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Subject: "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40" Previous topic | Next topic
dward Registered since 20th Jan 2008Fri 28-Nov-08 04:13 AM
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"RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"


US
          

Hi Everybody-

I'm kind of new here so please bear with me. I have a D40 and love it a bunch. I am in the market to purchase a zoom lens, and I saw a tutorial on youtube describing the difference between a DX sensor and a FX sensor. I have to say that I am totally confused, because my DX sensor is 1.5 times smaller than a FX sensor, and the person who made the video says that you should ONLY use DX lenses with DX bodies, due to the size of the mounts on the lenses. I do not want to lose picture quality or size because the 70-300 is a FX lens (I think since it doesn't say DX on the lens). Also, if anybody knows any other lens (i.e. Tamaron, etc.) with the same zoom features that WILL work with the DX "size", I would love to hear them.

So any help on this would be great to help me understand the difference and how this will effect my photos. Thank for your time and look forward to your responses.

Sincerely- Doug Ward

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
TXBDan
28th Nov 2008
1
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
gkaiseril Gold Member
28th Nov 2008
2
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
MotoMannequin Moderator
28th Nov 2008
3
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
blw Moderator
28th Nov 2008
4
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
mikeac
28th Nov 2008
5
Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
mikeac
28th Nov 2008
6
     Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
dward
28th Nov 2008
7
          Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
derekt
14th Oct 2009
8
               Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
gkaiseril Gold Member
14th Oct 2009
9
               Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
MotoMannequin Moderator
14th Oct 2009
10
                    Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
derekt
15th Oct 2009
11
                         Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
gkaiseril Gold Member
15th Oct 2009
12
                              Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
derekt
15th Oct 2009
13
                                   Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
gkaiseril Gold Member
15th Oct 2009
14
                                   Reply message RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40
MotoMannequin Moderator
15th Oct 2009
15

TXBDan Registered since 23rd Sep 2008Fri 28-Nov-08 05:08 AM
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#1. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 0


Raleigh, US
          

Thats not true. FX lenses are fine on a DX body, but DX lenses will cause severe vignetting on FX bodies.

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Fri 28-Nov-08 05:12 AM
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#2. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 1
Fri 28-Nov-08 05:17 AM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

Unless the body is a D3 or D700 which will reduce, crop, to the AP-C sensor size and drop the pixels outside this area and record only a 5 megapixel image.

Please read your camera's manual to find out about the compatible lenses. You should find that even lenses from the Nikon F can still be used on the Nikon dSLR. Nikon is still using the "F" mount introduced with the Nikon F model so many years ago.

By used, I mean the lens can be made to work but you may need to manually focus or manually set the camera's exposure.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Fri 28-Nov-08 05:19 AM
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#3. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 0


Livermore, CA, US
          

The person on the video is wrong. So wrong, in fact, I suggest you don't watch any more of his videos. And, he has made this a lot more complicated than it really is.

DX & FX refer to the size of the sensor in the camera. The lens mounts on both cameras is the Nikon "F" mount. Not only are they compatible, they are the same. (Some higher-end cameras will include more features in the mount, but this has nothing to do with FX/DX. All Nikon F-mount cameras will mount and work with all Nikon lenses made since AI was introduced in 1977).

The DX sensor is smaller than the FX sensor. "DX" on a lens means if you use that lens on an FX (or 35mm) camera, you may get dark corners in your pictures. That's all DX means. The DX lens isn't designed to cover the entire FX frame. Not needing to cover a larger frame means the lens can be smaller, lighter, and (hopefully) cheaper.

You'll have no problems using FX lenses on your camera. In fact, because lenses are in general sharper in the center of the frame, the DX sensor is discarding the edges where image quality is lower, so you'll usually get better corner-to-corner sharpness and less light falloff when using an FX lens on DX.

In summary, DX cameras use the "sweet spot" from the center of FX lenses, so often this improves lens performance, especially with telephotos. Pictures from FX cameras may have dark or black corners when taken using a DX lens. That's to entire sum of the difference between DX and non-DX lenses.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 28-Nov-08 11:23 AM
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#4. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Moreover, you'll find that some entire (large) classes of lenses are not made in DX form, largely because there is (essentially) no benefit to doing so. For example, there are no DX super-telephotos (longer than 200mm), nor are there any DX macro lenses. All of these are FX, and they happen to not only work, but they work superbly. The reason there aren't any DX versions of these is that they would end up being more or less the same size, weight and price - but if they were then labeled as DX, they wouldn't sell with either film cameras or FX digital cameras. They'd be the same size because these lenses are dominated by the large lens tubes and front elements.

Anyway, if the 70-300 you're looking at will do what you want, have no fear in buying it.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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mikeac Registered since 19th Nov 2007Fri 28-Nov-08 01:07 PM
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#5. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 0


Seaford, GB
          

I agree with everything everyone else has said. An FX lens is designed to cover an FX sensor area (about 36mm x 24mm); using one on a DX camera will result in the sensor recording the middle 24mm x 16mm (approx) area, which is generally the best performing area of a lens (known as the 'sweet spot').

The smaller sensor on a DX camera is also the reason why a 70-300mm will give you the equivalent zoom range of a 95-450mm lens on an FX format camera.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Too many hobbies, too little time

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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mikeac Registered since 19th Nov 2007Fri 28-Nov-08 01:15 PM
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#6. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 5


Seaford, GB
          

One important thing with buying lenses - the D40, unlike the D50, doesn't have a built-in motor to drive the lens autofocus, so on earlier lenses (AF type) you can only use them in manual-focus mode with the D40. In more recent lenses the focusing-motor is built into the lens (AF-S type); only those lenses will autofocus with your D40.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Too many hobbies, too little time

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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dward Registered since 20th Jan 2008Fri 28-Nov-08 01:24 PM
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#7. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

HI Everybody-

Thank you all so much for your information. I found it very helpful and easy to understand, This helps me alot. I know now that with the 70-300 lens on my D40 I will be just fine. Thanks again for all your help !!!!

Sincerely- Doug Ward

  

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derekt Registered since 13th Oct 2009Wed 14-Oct-09 03:12 PM
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#8. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Hey guys:

While all of this makes sense and has really helped me understand as well, I do still have one question I am struggling with:

If I put a 35mm DX lens on my camera, I have been told, I will be left with a 50mm point of view because of the 1.5 factor. Is this correct? That is the only part I don't understand -- the 1.5 factor. Thanks for any assistance.

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Wed 14-Oct-09 06:19 PM
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#9. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 8
Wed 14-Oct-09 10:06 PM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

First there are no lenses with a DX focal length as there are no lenses with a 35mm film focal length. There are lenses designed to work with the DX format or smaller format, but their focal length does not change when the lens is mounted on a different format camera.

The focal length of the lenses is the lens's focal length no matter what camera the lens is placed on.

Now if I put a 35mm focal length lens on my DX camera the focal length is still 35mm. But if you want to know what focal length lens you would need to mount on a 35mm camera to obtain the equivalent image, one needs to use the conversion factor for the cropping of the FX image by 50% of the FX image, FX - (0.5 * FX), and that factor for the reversal adjustment is 1.5, 2 - the reduction factor, to obtain the equivalent lens focal length on a 35mm camera. So, one would need a 52.5mm focal length lens on a 35mm camera to obtain the same image as produced by a 35mm focal length lens on a DX body. Canon with a 40% crop of the 35mm format has a 1.6 crop factor, 2.0 - 0.40.

If you look at the EXIF meta data for the image, you will see the 'FocalLength' for a 35mm focal length lens is 35 and the 'FocalLengthIn35mmFormat' will have a value of 52.5 for the Nikon DX cameras.

Edited to add:
You might want to look at "Field of View Values for Common Focal Lengths" to see the difference in FOV for lenses mounted on a 35mm film/FX body and a DX body.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Wed 14-Oct-09 08:45 PM
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#10. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 8
Wed 14-Oct-09 08:58 PM by MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
          

Derek:

Think about it this way:

First, forget about FX/DX.

Say you've got a zoom lens that covers the range from 35-50mm. Plant your feet in a certain spot, and take a picture at 35mm. Without moving your feet, zoom to 50mm and take another picture.

Now, bring both of these pictures onto your computer. If you wanted to, you could now crop your 35mm picture, and get the same composition as you took with the 50mm. When you change to a longer focal length, you're narrowing the angle of view. The angle of view can also be narrowed by cropping.

Let's compare FX to DX. The FX sensor is 36mm wide, and the DX sensor is 24mm wide. Imagine you stand in the same spot, and take a picture using a 50mm lens on an FX and a DX camera. The DX camera, because it has a smaller sensor, provides exactly the same effect as cropping later on the computer - you'll get a narrower angle of view from the DX camera. You could crop your FX image and get the same view as you got from the DX camera. The idea that cropping the center part of an image from a larger sensor is the same as shooting the same focal length with a smaller sensor, should make logical sense. Now, remember from the previous example, how cropping the 35mm image simulated the 50mm image? In the same way, cropping the 50mm image from your FX camera, simulates a longer focal length.

Because the ratio of the sensor sizes is 36/24 (= 1.5) the focal length simulated by the crop is 50mm x 1.5 = 75mm. Therefore, you could stand on the same spot, and shoot your FX camera with a 75mm lens, and your DX camera with a 50mm lens. You'll get the same angle of view from both cameras, so the 2 pictures will have the same composition.

This will not be the exact same picture however, because the shorter focal length has the side effect of more depth of focus. For this reason, it's easier to isolate a subject against a blurred background (commonly done in portraits) with a larger sensor, and it's easier to get front-to-back sharpness (commonly done in landscapes) with a smaller sensor.

Notice that I never mentioned DX/FX lenses in the conversation, only DX/FX cameras. That's because the cropping effect is determined by the size of the sensor in the camera, not by the lens designation. DX on a lens just means the image coming out the back of the lens won't cover the FX frame. It has nothing to do with focal length.

So, a 35mm DX lens, like the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX, will have the exact same field of view as a 35mm FX lens like the AF 35mm f/2.0D, when mounted on your camera. "DX" on a lens has nothing to do with the angle of view.

The only reason to even consider the 1.5x factor, is if you're a 35mm film veteran, and you look at a scene and know instinctively, for example, you want a 90mm lens to shoot that scene. On your DX camera, you then need to do math and realize that instead you should grab a 60mm to account for the crop. If you don't have that instinct from your 35mm film days, then there is really, honestly, no point in thinking about this whatsoever! Just go out and shoot...

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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derekt Registered since 13th Oct 2009Thu 15-Oct-09 02:00 PM
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#11. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          

>Derek:
>
>Think about it this way:
>
>First, forget about FX/DX.
>
>Say you've got a zoom lens that covers the range from 35-50mm.
>Plant your feet in a certain spot, and take a picture at 35mm.
>Without moving your feet, zoom to 50mm and take another
>picture.
>
>Now, bring both of these pictures onto your computer. If you
>wanted to, you could now crop your 35mm picture, and get the
>same composition as you took with the 50mm. When you change to
>a longer focal length, you're narrowing the angle of view. The
>angle of view can also be narrowed by cropping.
>
>Let's compare FX to DX. The FX sensor is 36mm wide, and the DX
>sensor is 24mm wide. Imagine you stand in the same spot, and
>take a picture using a 50mm lens on an FX and a DX camera. The
>DX camera, because it has a smaller sensor, provides exactly
>the same effect as cropping later on the computer - you'll get
>a narrower angle of view from the DX camera. You could crop
>your FX image and get the same view as you got from the DX
>camera. The idea that cropping the center part of an image
>from a larger sensor is the same as shooting the same focal
>length with a smaller sensor, should make logical sense. Now,
>remember from the previous example, how cropping the 35mm
>image simulated the 50mm image? In the same way, cropping the
>50mm image from your FX camera, simulates a longer focal
>length.
>
>Because the ratio of the sensor sizes is 36/24 (= 1.5) the
>focal length simulated by the crop is 50mm x 1.5 = 75mm.
>Therefore, you could stand on the same spot, and shoot your FX
>camera with a 75mm lens, and your DX camera with a 50mm lens.
>You'll get the same angle of view from both cameras, so the 2
>pictures will have the same composition.
>
>This will not be the exact same picture however, because the
>shorter focal length has the side effect of more depth of
>focus. For this reason, it's easier to isolate a subject
>against a blurred background (commonly done in portraits) with
>a larger sensor, and it's easier to get front-to-back
>sharpness (commonly done in landscapes) with a smaller
>sensor.
>
>Notice that I never mentioned DX/FX lenses in the
>conversation, only DX/FX cameras. That's because the cropping
>effect is determined by the size of the sensor in the camera,
>not by the lens designation. DX on a lens just means the image
>coming out the back of the lens won't cover the FX frame. It
>has nothing to do with focal length.
>
>So, a 35mm DX lens, like the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX, will have
>the exact same field of view as a 35mm FX lens like the AF
>35mm f/2.0D, when mounted on your camera. "DX" on a
>lens has nothing to do with the angle of view.
>
>The only reason to even consider the 1.5x factor, is if you're
>a 35mm film veteran, and you look at a scene and know
>instinctively, for example, you want a 90mm lens to shoot that
>scene. On your DX camera, you then need to do math and realize
>that instead you should grab a 60mm to account for the crop.
>If you don't have that instinct from your 35mm film days, then
>there is really, honestly, no point in thinking about this
>whatsoever! Just go out and shoot...
>
>Larry - a Bay Area
>Nikonian

>My
>Nikonians gallery>

>
www.tempered-light.com

I have to be honest, I totally understood all you were saying until the end. I understand that a 35mm on a DX sensor will give the same field of view as a 50mm on an FX camera. But what I still do not understand is what you were saying about there being no difference whether you put a DX or FX on a Dx camera. Why make two different types then? So what would be the point in buying an DX lens vs a FX lens for my D60?

Thanks again for your help thus far.

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Thu 15-Oct-09 02:48 PM
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#12. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 11
Thu 15-Oct-09 02:53 PM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

The DX lens has smaller lens elements and a smaller exit pupil so the DX type lens only projects an image a little larger than the size of the DX recording media. The full size 35mm lens projects an image circle large enough to cover the 35mm media size and the DX size in the center of the image.

The lenses for the 35mm cameras, some now call FX lenses, have been made for more than 50 years stating with the Nikon F camera and up to the new D3s. With the introduction of the D1 Nikon used the Nikon F mount so the existing lens stock in use could be used with the then new digital D1. It is to Nikon's credit that they have keep the 35mm media size lenses in production and available to their SLR and dSLR lines of cameras.

Nikon made a decision to introduce a new lens that would produce an image circle to fit only the DX sensor. This lens is smaller, uses less material, and is less expensive to manufacturer. This has allowed Nikon to build not only less expensive entry level dSLRs but also less expensive lenses for the entering photographers. Being able to use the 35mm lens on a DX body allowed those with older lenses to continue to use those lenses and some of those lenses that were mediocre on a 35mm film body became top performing lenses on the DX body, like the 50mm f1.8.

By using the Nikon F mount for both type of lenses and keeping the lens camera body interface standard, Nikon has allowed both types of lenses to be used interchangeable, but putting a DX lens on 35mm film body or FX dSLR can produce an undesirable image.

Since the 35mm sized lenses were first in production, maybe you should consider why did Nikon start to build the DX lens line?

Nikon has built a 1/2 frame 35mm film camera, special order, and Nikon did not make special lenses for that camera.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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derekt Registered since 13th Oct 2009Thu 15-Oct-09 03:12 PM
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#13. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

>The DX lens has smaller lens elements and a smaller exit
>pupil so the DX type lens only projects an image a little
>larger than the size of the DX recording media. The full size
>35mm lens projects an image circle large enough to cover the
>35mm media size and the DX size in the center of the image.
>
>The lenses for the 35mm cameras, some now call FX lenses, have
>been made for more than 50 years stating with the Nikon F
>camera and up to the new D3s. With the introduction of the D1
>Nikon used the Nikon F mount so the existing lens stock in use
>could be used with the then new digital D1. It is to Nikon's
>credit that they have keep the 35mm media size lenses in
>production and available to their SLR and dSLR lines of
>cameras.
>
>Nikon made a decision to introduce a new lens that would
>produce an image circle to fit only the DX sensor. This lens
>is smaller, uses less material, and is less expensive to
>manufacturer. This has allowed Nikon to build not only less
>expensive entry level dSLRs but also less expensive lenses for
>the entering photographers. Being able to use the 35mm lens on
>a DX body allowed those with older lenses to continue to use
>those lenses and some of those lenses that were mediocre on a
>35mm film body became top performing lenses on the DX body,
>like the 50mm f1.8.
>
>By using the Nikon F mount for both type of lenses and keeping
>the lens camera body interface standard, Nikon has allowed
>both types of lenses to be used interchangeable, but putting a
>DX lens on 35mm film body or FX dSLR can produce an
>undesirable image.
>
>Since the 35mm sized lenses were first in production, maybe
>you should consider why did Nikon start to build the DX lens
>line?
>
>Nikon has built a 1/2 frame 35mm film camera, special order,
>and Nikon did not make special lenses for that camera.

So basically putting a FX or DX on my DX body won't make a real difference at all. The DX lens is just cheaper for entry level photographers?

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Thu 15-Oct-09 03:20 PM
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#14. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 13
Thu 15-Oct-09 03:24 PM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

Yes, you can put the 35mm sized lenses on your DX body. The lenses will work within in the limitations of the lens and camera body. Note the D40 has not internal focusing motor, so many lenses that rely on the camera body's motor for focusing will not auto focus.

If you were to compare the images captured by a 35mm film body or FX dSLR in the FX mode will appear different than the image captured by a DX body or DX crop with the same lens because of the media size crop. The image from the 35mm film body or FX body when cropped to the DX size and location will be the same.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Thu 15-Oct-09 04:48 PM
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#15. "RE: Difference between FX and DX Lenses on my D40"
In response to Reply # 13


Livermore, CA, US
          

Derek,

You basically got it - the advantage of DX is the lenses are smaller, lighter, and (in theory) cheaper. The advantage of using FX lenses on your DX camera, is you'll only be using only the center area of the image, which is where the highest quality is.

The 70-200 f/2.8 VR is an FX lens that was released in the DX era, and nobody realized it had poor corners until the FX cameras were released, causing Nikon to redesign the lens. The DX cameras cropped out those corners, resulting in a very high quality image.

Go to the B+H website, and compare size and weight, for example the FX 24-120mm VR versus the DX 18-200mm VR. Both these lenses are nearly identical size and weight, but the DX lens is an 11x zoom compared to the FX zoom which is 5x. The 18-200 is both wider at the wide end, and longer at the telephoto end.

Now compare the FX 24-120 VR to the DX 16-85 VR. Do the math you'll see the 16-85 is the DX shooter's equivalent to the FX 24-120, but it's remarkably tiny and light.

Forget comparing on price, remember I said that part is just a theory

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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