The 6 Best Wide Angle Lenses to Buy in 2017 for DSLR

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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 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.

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.

While not quite a “budget” lens, the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is still very much an affordable option for the wide angle category. More importantly, it’s a spectacular option if you’re looking to equip your Canon shooter with an ultra wide angle lens. It’s got a focal range of 10-18 mm with a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6. It’s got a stepping motor for quiet video recording, an optical image stabilizer and a focusing distance up to .72 feet, making it an ideal lens for shooting plants, food or insects. However, it is also an ideal solution for landscapes and architecture, and the fact that it costs less than $300 really seals the deal. For an extra $100 you can get a B+W 67mm XS-Pro HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer. If you’re a Canon shooter, this is about as good as it gets for the sub-$600 ultra wide angle category.

If you can leave the close-knit world of Nikon and Canon for a moment we’ll enter the world of Sigma lenses. These lenses tend to offer styles for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras, as well as Pentax and Sony devices. Among the most high-end wide angle lenses in this category is the Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM lens. This is a truly impressive piece of equipment that was not designed for budget-conscious individuals, but if you can afford it, you can rest assured knowing you own one of the best wide-angle lenses on the market. This Sigma prime lens has a focal length of 35mm (52.5mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras) with a maximum/minimum aperture of f/1.4 - f/16. It’s got a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus (AF) motor with full-time manual focusing (read: quiet), top-notch optics, solid flare resistance and a durable build. If you’re looking for a fast, high-end wide angle lens, this is your guy.

There are plenty of ultra wide angle lenses available for Sony and Pentax shooters, too. For folks in the market for a mid-range super wide angle lens for Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Pentax, there’s the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM. This thing packs a lot of punch in a sub-$450 package. It’s got a super wide focal length of 10-20 mm, a fixed maximum aperture of f/3.5 and a petal-type hood for blocking out light and minimizing internal reflection. It’s also got a super multi-layer coating that reduces flare and ghosting, and a hyper-sonic motor (HSM) that promises a quiet, high-speed autofocus (AF) experience. With this kind of focal range, you’re sure to deliver some of those big, impressive images of landscapes, but there’s still enough versatility satisfy any creative impulse.


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