This question on meta proposes using generic equivalents of vendor-specific names, which seems like a good plan. A specific subquestion is for Nikon-speak dx and fx. Ideas? So far I've seen the below.

DX (APS-C size sensor)

  • cropped-sensor (smaller P&S sensors are also cropped)
  • aps-c-sensor

FX (35mm-size sensor)

  • full-frame (medium format sensors are bigger, so isn't "full" misleading?)
  • 35mm-sensor (implies 35mm film?)

Critically, we must use terms that are intelligible to people who aren't familiar with the community, to enable effective searching.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This seems conflates two separate issues: sensor crop factor (1x, 1.3x, 1.5x, 1.6x, 2x) and physical lens mount (DX/FX, EF/EF-S, etc). I'm afraid I don't have a good tagging suggestion that would be helpful for both the pedants like me and normal people with more important things to worry about, other than just noting that the concepts seem orthogonal to me. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – esm
    Jul 19, 2010 at 19:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, in Nikon-speak, DX and FX refer to the sensor size only; both use the F-mount. I think - I could be wrong of course. Don't know about Canon myself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reid
    Jul 19, 2010 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Canon has three main sensor sizes, APS-C (most common, and most support the EF-S mount), APS-H (1D only) and full frame (5D/1Ds) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 19, 2010 at 20:15

4 Answers 4


I believe tagging by brand names where there's a conflict between naming from different manufacturers is not a good idea. It can only lead to flame wars.

I think [full-vs-cropped], [full-frame] and [cropped-sensor] would be much better options than [fx], [dx] and [dx-vs-fx].

  • \$\begingroup\$ Right - that's the point of the question. What should the generic alternatives be? \$\endgroup\$
    – Reid
    Jul 21, 2010 at 1:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm happy with the tags in my answer. (They all come from existing questions, I haven't invented them.) \$\endgroup\$
    – gabr
    Jul 21, 2010 at 7:26

I think [full-frame] and [cropped-sensor] are the way to go.

I don't think that there will be much confusion with medium-format, since "Full Frame" is already an industry standard jargon for 35mm film equivalent.


I created the [full-frame] and [cropped-sensor] as described in this question. Both are widely used online and (at least in British) magazines and publications. Full frame is generally accepted to be 35mm equivalent, and I guess that many issues to do with the fact that a given D-SLR has a cropped-sensor will also apply to P&S cameras too. If it is D-SLR specific, then I would hope the question was also tagged [dslr] as well.

Certainly for Canon I feel it's important to seperate whether a question is to do with lens mounts or sensor size. Tagging with [ef-s] could relate to either, and also keeps Nikon users from the advice passed on, and we could end up with near-duplicates, with only the specific brands mentioned varying.


I do not think you can fully replace DX and FX with general brand neutral terms. The problem is the each manufacture uses different crop sizes eg:


  • FX - full frame
  • DX - 1.5 crop


  • FF? - full frame (1Ds, 5D bodies)
  • APS-H - 1.3 crop (1D bodies)
  • APS-C - 1.6 crop

Olympus, Panasonic

  • 4/3, u4/3 - 2x crop


  • ? - 1.3 crop on M8
  • ? - full frame on M9


  • ? - full frame
  • ? - 1.5 crop

Pentax, Samsung

  • ? - 1.5?


  • ? - 1.7

In general the tags suggested by gabr would work fine, but sometimes you would need to be more specific e.g. when comparing canon APS-C TO APS-H or APS-C crop to 4/3

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think with all of these tags there's going to be edge-cases where you need to be specific, be it about a manufacturers implentation of stabilization or a specific flash, and so there other tags will get used, I just think we need to decide on the normal or most common tags. \$\endgroup\$
    – Edd
    Jul 27, 2010 at 13:43

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