What is the ultimate Canon full-frame wide-angle lens?
What is the ultimate Canon APS-C wide-angle lens?
Do you own a Canon DSLR camera? Our Best Canon Wide-Angle Lens recommendations page has your recommendations.
You want a wide-angle (35mm focal length or wider) or an ultra-wide-angle (24mm or wider) lens to photograph the big scene, to capture a smaller scene in a limited amount of space, or, my favorite use, to create a close-to-subject perspective that gives the viewer a sense of presence in the image.
Since most of us have at least one general-purpose/standard zoom lens that has wide-angle focal lengths built-in (a 15-45mm lens or 24-70mm lens, for example), an additional wide-angle lens is needed to gain even wider angles of view. If your standard zoom has an f/2.8 max aperture, you may also desire a fixed focal length/prime wide-angle lens to gain a wider aperture.
I very frequently encounter the need for focal lengths wider than those in my standard zoom lens and seldom go on a shoot without having the wide angles covered. Some specific subjects requiring a wide-angle lens include landscape, real estate/architecture, and interior photography. Interiors can include those of a building, vehicle, aircraft, etc.
Full frame format camera owners have many more lens options available for their wide and ultra-wide-angle needs than APS-C format camera owners. APS-C format body owners can use full-frame lenses (they will work great), but most do not provide an angle of view wider than the 17mm- or 18mm-something APS-C standard zooms.
Here is what the full-frame 15-35mm focal length range, my suggested full-frame wide-angle lens focal length range, looks like:
The Entire Package: Impressive image quality and Overall Performance, Wide Aperture, the Right Focal Lengths, Image Stabilization, Pro-Grade Build
The Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens is my go-to general-purpose wide-angle zoom lens. This lens is the right choice for a very high percentage of photography needs, from landscapes to portraits and from night skies to weddings, with most needs between covered.
Few want to compromise image quality, and this L-series lens delivers greatness in that regard. Fast and accurate AF? That box is checked. Pro-grade, weather-sealed build quality? Ruggedness is built in. High-performing image stabilzation is there for you when the tripod is not.
Great image quality and Overall Performance, Compact Size, Light Weight, Great Focal Length Range, Image Stabilization, Pro-Grade Build
If the sibling RF 15-35's f/2.8 aperture is not needed, the RF 14-35 provides a longer focal length range, a lighter weight, a smaller size, and a lower price. This is a great lens to take on landscape photography outings.
Great Wide-Angle Focal Length, Compact, Lightweight, Affordable, Wide Aperture, Great Value
This inexpensive little lens produces very sharp imagery across most of the frame. Canon forces rectilinear correction of the RF 16's near fisheye-grade barrel distortion, but the stretched corners still have decent image quality, especially for the size, weight, and price of this lens. The RF 16 is a good budget and small footprint, lightweight choice.
4. Adapt a lens from the The Best Canon Wide-Angle Lens List
Huge Selection, Excellent Options
Addressing APS-C Wide-Angle Mirrorless Lenses
The selection of wide-angle lenses with focal lengths wider than the 14-18mm found in normal zoom lenses is somewhat limited for Canon APS-C format mirrorless camera owners. Canon has one option. Fortunately, it is a great choice.
Here is what the APS-C 10-22mm focal length range looks like:
Great Image Quality, Tiny and Light, Affordable
Canon EOS M-series camera owners have a great ultra-wide-angle zoom lens option in the EF-M 11-22mm. This compact lens is effortless to take with you, the angles of view are a delight to use, and the image quality produced is impressively good.
Visit the Canon Lens Recommendations page for more lens selection advice.