The Nikon DX Format

The Nikon DX image sensor format is about 2416 mm. These dimensions are about 2/3 those of the 35mm film format (29mm vs 43mm diagonal, approx.). This format was created by Nikon for its digital SLR cameras, many of which are equipped with DX-sized sensors.

Nikon has produced a relatively small variety of lenses for the DX format, most of which are consumer-level zoom lenses. Since 2007, Nikon has announced five digital SLRs, the D3, D3X, D90, D700 and D5000, three of which feature a Nikon FX format sensor that is the size of a 35 mm film frame.

Real sensor size

Nikon produces different DX format sensors of slightly different sizes.

Camera Sensor width


Sensor height






Nikon D2Xs 23.7 15.7 4,288 2,848
Nikon D2X 23.7 15.7 4,288 2,848
Nikon D2Hs 23.7 15.5 2,464 1,632
Nikon D2H 23.7 15.5 2,464 1,632
Nikon D1X 23.7 15.5 4,024 1,324
Nikon D1H 23.7 15.5 2,012 1,324
Nikon D1 23.7 15.5 2,012 1,324
Nikon D300 23.6 15.8 4,288 2,848
Nikon D200 23.6 15.8 3,872 2,592
Nikon D100 23.7 15.5 3,008 2,000
Nikon D5000 23.6 15.8 4288 2848
Nikon D90 23.6 15.8 4,288 2,848
Nikon D80 23.6 15.8 3,872 2,592
Nikon D70s 23.7 15.5 3,008 2,000
Nikon D70 23.7 15.5 3,008 2,000
Nikon D60 23.6 15.8 3,872 2,592
Nikon D50 23.7 15.5 3,008 2,000
Nikon D40x 23.7 15.6 3,872 2,592
Nikon D40 23.7 15.5 3,008 2,000

Lenses for Nikon DX format

image sensor sizes
Comparison of image sensor sizes, include Nikon DX

Vibration reduction (VR) lenses in DX format


The 1/3 smaller diagonal size of the DX format amounts to a 1/3 narrower angle of view than would be achieved with the 135 film format, using a lens of the same focal length. Strictly in angle-of-view terms, the effect is equivalent to increasing focal length by 50% on a 135 film camera, and so is often described as a 1.5 focal length multiplier.

This effect can be advantageous for telephoto and macro photography as it produces a tighter crop without the need to increase actual focal length and sacrifice depth of field. However it becomes disadvantageous for wide angle photography as a wide angle lens for 135 film (e.g., 28mm) effectively becomes a normal lens for the DX format (28mm 1.5 = 42mm 135 film equiv.). This has led to the increased development of the DX format-specific lenses for the Nikon F-mount. Since these lenses do not need to cover the 135 film area, they are smaller and lighter than their 135 format counterparts of equal angle-of-view. The production of DX-specific lenses has also enabled the production of affordable wide angle lenses for the format (e.g., 12mm), whereas costly ultra-wide angle lenses from the 135 format were formerly required.

When DX format lenses are used on 35mm film cameras, vignetting often occurs, as the image circle doesn't cover the entire area of the 35mm film.

See also

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