Canon Wide Angle Lens

You want a wide angle lens (35mm focal length and wider on a full frame DSLR camera) or an ultra-wide angle lens (24mm and wider) 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 photo.

Since most of us have at least one general purpose/standard zoom lens that has wide angle focal lengths built into it (a 17-55mm lens or a 24-70mm lens for example), an additional wide angle lens is needed to gain even wider angles of view, for better image quality or perhaps for a wider aperture. If your standard zoom has an f/2.8 max aperture, you will be looking for a fixed focal length/prime wide angle lens to get the wider aperture. If you have a high-end normal zoom lens, finding better image quality might be a challenge.

I very frequently encounter the need for focal lengths wider than those in my standard zoom lens. My personal need for these wider angles of view can be either to get subject in the frame with a limited working distance or to utilize a closer perspective of the same primary subject framing than my standard zoom can give me. The latter is a technique frequently used in landscape photography - emphasizing a foreground subject against a vast in-focus background. And in these cases, a wide angle or ultra wide angle lens is the answer.

Specific needs for the wide angle lenses include landscape, real estate/architecture and interior photography. Interiors 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 rather limited for APS-C format camera owners. Canon has two rectilinear (not a strongly barrel-distorted fisheye) ultra-wide angle zoom lenes. Fortunately, both are good choices.

Here is what the APS-C 10-22mm focal length range looks like:

10-22mm Focal Length Comparison

10mm | 14mm | 17mm | 22mm

 

The Best Canon APS-C/1.6x Wide Angle Lenses - My Recommendations

 

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens Buy the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens Rent the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

1. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

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 the 17- or 18-something general purpose zoom lenses. The EF-S 10-22 complements most of these standard lenses very well.

 

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Buy the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens Rent the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

2. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

A lot of lens for the money

Deciding if this lens or the EF-S 10-22 should get the #1 recommendation was challenging and my choice will not be correct for some photographers. The EF-S is considerably less expensive than than the EF-S 10-22 and has image stabilization to its advantage. This small, light affordable lens is going to find a home in many APS-C format kits.

 

3. The Decision Quickly Becomes Difficult

Go with a Sigma or Tokina ultra-wide zoom? Or go with a prime lens?

The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX II Lens will give you a nice focal length range and a wide f/2.8 max aperture. Build quality is very nice.

The Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens will give you incredibly-wide focal lengths in a solidly built HSM-AF lens.

The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Lens and Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens are reasonable choices. Both feature HSM AF and good build quality.

Canon has some impressive prime lenses. For specific prime lens recommendations, refer to the full frame wide angle lens recommendations below.

 

 

The Full Frame Wide Angle Lenses

Full frame format camera owners have many more lens options available for their wide and ultra-wide angle needs. APS-C format body owners can of course use full frame lenses (they will work great), but most do not provide an angle of view wider than the 17- or 18-something mm APS-C standard zooms.

Here is what the full frame 16-35mm focal length range looks like:

16-35mm Focal Length Comparison

16mm | 20mm | 24mm | 28mm | 35mm

 

The Best Canon Full Frame Wide Angle Zoom Lenses - My Recommendations

 

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens

Canon's Best Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens

Take the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS, improve the image quality slightly, remove image stabilization, open the max aperture twice as wide and double the price. You get the 16-35 f/2.8L III. Like the f/4, this lens combines impressive corner-to-corner image quality, ultra-wide through slightly wide focal lengths, fast and accurate focusing and excellent weather-sealed build quality. It is also an awesome lens for use in a wide variety of circumstances and low light events are perhaps where this lens has its biggest advantage over the f/4 model. 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 EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

2. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens

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.

 

Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

3. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM 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. Downsides: price, weight and inability to accept front filters.

 

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

4. Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens

Canon's Widest Angle of View Lens

If you don't mind the fisheye distortion, this lens will deliver amazingly wide angle images with nearly-equally amazing sharpness. Even APS-C format camera owners can get a 180° (corner-to-corner) angle of view using this lens.

 

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

5. Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens

Ultra-Wide 15mm Focal Length, F/2.8 Aperture Over Entire Range, Vibration Control

Tamron was the first to offer an ultra-wide angle full frame zoom lens with both image stabilization (VC) and a fixed-max f/2.8 aperture. That is a combination that everyone can love. This lens is not small or light for its class and with the bulbous front element, front filters are not an option for this lens.

 

 

The Best Canon Full Frame Wide Angle Prime Lenses - My Recommendations

Sometimes you don't need a zoom range or you need a wider aperture than is available in a zoom lens. In those cases, a fixed focal length or "prime" lens may be exactly what you are looking for.

 

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens

Beautiful Lens that Delivers Beautiful Images

The aesthetically beautiful Sigma 14mm Art lens delivers beautiful image quality and the f/1.8 aperture uniquely advantages it for use at low light events and for photographing the night sky. The convex objective lens element prevents the use of standard threaded filters.

 

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

Ultra-Wide Aperture, Excellent Image Quality, Excellent AF, Excellent Weather-Sealed Build Quality

F/1.4 is the widest aperture currently available on any lens wider than 50mm. And this ultra-wide aperture can make a big difference when the light is dim.

This is usually the lens I take when the night sky is on my subject list. While some coma will make the stars in the corner of the frame appear comet-shaped, the wide angle focal length combined with the wide aperture create nice images at night.

The wide aperture can also give your images a blurred background look that sets them apart. This is a great lens overall - including great image quality.

 

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Small & Light, Image Stabilization, Excellent AF

The lens will not take up much weight in the bag and will not burden your shoulders carrying it. But, it delivers very good performance with image stabilization there to help.

 

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Small & Light, Image Stabilization, Excellent AF

This lens is nearly identical to the 24mm f/2.8 IS - just in a 28mm focal length.

 

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

Ultra-Wide Aperture, Excellent AF, Great Build Quality, Amazing Image Quality

While 35mm is only a modestly wide focal length, it is very useful for general purpose needs. The image quality and look this lens delivers are such that you will be looking for more ways to incorporate its use. This is a very impressive lens.

 

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens

Small & Light, Excellent AF, Wide Aperture Combined with Image Stabilization

As I write this recommendation, the 35mm f/2 is Canon's widest aperture lens under 200mm to have image stabilization. This small, light lens is able to capture sharp images under extremely low light levels - with a still subject. This lens was delivered not long after the 24 f/2.8 IS and 28 f/2.8 IS - it is very similar in both build quality and performance - and this is a good thing.

 

 

The Best Canon Full Frame Wide Angle Manual Focus Prime Lenses - My Recommendations

If your requirements do not include a range of focal lengths in the same lens OR autofocus, you have even significantly more wide angle options available to you. I will list some of my prefered fixed focal length, manual focus-only lenses in focal length order.

 

Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE Lens

Impressive Build Quality, Great Image Quality, Accepts Threaded Filters

This is one of the widest angle Canon-mount lens to accept threaded front filters. The filters are large, but ... landscape photographers especially appreciate this feature. The 15 f/2.8 has build quality typical of Zeiss lenses – impressive. Image quality equally impressive.

 

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens

Excellent Build Quality, T/S Movements

The TS-E 17 is very frequently my choice for an ultra-wide focal length need - especially for landscapes. The tilt, shift & rotation movements provide many benefits and the image quality is tops at this focal length. It's built like anL lens.

 

Zeiss 18mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Zeiss 18mm f/2.8 Milvus Lens

Impressive Build Quality, Great Image Quality

The Zeiss Milvus 18mm lens slots between the 15mm and 21mm options and is similar to those two lenses in many regards. And, that is a good thing.

 

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 Lens

Impressive Build Quality, Great Image Quality

The Zeiss Milvus 21 is an all-around great lens. This lens will impress you with its image quality as much as with its build quality.

 

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens Buy  ► Rent  ►

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens

I Love This Lens!

The TS-E 24L II starts with excellent image quality. Add excellent build quality and the tilt, shift & rotation movements and you get an overal awesome lens.

 

For more wide angle zoom lens options, read the Canon General Purpose Lens Recommendations page.

Visit the Canon Lens Recommendations page for more lens recommendations.

Feedback
Help  |  © 2017 The Digital Picture, LLC  |  Bryan CarnathanPowered By Christ!