Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I mean, through the "crop-mode", using only part of their sensor ? Does it work as intended or is it a gimmick ?

For the moment I shoot APS-C, with a possible perspective of converting to FF some day, losing the ability to use some of my current lenses on the new body (some of them I really like). The fact that such a transition could be almost painless in the Nikon world leaves me troubled.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unlike Canon where you should crop the image by yourself, Nikon FX cameras have a DX crop mode for using DX lenses.

On an FX-format camera with a DX lens mounted, the camera will automatically engage its built-in DX crop mode, thus recording an image only from the center section of the sensor.

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Just to add that Nikon function is optional. – Digital Lightcraft Sep 17 '12 at 10:51
But what is the point of buying expensive FX camera if you are using it as DX? – Sergey Matvienko Sep 17 '12 at 12:07
its just a "helpful feature" - it has no real professional use. Imagine you are in the field and borrow a DX lens in an emergency - it means you can take an image and not have to crop it before sending it to production. (football/sport journalists for example) – Digital Lightcraft Sep 17 '12 at 13:02
...and sometimes the crop out of the center is more than enough to provide a usable image. – Blrfl Sep 17 '12 at 13:29
@DarkcatStudios - the D800 is still a 15.4 MP camera in DX mode (higher rez than the D90 or D300) and the D600 is 10.7MP (that's enough to print a reasonably good 11x14); some might think that's useful. Even the D700 & D3 work out to more than you'd need for newspaper or web work in DX mode at 1900 or so pixels on the short edge. And sports photographers have been known to "turn on" $10K worth of lens they don't actually have from time to time; DX mode doesn't have the light loss of a teleconverter or the uncertain framing of crop-by-eye. – user2719 Sep 17 '12 at 14:51

Yes - the FX camera body will automatically crop down to only use the centre portion of the sensor (covered by the smaller image circle of the DX lens. Additionally you will see new frame-lines in the viewfinder helping you to compose shots (and quite scarily highlighting just how much you do lose with APS-C!).

With the auto-crop also comes a reduction in resolution, and subsequent file sizes.

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Yep, it works great. It uses an APS-C sized area in the middle of the FX sensor.

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It works perfectly well yes - however you will of course suffer a dramatic reduction in resolution of the final file - defying the point of the upgrade. It's handy if you are stuck with a lens or need to borrow one though...

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The reason I could think of is that if you have a FF body and want to travel light for the day you could just take a DX 18-200mm zoom which is much smaller and lighter than the 28-300mm FX zoom. With those lenses practicality is more important than quality. You are still getting good images but with less bulk.

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