Free­man on… Sen­sor Size

This is­sue, Nikon guru Michael Free­man ex­plores what sen­sor size means, and why it’s im­por­tant

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of field than a DX sen­sor at the same aper­ture se­lec­tive-fo­cus shots when you want to blur out the back­ground (with DX sen­sors the back­ground will be blurred at wide aper­tures, just not as much – see page 77).

All this, how­ever, comes at a price, both in terms of lit­eral fi­nan­cial cost (since FX cam­eras and lenses are more ex­pen­sive than their DX equiv­a­lents) and in terms of size and weight: if you shoot DX, you’ll save money and your kit will be smaller, lighter and gen­er­ally more com­pact and con­ve­nient to han­dle, plus you’ll ben­e­fit from one no­table ad­van­tage: the same fo­cal length on a telephoto lens will give you half as much mag­ni­fi­ca­tion again (so, for ex­am­ple, a 200mm lens will give you an ef­fec­tive fo­cal length of a 300mm lens on a DX body). The FX sen­sor for­mat main­tains the di­men­sions of tra­di­tional 35mm film, while the DX sen­sor for­mat, which is two-thirds smaller in terms of width and height, cov­ers less than half the area (about 43 per cent). Here you can see how this af­fects the amount of a scene that you can get within the frame at iden­ti­cal fo­cal lengths – which is why you’ll of­ten see us re­fer­ring to the ‘crop fac­tor’ of DX cam­eras in lens re­views.

An FX (full-frame) sen­sor en­ables you to cap­ture images with a nar­rower depth

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