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Most, if not, all Nikon have a crop factor of 1.5, while a Canon has 1.6, does this mean that Nikons are closer to a full-frame, in terms of having a bigger sensor and all the benefits that comes with it?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

We can answer this with math. :) The difference between 22.2×14.8 and 23.7×15.8 is 14% more area. That sounds like it might be a lot, but remember that in order to make one stop of difference, you'd need twice as much area. So, while the difference isn't zero, it's small enough that it gets lost in other factors.

When one is trying to go ultra-wide, that extra 1.5mm of sensor width eeks out a few more degrees of field-of-view, and conversely the marginally smaller sensor gives you a more narrowed telephoto view, but again, this probably not enough to be significant.

And finally, it means that the "perfect normal" lens for Canon is 26.7mm, while for Nikon it's 28.5mm. Given that these days people are hawking 35mm as the APS-C normal, I think we can discount that as significant as well.

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Marked as the answer because this is slightly easier for me to understand and that it addresses my concerns more precisely. –  jon2512chua Nov 30 '10 at 16:47
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+1 This is a good analysis because it looks at area, not just individual dimensions, and assesses relative area, which is the appropriate comparison. –  whuber Nov 30 '10 at 22:26

To add a bit more info about sensor sizes

alt text

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From what I've read and seen, I don't think there is any real significant difference between 1.5 and 1.6. Almost everyone tends to go with a camera make they feel familiar with. I have always used Nikons and like how they work, whereas my Dad always uses Canons and knows how they work.

The pictures they both produce are equally as good, so I haven't seen any difference.

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The differences in crop factor between Nikon and Canon are fairly trivial. The Nikon sensors are a smidge larger, however it is nothing to be concerned about, and certainly nothing to base a buying decision on.

To be precise, the Canon APS-C sensor measures exactly:

22.2mm width x 14.8mm height

The Nikon APS-C sensor measures between:

23.1mm width x 15.4mm height & 23.7mm width x 15.8mm height

I am not sure why there is so much variation in Nikon APS-C sensor sizes, but there it is. In addition to APS-C, Canon also make a few sensors that are between APS-C and Full Frame, called APS-H. These sensors are only found in the high-end, high-speed 1D series, and measure:

28.7mm width x 19.7mm height

The difference between a Canon and Nikon APS-C format is minor, less than a millimeter in either dimension, and with the wide variety of pixel densities, there is no decent comparison to make between sensors of any given physical dimensions.

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