The 7 Best Wide Angle Lenses to Buy in 2018 for DSLR

Take your photography skills to the next level

When it comes to wide angle lenses, the most important spec to look into is the focal length, which is depicted in millimeters. Most wide angles are defined as having a focal length of 35 mm or less, and may be either prime or zoom lenses. But before you narrow down the focal length you want, you need to make sure it actually matches your camera, which may or may not be compatible with any given lens. Once you’ve squared that away, you can start focusing on extras, like prime or zoom, autofocus type and aperture settings. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best wide angle lenses for Canon, Nikon and other cameras.

A magical combination of excellent wide-angle and low-light performance, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens is a great choice for Canon DSLR owners. Incorporating Optical Image Stabilization, specialized coatings to minimize ghosting and two UD elements to minimize image aberrations, the Canon adds inner focusing and ring USM for accurate and quick auto focusing. Full-time manual focus is also available with a minimum focusing distance of 0.92 feet across the entire zoom range of the lens.

Built for all weather conditions, this Canon lens is both dust and water-resistant, which enables it to perform in both professional and consumer-friendly conditions each and every time. Beyond protection against the elements, the circular aperture of the Canon lens and its nine blades allows for beautiful, soft background photography.

Reviews praise its performance and image results under even the worst kind of lighting and photo conditions. At just 1.4 pounds, the Canon EF 16-35mm lens will quickly become a go-to for Canon DSLR owners looking for the best in wide-angle photography.

A go-to choice for many Canon DSLR owners, the EF S 10-22m f/3.5-4.5 has a combination of image quality and affordability that make it a terrific choice for an everyday lens. Incorporating an optical image stabilizer, superior autofocus and a full-time manual focus with a simple turn of a ring add fuel to the fire that this Canon lens is a must-own.

With a minimum distance of just 9.5 inches for close focusing, subjects as small as 3.6 x 5.4 inches can fill the frame. The relatively compact size has this lens weighing 0.85 pounds, which makes it more than light enough to carry around in a bag. The wide angles from the focal length of this lens are bound to impress even professional photographers with an equivalency to a 16-35mm zoom. The three aspherical lens elements, Super-UD element and ring-type USM all help assure terrific photo quality.

While there’s no image stabilization built-in, the lightweight build should help keep this lens steady in your hand as you're grabbing shots of a wedding, sporting event or a landscape photo in a national park.

A good lens is hard to find on the cheap, and if you do manage to find one, you want to make sure you’re not investing in something that’s going to break in just a few months. That’s why, when you’re talking about “budget” lenses, you’re really talking about a price range of about $150 to $200. Among these lenses, the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G lens is probably the best budget wide-angle lens you can find for Nikon cameras. It’s got a standard wide-angle focal length of 35mm, which closely matches that of the human eye. That means images will reveal themselves fairly close to what you imagined—that is, of course, if you know what you’re doing. This prime lens also has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and a minimum of f/22. There’s an ultrasonic autofocus (AF) motor with full-time manual focusing. And the whole thing can be found for just under $200.

For the best ultra wide-angle performance available today, the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF is an outstanding choice for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLR owners. A one-of-a-kind lens, the Sigma is the first to offer a minimum focal length of just 8mm. Designed with APS-C image sensors in mind, the lens offers an equivalent field of view to 12-24mm lenses.

Integrating Sigma’s new FLD glass elements, the lens helps compensate for color aberration and color correction while producing excellent image results throughout its entire zoom range. The inclusion of HSM technology allows for the autofocus zoom to be both mechanical and manual with a minimum focusing distance of just 9.4 inches from a subject.

Ultimately, Sigma has produced a lens that excels at landscape shooting, capturing architecture, building interiors, photojournalism, wedding photography and so much more. The 1.22-pound weight and 4.17 inches in length make it compact and portable, so it fits perfectly in an overnight bag, backpack or dedicated camera bag.

If you want to be able to capture the breathtaking majesty of the Grand Canyon or some other scenic vista, you’ll probably want an ultra wide-angle lens, which is typically defined as any lens with a focal length shorter than 15 mm. For Nikon shooters, there’s the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM. The fixed aperture and super short focal range make it ideal for landscapes and architecture, but it may also be a good fit for professionals shooting portraits. It’s got a hyper-sonic motor for quiet and super speedy autofocus, as well as a petal-type hood that blocks out extra light and cuts down on internal reflection. It’s a thoroughly mid-range wide angle lens, but the tech behind this little devices is sure to impress even the most seasoned photographers. There are also styles for Canon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs. It may not be a good go-to, all-purpose lens, but it’s certainly an ideal pick for a growing collection of lenses.

Another budget-friendly option for Canon shooters, the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is fairly versatile for the wide-angle category. It’s got a focal length of 24 mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.8. It’s actually the slimmest and lightest lens in the EF-S series of Canon lenses. It also has full-time manual focus while in the One Shot AF (autofocus) mode. It produces stellar images with a fast autofocus, and it’s small enough to fit in any kit bag. The price is such that you don’t have to worry too much about regretting the purchase, particularly if you’re a highly active photographer with an extensive lens collection. Consider this a solid option if you’re a Canon shooter looking to purchase your first wide-angle lens, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Hitting the sweet spot for a Nikon DSLR lens, the Nikon 20MM F/1.8G offers wide-angle photography that excels in low-light situations at a premium price point that’s still far lower than other options. While the 20mm range won’t capture as much detail at the edges of a photo as a 14mm or 16mm lens would, there’s plenty to love about a 20mm field of view, which is ideal for both still or motion photography.

The Innovative Silent Wave Motor (SWM) introduces ultrasonic waves as a factor in fast, accurate and nearly whisper-quiet autofocusing that can get as close as 7.8 inches from your subject and isolate the background. Add a lower ISO setting to your photography and the Nikon lens will produce some gorgeous blurred backgrounds in both photos and HD videos all while maintaining image quality at its maximum aperture setting of f/1.8.

Sign up for our daily deals newsletter

Disclosure: At Lifewire, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.
Was this page helpful?