These 32 Nikon cameras are Sonys in disguise

Nikon SonyThese 32 Nikon cameras are Sonys in disguise

Is your Nikon actually a Sony in disguise? Over 30 Nikon DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have a Sony image sensor at the heart of them – which may come as a surprise to diehard fans and Reddit posters. 

Among the 32 bodies that employ Sony sensors are some of the best Nikon cameras, including cutting-edge mirrorless models like the Nikon Z7 II, full-frame powerhouses like the Nikon D850, and popular APS-C DSLRs like the Nikon D500.  

Sony is, of course, the largest producer of image sensors in the world, and Nikon isn't alone in using them in its products – everything from iPhones to Fujifilm cameras employ Sony sensors. The only other camera manufacturer that produces and uses its own image sensors is Canon

So, which Nikon cameras use Sony sensors? The following list, maintained by Nikon Rumors, isn't exhaustive; it doesn't include non-interchangeable lens cameras, and information isn't publicly available for all cameras. However, it gives a good indication of just how significant Sony's presence is in its rivals' products:

Nikon Z7: Sony IMX309BQJ
Nikon Z7 II: Sony IMX309BQJ
Nikon D1: 2.7 MP Sony
Nikon D1h: 2.7 MP Sony
Nikon D1x: 5.47 MP Sony
Nikon D2x: 12 MP CMOS Sony (Nikon designed)
Nikon D3x: 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5: Sony
Nikon D40: 6 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D40x: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D50: 6 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D60: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D70: 6 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D80: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D90: 12 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D100: 6 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D200: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D300: 12 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D500: Sony IMX321 CMOS
Nikon D600: 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D610: 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D750: 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D800 / D800E: 36 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D810 / D810A: 36 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D850: 45MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D7000: 16 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D3000: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D3300: 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5000: 12 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5100: 16 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5300: 24 MP CMOS Sony (?)
Nikon D5500: 24 MP CMOS Sony

So, has Nikon ever designed its own image sensors? It sure has; Nikon D3100, Nikon D3200, Nikon D700, Nikon Df, Nikon D2h, Nikon D3 / D3s and Nikon D4 / D4s all have sensors from the Big N – though Nikon Rumors notes that some of the Nikon-designed sensors are actually made by Renesas.

Further, the Nikon D7100, Nikon D7200 and Nikon D5200 all have sensors made by  Toshiba, and the sensors in the Nikon 1 cameras were made by Aptina.

Obviously, there's far more to a camera than just who makes the image sensor. Everything from the the image processor and lens mount to the menu design and ergonomics make every camera unique. Still, it's interesting to see just how far reaching Sony's tentacles are when it comes to the most fundamental part of a camera system!

Read more: 

Nikon Z7 II review
Nikon Z7 II vs Z7
Nikon Z7 review
Nikon D850 review
Nikon D500 review

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.