Having read this question, I understand that a full-frame Nikon FX camera will apply a crop to the camera sensor's field of view when using DX lenses (?) - Does a Nikon DX lens on a FX camera get subjected to the 1.5X crop factor?

I currently have a Nikon D3100 and Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX lens, however my camera has a 1.5x crop factor.

If I ever upgrade to a Full frame sensor camera, is there anyway of being able to use the full frame of my Nikkor DX lens? I know Nikon FX cameras have a crop factor in DX compatibility mode, but I thought this was just Nikon's way of enforcing obsolescence... Is there any way of getting around this?

I'd love to be able to use a wider frame for landscape photography.


On a full-frame (FX) Nikon camera, you can turn the Auto DX crop setting to Off and this will keep the camera from cropping the image. It's not a pseudo-crop, btw, it's actually cropping--that is, all the pixels on the FX sensor that are outside the area of a DX sensor are ignored. But. What you'll get is severe vignetting.

The reason the DX auto crop mode exists is that DX lenses are designed to project an image circle that's smaller than that of an FX lens. It's large enough to cover a DX sensor, but it's too small to cover an FX sensor. You'll get black corners and edges. You'll see the edges of the image circle inside your sensor's rectangle, rather than getting a rectangular image.

See: https://photographylife.com/using-nikon-dx-lenses-on-fx-cameras for example images of what the 35/1.8 looks like on a D600.

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  • Thanks for your answer! I didn't know that setting existed. Slightly off-topic: do you think there would be much to gain in the angle-of-view with the Auto DX crop off, after some editing in photoshop? – johnp Oct 25 '15 at 17:22
  • @johnpharrell Depends on the aperture setting you use and how much you care about digital correction of vignetting. See the examples I linked to in my answer. – inkista Oct 25 '15 at 18:11

Some DX zoom lenses fill the full FX sensor at longer focal lengths. For example, my 17-55 fills the sensor on my d800e when set at 45mm to 55mm. Similarly, my Tokina 12-24 and 11-16 fill the FX sensor at their longer focal lengths.

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  • It's good to know my current lenses won't go to waste with an upgrade :) I had thought about switching to Canon, but from what I've read they're more unforgiving with backwards compatibility – johnp Oct 25 '15 at 20:42

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