What is the ultimate Canon APS-C wide-angle lens?
What is the ultimate Canon full-frame wide-angle lens?
Do you own a Canon Mirrorless camera? Our Best Canon Mirrorless Camera 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 17-55mm 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.
Addressing APS-C Wide-Angle Lenses First
The selection of wide-angle lenses with focal lengths wider than the 17-18mm found in normal zoom lenses is somewhat limited for APS-C format camera owners. Canon has two rectilinear (not a strongly barrel-distorted fisheye) ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses. Fortunately, both are good choices.
Here is what the APS-C 10-22mm focal length range looks like:
An Overall Nice Lens with Ultra Wide-Angle Focal Lengths
The Canon EF-S 10-22 will give you decent image quality in a small, light package with a modest price. Autofocus is Ring USM-driven. The wide-angles from this focal length range will impress most photographers currently using 17mm- or 18mm-something general-purpose zoom lenses. The EF-S 10-22 complements most of these standard lenses very well.
A lot of lens for the money
Deciding if this lens or the EF-S 10-22 should get the #1 recommendation is challenging. The EF-S is considerably less expensive than than the EF-S 10-22, and it has image stabilization to its advantage. This small, light, affordable lens has reason to find a home in many APS-C format kits.
The Best Canon Full-Frame Wide-Angle Lenses
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 16-35mm focal length range, my suggested full-frame wide-angle lens focal length range, looks like:
The Best Canon Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses - My Recommendations
Canon's Best Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens is the Canon wide-angle zoom lens you want. This professional-grade lens is the perfect choice for a wide variety of uses, and the image quality it creates is impressive. The lens is well built and includes weather sealing. If weddings and other indoor events are on your to-do list, this lens should be in your kit. Those photographing the night sky will also find the f/2.8 aperture advantageous.
Canon's Other Best Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
Combine impressive corner-to-corner image quality, ultra-wide through slightly wide focal lengths, fast and accurate focusing, excellent weather-sealed build quality, and image stabilization, and you have an awesome lens that usable in a wide variety of circumstances. The EF 16-35 f/4L IS is not Canon's widest aperture ultra-wide zoom lens, but it is a great-performing model. This professional-grade lens will deliver image quality that makes you smile, and you will smile even larger when you see the price of this lens.
Amazingly-Wide-Angle of View, Exceptional Image Quality, Pro-Grade Weather-Sealed Build Quality
The 11-24 L goes wider than any rectilinear lens before it, and this ultra-wide-angle of view can set photos apart from the crowd. This lens delivers very impressive image quality performance over its entire focal length range, and its pro-grade build quality is ready to go wherever you take it. Also exceptional is the fun garnered from using this lens.
Ultra-wide Angle, Impressive Image Quality, Wide f/2.8 Aperture, Modest Price
Sometimes, the Sigma 14-24mm Art's wide f/2.8 constant max aperture can save the day. The lens' AF consistency did not prove to be great, and like many other ultra-wide-angle lenses, it will not accept front filters, but most photographers will find the Sigma 14-24mm Art's benefits outweigh its downsides.
Visit the Canon Lens Recommendations page for more lens selection advice.