system spotlight Discover the X-factor
Rod Lawton lays down the facts about FX and DX formats
Nikon makes D-SLRs with two different sensor sizes: FX and DX. FX sensors are the same size as 35mm film, but they are more expensive to make. This is why most enthusiasts use the smaller DX-format models. The DX sensor is about the same size as the old APS-C film format – in fact, these sensors are sometimes referred to as ‘APS-C’ format.
To go with these sensor sizes, Nikon makes both FX and DX lenses. FX lenses fit on both types of camera, but are often large, heavy and expensive. DX lenses are solely for cameras with DX sensors. They project a smaller image circle to cover the smaller sensor, but they’re lighter and cheaper. If you have a DX Nikon, DX lenses are the most cost-effective buy, but if you plan to move up to the FX format, you’ll need to swap over to FX lenses.