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Canon APS-C vs Nikon APS-C

Starting with an analog film camera capturing photos with standard 35mm film rolls, the technology used in a camera these days is way more complicated than it used to be. Analog film cameras haven't lost their charm yet, but digital has become a different beast. Manufacturers such as Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fuji, etc are rolling out new digital cameras with exciting features in every single quarter. In this post, we will focus on a bit of background about digital camera sensors and then dive deep into cropped sensor cameras. This would involve a comparison between Nikon APS-C vs Canon APS-C cameras. 

What is an APS-C sensor format?
Ever bought a camera or lens online? There is always this term called "APS-C" mentioned in the camera catalog description or specification section. It can also be found easily in camera manuals. What is APS-C and what does it mean for a sensor? Both APS-C and APS-H are basically digital camera sensor formats evolved from APS(Advanced Photo System) film format. The APS film was introduced by multiple manufacturers in the year 1996 and had a film width of 24 mm. Being at 24 mm, the size of the APS film was 58% smaller than the standard 35mm film.
APS film basically had three print sizes on the basis of aspect ratios:
Classic (C): 3:2 aspect ratio and measurement of 25.1 mm x 16.7 mm.
High Definition (H): 16:9 aspect ratio and measurement of 30.2 mm x 16.7 mm.
Panoramic (P): 3:1 aspect ratio and measurement of 30.2 mm x 9.5 mm.
The APS-C sensors we hear about these days are approx equivalent to the size of the APS classic type. This is the reason these digital sensors are named as APS-C. APS-C sensors are also called as cropped frame sensors because they are smaller in size as compared to the full-frame camera sensors.

Canon APS-C vs Nikon APS-C
Canon APS-C camera shot

Canon APS-C vs Nikon APS-C
Coming to Nikon and Canon, both have a very similar line up of APS-C sensor cameras. In fact, both the manufacturers have a cut-throat competition with each other when it comes to capturing the digital camera market for both APS-C and full-frame cameras. One thing that can be difficult to digest between these two brands is the difference in the APS-C sensor size. Yes, both Canon and Nikon APS-C sensor cameras have a slightly different sensor dimension. An image sensor is like the soul of a digital camera, does this mean an APS-C camera from one manufacturer has an advantage over the other due to sensor size difference? Let's dive deep and see how much is the difference.

Canon APS-C: 22.2 x 14.8 mm
Nikon APS-C: 23.7 x 15.8 mm
Mathematically speaking, a 14% size difference between the two APS-C sensors. It's still an APS-C sensor, but why Canon APS-C sensor is smaller in size as compared to the Nikon APS-C  sensor? There is a bit of history involved here, I will keep it as much succinct as possible. In the year 2000, Canon came up with their first in house manufactured sensor based DSLR camera known as Canon EOS D30. Canon had already been making CCD technology based camcorders before the year 2000 which gave them a huge advantage to come up with their own sensor camera starting with D30. They stuck by their own sizing value of sensor due to a chip yield wafer issue. On the other hand, manufacturers such as Nikon, Pentax and Fuji mostly use Sony sensors that have a crop factor of 1.5x. Samsung and Toshiba also made sensors for few Fuji and Pentax cameras, but they had to abide by that sizing standard from Sony. So it is more of a battle of Canon vs Sony when it comes to sensor sizing for APS-C cameras.

Concluding the whole discussion, the minor sensor size difference between Canon APS-C and Nikon APS-C cameras makes no difference to image quality in digital photography. Yes, it will change the field of view but it's nearly negligible. When buying a DSLR camera, handling ergonomics and other features such as burst rate, focal points, etc. matter far more than a 1 mm sensor size difference. I hope this post gave you some meaningful insights into the intricacies of an APS-C sensor camera.

Share the photography love by sharing this post. :) 


  1. Thanks for the post. I am getting into photography and it was helpful!

    1. Hi Marie,
      Glad you found it useful. Happy photography!

  2. Thanks for the info! By any chance, have you written any article on guide to purchase a camera for beginners? I'd love to read that too (I'm still saving up to by the camera tho)

  3. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. Great job for publishing such a nice article. Your article isn’t only useful but it is additionally really informative. Dubai Drone Videography.


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