Those eagerly awaiting the upcoming release of Pentax's new full-frame DSLR will be pleased to know that the company recently updated the teaser page for the camera, introducing an intriguing feature that will make current users of their DSLRs very happy.
Using crop lenses on a full-frame DSLR is hit or miss, depending on the manufacturer. Nikon allows the use of DX lenses on their FX cameras, but the camera automatically selects a crop mode, essentially making itself a DX camera while that lens is attached. On the other hand, Canon recommends against using EF-S lenses on EF cameras, as the back of lens protrudes farther into the camera and may actually strike and damage the mirror.
Pentax has opted to take a third route. Drawing upon their already rich K-mount lens library, the new camera will allow APS-C DA and DA L-series lenses to be used, as well as full-frame D FA and FA-series lenses. It will have three options to handle these situations: AUTO, FF, and APS-C. In AUTO, the camera automatically selects whether to crop the image or not, depending on the lens mounted. In FF, the camera records an image using the entire 36mm by 24mm sensor, no matter what lens is attached, with the caveat that "an image outside the APS-C-format picture frame may not be reproduced in sufficient quality with certain lenses and/or in certain situations." Finally, in APS-C, the camera records a cropped image, even if a full-frame lens is attached, with the caveat that "the number of recorded pixels is lower, as the pixels in the cropped areas are eliminated." A cropping frame will also be shown in the viewfinder.
The inclusion of this mode is exciting, as it allows early adopters of the camera to immediately take advantage of Pentax's full K-mount lens library. It's also indicative of the fact that the camera will likely have at least a modest resolution by full-frame standards to allow the crop mode to still produce workable images. Wildlife and sports photographers will surely appreciate this capability, as will anyone else who might be able to use the extra reach. Although Pentax has not yet given a formal release date, the teaser page indicates "Spring 2016."