What is the ultimate Sony wide-angle lens?
What is the ultimate Sony APS-C wide-angle lens?
As a generalization, the above lists are sorted in performance and price descending sequence, though other factors, including the available focal lengths, must be considered.
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 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.
Here is what the full-frame 16-35mm focal length range looks like:
The Best Sony Full-Frame Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses
Compact, Lightweight, Optically Impressive, G Master Build an Performance
Camera manufacturers typically offer high-end f/2.8 zoom lenses covering wide angles, the general-purpose range, and a telephoto focal length range. These three lenses tend to be the most sought-after and popular models in the lineup, and with the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II Lens, Sony completed version II updates to their flagship f/2.8 GM zoom lens trio.
Smaller and lighter are concepts we all appreciate, and with the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II Lens, Sony claimed the title to the world's smallest, lightest full-frame AF wide-angle zoom lens.
While smaller and lighter are welcomed traits, the version II updates offer far more, including high-performance AF and impressive optical quality.
"Designed to rival the primes, this zoom's optics have been revamped to provide even greater resolution, clarity, and bokeh quality." [Sony]
The bottom line is that you want the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II Lens in your kit.
Outstanding Image Quality, Exceptionally-Wide Angles of View, G Master Build
While not inexpensive, this lens delivers incredible image quality, despite the extremely-wide angles of view it avails. With f/2.8 available, this Sony lens is a great choice for photographing the night sky, along with low light events. Take this lens to the most beautiful locations and it is sure to enable you to bring home exceptional results. Note that this does not accept front filters.
Compact, Lightweight, Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
The diminutive, lightweight Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G Lens is a great option for the frequently needed ultra-wide through wide-angle coverage.
Only the strong barrel distortion at the wide end of the focal length range detracts from the otherwise stellar optical performance this lens delivers. Plan on utilizing the correction options provided.
Additional features this lens avails include power zoom, dual XD linear drive AF, and reduced focus breathing, make this lens a highly attractive choice for video capture.
The moderate price ensures high popularity for this lens.
An Exceptional Bargain
The Tamron 17-28 Di III lens provides professional-grade image quality in a compact, lightweight package with a very low price. There is little this lens lacks aside from switches. The focal length range does not reach the widest or the longest in the class, but it matches perfectly with another exceptional bargain lens, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Lens.
Outstanding Image Quality, Ultra-Wide Angles of View, Relatively Affordable, Beautifully Designed
While this lens's focal length range is not as dramatic as the Sony equivalent, the cost is not as dramatic either. The Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens impresses with the image quality it delivers, the build and aesthetic qualities are excellent, and AF is fast and quiet. Note that this does not accept front filters.
An Exceptionally Wide-Angle Lens
The focal lengths available in this lens are incredibly wide, and photographing with these angles of view is very fun. Especially the 12mm end provides the opportunity to set one's work apart from the crowd. I shared a 16mm example earlier, but 12mm is in another class of wide. The FE 12-24 is a quality lens, but note that it does not accept front filters.
Extremely Wide-Angle Focal Length, Compact Size, Light Weight, Ultra-Wide Aperture, GM Professional Grade Build, Great Image Quality
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM is one of those lenses that make one grateful to be photographing at this time. Those photographing architecture, real estate, large products, or other subjects in a confined space, those photographing the great outdoors, including landscape and night sky photography, and those who simply want to get creative with ultra-wide-angles will want the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Lens in their kit.
Awesome Image Quality, Great Build Quality, Ultra-Wide Aperture, G Master Build
While this lens's 24mm focal length may not be eye-opening and may already be covered in your general-purpose zoom lens, the f/1.4 aperture should garner your attention. As I write this recommendation, I consider the Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens to be my ultimate astrophotography lens. The 24mm focal length is very commonly used, and the image quality this lens creates is outstanding. This compact lens is reasonably priced, especially for its performance.
Ultra-wide Angle, Great Image Quality, Wide f/1.8 Aperture, Modest Price
The Sony FE 20mm f/1.8 G Lens is like a smaller Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM Lens. While the 24 optically outperforms the 20 by a small amount, the 20 is smaller, lighter, and less expensive. The 20's aperture is 2/3-stop narrower, and its price is about 2/3 as much — making it a bargain.
Compact, Lightweight, Well-Constructed, Sharp Image Quality, Affordable — It's a Bargain
The Sigma 17mm F4 DG DN is attractive in numerous regards. It physically looks great, and its build quality backs up that aspect.
This lens is easy to take with you, and it is easy on your wallet. The 17mm F4 DG DN lens's sharp image quality combines with an affordable price to create a bargain.
APS-C Wide-Angle Lenses
Those with an APS-C format camera do not need the wider image circle provided by a full-frame lens. With a smaller image circle requirement, APS-C lenses can be smaller, lighter, and less expensive. Thus, it makes sense to match the lens to the camera.
The selection of APS-C format wide-angle lenses with focal lengths wider than the 14-18mm found in normal zoom lenses is somewhat limited for Sony camera owners.
Here is the APS-C 10-18mm focal length range illustrated:
Tiny, Light, Well Built, Affordable, Great Image Quality
Though tiny and light, the Sigma 10-18 still features a wide f/2.8 aperture over the entire focal length range, increasing this lens's versatility into low light conditions and increasing the subject-isolating background blur potential.
This lens is well-designed, nicely constructed, and features a quiet and quick AF system and great image quality. Its affordability will seal the deal for many.
Visit the Sony Lens Recommendations page for more recommendations.