FX world.

    Add to this the fact that there are millions of lenses out there for the FX format dating back 40 years that still work well and there are also millions of photographers who used 35mm cameras and became very used to the DOF etc that these cameras provided. I agree with Nasim. The DX format is a bit like DVD’s. We thought it was such a great technology until Blu Ray came on the scene.

    The FX format is just too pervasive in our society to just be abandoned for another format, but DX has not had the chance to be around long enough to survive the advances of technology.

    I know have the D800 and the D600. Just sold my D7000 on Ebay as I only had one DX lens left in my inventory (the 16-85mm). I loved that D7000 but then I remembered something else. I love the FX world even more.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      John, yup, that’s exactly what I am trying to say :)

  35. 35) Mike
    October 10, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I’m not sure I agree with you on this. I’m a D800 shooter, and do think FX is here to stay. Also, the D600 is a nice addition to the Nikon FX lineup that makes a lot of sense for many people.

    DX is still the biggest seller for Nikon and I’m not sure that mirrorless options can really replace the performance of a good DX camera. They may in the future, but not yet.

    Also, if I follow your logic then if APS-C mirrorless cameras will replace APS-C DSLR cams, then full frame mirrorless should replace full frame DSLR, right? Those don’t really exist now (Leica aside) however the Sony RX1 is the first step towards that goal. It wouldn’t take too much work to make an RX1 an interchangeable lens camera, and I’m sure we will see one in the future.

    I don’t think DX is dead, it just needs to keep getting better to stay ahead of the mirrorless offerings. The market will certainly get fragmented even more, but that is the price of progress.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Mike, that’s why the article has the word “future” in it, because I believe that mirrorless has not matured yet, but will in the future, which is when it will start replacing DX.

      As for mirrorless full-frame cameras, I do not see Nikon and Canon redesigning all of their full-frame lenses some day in the future to accommodate a smaller camera body. If we see mirrorless full-frame cameras, their physical size (from the mount to the sensor) will stay the same…

  36. 36) d700
    October 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

    35mm then DX . Afer 35mm disappeared we have DX & FX. IF Dx disappeared what will be next. My guess maybe FX & XX or something else?

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Hard to say. Considering what Nikon has been doing during the last 2-3 years, looks like it will be CX and FX…

  37. 37) Lowly DX Shooter
    October 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Sorry to say but it seems pretty clear to me now that DX shooters are not welcome here. The general content of coverage, the tone of the articles and comment replies, and the direct anti-“DX” (or APS-C) editorializing has just turned me off. I will be moving on to other photography web sites and blogs and not likely to return.

    Say what you will about the “truth” of the matter, or how you feel the coverage here is or isn’t. But “truth” doesn’t matter as much as you might think, obviously, otherwise we would not have the political circus here in the U.S. that we do today.

    That being said, I feel slighted, don’t care for it, and will be moving on. I am simply providing my feedback as just one person. I have no idea if any of the other 90% of DSLR owners (the size of the DX market) feel the same at all or even read this site.

    Maybe I’m “wrong” and just easily offended. If that is the case, then good riddance.

    Maybe I’m “right” and many more have done the same or will follow. In that case, I hope you figure it out soon and can make a business savvy change (this blog is a business isn’t it?). I certainly hold no grudge against the site creators, other than at times they seem to look down their noses at the readers. They are a competent group and I think they have potential.

    I just have better things to do with my time than feel slighted or engage in endless debates on blog comment sections.

    Best of luck.

    • October 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      Don’t get offended, that’s not the purpose of this article. Also, we have not in any way diminished articles on DX – in fact, I will be working on the D3200 review as soon as I am done with the Nikon D4 review. I am also going to cover all future DX and CX releases.

      I am not the one who is killing DX – it is Nikon. I only said what I said, because they are making DX look bad by releasing crappy superzooms like Nikon 18-300mm VR and forgetting about smaller and cheaper f/1.8 primes. We need faster, lighter and more affordable glass, not behemoth lenses that weigh a ton.

      Mirrorless is the future for APS-C cameras, but it is not the immediate future – not until contrast detect or hybrid AF are as fast as DX. If I thought DX was dead now, I would call this article “DX is dead”, instead of “Why DX has no future”.

      Unless Nikon puts its act together and starts to release better glass for DX, the DX format will not survive (especially after the price of the mirrorless comes down to the same level). And to be honest, I just do not see it happening, which is another reason why I wrote this article. Nikon might be able to turn things around a little with the Nikon D400, but I doubt that we will see more high-end DX cameras in the $1800 range after that in the future. Not with full-frame getting so much cheaper…

  38. 38) Nikhil
    October 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Awesome article and a nice perspective. Having discovered your site a few weeks ago, i have been consumed by the wealth & depth of information available.

    What are the chances of mirrorless and FX having interchangeable lenses? I already have a F50D & a D40 (yes, i know they are old) and am looking to upgrade. I had made up my mind on the D7000, but along comes D600 and i am tempted to shift to a full frame. Of course, this means upgrading the whole repertoire of lenses.. and now along comes mirrorless.. I guess you can see the predicament i am under. Any help would be great.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Nikhil, many of the full-frame lenses can be used on mirrorless cameras with adapters. You can mount any Nikkor lens on Nikon 1 cameras. As for full-frame going mirrorless, see some of my comments above and below :)

  39. 39) Barry
    October 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I also read Thom Hogan’s blog and he is also talking about dx for the month of October. You and he agree that Nikon needs to do more to keep it alive for serious shooters, but I believe Thom indicated that right now the mix of Nikon sales is ~90% dx and 10% fx (I can’t find the data, so this may be a bit off). Clearly Nikon is making a lot of sales on dx bodies to amateur shooters, many of whom don’t care about lack of good lenses. I do wish Nikon would come out more dx primes (especially a dx portrait prime as my 80-200 2.8 is challenging to keep steady while hand holding). I would even consider some day upgrading to a “pro” dx body like a USED 400, a year or two after it (if) ever materializes, to get better survivability, more direct control access, better autofocus, etc. I don’t plan to jump to fx because the bodies are just too expensive for me and I’m not a pro not will I ever be a pro. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I don’t see myself buying a mirrorless camera (especially with a sensor smaller than dx), but maybe I just don’t understand the draw of the mirrorless body since I’ve been using an SLR (film or digital) since 1984.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Barry, I agree that DX sells more than FX, that’s a given, since the price difference is still substantial. I also hope to see cheaper and lighter DX lenses in the future, or Nikon will start killing DX before the market does. As for mirrorless, give it a try and you will be quite surprised by what it can offer…

  40. 40) Kuifje
    October 19, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Dear all,

    Dx has future for every amateur, in Europe you buy a D5100 body for 400 euro’s, a D600 for 2000 euro’s.
    As a walk around camera on holidays etc, Dx is the better choice, lightweight, now perfect quality.
    I think 90% of the market cannot afford an investment in professional equipment with the corresponding investment in lenses.

    • 40.1) Manish
      October 19, 2012 at 1:36 am

      I agree with Kuifje, and when Price of Fx drops down to ~$1000, Dx may costs only ~$200. And again, all photographers’ cannot become professional, which is theoretically impossible. Base of the consumer pyramid will be always broad, if there is no future of Dx DSLR then there is no future of Fx DSLR either. Shape and weight of FX DSLR is usually bigger and heavier. Fx Mirrorless is also coming.
      After the invention of TV many people thought that Radio will soon disappear, but after 50 years, it is still there.

    • October 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Kuifje, by no means I am trying to push anyone to go full-frame. What I am trying to say in this article, is that the APS-C format will eventually be taken over by lighter and more compact mirrorless, especially after it comes significantly down in price. Everything is driven by demand. Today DX is in demand, because mirrorless has not become a mainstream product yet, it is too new. Give it a couple of years – we will have many more offerings, great lenses and accessories. That’s when I project demand for DX will diminish significantly, resulting in much fewer sales. And you know what happens from there.

      If Nikon wants to keep the demand on its DX gear, it needs to innovate. We need better and faster DX cameras and many more compact and lightweight lenses with good performance characteristics at an affordable price. Look at what is happening with the CX mount – it is only a year old and we already have six lenses for it! And Nikon will be announcing more tomorrow. And what have we gotten for DX during the last 3 years? Just three lenses! Clearly, Nikon itself has been burying the DX format.

      In my opinion, Nikon has a problematic strategy right now. They came up with CX format that has a small sensor, so that it does not compete with DX. And yet they are doing nothing to please the DX crowd. All we are getting is CX and FX gear. What’s next? Sure, we will probably see a D400, a D7100 and a D5200. But what significant advantages will these cameras offer compared to the latest M43 cameras like OM-D or the Sony NEX series? Sure, for specialized photography like wildlife and fast sports, they are going to have more robust AF performance, maybe faster speed. But what about general/everyday photography, family pictures, kids sports, etc? If image quality is going to be about the same between a mirrorless APS-C and DX, then DX just does not make sense anymore for MOST people out there. This means that mirrorless would eventually become the “mainstream” camera instead of DX. Entry-level DX cameras like D3200 and D5100 would have a short life and the only thing that Nikon could do is to keep one or two DX cameras in the pipeline with high-end features to make them more or less appealing.

      Canon, on the other hand, might end up well in comparison. Their mirrorless mount is APS-C, which means that they can start transitioning their APS-C DSLRs to mirrorless when the demand starts shifting.

      Obviously, this will all take time. I do not anticipate sudden changes/shifts in consumer behavior in the next year or two – probably more like 4-5 years at least…time will tell.

  41. October 20, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Hi Nasim
    At the end of Your article You said ‘ I could be wrong’. Well, I hope You are. Cheers, Hans

  42. 42) JohnN
    October 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I don’t blame Nasim for setting his sails to the way he feels the wind is blowing, but I’m glad there are also less “aspirational” Nikon sites, like Thom Hogan’s.

    • October 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      John, Thom is trying to get Nikon to do something with DX, since he feels that the DX community got “cheated”. I totally agree with him, it is a good thing he is trying to do. But let’s be realistic here – do you seriously anticipate Nikon to start making DX a priority over CX and FX? I know it won’t happen, so I am hopeful that Nikon at least will push one or two good DX lenses each year, instead of giving us things like 18-300mm DX. And I hope to see the D400 with many great features and a good price point, to make it an appealing offer for those that want to stay with DX. The same goes for the D7200…

  43. 43) Danny
    October 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Yeah, the same old story “dx has no future”, the same arguments… and no proofs whatsoever to support them. As an enthusiast with more than 20 years of experience in using variety of cameras, for the last months I’ve been doing very careful analysis whether I really need full frame. Having spent some time looking for good comparisions, I have excluded plenty of “bad” ones, where typically people compare cameras using different lenses – unforgivable sin! FF using your latest, top quality 24-70mm F/2.8 lens will ALWAYS be better performer than DX. However, if you put a crappy lens on full body (which people sometimes do, having spent $3k on the body and running out of money for lenses), and a TOP QUALITY lens on your DX camera, you’ll get… better results for DX.

    Latest introduction of D800 lets us verify that statement as accurately as it has never been possible before. As both D7000 and D800 have basically the same pixel size of their sensors, in some tests we could clearly see that, using the same lens:

    1. Up to ISO1600 both D7000 and D800 generate image of PRACTICALLY THE SAME QUALITY. Impossible to distinguish between the two even for some professionals that I know.
    2. From ISO1600 upwards – the image quality of D800 is slightly better, however these differences are practically MARGINAL for an amateur, and can be easily nullified with any noise-removal software. If you really need good proof – check this out and scroll to D800 vs D7000 high ISO section.


    So, concluding, if you don’t need advanced body features of D800 (faster and better focus, weather sealing, etc.) and if you don’t need 36MPX, then you can be better off with D7000 and save over $2k for good quality lenses rather than D800…

    Now, a bit of speculation on my side. The reason why Nikon doesn’t release anything new to replace D300 is simply to force users to move to full frame, which equals more money from selling expensive lenses and bodies, as they are probably the best segment to migrate to FF world. The second reason is that, in terms of pure IQ, D800 hasn’t changed too much compared to the quality offered in D700 – it’s more or less the same (especially at lower ISO), so they don’t want to kill FF competition. I think D7000 and D300 lines may be merged into a new one soon, I mean, as soon as the whole world gets convinced it desperately needs D600/D800 ;)

    Conclusion – long live DX, I doubt it will ever disappear. Mirrorless? Yeah, so far I see people who want to buy better quality compact camera buying them, or those who are tired with carrying big bag of heavy equipment.

    • October 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Danny, this is a projection and my opinion – why and how am I supposed to provide proof for something that may or may not happen in the future? Heck, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, maybe we will all die from a giant meteor colliding with our planet. This article is a market/product analysis and projection. Something I think might happen if mirrorless continues to grow strong.

      As for your D7000 vs D800 arguments – you are looking at pixel level performance. Compare the two at the same print size and you will quickly realize that the D800 will give you sharper images with less noise. If you don’t believe me, see my Nikon D600 Review – and that’s with a lower resolution sensor than the D800.

      So you cannot compare DX to FX – the performance difference is quite big. And that’s a given, since you are looking at a sensor that is more than twice smaller in physical size than FX. Saying that DX performs the same as FX is the same as saying that FX performs the same as MF – simply not true and never will be for the same generation cameras.

      The photography community should understand that DX was initially created as a temporary solution, due to the high cost of sensor manufacturing back then. FX sensors are much cheaper now. But both Nikon and Canon, segmented DSLRs based on sensor size and features. Difference in manufacturing cost between DX and FX is NOT thousands of dollars today like it was in the past – it is several hundred, if that. And the cost is coming down every year. So the whole argument of sensor cost being the biggest cost of the camera is a bunch of marketing bullshit. The big boys carve out features from cameras and add other intriguing features to higher-end cameras and the price differential is huge. Do you really think the sensor on the D3X was worth several thousand dollars more than the one in the D3? Absolutely not. Heck, it was probably several hundred dollars more than the DX sensor on the D300!

      I do agree with the first part of your speculation paragraph though. Nikon is exactly trying to lure people to switch to full-frame, because they want to sell more high-end lenses and accessories. There are far more dollars to be made selling accessories than cameras. Those MB-D12 units yield quite a bit for Nikon :) Lastly, I also think that Nikon will merge the D7000 and D300 lines in one product that will sell at a lower price. If we don’t see that with the D400, we will probably see that with the D500 2-3 years later. Otherwise it won’t make much since to try to sell an $1,800 DX camera, when you can get an FX camera for the same price…

  44. 44) PJ elbi
    October 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    the D600 seemed like the D40 for FX
    the D3200 has replaced the D40, but i still like the build quality of the D40

    I agree with this statement of Nasim – “The definition of “professional” for FX has just been downgraded with the Nikon D600.”

  45. 45) Ari Makela
    November 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

    This article and the thread has been very interesting.

    I shoot with a Nikon D90 with MB-D80 attached. I need the battery grip because GP-1 needs so much power and I want my pictures geotagged. I also appreciate the better ergonomics with the grip attached. Personally, I don’t want a smaller camera. I shoot mostly food, low light and street.

    I might end up in a situation where I need a second body in case the body stops working so I have been thinking about these things. I have four FX lenses covering focal lenghts 24-200. However, I don’t have an every day, photowalking zoom like 18-105mm, for a full frame. So getting a full frame body would cost a lot more than 2000 € for a D600. The current price for Nikkor 24-120 is 1150 € here in Finland. I would also need a new fish-eye.

    I suppose there are many amateurs like me: thinking about upgrading or a second body. I suppose many wonder about using DX glass on a FX body. What are the differences of D600 and D800 in this respect? What about a second hand D700?

    The image quality is, of course, effected, but how much? Should one care very much if one can do all the “serious” with FX lenses one has? Any comments on this, anybody?

    I’ll probably go for a second hand D300s or D7000 or their successor(s) but I’m also considering a second hand D700. The cost of a new D800 is too much for me at the moment.

  46. 46) Kevin
    November 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

    You must also have to consider the prices of FF lenses before you see the fall of Crop Sensor cameras in the consumer market (where camera manuafacturers make their most money btw). What consumer is going to buy 3 or 4 FF one thousand dollar lenses (or more) for general picture taking? The range of one DX lens makes up for 2 or 3 FX lenses. Case in point the 28-300mm DX. How much is an FX 300mm lens? Could you see a consumer buying it?

    There is many variables that will have to be met before this happened. A 2000 dollar D600 is still no where near the price it would need to be to draw consumers in. Nor is the lens options for these cameras. The FF will need to get to about the price of the D3200 or 5200 before this happened, as well as FF lenses to match the cameras. I see that being a LONG time off. If we take it like this article puts it, and tell people not to invest in a certain lens, then we might as well not invest in BluRay as that too will have no future one day….

  47. 47) Kevin Steele
    November 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Has anyone mentioned depth of field in terms of DSLR and mirrorless? Has anyone mentioned functionality of DSLR for real world professional use vs mirrorless?

    I use a D600 and a D7000. The D7000 is not just a back-up; for weddings I use them in parallel – primes on the D600 and a 17-55 on the 7k. If I want extra reach and/or ‘see-in-the-dark’ capability, I throw the 85mm 1.8 onto the 7k.

    These are just a couple of reasons why APS-C DSLR is a useful format for the working professional. I don’t think it will disappear any time soon.

    Plus, 90% of the time there’s really no such thing as a professional camera – build quality is only really an issue for journo’s and war togs… I find my gear comes through the average shoot unscathed!

    • 47.1) ArielRG
      August 27, 2013 at 1:17 am

      I agree with you here. The dSLRs have a more familiar feel and ergonomics for working professionals, no doubt there. But I will say, for hobbyists who know their photography and have skill, great lens and image quality with less bulk will always be a plus. What will happen when full frame reaches the mirrorless market without the need to mortgage a house for a Leica? I think the dSLR is here to stay for professionals, moreover I don’t see how the mirrorless market will match the build quality and sturdiness that harsh environments make dSLRs go through, but I see also how for most people, the mirrorless market opens a less bulky alternative for most non pros. Still I agree with you and see ur point as a pro.

  48. 48) Sergey
    December 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Not exactly on the topic .. but I could never understand why couldn’t manufacturers move mirror/sensor closer to the optics to make the sensor capture the hole image.

    • 48.1) Sergey
      December 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      … whole image …

  49. 49) Sonic Fields
    December 13, 2012 at 5:46 am

    The demise of the DX is not quite with us yet – witness the new 24.1MP Nikon D5200 with DX CMOS sensor and 1080p HD movie capable, to be released this month at £719 ($1159)

    • 49.1) Ole Rockr
      April 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

      And now……. witness the D7100 just released. And this……….

      “The D7100 is a complete winner in every way. Its color rendition is great, without the flaws I see in my D4, D800, D800E and D600; and my D7100’s LCD looks great, too.

      Whoo hoo! ” http://www.kenrockwell.com

      • 49.1.1) Andre Zandona
        April 1, 2013 at 10:11 am

        Great points…I usually don’t like how Rockwell expresses his opinions but I do appreciate his gear analysis. He has a point in one of his articles regarding the demise of DX. Will it happen? Sure, just like anything else digital, obsolescence is inherent in its nature.
        When will it happen? Rockwell thinks 2020 is a fair estimate. I have no idea where he got that number from but for some reason it makes sense. With the 7100 just recently released and the blind hope that some (including me) have that a D400 will be brought to market in the near future, DX is not going anywhere for another several years.

  50. 50) Mauro
    January 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Sorry for my English ! I also think that DX is dead, but only because Canon and Nikon do not even believe. If They invested in lenses for DX there would be a future.

  51. January 27, 2013 at 1:21 am

    It seems APS-C or DX cameras have their days numbered. May be that’s true. However, till now mirrorless is yet to be a match. Some serious hurdles need to be overcome.

    At the end of the day, if enthusiast wildlife shooters like me are forced to switch to full-frames; we will always regret the missing “reach”. Even great pro photogs will also miss it. However, the latter group can somehow compensate the loss with glasses like 600mm f/4 or 800mm f/5.6 and further augmenting it with 1.4x or 2x extenders; we will have to remain satisfied with shooting city birds and stray cats/dogs etc. with our mediocre telephoto lenses.

  52. 52) Ivan
    February 2, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Hi aLL,

    I read with great interest all the comments and exchange of views. Intuitively I agree with Nasim’s conclusions. Let’s wait a few years and see how he was good in his predictions.

  53. 53) Andre
    March 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Great article that has sparked a discussion that will go on for years. Thank you! If you don’t mind, I have a quick personal tale that is somewhat against the flow of this article.

    My first serious camera was a Nikonos V that I still own and refuse to sell for no reason other than the emotional attachment to my first “serious” camera . After going through a few Nikon “F’s” I had a hiatus with photography until about 4 years ago when I purchased an Olympus EPL-1 and two lenses.

    I used my EPL-1 for travelling and backpacking in the Sierras and I loved it (mostly because of its size and surprising quality for its size). However, my spark for photography was reignited and I had to change my gear to keep the fire burning.

    Between low AF speed, lack of viewfinder, lens selection (or the lack of it) and my lack of patience navigating endless menu screens in order to manually capture images I decided that it was time for a change and went on to consider an upgrade to an OM-d EM5. It reminded me of a classic camera and it seemed like the physical size was just right to allow for a great feel and fast user-interface experience. At the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with street or landscape photography and the OM-d EM5 seemed like a good compromise before I decided to specialize on one aspect or another of photography.
    Fast forward a few months and I did something that goes against the main idea of this post. I went from a mirror less system to a DX! Crazy right? I have now owned a D300S, a 35mm f/1.8; 50mm f/1.8 and a 17-55mm f/2.8 (soon I will be including an 80-200mm f/2.8 or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 to the inventory) as well as a Fuji X-100.
    I’m a broke graduate student and had to scrap my way into my current camera bag. I use my 300S and the X-100 on my photojournalism internship (along with a loaned 70-200mm f/2.8 VR). My 300S has allowed me to take fantastic images and earned praise from local editors and clients.

    Did the switch from mirrorless to DX work for me? I have no doubt that it did! Ask my newspaper editor and the job I have waiting for me after graduation.
    Would I be able to do the same had I purchased an OM-d EM5? I doubt it. I don’t think I would have even applied for the internship if I had a mirrorless camera.

    So maybe DX cameras won’t be around ten-fifteen years in the future. I’m sure glad they are around now and hope the transition is not too fast (if it does indeed happen) .
    DX has been my bridge into professional photography, maybe I just have a romantic identification with the format but it would be a shame to see a camera body with the physical presence of a D300s be substituted by something so slim that requires one to have ten pinkies. My ultimate career may not be in photography but DX has certainly opened up more doors than it has closed.

    1- Is there a possibility that current DX lenses could eventually be used in future mirroless bodies?
    2- Could that be a way to get people to buy into current DX cameras and lenses and eventually go mirrorless?

    I apologize in advance if my questions are overly simplistic. I know more about scrapping my way to get gear that will allow me to capture images than the overly technical aspects of optics; lens compatibility and market predictions.

    Finally, I also think that my story is relevant to the topic as choosing something that “has no future” has opened up a future for me! Perhaps there are plenty of other folks out there stuck in the present like me. The present where mirrorless is not enough and full frame is still way to much. Sure the future will come and things will change…

  54. 54) Marius
    April 2, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Wishful thinking for some DX lenses (semi-pro grade with weather ‘resistant’ seal, Nano Crystal coated…):
    – 24mm f/2G
    – 90mm f/2G VR
    – 16-50mm f/4G VR
    – 50-135mm f/4G VR
    together with that new d7100 would make me so happy!

    add some
    – 8-16mm f/4-5.6
    – 135-300mm f/4-5.6 VR
    to continue de range, and it’s a wrap!

  55. 55) Jack
    May 16, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Omg , even a $2000 MILC is crap compared to an entry level DSLR. (cropped)
    Sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooow contrast based AF and baaaaaaaaaaad ISO performance.

  56. 56) Stuart
    June 1, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    If APS-C DSLRs are a dying breed…you wouldn’t know it based on what I saw yesterday when I was eating lunch at Pike Place Market here in Seattle. Lots and lots and lots tourists with DX Nikons and Canon Rebels. It seems to me like the sub-$1,000 APS-C DSLRs are still selling quite well. In a town where a lot tourists are toting cameras around, that is primarily what I see. Out of the dozens I have seen, only one person was carrying a Nikon 1. I haven’t seen any Sony NEX, Micro 4/3rds etc etc.

  57. June 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    DX always beats FX hands down in producing noise.

    This is one of the main reasons why pros always prefer FX.

  58. 58) KasperW
    August 26, 2013 at 4:20 am

    Hi there

    My take on DX vs. FX

    1. In production of semi conductors one small foreign particle that lands on a waffle will ruin this. So the bigger the sensor the lower the production yield. You then have to user a higher class of production facilities (cleaner house) which again increases the production cost.

    2. In almost all applications of semi conductors the trend is to going down in sizes, you want a smaller computer, a smaller iPhone, you want to put it in the tea cooker etc. Cannot think of other applications than image capturing where you want the semi chips to be bigger.

    All in all, there is and have been a lot of drivers to get the chip sizes smaller and more powerful. Only the image capturing industries where looking for bigger chips. That is why the development have gone so slow, and the old 6×6 and 6×7 formats are dead.

    In early days of digital photography the big chips were developed for military purposes for the satellites. Leaf made the first cameras for studio photography. The chip was middle format and the cost was around $12-15,000. This cost you could multiply with 9 to get what the end-user would have to pay (this was an industrial market, not consumer). Very expensive.

    Thats why you had a number of scanning backs coming out for controlled product/studio capturing.

    When making a digital scanner or camera the main focus would be to have the best signal. The signal can be transformed to f-stop, exposure time, low-noise, shadow details – it is all the same.

    Bigger chip means bigger pixels means better signal, use it as you wish!

    2 things makes the good signal, the sensor as discussed, and the control of this analogue sensor. As the sensor is analogue the control is not just algebra (zeros and ones) but actually and art of designing the circuitry. Analogue low noise circuitry design, many of the same principles that is used in radar technology.

    Anyways, if you could make in-expensive middle format sensors, I am sure that is what would be done. The requirements of the lenses would be much smaller. But there is no question that the bigger DX sensor is better than the smaller DX.

  59. 59) ArielRG
    August 27, 2013 at 1:01 am

    I totally agree with the article. Nikon made a huge mistake with the 1 system. I think they were afraid of shooting themselves in the dSLR-foot. With that puny sensor, it was born to fail. Why? It needs expensive lenses to make the sensor shine, and for that, you might as well go full frame or go to competitors (fuji, sony, olympus).

    I’m abandoning Nikon APS-C sensors and lenses because the mirrorless market has really improved their quality, and Nikon has a delusion that the 1 system is worth their time. They should have listened to photographers and follow the market. Now the writing is on the wall.

    I think by next year, mirrorless will make high end APS-C dSLRs look like a bunch of unnecessary bulk. For me, it’s Sony or Fuji, I haven’t drunk the Micro 4/3 cool aid yet, but I’ve to say the OMD is impressive overall, a nasty little beast. Good bye Nikon APS-C, we had a good run you and I.

  60. 60) carl valle
    September 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Thank god for all those consumers… Can you imagine what a D800E would cost and how long it would have taken to build, had there not been all those coolpixs and other toy cameras, including the nikon 1, in between? Say nikon had gone from the F-100 to the D-800 in one step… But hey the D800e is here and there is no going back to older compromise designs, and DX was and still is a compromise design. As far as benefits of DX the only remaining one i can see is price. I say this because anything that can be done with a half frame nikon can also be done as effectivly in full frame and that includes cropping to half fraame for extra reach. Size wise, there is not much difference between a d800 and a d7100 which is supposed to be a high end dx camera.

  61. 61) Snowy
    September 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

    This article is pointless other than highlighting the emerging and current technology. Everything will be obsolete at some point, including FX. nobody talks about medium format or the new lytro ‘no focus’ images that are coming out now, and what about 3d imagery?

    Sure you can laugh and say that stuff is so down the line.. but it is the future. The key point that really shouldn’t be overlooked is everything from body to your collection of lenses are just tools. Buy the tools you can afford that will have comprimizes.. there is no one size fits all and that’s the beauty of the market. Find the right fit of if you are inventive enough make your own segment.

    The most important point is use the tools you get, and capture the moment when it comes up.. even if it’s just a camera phone. It’s worth more than all the high tech gear that hasn’t been turned on.

  62. 62) Kelly
    October 7, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Technology changes improves and gets abandoned upon a whim – see Betamax for an example.

    Why DX has no future?
    DX was devised to enable a cheaper sensor with less area size.
    This makes them easier to make in the fabrication plants, more chips per plate and less failure rates.

    Higher and higher MPixel CCD /CMOS sensors were produced; software algorithms within camera processors, taking over the job of converting dots to a valid picture.

    The disadvantage with fewer photons striking the capture area, is that weird Quantum Mechanics begin to occur.
    Technological advances have came a long way but Quantum Tunneling etc is difficult to combat.
    20 Megapixels on a tiny sliver is pretty good going.

    Many manufacturers have returned to using 12Mpixels as the optimum bucket count because any higher than that the noise (especially in CMOS) gets increasingly higher.

    The other point of a small sensor is that it only utilizes the central portion of a lens.
    DX Lenses do not need to be made to the exact tolerances of a Standard Lens.

    A Standard lens on a Full Frame Sensor tends to suffer vignetting at wide apertures – something that DX sensors will be almost immune to due to the crop factor and using only the center of the lens.

    CCD’s are still used because they are the best low light, low noise collectors.

    With all the benefits of DX I do not see them being disbanded too soon – and I do not even use Nikon.
    [Any capable camera in a capable photographers hand is a perfect image grabber].

  63. 63) Steve Miller
    October 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Mirrorless has been around long before digital. It does work and has value. Slr’s ended the popularity of
    mirrorless long ago. Sensors are so good now that they outshine many lenses. Dx is a sensor size not an old limitation standard. Sensors or dx size will soon outshine what 35mm film ever did. A dx sensor uses the center sweet spot on lenses. I guess a little info is dangerous. There is a bigger picture here. Do you really feel you know more than Nikon and Canon on what is going to happen and how ? If people want mirrorless at the moment companies will make it. When people start to see what they can’t do they will stop buying and companies will stop manufacturing them. The more things change the more they stay the same. I read this similar thought pattern back in the 60’s. Thanks

  64. 64) bh.amir
    January 12, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Dear Nasim,
    when i decided to try my hands on dslr photography, i bought a d3100. After a year or so i sold the camera and the lens, 18-55mm kit lens, 35 mm and 70-300 mm. This was because i think im ready to take my photography a step higher. I bought a d3200 and the 18-300 mm and used it throughout to capture landscapes, cultures an street photos. When some of my works were sold locally, and i gained more confidence in the field, i decided to go full frame and bought the d800e with two pro-grade lens (a decision ive never regretted).

    A month ago i sold the d3200 with the 18-300 mm lens. The reason is because i wanted to get the d7100 and the new tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 to shoot cultures and street photo, and possible travel photography later on. (nikon d800e and the wide angle zooms are primary used for lanscape photography since all filters i have are of 77mm and i dont see much point in using this camera for that sort of work).

    However after reading your article on the future of dx, i can no longer make up my mind as to weather to proceed with the purchase of d7100, or to wait (till dont know when) nikon release a full-frame whose price around the same as the d610.

    Im not into d610 because the camera is equipped with the AA.

  65. 65) JeffL
    February 13, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Great article and the subsequent discussion was likewise very interesting. Here we are a year later and the future is not any clearer (except that high-end DX seems extinct). Nikon has release two FX bodies (D610 and DF), and a couple entry level DX bodies. None of these cameras seem to be a worthy upgrade for someone who shoots action.

    I am a D300s shooter whose main subject is birds/wildlife. The key features that make the D300s so great are the AF performance, 8 fps(w/grip) and large buffer, and the AF-ON button which I set for focusing. Even if I wanted to go full frame, which camera has those features? Only the $6000 D4! Surely they don’t expect enthusiasts to shell out that kind of money. And even pro or semi-pro sports shooters who carry two bodies don’t all have two D4’s right? I believe this market is significant considering semi-pros shoot sports at high school and college levels, in addition to bird/wildlife shooters (enthusiasts to pro). What do you recommend as an upgrade path for people in my shoes? Going forward, will Nikon only have one body suitable for action?

  66. 66) Gene
    February 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I absolutely love this article!!! I remember when I bought my 300D on an impulse buy coming from film DSLR, I was so angry with the purchase I nearly threw the camera out the window when i realized what I just bought. But I thought at the end it was my fault for not researching correctly and just tried to make the most of it, even with my EF lenses. I never bought another DSLR again as I totally was a non-believer of the APS-C DSLR scam. And then I bought the 5D2, my second DSLR. And I was utterly blown away with the quality of shots from it. my next camera though was the NEX-5N, and I was amazed at the type of shots I got from a tiny body. I too always thought APS-C had a place as it was the only solution to make cameras smaller, but I was so puzzled by the need of a mirror still in the digital age. So I am firmly in your camp from my personal experience, and reading your article just re-affirmed my stance.

  67. 67) Benjamin Schubert
    April 23, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Great article. I have a DX camera myself (D3200) and it’s a good entry-level camera, but all the points you brought up make a lot of sense.

  68. 68) alwinvrm
    May 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Someone once wrote that since the inception of photography convenience always won over quality. Journalists moved from crown graphics to 6×6 rolleiflexes to 35mm rangefinders. Why? because at a certain moment that format was GOOD ENOUGH for the intended purpose.

    That is where CX / V1 enters. I like street photography and I want ‘pocketable’, fast operation, a fast viewfinder and …. good enough IQ. See this example for good enough: https://www.flickr.com/photos/photomensch/8496884843/ Would I want better IQ in the same package? Of course.

    For situations where speed and portability are less important I like to try the IQ and relative portability of a Nikon DX; also because I can share lenses with CX. So a move to Nikon DX inspired by CX. And also inspired by my little irritations about the operational speed of my Fuji X gear, to be honest.

    ‘Good enough’ is a difficult concept because sometimes we confuse what we ‘need’ with what we ‘desire’. Most amateurs worry about the quality of billboard size prints that they will never make. Yet at the same time as an amateur you have the right to demand any quality you desire for your own fun, it is your money and your hobby, after all.

    We are obsessed with gear because the market is continuously moving seemingly imposing long term system decisions that we may regret after 6 months.

    I only work with digital since 2012. In these 2 years I bought and sold 12 camera’s and full systems of Sony Nex, Panasonic and Olympus M4/3, Canon Fx, Nikon 1, Fuji X, and Fuji small sensors. More than In the 20 year before that, when I was happy with a rarely used view camera, 2 Leica bodies, one Hasselblad, 2 Rolleiflexes, 3 Nikons, and 2 Konica Hexars.

    The enormous interest in this article – thanks Naseem – highlights our doubts concerning the considerable investment decisions we make in contemporary photographic gear, investments that devaluate quicker than our children’s game computer.

    The Canon M seems a logic example of where things may go. Smaller mirrorless but with DX sensor, some native lenses but use of all DX and FX lenses through an adapter, more and more native (shorter flange distance) lenses should appear; Then the same mirrorless development in FX more pro oriented bodies. Gradually more native FX mirrorless lenses appear and FX DSLR lenses go out of production and over time also the DSLR bodies. Then if ever DX is good enough FX will become a niche product. I don’t know whether in 10 years time the mirrorless DX and FX camera’s will be Canon’s and Nikon’s or Fuji’s and Sony’s. Canon’s M shows vision at least, Nikon’s vision of the future is harder to comprehend.

    Why not stop and say: ‘the gear I have is GOOD ENOUGH’ , ‘I will go out and take pictures and work on improving my technique’. Admittedly, I find it easier to sit behind my laptop, read reviews, and worry about where to put my money, shame isn’t it?

  69. 69) alwinvrm
    May 30, 2014 at 8:25 am

    More thoughts.

    Since we all assume that sensor will get better and cheaper it seems likely that at some point IQ will be good in about all classes of camera.

    The other thought was that consumers prefer convenience. When it comes to camera size I see two groups, what fits in my pocket and what needs a bag.

    Therfore I expect there will be 2 camera classes:
    1) Camera’s for those who don’t want to carry something extra. A mirrorless highly connected camera phone. Some with interchangeable lenses, or viewfinders, some not. So I think the middle ground / bridge camera’s will be sucked into the better smartphone-camera market. MILC’s and Evil’s will end up in that black hole.

    2) Camera’s that don’t fit in a pocket for pro’s / serious amateurs. These have flash sync contacts, lots of control buttons, etc. They will probably be mirrorless or maybe not.

    Maybe Nikon and Canon are not that stupid. The big shakeout will take place in the smartphone / MILC market and CaNikon know how to build DSLR’s quickly and cheaply. They still have the image and Americans still mostly believe that a pro camera looks like a DSLR.

    Camera sales will logically go back to more or less 1995 levels. Why? Because most consumers are happy with the IQ they get and don’t feel the need anymore to buy a new camera every year. Sure sales will be higher than 1995 levels because it is easier to produce ‘new’ models and obsolence with electronics and phones but I expect that pro / serious amateur camera’s will gradually get a longer , more pre-digital, lifecycle.

    So the question is whether CaNikon will be able to survive a move back to a more pre-digital business model with much less units produced or whether CaNikon have the prowess to enter the smartphone + market.

    Anyway the sales of ‘non pocketable media and communication devices’ (= new word for pro camera) will go down considerably becaue the pocketale MCD’s are more convenient.

  70. 70) Glenn
    July 5, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Hi Nasim,

    You make for some interesting thoughts, but I think your reasoning is not broad enough to accommodate a true reflection on the future of digital cameras. There are a number of ways to gain an insightful snapshot for the way things may go, but inevitably the future of digital image capture will be decided by the buying public. The majority of the buying public will always prefer convenience and ease-of-use over a more technical and steep learning curve where digital capture is concerned, and will thus buy the technology that provides them this.

    Mobile phones and digital image capture tablets will inevitably bring about a reduction or elimination of the compact camera. The compact camera is a step up the digital capture ladder which is no longer really required, and thus companies like Canon and Nikon could in theory phase them out of their line up, and replace it with cooperative expertise and know-how with mobile phone and tablet makers to produce technology for them to improve their digital capture capabilities. This will allow companies like Canon and Nikon to concentrate more on the amateur and professional photographer requirements.

    As you know, photography is part ‘art’, part ‘craft’, and part ‘science’, each of which can be sub-divided by degrees of expertise, with some overlap occurring. The majority of the public want to be able to ‘shoot and scoot’, and this is where improved digital capture capabilities in mobile phones and tablets will provide for them, but as good as they can be, the technology will not provide the serious enthusiast or the professional with their needs.

    At the moment, and I don’t see this situation changing for the near future, DX sized sensors remain a viable option as a step up the digital capture ladder to FX, which the latter is itself a step up to medium format, and so on. Of course, one could in theory bypass DX altogether and go straight to FX, and I think the only reason why this isn’t occurring in large scale is because of cost. I know that FX is where I want to be for my digital capture interest, but I simply cannot afford it at the moment.

    The cost of both body and lenses keep this out of my reach, but I can afford DX level technology. However, because I want to be at FX level, there is always a prohibitive thought at the back of my mind that wants to dissuade me from buying DX because the lenses will be made redundant once I finally make the move to FX. So, the path for me is to buy a DX body and FX lenses, and eventually buy a FX body. This itself is not without significant cost.

    I don’t think either Canon or Nikon or other companies are not unaware of this. By introducing a sub £1000 FX body I think they would open up a sizeable market for themselves. It is this that would ultimately bring about DX redundancy, and allow Canon and Nikon to reallocate resources from DX manufacture (body and lenses) to full time FX only manufacture…maybe even open up the potential to develop moves into medium format? FX would become the ‘new’ DX, and medium format would become the ‘new’ FX. It’s an adjustment of the business model these companies need to make to incorporate the paradigm shifts mobile phone and tablets are ushering in.

    Canon and Nikon need to look at the spacings between the rungs of the digital capture ladder, and shorten the gaps between them and make the climb more accessible and less financially strenuous. Just some thoughts.

  71. 71) Bermard
    August 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    …..and since the publishing of this article in 2012, hasn’t there been more and DX camera releases?

    • 71.1) Derek
      October 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Yes, but not a great deal of DX lenses. However, that’s not very surprising. Why should Nikon, Canon, and other companies invest in creating newer versions of lenses that, in general, are already great?

      For example, the 35mm 1.8 DX lens is fast, crisp, has a really fast autofocus, and is cheap. What could Nikon do to improve on it that would make people upgrade? After all, it took them how long to come out with an AF-S 50mm?

      The mirrorless formats, which generally use smaller sensors, are using (generally) different lens systems. That means all the regular players get to make new lenses, so of course there’s going to be more activity there. For the DX market, what reason do the usual players have to make explicitly DX lenses? The only point would be to make lenses that cover something specifically NOT covered by FX lenses. The Sigma 8-16 ultra-wide lens is a good example, since that covers a range specifically for DX. But the 70-300 FX lens is REALLY nice and can be found used for $300 — why would you want to get a DX-only lens at that price point? More importantly, why would Nikon want to duplicate effort?

  72. 72) Yo mama
    October 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    DX just cannot compete with FX, period. Tones, colors, ISO performance, dynamic range, depth of field and bigger viewfinder…???? bigger viewfinder, I’ll give you that……other than that in 2014-10-02 you obviously did not shoot with D7100 and current lens options , you sound like a total idiot you bolshevik son of o bitch…Tones, colors, ISO performance, dynamic range, depth of field depends hugely on a lens you are using

    • 72.1) Gene
      October 3, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      So you are saying if I put my 24-105 ef lens on my 5d2 and say a 7d that the 7d will keep up or even surpass the 5d2 on IQ? How about a 5d3 compared to a 7d2? I think most people comparing the 2 agree that the ff sensor still beats the best crop sensor from the same given generation with the same given lens. I think it’s important to make comparisons more objective by trying to choose scenarios that only varies by the factors in question. In this case keeping the lens and generation of technology constant and only change the sensor size. Also aren’t you a bit emotional about this? Calling people names? Not usually the best way I’ve seen arguments settled.

  73. 73) john dow
    November 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I think full frame sensors had a vague at the beggining.

  74. 74) john dow
    November 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I think full frame sensors had a vague corners at the beggining.

  75. 75) Pushkal Arora
    November 29, 2014 at 12:41 am

    What about the cost of lenses ?
    DX lens are cheaper than FX lenses because they have to focus only a small area. So they are small, light and easy to manufacture.
    I think that the future DX will be as powerful as current FX and future FX will be even more powerful. So both FX and DX will survive.

    • 75.1) NewWorldPress
      February 20, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      DX lenses can be far more expensive than FX

      50mm on an FX, super cheap, can get a good lens for like $200

      If you want the same width on a DX, you need a 35mm. Try finding a 35mm with the same quality of that 50mm for $200…..good luck

      • 75.1.1) jdizzl
        May 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

        Nikon makes exactly that, the 35mm 1.8G DX, similar price to the 50mm 1.8g…Sigma makes the 30mm 1.4, similar price to a 50mm 1.4 (nikon doesn’t)…Now if you want a high performance 35mm, then you have to shell out for the more expensive 24mm 1.4, as nikon doesn’t make a 1.8 in that range, only the 2.8 and 1.4. Otherwise you have to buy an off brand. Having DX and multiple lens is still cheaper though.

  76. 76) John So
    December 8, 2014 at 3:14 am

    I got my Sony A77II + 16-50 2.8 (24-75 F4 eqv.) for 1300USD, it has focusing ability that can suppress the 1DX or D4 in some area. But yes, I agree it is actually a half SLR , being an SLT camera. I agree that there is little point of getting a 70D or 7100. Give it another 2 years, when mirrorless become more robust. It will kill DSLR. reserving it for sport and bird photography only.

  77. 77) Sinisa Popovic
    December 11, 2014 at 4:44 am

    As I understand it, this article should actually be titled “Why cameras with mirrors don’t have future”.
    It really doesn’t matter how big the sensor is. If the mirrorless cameras prove to be superior – and it seems that they are rapidly becoming better – then all DSLRs will become obsolete. The sensor size doesn’t make any difference.

  78. 78) Matthew K
    March 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    I’m not saying there is no truth in the article but It seems that FX is getting more like having a cabriolet or a roadster instead of a small 3 door car, however they all the same auto mobiles. Cameras are all does the same job, recording images on a sensor which captures light. I do have DX and FX lenses and I do use both on my DX cameras and they all work well. Specially the 50mm f1.4 which works as a 75mm portrait lens caused by the 1.5 crop factor. If I would have to buy the 85mm f1.4 lens it would cost me 900 pounds plus an FX body too. Personally I do find this more like an “FX elitism” rather than something useful about photography. DX cameras are good just as FX cams but with smaller sensors, apart from this the differences are getting more and more negligible. So if you can do amazing pictures with the D4s or the D810 than what taking you back to do the same with the D300 or the older D200? Cameras don’t take pictures, only photographers do!

  79. 79) Steve Miller
    March 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    How about finally admitting you were wrong. My D7200 will be here Monday.

  80. 80) Nizmo
    April 6, 2015 at 4:52 am

    FX = bigger lens, you can’t change the law of physics. I don’t like to shot with bazookas this is why I use cropped sensors.

  81. 81) Robert Amazon
    June 4, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Smaller is better. If you shrink an FX you have a DX. The same image can be captured with both so long as the pixel density is the same. Great FX lenses work on DX but DX will not work on FX. Dx can offer a 11mm – 20mm f2.8 (16.5-30mm FX equivalent) Wide Zoom for under $600 The glass to make to make that lens for FX would make the price triple and weigh a ton. The 70-300mm VR yields a 450 mm equivalent. With the 7100/7200s yielding 24 MP I can’t abide paying 3X as much just to push the corners out by 1/3 and have the same pixel density. That being said I am going to turn to the mirrorless vs SLR issue, and that is a purist issue for me. As far as I’m concerned when I’m taking a photograph, I want my eye to be looking through the lens. I want to be able to manually focus. Photography is at a point where it is becoming CGImagry. As a a painter puts brush to canvas, he ceases to be a painter when he starts using a mouse. It is still an art form but it is no longer painting.

  82. 82) bikegypsy
    June 6, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I believe that it’s the FX format which is condemned to disappear, just like the medium format is disappearing.

  83. 83) Patrick M
    June 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Looking back 3 years later, I guess the author was wrong. DX is still alive and well. Maybe we should come back in a few more years?

  84. 84) Stephen Chung
    July 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    The problem now is the battery. Mirrorless uses 2 LCD screen. 1 for the EVF and 1 for the viewing screen. A lot of my friends that bought the sony A7 system complains about battery life. They use be able to shoot a few thousand shots with 1 battery now only a few hundreds..

  85. 85) Jeff goodwin
    July 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Well here we are three years after this article was written- and there are new Dx lenses built by Nikon and Sigma etc even some great 8-16 wide lenses to suit DX. DX cameras continue to be manufactured and they are closing the gap regarding low light (Nikon D7200 for example) – DX is here to stay as long as FX – time has already proved me right

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