Nikon vs Canon 3″ LCD Monitor Resolution Controversy

There have been a lot of controversy and heated debate recently on the 3″ LCD monitors on the new DSLR from both Canon and Nikon. Nikon quoted a resolution of 922,000 pixels on their new D300 and D3 and Canon quoted a resolution of 230,000 pixels for their new 40D and 1Ds Mark III.

Some people noted that Nikon’s 3″ LCD display has a VGA resolution of 640 x 480. If you do the maths, that is equal to 307,200 pixels. So how did Nikon come up with a figure of 922,000 pixels. To put it simply, each pixel is made up of 3 individual red, green and blue color pixels, so if you multiply 307,200 by 3, then you would get roughly 922,000 pixels. [1]

Then suddenly, some of these people began to claim that Nikon’s 3″ LCD only has a 15% more pixels than Canon’s  230,000 pixels 3″ LCD, that somehow, Nikon was deceiving the public by quoting a higher resolution by multiplying the pixels by 3 and Canon was not doing that. [2]

Well, actually, Canon was doing exactly he same thing as Nikon. Canon’s 3″ LCD has a resolution of 320 x 240, which is equal to 76,800. If you multiply that by 3 (color pixels), then you would get a figure of 230,400 pixels.

For large LCD computer or TV displays, resolution is always quoted “horizontal no. of pixels” x “vertical no. of pixels”, for example 640 x 480, 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 1024 etc. However, for LCD monitors on digital cameras, manufacturers quote the total number of pixels (including all the color pixels). That’s where the confusion comes from.

Whichever way you look at it, Nikon’s 3″ LCD still has 4 times the pixel resolution of  Canon’s 3″ LCD (922,000 vs 230,000 or 307,000 vs 76,800).

[1] straightly speaking Nikon’s 3″ LCD has a stripe array layout with a resolution of 1920 x 480

[2] straightly speaking Canon’s 3″ LCD has a delta array layout with a resolution of 960 x 240

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6 thoughts on “Nikon vs Canon 3″ LCD Monitor Resolution Controversy

  1. The real big deal besides the 3″ LCD at 920 000 pixels and an amazing picture it is, I saw the D300 for the 1st time today. I think that the fact that finally you can plug your High Def monitor into your DSLR at high rez is really very cool. No more crappy NTSC and Pal blurry pics on your TV.

  2. I can see your buttons popping off of your shirt now.
    Feeling pretty good about reporting this one I’ll bet.
    Go Nikon
    Boo Canon

  3. Oh come on Jim, this article was written over a year old and was intended to explained the confusion in describing LCD resolution. And it was a fact the Nikon’s 3″ LCD in 2007 had higher resolution than Canon’s 3″ LCD.

    But that was in 2007, it is Oct 2008 now and we all know Canon have caught up with the competition and now has 3″ LCD with on the 50D and 5D Mark II with same resolution as those on Nikon & Sony.

    This article written over a year ago was in no way trying to bash Canon.

    Stop being such a fanboy, Jim!

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