You can use a Nikon FX camera lens on a DX camera body, but you won’t be able to utilize the full quality of the lens. This is because FX lenses are designed for a larger sensor, resulting in the “crop factor” effect when used with a crop sensor camera body.
My name is Caleb, and I have more than five years of experience as a photographer. My specialty is sports photography, and I’ve shot several leagues and sports over the years, from the college to semi-pro levels.
In this article, I’ll explain using an FX lens on a DX camera and whether it’s worth doing. If you have a Nikon DX camera and you’re wondering how an FX lens might work for you, keep reading for a full explanation.
Can I Use an FX Lens on a DX Camera?
Yes, FX lenses are compatible with DX camera bodies. That said, they still have some essential differences that impact your results when pairing the two.
FX is Nikon’s full-frame format, while DX is their crop sensor format. This means the FX cameras have a larger sensor, and FX lenses are designed to be compatible with this.
So while you can use an FX lens with a DX camera, the smaller sensor won’t be able to take full advantage of the larger lens. The edges of the frame will be cut out to compensate for this, resulting in a more zoomed in picture. This is known as the crop factor.
Pros and Cons
There’s no right or wrong in matching full-frame lenses with crop sensor bodies. Whether it’s a good idea depends on your needs as a photographer, as there are both pros and cons to doing this.
Lens quality is the main reason to use an FX lens with a DX camera body. The highest quality lenses are generally made for full-frame cameras, and some photography tasks practically require a full-frame lens to find success.
For example, action photography typically requires lenses with a very wide maximum aperture. Lenses like these are usually for full-frame cameras, and Nikon’s FX lenses are no exception.
While I recommend using FX lenses with FX camera bodies, using one with a DX camera can be a good option if an expensive full-frame camera is out of your price range.
The primary con of using any full-frame lens with a crop sensor body is the crop factor. While this isn’t a big negative to every photographer, it does make it a lot more challenging to shoot wide angles.
For some types of photography, this is a big deal. Landscape photography is one example, as it often involves taking wide shots that show off a sprawling environment. However, it might not matter as much to others who are more interested in taking zoomed-in pictures.
The other main downside of using an FX lens is the higher price. Because full-frame lenses tend to be of higher quality and are made from more durable materials, they also cost more. You might be wasting your money if you get one without needing it.
These are frequently asked questions about FX lenses and DX cameras.
Are FX Lenses Better Than DX?
Yes. Full-frame cameras provide higher quality than their crop sensor counterparts, which also applies to lenses. FX lenses offer better image and build quality, while DX lenses are more affordable and lightweight.
Can I Use Z Lenses on a DX Camera?
No, the mounts aren’t designed to be compatible. Furthermore, the Z mount is used for Nikon’s mirrorless cameras, while the DX mount is for DSLRs. These two systems are fundamentally different from a mechanical perspective.
Why Are DX Lenses Cheaper?
DX lenses are cheaper because their FX counterparts offer better performance and materials. They’re also cheaper to manufacture since they’re lighter and designed around a smaller sensor.
You can use FX lenses with a DX camera and even achieve remarkable results this way, but not entirely without consequences. You’ll have to put up with the crop factor and pay a higher cost for a lens you can’t fully utilize.
What do you think? Is it worth it to use an FX lens with a DX camera? Let us know what you think in the comments!