FX vs DX – Nikon D5100 (DX) vs D700 (FX) vs D800 (FX)

Some notes used to compare the 2 cameras FX vs DX: (mostly compare on sharpness)

Sensor pixel size: The sensor with smaller pixels will produce lower quality images than the sensor with larger pixels (???) (Source):

Image processor: A good camera should have a good balance of pixel size and pixel density, sensor size and image processing pipeline (software).

Auto-Focus Points: The Nikon D5100 uses the same 11 Focus Point AF System (1 cross-type sensor) found on the Nikon D90. While it is not as robust as the 39 Focus Point AF on the D7000 (9 cross-type sensors), it is plenty enough for a camera of this class.

– The metering sensor: D5100 has 420-pixel RGB sensor. Nasim said: I personally prefer the 420-pixel RGB sensor on the D5100 to the new 2,016-pixel RGB sensor on the D7000. As I have pointed out in my Nikon D7000 Review, the metering sensor on the D7000 can be tricky to work with, especially when photographing people. Center-weighted and Spot metering modes work as expected with standard, pre-defined settings, so there is no way to change the size of the center-weighted circle like you can do on more advanced DSLRs.

Nikon D5100 vs. D700 vs. D800 Specification Comparison: 

Camera Feature


Nikon D700

Nikon D800

Year of Introduction




Sensor Resolution

16.1 M

12.1 MP

36.3 Million

Sensor Type




Sensor Size




Sensor Pixel Size

22.9 µm2

8.45µ (71.4 µm2) ???

4.8µ (23.8 µm2) ???

Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning




Image Size

4,928 x 3,264

4,256 x 2,832

7,360 x 4,912

Image Processor




Viewfinder Type




Viewfinder Coverage

95% (0.51x)


100% (0.72x)

Built-in Flash

Yes, without flash commander mode

Yes, with flash commander mode

Yes, with flash commander mode

Storage Media

1 x SD

1x Compact Flash

1x Compact Flash and 1x SD

Continuous Shooting Speed


5 FPS, 8 FPS with MB-D10 battery grip

4 FPS, 6 FPS in DX mode with MB-D12 battery grip

Max Shutter Speed

1/4000 to  30 sec

1/8000 to 30 sec

1/8000 to 30 sec

Flash Sync Speed

1/200 sec

1/250 sec

1/250 sec

Shutter Durability

100,000 cycles

150,000 cycles

200,000 cycles

Exposure Metering Sensor

420-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II

1,005-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II

91,000-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering III

Base ISO

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 100

Native ISO Sensitivity

ISO 100 to 6400

ISO 200-6,400

ISO 100-6,400

Boosted ISO Sensitivity

ISO 12,800-25,600

ISO 100, ISO 12,800-25,600

ISO 50, ISO 12,800-25,600

Sizably lower noise at high ISO

1183 ISO

2303 ISO

2853 ISO

Dynamic range

13.6 EV

12.2 EV

14.4 EV

Color depth

23.5 bits

25.3 bits

Autofocus System

Multi-CAM 1000

Multi-CAM 3500FX

Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX

AF Detection

Up to f/5.6

Up to f/5.6

Up to f/8

Camera Lag

0.012 seconds

0.012 seconds

Video Capability



Video Output

MOV, Compressed


MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed

Video Maximum Record Time

20 min in 24p, 30 min in 30p


20 min in 24p, 30 min in 30p

Video Maximum Resolution

1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 30p


1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 30p

Audio Recording

Built-in microphone


Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)

LCD Size

3.0 (flip out)

3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD

3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD

LCD Resolution

920,000 dots

921,000 dots

921,000 dots

HDR Support




Built-in GPS




Wi-Fi Functionality

Eye-Fi Compatible

Eye-Fi Compatible, WT-4A

Eye-Fi Compatible, WT-4A





Battery Life

1,000 shots (CIPA)

850 shots (CIPA)

Battery Charger

MH-24 Charger

MH-18a Quick Charger

MH-25 Quick Charger

Weather Sealed Body




USB Version




Weight (Body Only)


35 oz. (995g)

31.7 oz. (900g)


128 x 97 x 79mm

147 x 123 x 77mm

144.78 x 121.92 x 81.28mm

MSRP Price




Read more at:

– Benefits of a High Resolution Sensor: http://photographylife.com/the-benefits-of-a-high-resolution-sensor

– Nikon DX vs FX: http://photographylife.com/nikon-dx-vs-fx

– The Full-Frame Advantage: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/full-frame-advantage.htm

– How to take sharp photos: http://photographylife.com/how-to-take-sharp-photos

– DX versus FX (Again): http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/april-2013-nikon-newsviews/dx-versus-fx-again.html


When sensors made it to 10 MP, there started to be too many pixels in too small a space for optimal quality. 10 MP cameras like the D200 were very demanding of lens performance, and because each pixel was so small, collected less light and thus had less sensitivity, which lead to more noise when pushed to same ISO as a larger sensor, or the same sized sensor with fewer pixels.As resolution increased, Canon started making a practical 11MP FX format digital SLR in 2002, while Nikon still tried to cram too many pixels into a DX sensor. At 11 MP on a DX sensor, noise is starting to climb enough to be visible even at normal ISOs. Nikon’s 12 MP DX D300 often has obvious noise when ADR is engaged, even at ISO 200.

Having bigger pixels on a larger format means you can use cheaper lenses and usually get better results than the best lenses on a smaller format.

Bigger pixels collect more light (photons). More photons means more clean image compared to the relatively constant amount of electrons making noise.

It seems crazy, but larger formats really do see more and smoother colors than smaller formats.

There are no ultra-ultrawide lenses for small format DSLRs. The widest you can get on Nikon DX is a 12mm, which is similar to a 19mm on FX format.

If you worry about unimportant minutiae like sharpness, resolution and noise, please don’t waste any more time with small format DSLRs. Step up to at least a full frame or FX DSLR. There will be no more whining accepted about performance of piddly-format cameras anymore.

 Read more: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/fx-dx-future.htm

When you see a digital camera with 12 megapixels, it literally means that the camera sensor contains 12 million tiny pixels for the sole purpose of gathering light. Think of those pixels as buckets that attract light particles – the larger the bucket, the more light particles it can store in a given amount of time. These buckets are known as “photosites” and their size plays a huge role in sensor sensitivity and ability to accurately gather light in various lighting conditions. Bigger buckets are always better than smaller ones, because more light particles can be stored in those, without getting over-filled. The information about light particles is then passed on to the camera processor, which assembles a digital image starting from the first pixel all the way to the last. And all of this happens in a matter of milliseconds!

Advantages of FX (abstract):

  • Scalability – due to the large size of the sensor, FX format allows two different configurations: one with lots of resolution (Nikon D3x) and one with better sensitivity and speed (Nikon D3s) for different needs. For example, landscape and fashion photographers need large print sizes and would therefore want more resolution, while wildlife and sports photographers need the speed and low amounts of noise in dim environments.
  • Higher sensitivity and lower noise – as I have pointed out above, pixel size plays a significant role in sensitivity levels of the camera, along with controlling noise levels at high ISOs. For example, Nikon D700 (FX) has a similar number of pixels as Nikon D90/D300s (DX) and yet the pixels on the D700 are much bigger in size than on D90/D300s. So, if you were to compare ISO 800 on these cameras, the Nikon D700 image would look much cleaner compared to Nikon D90/D300s.
  • Large dynamic range – again, bigger pixel size allows collecting more light particles, which results in larger dynamic range when compared to DX.

Read more: http://photographylife.com/nikon-dx-vs-fx#ixzz2s8EA7ke3

So the first of the marketing messages is this: all else equal, FX probably gives you another stop of high ISO capability over DX. By that I mean that–assuming everything has been managed perfectly equal, which isn’t always the case–when we make a 24″ print from a DX body at ISO 3200 we should probably get visibly indistinguishable results from an FX body at ISO 6400. This also ties into one of my sub-themes lately: we have fast FX lenses, but we don’t have fast DX lenses, so the differences tend to be actually higher in practice because we have FX folk shooting ISO 6400 at f/1.4 and DX folk shooting ISO 3200 at f/2.8 or higher. Still, the marketing message regarding the body is the same: FX is a better choice for very low light work, while the DX system should hold its own against FX in almost any other amount of lighting.

Here’s the second marketing message: if you’re buying solely for pixel count, you need better lenses and shot discipline with DX to deliver the same optimal pixel data that you would get with FX.

Read more: http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/april-2013-nikon-newsviews/dx-versus-fx-again.html

Shallower Depth of Field on FX

Shallow depth of field is simply how blurry a background is compared to the subject in focus. Creamy, blurred backgrounds are a trend that continues to flourish in photography today. These blurred backgrounds are often achieved by increasing the focal length of the lens, getting closer to the subject, increasing the distance between the subject and the background, and widening the aperature (limited to the lens). FX cameras allow for longer focal lengths on lenses to capture the same Field of View as a DX camera. In addition, FX cameras can allow a photographer to get closer to his or her subject while keeping everything within the frame, unlike a DX camera, which always requires the photographer to be farther away due to the crop factor. Hence, FX cameras can achieve much shallower depth of field than DX cameras if everything else is equal.