Cropped Lenses on Full Frame Cameras

There are a lot of rules in photography that we just follow. Yes, they are based on some technical merit, but maybe we're overlooking creative possibilities by blindly adhering to them. For example, the notion that one should never use a cropped lens on a full frame camera. Have you looked in to this for your brand?

9501_03-TFP124-whole-foods.jpg "Shopping Day" - Pentax DA 20-40mm zoom at 20mm on a Pentax Program Plus body, Fuji Superia 400 film. Photo by Derrick Story.

I have this lens that I just absolutely love - the Pentax DA 20-40mm zoom. It's my go-to optic for my Pentax KP DSLR with a cropped sensor.


I also do a lot of film work with Pentax SLRs. Why can't I use some of my favorite DA optics for those cameras as well? Why should I have to pay big bucks to get a full frame 20mm optic when I already have one? I did some checking online and learned that it won't damage my cameras or my optics. (Canon shooters, I don't think you can do this: EF vs EF-S. Do your research.)

So I mounted the Pentax DA 20-40mm zoom on my film SLRs and started shooting. And the results are terrific.

The only downside, as you already know, is some vignetting. It's more pronounced in some pictures than others, depending on focal length, aperture, and lighting. There are times when I actually like the effect, and others where I have to downplay it in software. In the case of the "Shopping Day" photo, I like it.

The bottom line is, now I have my entire lens arsenal available for all of my cameras. And depending on the brand you shoot, you too may have more options than you realize.

But please: Do your research first (I did). Not all brands have the same lens compatibility that Pentax does. Be sure that you are not going to damage your equipment. Safety first, right? But if there isn't a physical reason why you shouldn't put a cropped lens on a full frame body, then why not experiment?

If you have any experiences with your brand that you'd like to share, please post a comment on our TDS Facebook page where I'll have this story.