Skip to main content

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 (opens in new tab), including cutting-edge mirrorless models like the Nikon Z7 II (opens in new tab), full-frame powerhouses like the Nikon D850 (opens in new tab), and popular APS-C DSLRs like the Nikon D500 (opens in new tab).  

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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab): 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 (opens in new tab): 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 (opens in new tab): 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D800 / D800E: 36 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D810 (opens in new tab) / D810A: 36 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D850: 45MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D7000: 16 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D3000: 10 MP CCD Sony
Nikon D3300 (opens in new tab): 24 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5000: 12 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5100: 16 MP CMOS Sony
Nikon D5300 (opens in new tab): 24 MP CMOS Sony (?)
Nikon D5500 (opens in new tab): 24 MP CMOS Sony

So, has Nikon ever designed its own image sensors? It sure has; Nikon D3100 (opens in new tab), Nikon D3200 (opens in new tab), 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
(opens in new tab)
Nikon Z7 II vs Z7
Nikon Z7 review
(opens in new tab)
Nikon D850 review
(opens in new tab)
Nikon D500 review (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web 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 as diverse as 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, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). 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.