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10 of the Best Wide Angle Lens for Landscape Photography

There’s a reason that wide-angles are the go-to lens of choice for most landscape photographers.

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With their ability to get the bigger picture –wide-angles are perfect for capturing sweeping landscapes, adding depth and dimension to an image, and drawing the viewer into the scene. Wide-angles certainly offer a number of benefits for landscape photographers –compositions that include plenty of interesting foreground and beautiful, open vistas are areas where wide-angles really have a chance to shine.

But with so many lenses available to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one you should get for your camera. On the one hand, you want something that will work well, allowing you to capture those wide-angle shots with minimal distortion.  However, budget is often an important consideration as well.

With this in mind, let’s cut through some of the noise and jargon, and look at some of the top wide-angle lenses that are available today for landscape photographers. If you’re in the market for a lens, this selection will help you to narrow your focus, so to speak, and find a piece of glass that’s perfect for you!

What’s a Wide-Angle Lens?

We all know that wide angles are great for capturing extensive views, helping you to “fit more in.” More than just allowing you to go wider, though, wide-angles can also help to emphasize the sense of distance and space into the scene itself, helping to add a sense of depth and dimension to your images.

But what, exactly, constitutes a wide-angle lens? Which focal lengths are considered to be wide?

The answer is: it depends! For landscape photography, though, wide angles usually refer to anything up to about 35mm on a full frame camera, and 25mm on an APS-C, or crop-sensor camera. Be careful though! Anything lower than 14mm and you’ll start to get a fisheye effect, with serious distortion at the edges. The best range of true wide-angle photography for landscapes is usually around 14mm to 24mm.

The type of camera that you’re using will also impact your choice of lens, as well as the resulting images. While crop-sensors (APS-C) will usually result in a more zoomed-in look, cameras with full-frame sensors will usually allow you to go wider. You’ll also want to ensure that you purchase a lens that’s compatible with your camera’s sensor size –and, of course, one that’s made for your specific camera model itself.

Here’s a look at some of the top wide-angle landscape lenses available today:

1. CANON EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Compatible With: Canon full-frame and APS-C DSLRs

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The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 is a great wide-ranging focal length zoom. Ideal for full-frame or APS-C cameras, this lens is an extremely versatile and powerful workhouse. It covers a great range of different focal lengths, offers image stabilization for low-light conditions, and is an overall extremely well-built lens.

This lens also offers great value; having the fixed aperture of f/4 has helped to keep the price down. A more expensive option with the same focal length range is the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II; another wide-angle zoom that’s a full stop faster.

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2. CANON EF 24-105mm f/4 IS II USM

Compatible With: Canon Full-Frame and APS-C DSLRs

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The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS II USM is another wide-range focal length zoom. This lens is easy to use, and covers an extensive range of focal lengths from the 24mm wide-angle to the 105mm portrait-length telephoto. This lens also features image stabilization technology and offers excellent picture quality.

With a fixed aperture of f/4, like the CANON EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM, it also represents great value. Of course, with the 24mm minimum focal length, this lens may not be as wide enough for photographers who are looking to capture ultra-wide landscape images.

3. Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra-Wide Angle Fixed Lens

Compatible With: Canon Full-Frame DSLRs

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Looking for an ultra wide-angle lens? The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra-Wide Angle Fixed Lens is a prime lens that’s designed for full-frame DSLRs. At 14mm, it’s firmly in ultra-wide territory. This lens features a rectilinear design, which means minimal distortion and superior image quality.

4. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

Compatible With: Full-Frame and APS-C DSLRs

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This zoom lens offers tremendous flexibility, and goes from a 24mm wide-angle to telephoto lengths when fully zoomed. While ideal for full-frame DSLRs, it can also be used on APS-C models, although use on crop-sensor cameras will result in an effective field of view of 36-105mm –no longer in wide-angle territory. A real workhorse, this lens is a good investment if you’re looking for a capable and versatile lens.

This lens includes a number of features including images stabilization, an electromagnetic aperture, for consistent aperture during bursts, and a lens coating to reduce flare. Unfortunately, though, it has a price-tag to match. And with the 24mm minimum focal length, it may not be wide enough for photographers who are looking for an ultra-wide lens.

5. NIKON AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

Compatible With: Full-Frame and APS-C DSLRs

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The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is a zoom lens that performs especially well on full-frame cameras. With its ultra-wide capabilities, it’s ideal for photographers who are looking to capture super wide landscapes. It’s also the gold-standard for night sky photography.

With excellent image quality, this is one lens that can even outperform a number of primes at their respective focal lengths. The one negative aspect, sadly, is the price. For a more affordable option, see the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5.

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6. NIKON AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Compatible With: APS-C DSLRs

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For DX (APS-C) Nikon cameras, the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens offers an equivalent focal range of 27-83mm. This lens includes image stabilization and superior optical performance. It also features lightweight construction, and is an extremely affordable option.

7. The SAMYANG 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC

Compatible With: Full-Frame and ASP-C DSLRs

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The Samyang 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC is a full-frame wide-angle prime lens that’s available in almost every camera mount, with a version for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, and Fuji X. All models are manual focus.

This is a solid option if you’re thinking about venturing into the world of wide-angle primes. Keep in mind that this lens is often sold under the “Rokinon” brand.

8. TAMRON SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Compatible With: Full-Frame and ASP-C DSLRs

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The TAMRON SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is a great lens for ultra wide-angle photography, featuring a focal length that’s right in the sweet spot of 15-30mm. This lens also comes with image stabilization and a fast f/2.8 aperture. You can expect high-quality images from this lens, even at the extreme focal lengths.

The main downside to this lens is its size, at 2.5 pounds; it’s not the most portable option. This lens is available for Nikon, Canon, and Sony/Minolta cameras.

9. SIGMA 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC

Compatible With: APS-C DSLRs

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With a focal range of 10-20mm, this is an ultra-wide angle lens that’s available for APS-C camera owners, and is available for Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Sony cameras. This lens is ideal for capturing wide, scenic vistas, and is also ideal for low-light photography. It’s a decidedly mid-range wide-angle lens, but features tech that’s sure to impress.

10. SIGMA 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC

Compatible With: APS-C DSLRs

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While the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 is a popular choice thanks to its specs and price, for APS-C camera owners who are looking to go even wider should take note of the Sigma 8-16mm. This lens offers good build quality, and a smooth-acting zoom ring.

The ultra-wide image capabilities can result in some barrel distortion at the short end of the zoom range, but this lens is an excellent option if you’re hoping to shoot as wide as possible. Available for Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, and Sigma cameras.

These lenses are just a few that were chosen based on their performance and reviews, but the best lens, as always, is one that will suit you best. When making your decision, be sure to decide what features are important to you, and which options are available in your price range.

Whether you opt for a versatile zoom lens that offers both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities, or choose a dedicated wide-angle prime, make sure the lens that you ultimately go with is one that will meet your needs.

Interested in landscape photography? Be sure to check out this helpful article on Depth of Field for tips on getting the focus right.

Christina Harman

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