DX format is not dead yet

In the past few weeks, after the D600 announcement I received many emails from readers asking me about any upcoming DX products. I have no reliable information at that point, but I think the next logical step for Nikon is to concentrate on their DX product line. I also believe we will see some "serious" new DX lenses soon.

How about new Nikon DX cameras (D300s, D5100, D7000 replacements)? With the latest rumors about a new Canon APS-C DSLR camera coming in early 2013, I think it is safe to assume that Nikon's announcement will not be far off. After the PDN Photo Plus Expo in New York at the end of this month (scheduled to start right after Nikon's announcement on October 24th), two other major shows are coming in early 2013 (CES+PMA in Las Vegas and CP+ show in Japan) - there is a very good chance that we may see some new DX products by then. DX format is not dead yet.

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  • Nikon-fuji

    New dx with sensor fuji cmos x-trans

  • PeterO

    Admin: “I have no reliable information at that point, but I think the next logical step for Nikon is to concentrate on their DX product line.”

    Hmmm, interestingly I reread this and noticed the discrepancy in the tenses – probably a simple mistake where “have” should have been “had”. However the next part of the sentence doesn’t really say that he has information about DX stuff coming, only “I think”. Normally admin is right on with his predictions but this sounds like Thom’s thinking. That’s ok but how many times in the recent past did we expect the D400 and instead we got Nikon 1 and now the D600.
    Nikon’s loyalty belongs to its shareholders and thus profit is more important than loyalty to its system owners (like me). So the DX crowd has been ignored for quite a while now. Unfortunately without the repeat customers, there won’t be profits for the shareholders.

    • Richard

      You are, of course, correct in saying that management’s responsibility is to make a profit for the shareholders. It is also true that “taking care of” existing customers is a, hopefully, important consideration in that overall plan. Unfortunately, it simply is not in Nikon’s DNA to provide clarity so that the existing customer base has some reasonable basis to see where the company is headed. This is even more the case in view of the disasters in Japan and Thailand. I don’t know if Nikon was affected by the recent riots in China. Canon and Panasonic reportedly had some of their facilities vandalized, but I have not seen detailed information about what products were affected or the extent of the problem.

      Nikon really could do worse than to send some people around the various markets to renew relationships with their retailers, provide some information and receive some feedback. Loyalty is a two way street, though one would be hard pressed to prove it based upon the current state of affairs.


  • Zach

    Holy crap! Nikon Rumors comments make Youtube comments look like a place of enlightenment and wisdom!

    • Brook

      What do you mean? If you’d like to bring some enlightenment and wisdom to this discussion, I’m sure we’d all be happy to read it.

      • Zach

        Let’s just say that I’ve never seen sensor-size preference compared to sexual longevity on Youtube.

        • Brook

          Oh, geez, I must have missed that one!

  • Sahaja

    Until Nikon can get the majority of DSLR purchasers to spend at least twice as much on camera equipment as they are now prepared to spend, DX is not dead. It already offers the quality most people will ever need.

    Of course some can be convinced that spending twice as much to get an approx. 1EV advantage by going FX is worth spending twice as much – and Nikon will do everything it can to convince those people to migrate to FX.

    I remember when the relatively inexpensive medium format 645 film cameras arrived (Mamiya 645, Bronica 645, Pentax 645, Contax 645,..) which were priced
    close to enthusiast and pro level 35mm DSLRs of the time and offered many of the same advantages FX has over DX. Some magazine articles and pundits were predicting then that a majority of enthusiasts would migrate from 35mm to 6×4.5cm – but it just didn’t happen. Those cameras did sell well for a while, but most enthusiasts were content with 35mm.

    Today I’d say a modern DX camera with a good lens can equal 6×4.5cm film and an FX camera can equal 6×7 or 6x9cm film – and smaller sensor mirrorless cameras easily beat 35mm film – there are all the other benefits too – much higher ISOs, good AF etc.

    I suspect fewer people are making moderately large prints today than they did with film. So don’t most people have all the IQ they will ever need with DX? Both DX and FX will continue to improve – if you want the IQ that FX gives you today you will likely be able to get most of it in a DX camera within 3-4 years. Of course, by then FX will have improved too, so the argument will doubtless continue for a long time.

    • SNRatio

      As one who uses both DX and FX, I would like to point out that what you write doesn’t reflect my own experience at all. There’s much more to it, and BTW, 1EV can sometimes make a huge difference.

      Price-wise, I paid ca 50% more for my D700 than for my D300, lens costs weren’t that different either. And the larger format allowed me to use cheaper/older/used glass with the same or better results.

      • PHB

        It all depends on what glass you have to start with and when you bought it. In my book there is no such thing as a non-pro body, every Nikon body is good enough to take pro photos. It is the lenses that count. My pro glass is totally different from my mid priced which is different to the kit.

        If you already have a bag fill of pro FX glass then going to FX is a no-brainer. There is not as much in it as people say but the lenses are all optimized to do a particular job and most are optimized for use on an FX body.

        My film era glass was bought when I was a student 25 years ago and is all pre CAD era. It was very good for the day but the DX kit lenses beat the zooms hollow and my mid priced DX glass beats my f/2.8 primes. My D300 still works fine, I am in no hurry to change. So it makes a lot more sense for me to buy pro glass right now than an FX body.

        What I really don’t see the point of is moving to an FX body and f/4 constant aperture zooms. The two moves cancel each other out. If you put a f/2.8 zoom on a DX body you can still use it just fine on an FX body.

    • EnPassant

      In days of film most people were happy with their 4-6″/10-15 cm prints and did see no reason to upgrade to MF, which would be an entirely new system from another manufacturer, except for some Pentax users.

      Today people pixel-peep their photos on a 24″ or larger screen at 100% and see a lot of noise and issues with sharpness, especially in the corners and think they must buy something better to improve their images although most don’t make more large prints than before and many doesen’t make any prints at all.

      • Richard

        I seem to recall a figure of about 95% of all prints made in that era were 5×7″ or smaller. I would be surprised if that figure is a lot different today.

        • bt

          “THAT ERA”???

          I guess I’m getting old. back in the 80’s, cough, I shot a lot of film and printed mostly 8×10.

          8×10 was the size that 35mm could deliver on consistently in b/w. If you had an exceptional neg, 11×14. That was it. For color the percentage was even lower. I can’t relate to the posts on this thread waxing on about the good old days when I got some great shots with me asa 5o color film. I got some great prints with my 25 asa b/w film – such fine grain! Oh the glory of the old ways.

          As for the ‘seem to recall that the prints made in that era were x’, that just tells me that you weren’t there at the time. That was the era of really bad photo processing at the drug store (!). It just has no relationship to fine photography at all, or to the discussion at hand.

          • Richard


            I’m not sure just how you convert a recollection of statistics from a few decades ago about the percentage of prints in the entire industry being 5×7 or smaller as being proof I “wasn’t there”, but you are completely mistaken. The fact that you may have made a number of 8×10 prints, assuming you “were actually there”, does not change the statics.

            There is, however, one thing you are correct about. That is the abysmally poor quality of photo processing in the day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the corner drug store that was the problem. Kodak’s processing centers, before they were sold off, we’re just terrible. It got to the point that my film was completely ruined, scratched up and worse, almost every time. The local “professional” (well, they took my money anyway) photo shops were little better. The sad state of photo processing caused me to abandon photography for more than a decade and wish unkind things for Kodak.

            Fortunately, those who still shoot film on occasion have acces to somewhat better photo processing services today.

            As far as your observations about print size are concerned, I will simply say that controversy remains about the actual resolution of film. Take your pick on thi one.

    • Joel

      FX and larger formats for that matter are not about an EV advantage to most, it’s about the depth of field and the lower distortion at wider angles that can be achieved.

      • Discontinued

        >> … and the lower distortion at wider angles that can be achieved.<<

        Hear, hear,

        unfortunately my 16-35 Nikkor produces twice as much distortion (@16mm on my D800E) as my 11-16 Tokina does (@11mm on my D7000) …

        Just saying.

        • Don

          jeepers! …I don’t have the 16-35, but my 11-16 Tokina distorts BIG time. Thank God (& Adobe) for lens correction huh?!

      • PHB

        The math says the depth of field depends on the actual aperture and the field of view. The size of the sensor is irrelevant (except for diffraction).

        Try plugging the numbers in for a 200mm f/2 on DX and a 300 mm f/2.8 on FX into your favorite DoF calculator. The results should surprise you.

        The distortion at wide angles is another matter entirely. Every SLR poses a problem for lens designers at the wide end due to the mirror sweep. DX is a lot more challenging than FX. But the real solution to that problem would be some good CX wide primes.

        • Pat Mann

          It’s not true that DX zooms have more distortion on DX than FX zooms do on FX.

          The 12-24 Nikon zoom on DX is substantially better for distortion at its widest than any of the FX zooms on FX at their widest, and is well controlled through most of its zoom range. The 16-85 on DX also has much less distortion than the 24-120 on FX.

          To me this is clear evidence that it’s not true that DX makes distortion control harder than FX – I think the extra distance to the film plane actually makes it easier for designers to minimize distortion in DX wide lenses.

    • Karen G.

      Sahaja: ” I remember when the relatively inexpensive medium format 645 film cameras arrived (Mamiya 645, Bronica 645, Pentax 645, Contax 645,..) which were priced
      close to enthusiast and pro level 35mm DSLRs of the time and offered many of the same advantages FX has over DX. Some magazine articles and pundits were predicting then that a majority of enthusiasts would migrate from 35mm to 6×4.5cm – but it just didn’t happen. Those cameras did sell well for a while, but most enthusiasts were content with 35mm.”
      Great! + 10.

      • Mira Kim

        Great? Why?

        (a) Sahaja’s revisionist history says nothing; and

        (b) his format comparisons are completely idiotic. Show me a Nikon DX body / lens combination that can deliver the dreamy look you can get from a Contax 645 + Zeiss 80 f/2, and I have a parcel of subprime Florida swampland just aching for your investment. Getting the same depth of field in DX would require a 35mm f/0.8 lens (and to equal the Zeiss optics of the Contax system, it’d have to *razor* sharp wide open). Last I looked, no such animal was on the DX menu.

        I mean, seriously?

        • BT

          I think you are missing the point. I am someone who has owned a 6×4.5 and a 6×7. There were NOT Contax with Zeiss glass, and that is part of the point – they were less expensive than that. I paid $600 for a brand new 5100. What did that Contax/Zeiss thing cost in 2012 dollars?

          Even so, my d51oo definitely produces images that are superior, on average, to what I could get with my 120 cameras. Perhaps the 120 cameras could not beat the 5100, when the film, exposure, printing were all perfect. But fact is the digital cameras expose better, have huge advantage in grain/noise, and the cost of taking digital pictures is essentially zero. I can bracket every shot with 3 steps over and under. With 120 film, that was 7/10’s of a roll. Re-loading was a total pain, gotta say, and film / processing was not cheap. And those cameras were heavy, and noisy.

          I loved my 120 cameras, and you could not pay me to go back to them. The whole thing is academic, film is gone. I think some of the posters here are just wishing for by-gone days.

    • Mike

      You wrote: “Today I’d say a modern DX camera with a good lens can equal 6×4.5cm film and an FX camera can equal 6×7 or 6x9cm film – and smaller sensor mirrorless cameras easily beat 35mm film”

      Sorry, but I disagree completely. Digital is not as good as film and never will be. It’s not about resolution or high iso. It’s about the aesthetic appeal that film images have that digital is missing. A 3d quality that is just not present in “digital image making.” (I don’t call digital photography “photography” even though I use a D3 all the time – it’s something entirely different).

      Recently I enlarged some Velvia 50 slides from a trip to Hawaii and I was SHOCKED how damn good them looked. I was between digital cameras and dragged my aged F90X out of the closet with my 80-200mm F2.8 and went crazy with a B&H order of Velvia 50. I had no problems with 50 iso and frankly, it was nice to enjoy my dinner with my girlfriend without having to take photos every five seconds or sit there chimping on the beach. Your comment about an FX camera equaling a medium format camera is simply laughable and I won’t even address it.

      • PixelBrine

        Wow…..that’s a harsh critique of digital…..I am a pro who has shot in film and digital (entirely digital now for the workflow) and I have to say I agree that film has a depth to it that I haven’t seen in digital yet without multiple exposures but to say that digital will never be there and that it’s not photography is a little rough. It’s only been about 12 years since digital has entered the market for most pros. My D800 smokes my old D200. I can see digital evolving further and further every generation.

      • WW

        “Recently I enlarged some Velvia 50 slides from a trip to Hawaii and I was SHOCKED how damn good them looked. I was between digital cameras and dragged my aged F90X out of the closet with my 80-200mm F2.8 and went crazy with a B&H order of Velvia 50.”

        I used Velvia 50 and other slides before I switched to digital. The problem of Velvia is versatility. Since you mentioned you used it during a trip… this is what I encounted when I use Velvia for travel….
        1. Velvia color is good for landscape, but not so for skin tone…I don’t quite like people with (boiled) lobster colored skin.
        2. ISO 50 is fine at times, but what if you go indoor? Museum? Shows? Changing film in the middle of the roll is not fun.
        3. ISO 50 means I need to spend too much time with tripod… time is precious when travel (you can go further with saved time or spend with your friends/families)
        4. Ever tried to do long exposure with Velvia? The strong green cast make it a poor choice for night photography, with tripod or not.

        Oh, I still have my F90X too (with the multi function back), still love Velvia color (actually a little bit strange color) but I wouln’t travel with it again.

  • Sahaja

    Brook wrote: “I want a carbon-fibre Rolleiflex with a 6×6 Foveon-style sensor”

    Unfortunately such a camera would probably only be affordable by Russian oligarchs, Arabian oil shaikhs, Chinese billionaires, and the founders of a few successful American software companies and hedge funds.

  • rico

    i have nikon d90 , d300s and d800 and all 3 have issue with left AF only at large aperture 1.4 and 1.8 . i ve compared left with right AF the diference its very small . i ve never use the left AF at large aperture . i ve bought my d800 from korea on ebay with 1800 pounds

  • Chris

    So, what’s the point?

  • SNRatio

    I think there may be a bit of wishful thinking involved among those who long for a thin, mirrorless DX/FX body employing a new mount AND superior IQ. The most important problem with small, compact lenses and large sensors is angle of incidence in the corners, “telecentric” optics has long been the dominating construction because of this. The retrofocus designs, introduced first because of the mirror, have proven themselves useful. There is a reason why, for example, the brilliant Zeiss 25/2 looks like it does.

    So yes, large sensor mirrorless designs may be likely to imply new mounts, but no, don’t expect high end glass to be very small and compact, unless future sensors are tailored for this – which they may or may not be.

    For this reason, I think that today, it is more likely that we will see new mounts first in larger formats, like the rumored “MX”, and that Nikon will _not_ try to make an FX mirrorless – which I think they may be planning – very small and compact.

    Using multiple sensor readouts, it will also in many cases be possible to get around the full well capacity limitations of tiny pixels when needed, and therefore, we may well see around 50 MP as a practical upper limit for DX. (Think of an improved D3200 sensor augmented with more exposure modes.) Which in itself makes any mentioning of the “death” of DX rather silly to me.

    The technology needed will come from mobile phones and smaller compacts. and because of the huge market pressure in those segments, lots of innovation is likely.

  • Ellise

    Face it, DX is for poor people who want to be on the cheap wooden-wagon of taking mainstream pictures, people with class use FF, just like me, SO why do you continue to accept a handicapped format?, save up and get some class folks.

    • Troll Hunter

      Found one! But not the usual Canon fanboy variety.

      • Erica

        LOL, we have trolls of the snobist type to 😉

    • I thought this forum was about photography and not on high society ….
      A good photograph is made by the photographer, not the camera (although this is also important). You can get good pictures without having to spend much money on FX cameras. Since 6 years I use a D200 and I can not complain of the results. You can see the results on my website.

      • Erica

        Paolo: this site is indeed about photografy but some people think it’s okay to diss people who don’t have the money to buy fullframe, while they apparently can. I’ve switched over from DX to FX a couple of months ago, but still have my D7000 as a backup. It’s still a great camera.
        I’ve seen the photo’s on your site and really like them.

        • AndrewH

          My D90 is a camera I still have no qualms using and the same applies to my D4.

      • dgm

        @Paulo Just been to your website and wanted to say that I like very much what I was there! Long live the D200 😉

        I have a D2Hs and could not be happier with it

    • My blood is red

      Ha, ha, ha, there are jerks in all social classes as you have just proven to all of us.

    • Price has nothing to do with why I want to see a new pro body DX camera (D300s successor). It’s all about reach for me with my long lenses and I suspect this is the case with all the other wildlife, bird, sports shooters who are waiting for such a camera. And no, a D800 in crop mode isn’t the answer, as has been suggested many times on these forums before.

      • John_IGG


    • umesh

      Sad fact of the days. Class comes with money and not with quality( of any kind as we can see from related post)

    • sadly this is how some “intellectually challenged” thinks today. There can not be any worst way of justifying class-money-quality. This shows how “poor” some people are!! Quality of the image is determined merely by the equipment used.
      Camera manufacturers especially Nikon need to improve their DX bodies if they have to retain a vast customer base. Other wise people like us needs to think of shifting to other gears.

  • I think more and more people will switch over to FX as pressure on prices makes them more affordable

  • Wow Ellise, so good that you have found the truth on this!

    I’ve had D3s for year now. And it’s perfect for my Aerial Twilight Zone Photography. Couple of weeks a go I was shooting Barnacle Geeses for few days. We had them over 200 000 in a quite small area.

    I had to use all of the range of Nikkor 500mm VR F4 (had it all ready for five years)+ TC 1.7 with D3s right a way, but when I use D300 with 500mm practically I start from there. That is the reason why I am waiting D400. I hope it comes with grazy mount of pixels and out standing usefull ISO ;D

    Proke, but broud

    PS. Sorry about our website. It is still on the testrun. That’s the reason for lag of pictures.

    • Couldn’t agree more Yari. That’s the point that a lot of people aren’t understanding. We want a dx body in addition to our fx body to use with our long lenses when we need ultimate reach. It has nothing to do with affordability.

  • DX Forever

    While I don’t think DX is dead, and I am sure there will be more DX cameras

    I highly doubt we will see another pro (F2.8) DX lens from Nikon.

    And there will not be another integrated grip DX body

    I think it is pretty obvious there will be some new DX cameras this next year, but suspect that will be the D5100 and D7000 replacements

    The D400, that could go either way but think with the pricing of the D600, Nikon left the door open and there has to be something in Nikon’s lineup that does more than 6 fps that doesn’t cost $6k

    But I think this is the last cycle for the D400 – I think it more likely that the high end DX camera will be a FX camera in crop mode – look at the D800 – if it had been 8 fps in crop mode, it would have beat the D300 in every way

    viewfinder? personally not an issue – there are advantages and disadvantages and there is always a magnifier

    but ultimately, the electronic viewfinder in combination with on chip pdaf and improved contrast autofocus will eliminate even that perceived DX advantage

    and yes, it will cost more and that will always be a DX advantage

  • polymer

    I think DX is not dead but the questions with manufacturer is how to market these DX at pros and semi-pros level. The last top model DX was D300s back in 07 (sorry if I got the date wrong). Take D3200 and D5100 and D7000 for example, they are the three DX machines that Nikon markets today, D3200 even did not come with built in motor, its sensor is 24mps, a staggering improvements for entry level machine compare when these entry DX first came up in the market. D5100 is due to renew but compare to D3100 (introduce similar time) it have more buttons and easier to use for experience user. D7000 is built with magnesium alloy minus water proof, it have enough keys even for pros use, most of all I think it size and weight marks an significant improvements in DSLR market.
    People might argue that DX still have a market when it comes to wildlife and specialty shooting but I can say most of these shootings are done in a FX simply because it have faster reaction time, speedy frames (over 7 fps) and better coverage owing to larger sensor. I doubt shooting distance is much of a problem unless you want to shoot Prince Williams. Yes you can get almost double the distance in DX but can you ever get good enough pictures when you use over 600mm?
    What more good about Nikon is its DX lens is 100% mountable to FX it is just you need to get the setting right for use properly unlike Canon. With pixels is boosting up like D800/800E, it is always pretty tough for the old lens to get good stuff, and I can say 36mps isn’t the ceiling yet, we might be over 50mps in few years time. Serious photographers or pros prob need to save up for future now. For amature, there are always 3 to 4 options from Nikon, semi-pros I am afraid FX is the way to go now, but I am sure there will be more affordable lens available from Nikon or Tamron or Sigma, I think we are pretty well covered.
    DX is not dead and will not dead but against all these EVILs out in the market and DCs, Nikon might not be all that wrong to focus more on FX.

  • rabbit

    Ha yes all you need is a camera and you can do whatever you want. Check out cheap camera challenge on ebay. They make photographers use like 2mp cameras and old nokia cell phones to take pictures. I can still produce better imagines in the studio with my D1h then anyone on any DX body. The colors might be better on the new FX cameras but at 200 ISO no one has a chance.

  • I’ve been shooting with a D600 for a month, sometimes alongside my battered D300, and I have to say that my D300 is the better experience — Nikon got that body just right. The D600 and its FX format are great, as mentioned above, for leveraging older glass — my 20mm AIS acts as it should, and my 24mm now becomes a very useful focal length, instead of being stuck in the mid-range netherworld in DX. But the thought that you HAVE to go to FX to get a great shot isn’t true.

    • DX


    • Where’s my…

      I’ve been contemplating D600 over my battered D300 but somehow your post makes me contemplate D800 more. Or even waiting for D710.

      • Lockon

        I ditched my D800 and bought a D300!!! The D300 is a lot faster and I like the crop zoom factor (yes, I know that I can just crop the pictures, but why bother?).

  • The Black Night

    Interesting discussion. Oddly however, when anyone who knows about photography asks about my pictures, its usually a question about ISO, or focal lenght, or appeture. Nobody has ever asked me if it was FX or DX.

    I’m sure FX is superior in many ways, but why all the DX haters? Have you all moved to FX and like reformed smokers or hookers become ‘holier than thou’?

    I can’t justify spending $3K on a D800 when I don’t earn money from it, and the amateur bodied D600 doesn’t appeal either. FX isn’t going to magically make my photos any better. I’d love to see the D400. Some are suggesting that there’s not enough money in it to justify making one, but as a Nikon shooter, I’m not buying anything right now. Nothing in the Nikon line up appeals, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. If nikon wants my money, then it’ll be a pro-bodied DX.

    • Rogger


    • VJ


      I fully agree. As an amateur, I like a pro-like body, and am willing to compromise to the DX format: for me, FX will not add that much.

      I’m also surprised by the DX haters… they make it sound like no good photo can be made with DX, which effectively means they claim no good digital photo was made in the 10 years before FX. Sure FX has some benefits, no arguing that, but it will always be more expensive than DX (if all else is equal) due to the sensor.

    • JS

      @The Black Night


      That is exactly my opinion too.

  • MB

    DX may not be dead (yet) but it isn’t kicking either.
    Nikon did very nice job killing DX system last couple of years by not offering enough lenses, overpricing few accessories they did offered, making DX DSLR cameras “guided” so every moron could use them (most people do not like to be considered morons) and at the same time removing many useful features.
    For me to go back and reconsider investing in DX Nikon should make:
    D7000 successor with all the D300 controls and ergonomics (I do not believe in expensive fully professional DX body anymore and do not see the need for it);
    Fast normal zoom, something 16-50mm and f/2 of faster to be comparable to FX DOF control and low light performance, I do not care too much for VR here but some people do;
    Fast wide lenses, at least one 16mm but I would prefer 14mm and 24mm combo and they should be at least f/1.8 or faster;
    Fast long macro lens, 40mm f/2.8 is a good lens (sharper than 35mm f/1.8 for the same price) but is too short for macro, 85mm f/3.5 is just too slow for portrait and not long enough for some work, 135mm f/2.8 seems to be the one;
    Fast telephoto 50-135mm f/2.8 VR or similar.
    I am sure other people would like something a bit different but I somehow doubt Nikon will do any of this.
    Just announcing new camera with more megapixels and high meaningless DXO mark scores will not slow down people from moving away from DX DSLRs to mirrorless or full frame.
    DX system may not be dead yet but sure is in coma.

    • Where’s my…

      Actually Nikon should do a ‘backlit’ 60-100MPix sensor->24MPix image oversampling DX camera maybe licensing tech from Nokia 808. Oversampling could be used to control aliasing without need for blurring AA filter, eliminating sensor noise and allowing for creative workarounds for photon noise. And then release a compact 400mm f5.6 DX VR SWM lens for bird shooters.

  • Click

    Well, it’s dead to me.

  • Z

    Despite what BrettA claims, Nikon never meant DX format to be some sort of temporary fix until something better can be had. Quite the contrary, Nikon tried early on to establish DX format as the defacto sensor size in the digital realm. (some would consider it arrogance on the part of Nikon, imagine that …)

    While Nikon, Pentax, Minolta went with crop factor of roughly 1.5x, Canon was d*cking around with crop factor of 1.6 (Canon’s APS-C) and 1.3 (APS-H). Olympus on the other hand went smaller from get go with 2x crop factor (4/3) since the calling card of their film camera was smaller form factor without compromising functionality. Soon after finding out 4/3 sensor could not compete with bigger sensors in DSLR market, they with Panasonic went smaller with m4/3 format ILC/EVIL/mirrorless cameras in establishing that niche market.

    No doubt back then, even not too far in the past (2007), producing FF sensor was commercially not very viable for mass production until the technical and manufacturing issues can be scaled up and costs brought down. That’s why all the early Nikon flagship DSLRs were DX formats from D1 to D2X/H/S.

    When Canon to their credit went full steam ahead and started producing FF sensor DSLRs first (1Ds and 5D MK 1), showing the photographic community the benefits of larger sensor, only then did Nikon eat crow and do a turn-about and started producing FX sensor bodies (D3) in response. While Nikon beat Canon to the punch with enthusiast model D90 in implementing the video feature 1st, Canon one-upped Nikon with 5D MKII having superior video implementation. Despite the crappy AF carried over from MK1, 5D MKII was a huge success for Canon, not to mention 21mp was the secret envy of many Nikon shooters. All the while Nikon’s mantra was we’re fu*king NIKON, we tell you 12mp is all you need. Of course, they ate crow yet again and responded if a bit late with 36mp D800 and better video implementation in D4, D800/600 and D3200. Therefore, historically, it’s Canon (motor in the lens, IS, both before Nikon), who has pushed Nikon to innovate and we Nikon shooters are the benficiary of this intense, ongoing competition.

    Only recently, do I believe Canon has been or seem to be a bit complacent or maybe even a bit misguided but have no doubt that they will counter with 40+mp sensor DSLR, maybe even with improved DR. If Nikon/Sony can do it, Canon will surely figure it out soon or later, if not already.

    You do know that all this pontificating by the fanboys from either camp has absolutely no sway on what Canon or Nikon thinks or does becaue they think they are smarter and know better than everybody on the planet …

    Best guess is that if Canon does not kill crop format by bringing out an update to 7D, Nikon for sure will not acquiesce that market segment to Canon … therefore, DX shooters, have hope, keep faith (in the unwavering arrogance of Nikon) and don’t listen to the gloom and doom of the FX snobs … (by the way, I do shoot both DX and FX; for my style, both have its place … )

    • x-vision

      Great post!

      I’m a Canon shooter but I get a kick out of how Nikon kicks ass with their latest offerings.

      Good to see how these two companies step on each others’ toes.
      If it wasn’t for Nikon’s D300 and D3(s), Canon would have not made the 7D and would have not moved 1D-series to FF.

      And now in the D600 vs 6D rematch, I’m sure the D600 will come on top and will push Canon to quickly update the joke of a camera that the 6D is with a more feature-rich offering.

      As for the DX vs FF debate: DX will live for sure.
      It looks like both Nikon and Canon will offer two upgrade paths for enthusiasts moving from entry-level cameras – the DX path and the FF path.
      The DX path will offer better features on a DX sensor body, whereas the FF path will offer same features but a FF sensor.

      The thing is, with this approach, I fully expect that the D400 and 7DII will cost almost as much as the D600/6D respectively.

      Ultimately, there seems to be a market for both high-end DX and entry level FX cameras – and both Nikon and Canon will take our money, regardless of our preferences ;);).

    • MB

      Motor in lens was introduced with Nikon F3AF and AF Nikkor 80mm f/2.8 & AF and Nikkor 200mm f/3.5 ED IF in 1983, Canon EOS was introduced in 1987 or four years later. In fact first prototype Nikon AF lens with built in motor was introduced in 1971.
      Nikon introduced VR in 1994, Canon introduced IS in 1995 (after licensing technology from Nikon).
      The thing is Nikon just do not advertise enough technology achievements as Canon does.

      • Z

        OK, I stand corrected.

        Yes, Nikon marketing can be rather obtuse at times …

    • Richard

      I don’t know the background on Canon’s choice of the 1.6 crop sensor, but the 1.3 crop sensor was supposedly the largest sensor that could be imaged on their steppers at the time. They have since made equip capable of imaging a sensor larger than FF/FX in a single pass. Many in the Canon wildlife photography community were upset, to say the least, when Canon abandoned the 1.3 crop sensor for much the same reason that have been discussed here and because the Canons don’t auto-focus at f8. Some of these people have converted to Nikon because of auto-focus at f8.

  • Back 2 Canon 4 me

    Who cares. I’m switching to Canon.

    • Pablo Ricasso

      Switching to Holga.

  • I’m agree! For some applications APS-C cameras is still performing very well. Besides the price for full-frame sensors seems to be still a pretty high.

  • People sure feel insecure bout DX, like driving VW to Porsche show

    • D400, I hope

      I’m not sure if that was derogatory toward DX users or not but if anybody was really insecure, they would call their website “Number One.” (grin)
      Next time you’re in Japan, you might get some photos of shrines and/or temples for your site. I’ve been on just about every kind of train over there (the shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima was pretty cool) but temples and shrines are much more interesting. I wish I had been more into photography when I visited Nikko Toshogu. As it is, I only have a few pictures from a disposable camera.
      Next time I’m there, I’ll bring my new D400 (I hope) and strut around like I’m carrying a D4!

  • ChriSin

    DX format will live on in the new Nikon video line. They’re moving their west coast service center from El Segundo to Hollywood….. and it ain’t cause the rents cheaper!

  • Frank

    Eventually the camera manufacturers will hit a barrier with the DX format where any improvement would be either software based, or to some part of the camera other than the sensor. If they can maintain sales then DX will live on, otherwise it will die.
    This holds true to even the FX format as well. I can see a day when the DX format will have been long gone, and a new MX format is introduced. The MX would be a larger format than FX, but of course, smaller than medium format. Something akin to the Leica S2.

  • craigc

    DX is equal to Super 35mm film framing. It is not going anywhere soon for the motion shooters. FF is really way to big to perform in a timely manor in cinema. equal to shooting Vista 65mm. so as long as hitting a focus mark at 2.8 is gotta happen while following a moving target then this sensor size will be around a while longer .The canon 7D is modified to handle PL mount glass that costs way over 4,000 per prime lens. Nikon screwed up by not doing proper 1080/24 right out of the gate when they could have. Now they are playing catchup. In the motion fields. Panasonic has also taken great big bites out of both companies with their Motion capture in the GH2 and now the GH3. Better DX glass will help out a lot to winning back some of that market.

  • I used Google to search for current information (as of 15 October 2012) on the Nikon D400. Given that Nikon Rumors has bought the first maybe couple dozen hits on Google, I thought perhaps I should stop by here to give NR its money’s worth for trying to dominate the Not-Nikon Nikon sites.

    Here’s the thing: I am a professional landscape photographer. I also do corporate contract work: mostly promo shots of agricultural structures and heavy equipment. My work sells. More importantly, it receives lots of praise. My camera is a Nikon D7000. My workhorse lens is the Tamron 17-50mm SP /2.8. The Nikon equivalent, the 17-55mm, is more than twice as expensive, and it delivers nothing more in terms of visual quality in prints. To the best of my knowledge, neither Nikon nor Tamron has an equivalent lens in its FX line-up, which is one good reason I am disinterested in going to FX. I might be wrong about this, but it looks like I’d have to own two FX lenses to cover the range my one, lowly Tamron does like a boss.

    I print my own photographs to display and sell: 17″x11″ and smaller on a Canon Pro 9000 MkII; 24″x16″ and big, beautiful 36″x12″ pans on my Epson Stylus Pro 4900. I make money with the equipment I own, which is a second reason I am disinterested in going to FX. While the elitists can look down their noses at my photography (“pedantic,” “overpriced,” “uninspired,” and “gaudy,” to list some of the praise I’ve received in competitions and commentary), I can look with no small amusement at their vast arrays of ludicrously expensive camera bodies, lenses, light meters, and grips, taking special pleasure in those telescopes masquerading as lenses pros sling like over-compensation advertisements.

    If Nikon is under the impression that it can simply starve me out as a DX user with an ageing camera body, I have this caution concerning their calculus: If I am forced to go to full frame, my lenses are no good. That means I am free to look anywhere I want for the next camera I own, since I’ll have to buy the camera and the lenses, starting from scratch.

    I have first-hand evidence that Nikon’s decision making hierarchy has become top-down rigid, unlike Canon, which distributes decision-making far down the chain of command. While Nikon’s managerial structure can foster some good, it can also replace real evidence of consumer base desires with the management’s detached perception of what that consumer base needs.

    I’m giving Nikon six months to bring a strong, new, pro-level DX to market. After that, Nikon will lose a DX customer. If it loses too many, any later release of a DX will be met with formerly loyal Nikon users who have moved on, and who will never return.

    • D400, I hope

      I agree with a lot of what you say but the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 has an equivalent field of view as 16-47mm on a DX sensor which is pretty darn close to your 17-50. It wouldn’t take much walking to make up the gap in the long end. Optically, it is much better than your Tokina but, admittedly, much more expensive. I’m not trying to convince you to switch to FX, just educate you.

      • Michel

        For a landcape photographer that lens in front of a D800e would be dream heaven in technicolour wouldn’t it?

      • BroncoBro

        “…admittedly, much more expensive.” LOL!! Yeah, like 4X!! I don’t need ANY education to know that I don’t NEED to spend $1,900 for a lens to get a good photograph when I can make just as good a one with a $500 lens. Not to mention the new iMac I’ll need to buy in order to handle to enormous files I’ll be creating with that D800 everyone on here is drooling over. More photography, less equipment porn.

    • Pablo Ricasso

      LOL. What would you switch to?

      • BroncoBro

        He could go to a Fuji XPro 1 and do just fine.

    • I think there will be a new DX camera in the next 6 months.

    • BroncoBro

      Well said, and mirrors many of my sentiments, especially about starting over if I have to buy all new lenses anyway. I use a 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor on a D90 for portraits. I paid $100 for the lens. ‘nough said.

  • No, DX is not dead, I am still waiting for a digital Nikon FM, but I think Nikon will do it like this:
    The digital FM, FM-D. Electronic Viewfinder with NO lag. Aps-c sized sensor. Nice vintage-look. A real shutter-button. And, compatible with all the Nikkor-E-pancake lenses. 🙂 Then DX will live for VERY much longer.
    But I think the FX cameras has to shrink quite exctensively in size too if they want to be able to compete with the mirrorless market with bodies constantly shrinking to smaller sizes.

    • MB

      What Nikkor-E-pancake lenses?
      If you are referring to AiS 50mm f/1.8 (Series E) it was no good lens at all and it was not AF so who cares about compatibility?
      FM/FE sized digital camera is what many people (photo fans) are dreaming about but people at Nikon are not those people (and it seems they are not in photography either), they are in volumes, P&S and cameras for masses is the only thing they could understand so do not expect them to come up something actually useful.

    • Nikon should make something like the Olympus OM-D. Even if it is not full frame, it will sell.

      • Michel

        Maybe, but I really don’t like electronic viewfinders, just doesn’t have the bite and clarity of looking through glass. Not that that would matter a toss to most other people I suppose, and to get a small camera one doesnt have to hold at arms length to take a photo would be a big positive. The retro look is also popular, eg the Fuji x100 and the Olympus OM. Perhaps in a couple of years we might see a FF frame camera in a FM looking D40 size body?? That would be hot!

        • Z

          Built-in high resolution OLED EVF like NEX 7 or OM-D is a good compromise for smaller body if the alternative is buying an expensive add-on EVF for the likes of Olympus Pens / Panasonic GX1 or just having LCD only with no other option like Canon’s mirrorless EOS M.

  • Kare G.

    I like this: “We also believe the APS-C sensor has a lot of future potential.” (John Carlson, Senior Manager of Sales and Marketing at Pentax Ricoh Imaging Americas Corp.)http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/09/22/qa-with-pentax-usa-europe-is-full-frame-coming-and-whats-next-for-medium-fo

    • Michel

      Is that the opinion of Pentax because they have heard Nikon isn’t going to bring out a pro DX body? Maybe they feel there is a need for that potential vacancy to be filled

      Personally I feel that Nikon after all the hard work in producing the DX range and its lead in models of the consumer variety will realise it is folly to let this part of the market go. Eventually a pro DX body will come out. Since the D300s was released about a year after the D700, its replacement may be a year later than the D800. Patience…

  • MB

    Yes we are, full of crap i mean, and we are all waiting for someone like you to take a bite.
    So do you like the taste?

  • Yes, we take photos. I make a living with my D300 shooting for automotive magazines. The reach of the 1.5x sensor is incredibly useful at track events. But… my D300 is long-in-the-tooth now, doesn’t focus as well or consistently as it used to, and I don’t want to dump a bunch of money into fixing it when there will (probably/hopefully) be a D400 soon. Nikon cannot afford to abandon this segment to the Sony A77 or the Canon 7D (don’t kid yourselves, the 7D is a monster camera in the field). I also REALLY don’t want to change systems. I like the Nikon menus, and the button layout, and the quick magnification even while the photo is still being written to the card. Those are things which make my job in the field just a little easier. Do I want a D600? No. Do I want a D800? No. I want an 18-20mp, high-FPS, ISO50- capable, sealed magnesium body with an accurate and fast AF system. If they have to go to 24mp, that’s fine too, but probably unnecessary. Give me the back-lit sensor technology in a D300 body with a decent shutter life and I’ll be quite happy to fork over $1700 for a new one. Plastic body D600 with 1/4000 shutter and 50k less shutter life? No thanks.

  • EastOfGratiot

    I don’t see any particular issue with Nikon’s treatment of DX and FX products. The lower end DX products make perfect sense and deliver 95% of the results of Nikons top-line pro products if you don’t mind poorer interfaces and less robust build quality. On the top end of FX it’s clear that Nikon has products for action and landscape professionals too. Frankly, is there anything that anyone NEEDS to to photographically that Nikon doesn’t accommodate? Between DX and FX, new and legacy lenses I can’t think of anything else I’d ever need except perhaps pro-level undewater equiptment (and I can’t swim). Compared to my Mamiya 7 setup we are totally SPOILED by the Nikon options and choices. Currently I have a D7000 and D600 and thi ONLY thing I’d want to add would be an ultrawide DX prime, and I can do just fine without. Name a camerakit price and a photo you need to capture and ther is SOME new or used Nikon setup that will work just fine.

    • EastOf Gratiot

      my apologies for the typos 🙂

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