The Best Wide Angle Lens for Canon: An Ultimate Guide

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Do you want to know the best wide angle lens for Canon? And are you struggling to understand which wide angle lens to choose? Or why you even need a wide angle lens?

Here’s the thing:

Wide angle lenses are extremely useful for many types of photography: landscape photography, architectural photography, travel photography, and more. It’s tough to specialize in any of these genres without keeping a good wide angle lens in your bag.

Best Wide Angle Lens for Canon

But you want to make sure you make the right choice. You want to get a wide angle lens that satisfies your needs.

And that’s what this article is all about.

Are you ready to pick the perfect wide angle lens?

Let’s dive right in.

Best Wide Angle Lens for Canon

  • Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
  • Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6
  • Sigma 12-24mm f/4 ART
  • Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
  • Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF
Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
BEST All AROUND APS-C LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: EF-S, Weight: 385g, Size: 84 x 90mm

Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6
BEST BUDGET APS-C LENS

Filter Diameter: 67mm, Mount: EF-S, Weight: 240g, Size: 74.6 x 72mm

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 ART
BEST ULTRA WIDE LENS

Filter Diameter: 80mm, Mount: EF, Weight: 1150g, Size: 102 x 131.5mm

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
BEST ALL AROUND WIDE ANGLE LENS

Filter Diameter: 80mm, Mount: EF, Weight: 1100g, Size: 98.4 x 145mm

Canon 16-35mm f/4L
BEST NATIVE WIDE ANGLE LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: EF, Weight: 615g, Size: 82.6 x 112.8mm

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
BEST BUDGET WIDE ANGLE LENS

Filter Diameter: 77mm, Mount: EF, Weight: 475g, Size: 84 x 97mm

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF
BEST MANUAL WIDE ANGLE LENS

Filter Diameter: 82mm, Mount: EF, Weight: 552g, Size: 87 x 96.1mm

What Is a Wide Angle Lens?

A wide angle lens shows a perspective wider than that of the human eye.

This is in comparison to standard lenses, which display the world as the eye sees it.

Now, standard lenses are 50mm in length. Anything more, and they start to show a magnified (telephoto) perspective.

Anything less, and they start to show a wide angle perspective.

In other words, a wide angle lens must be less than 50mm in focal length. However, the wide angle effect becomes more clear the wider you go. A 45mm lens will give you a slightly wide perspective; a 10mm lens will give you an ultra-wide perspective (more on that later!).

Related: Top Rated Full Frame Macro Lenses for Canon

Note that crop-sensor (APS-C) cameras crop the image that comes through the lens. The amount of crop depends on the camera, but for Canon cameras it’s 1.6x and for Nikon cameras it’s 1.5x. Therefore, on an APS-C camera, a 35mm lens shows a standard focal length, while anything less than 35mm gives a wide angle perspective.

Why Do You Need a Wide Angle Lens?

Wide angle lenses are important for two main reasons.

First, a wide angle lens allows you to capture more of the scene. If you’re standing before a sweeping mountain vista, you often want to encapsulate the entire scene in a single shot. You can’t do this with a telephoto or a standard lens; these lenses will only allow you to shoot a portion of the scene.

Related: How to Select the Right Landscape Lens for Canon

But a wide angle lens will give you a wider perspective, allowing your shot to encompass everything you like about the scene: all the trees in the foreground, the mountains as they rise into the distance, and the gorgeous sunrise.

Second, a wide angle lens helps viewers feel like they’re actually in the scene. The wide perspective, when used carefully, emphasizes the expanse of the scene and makes the viewer feel like they could literally step into the photo. This is a powerful effect, and one that many of the great landscape photographers manage to achieve consistently.

However, not all wide angle lenses are created equal. Different wide angle lenses are good for different needs:

Types of Wide Angle Lenses

If you’re looking to purchase a wide angle lens, then you have a major question ahead of you:

What focal length should you get?

Because wide angle lenses are (broadly) grouped into three main focal length categories on full-frame cameras:

Basic Wide Angle Lenses

First, there are the basic wide angle lenses. These go from around 20mm to 45mm on a full frame camera.

Generally speaking, wide angle lenses like these aren’t quite as good for dedicated wide angle photography (where you want to capture ultra-wide shots of the scene). While 20mm to 45mm lenses will give you a wide perspective, they won’t blow you away with the ultra-wide look that many landscape photographers love.

Instead, standard wide angle lenses are often used by photographers who don’t need that ultra-wide perspective. Portrait photographers, for instance, will carry around a wide angle lens to capture a few environmental shots during a shoot. Street and travel photographers will use a wide angle lens when cities are empty–so as to capture more environmental street shots.

Of course, standard wide angle lenses are still used by landscape photographers. But the shots are slightly tighter and include less of that classic “wide angle” look.

Ultra-Wide Lenses

Ultra-wide lenses span from around 10mm to 20mm in focal length, and they’re the bread and butter of many landscape photographers.

The ultra-wide focal length is what allows landscape photographers to capture such powerful photos–photos that draw the viewer straight into the scene.

These lenses allow you to capture an entire vista. And they let emphasize the closest elements of the scene, which helps to anchor the viewer and keep them focused.

Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses are technically ultra-wide, spanning from around 6mm to 14mm.

But they’re in a category of their own because they don’t just get you wide shots. Instead, they produce a fisheye effect–where the whole image is distorted around the center, giving a strange, rounded look.

It’s rare to find a photographer who uses a fisheye lens all the time. Instead, fisheye lenses tend to be a ‘novelty’ piece of kit. Photographers take them out for the occasional quirky shot–and then go back to their wide or ultra-wide lenses.

Zoom vs Prime Wide Angle Lens

Wide angle lenses can also be categorized in another key way:

As wide angle zoom lenses and wide angle prime lenses.

What’s the difference?

Related: Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens – the Fundamentals

A zoom lens spans a series of focal lengths. So a zoom lens might go from 18mm to 55mm, or from 10mm to 20mm, or 17mm to 40mm.

A prime lens gives a single focal length. A 24mm prime only shoots at 24mm. A 35mm prime only shoots at 35mm.

Now, zoom lenses do give you more flexibility. They allow you to test out various focal lengths and achieve different looks when shooting the same scene.

But zoom lenses tend to have poorer optics than prime lenses. They’re not equally sharp across all focal lengths, for one – and they’re often prone to other problems, such as chromatic aberration and distortion.

Prime lenses, on the other hand, are less flexible. You get a single focal length, and you make it work. But prime lenses offer strong optics for cheap, so they’re often the lenses of choice for serious photographers on a budget.

Understanding Crop Factor (Full Frame vs APS-C)

As mentioned above, APS-C cameras crop the image–so that you end up with a cropped version of your original focal length. A 35mm lens, therefore, becomes a 50mm lens, and a 10mm lens becomes a 15mm lens.

If you’re searching for a wide angle lens for an APS-C camera, you want to be careful. You need to get a lens that’s wide enough for your widest needs, and this might require a 15mm or even a 10mm lens.

Can You Use a Full Frame Lens on an APS-C Camera?

You can use a full frame lens on an APS-C camera. However, full frame lenses tend to be heavier and more expensive than their APS-C lens counterparts. Plus, the full frame lenses perform at a much lower level when used on APS-C cameras.

Can You Use an APS-C Lens on a Full Frame Camera?

No, you cannot mount an APS-C lens on a full frame camera. These lenses are made specifically for crop-sensor cameras.

Native Lenses vs Third Party Lenses

When it comes to purchasing lenses, you have a decision ahead of you:

Will you get a brand lens or a third party lens?

Note that brand lenses come from the same brand as the camera manufacturer. Third party lenses are made by other companies (e.g., Sigma, Tamron), but they’re designed to be mounted on brand-name cameras.

Generally speaking, third party lenses are cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. Yet many of the third party lenses perform extremely well. In fact, third party lenses are often as good as the brand-name lenses at a fraction of the price.

Autofocus vs Manual Focus Wide Angle Lenses

One last thing to consider:

Do you want a lens with autofocus? Or are you fine using a manual focus lens?

These days, most lenses have autofocus. But there are still the occasional manual focus lenses, and you can always grab manual focus lenses on eBay. They’re lighter and cheaper than their autofocus counterparts, though they can also be inconvenient.

If you plan on shooting action with your wide angle lens, then you’ll probably want to have autofocus. But you don’t necessarily need autofocus if you plan to shoot vast landscapes that are sharp throughout. And certain types of photography, such as astrophotography, don’t use autofocus at all.

So carefully consider whether you’ll actually need autofocus before choosing!

The Best Wide Angle Lens for Canon APS-C Cameras

Now it’s time to discover the absolute best wide angle lenses you can purchase for Canon cameras.

Best All Around Wide Angle Lens for Canon ASP-C Cameras

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5

The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 is the best wide angle lens Canon has to offer for APS-C cameras.

It gets pretty much everything right.

First, the Canon 10-22mm features an ultra-wide focal length, which allows you to capture sweeping landscape shots and breathtaking architectural masterpieces.

Note that this is an EF-S lens, which means you can only use it on crop-sensor cameras. This also means that you’ll get a focal length equivalent of 16-35mm–still wide enough for those ultra-wide landscape shots.

The Canon 10-22mm also offers great image quality across the board. The lens is sharp throughout its focal length, especially when stopped down. Distortion is well-managed, and the price is much lower than you’d expect for a lens of this caliber.

The main downside to the 10-22mm is the build quality:

While the lens isn’t poorly made, it doesn’t compare to many of Canon’s other wide angle options, such as the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens.

But overall, the Canon 10-22mm is a steal.

What I Like:

  • Ultra-wide focal length for sweeping vistas
  • Good image quality at all focal lengths
  • Very limited distortion
  • Compact build

What I Don’t Like:

  • Build quality isn’t as good as a Canon L lens
  • Maximum aperture is f/3.5

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Budget Wide Angle Lens for Canon APS-C Cameras

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

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm is the entry-level budget ultra-wide lens made for Canon APS-C bodies.

What makes this lens such a great option?

First, the price: The Canon 10-18mm is an absolute bargain, costing just a fraction of other high-performing lenses in this category, but still managing to bring the goods.

Cheap zooms tend to have trouble with optics, but the Canon 10-18mm performs well at all focal lengths. Sharpness is good at the center of the image and decent at the corners, though diffraction does cause problems at narrow apertures.

While the 10-18mm does suffer from some barrel distortion and chromatic aberration, these shouldn’t be too hard to correct during post-processing.

 A welcome addition to the lens is its image stabilization, which will help any photographers out there who like to handhold, and make the 10-18mm into a potential wide walkaround option.

What I Like:

  • Great focal length for landscape photography
  • Amazing value for the price
  • Image stabilization is useful for handholding in low light
  • Lightweight

What I Don’t Like:

  • Chromatic aberration and barrel distortion are often present
  • Maximum aperture is f/4.5

Check Latest Price & Reviews


The Best Wide Angle Lens for Canon Full Frame Cameras

Here is the lest of best wide angle lenses you can purchase for Canon full frame cameras.

Best Ultra Wide Angle Lens

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF (205954)

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 ART

The Sigma 12-24mm f/4 ART is a true standout. Although it’s a Sigma lens, it’s made for Canon full-frame bodies, which means you can use it on pretty much all Canon DSLRs with no trouble.

Photographers will appreciate the ultra-wide focal length, stretching from the ultra-wide 12mm to a respectable 24mm. The lens is excellent for professional-quality landscapes, architecture, travel, and more.

And speaking of professional quality:

The Sigma 12-24mm offers stellar optics. It’s sharp at pretty much every focal length, though things do start to become softer at the longer end when shooting wide open. Stopping down to f/8 should take care of the issue, especially in the center of the frame, where this lens shines.

Another great thing about the Sigma 12-24mm is its build quality. The Sigma ART lenses are known for their rugged design, and the 12-24mm is no exception; it’s solid enough to withstand some serious abuse.

All in all, the Sigma 12-24mm ART is an excellent option for photographers looking for a dedicated wide angle lens that offers gorgeous image quality.

What I Like:

  • Perfect focal length for ultra-wide photography
  • Gorgeous image quality
  • Excellent build quality
  • f/4 aperture is nice for low light shooting

What I Don’t Like:

  • Front element makes filters impossible to mount
  • Longer focal lengths softer with wide open aperture

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best All Around Wide Angle Lens

Tamron AFA041N700 SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 for Nikon Digital SLR Camera, Black

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8

The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 is one of my favorite wide angle lenses, hands down.

Why?

First, the focal length is unique, stretching from ultra-wide territory all the way to a more standard-wide focal length. This makes the 15-30mm an excellent choice for most landscape and architectural photography scenarios, letting you compose a mix of wide and ultra-wide photos.

As for the lens optics, this lens is sharp. Really, really sharp. Even the corners perform well across the focal length range and wide open, while the center is even better. The 15-30mm does produce some chromatic aberration at the wide end, but it shouldn’t be too tough to fix in post-processing.

Unfortunately, the Tamron 15-30mm doesn’t accept circular filters; its bulbous front element makes mounting them impossible. Hence, if you shoot with this lens, you’ll be without your circular polarizer.

But given the gorgeous image quality this lens produces, it’ll almost certainly be worth it.

What I Like:

  • Focal length reaches from ultra-wide to moderately wide
  • f/2.8 aperture great for low light shooting
  • Vibration compensation is a useful bonus
  • Superb center sharpness and good corner sharpness

What I Don’t Like:

  • Some chromatic aberration at 15mm
  • Doesn’t accept most filters

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Native Canon Wide Angle Lens

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

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS

The Canon 16-35mm f/4L isn’t the lowest priced or the sharpest lens on this list, but it manages to combine a number of strong features into a very solid package.

It’s a Canon ‘L’ lens, which guarantees a level of durability you don’t see on Canon’s non-L options. As you’d expect, build quality on the 16-35mm is strong, and the weather-sealing is a nice bonus.

Optically, the 16-35mm performs well. It delivers sharp photos at every focal length and every f-stop, and even keeps the corners sharp, something many wide-angle lenses struggle with.

Regarding the focal length: Some photographers require a field of view beyond that which 16mm can provide. But for those photographers who are happy with a wide–but not ultra-wide–focal length, the 16-35mm is a great option. The zoom range is excellent, and you’ll appreciate the flexibility afforded by a lens that zooms you all the way in to 35mm for any tighter shots you come across.

One last great thing about the 16-35mm: the price. It’s a Canon ‘L’ lens, but Canon somehow kept the price so reasonable it’s hard to turn down.

What I Like:

  • Long focal length range for wider and tighter landscapes
  • Good image quality
  • Great price for an ‘L’ lens
  • Impressive build quality

What I Don’t Like:

  • Corner sharpness is disappointing
  • No ultra-wide focal length

Check Latest Price & Reviews


Best Budget Canon Wide Angle Lens

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L

The Canon 16-35mm f/4L is one of the best Canon wide angle lenses out there, and a great bargain for an L lens. But what about its even more reasonably priced sibling, the Canon 17-40mm f/4L?

The 17-40mm offers nearly the same focal length range, with a bit of extra reach and a slightly tighter wide end. As with the 16-35mm, photographers who need the widest possible field of view should take a look at other lenses on this list, such as the Sigma 12-24mm ART. But for those seeking a standard wide angle lens, the 17-40mm should be perfect.

Now, the Canon 17-40mm f/4L isn’t as optically impressive as the 16-35mm f/4L. But the 16-35mm set a high bar, and the 17-40mm performs well, keeping a sharp center throughout the focal length range. Corner sharpness does suffer, but this is expected for such a cheap zoom, and a bit of stopping down should fix much of the issue. You’ll also notice some pretty serious vignetting at 17mm, though this is less of a problem at 40mm.

If you’re the type of photographer who likes to subject your equipment to the elements, you’ll appreciate the solid build and weather-sealing on the Canon 17-40mm. This alone makes it a great option for serious landscape photographers, who should be able to rest easy knowing this lens can handle a bit of rain.

What I Like:

  • Good focal length for moderately wide landscape photos
  • Extremely light
  • Weather sealing
  • Bargain price

What I Don’t Like:

  • Longer focal lengths display reduced sharpness
  • Noticeable vignetting on the wide end

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Best Manual Wide Angle Lens for Astrophotography

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Lens w/ Built-in AE Chip for Nikon

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF

The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 is a bit of an odd duck: an ultra-wide prime, one with manual focus and an aperture ring.

Yet the Rokinon 14mm comes at an amazing price, and it turns out that the Rokinon is more than just a cheap lens.

For one thing, the Rokinon 14mm is sharp at f/2.8, especially in the center of the frame. Corner sharpness is less impressive, but this is improved by stopping down to f/4, f/5.6, and f/8.

The f/2.8 aperture is great for astrophotography, where depth of field matters little and widening your aperture matters a lot. The 14mm focal length allows you to capture a huge chunk of the night sky, though the lack of zoom does limit your flexibility when composing.

Note that the Rokinon 14mm is a manual focus lens; it includes no autofocus capabilities, and you’ll need to use the manual focus ring to choose a focus point before shooting. You’ll also need to select the Rokinon’s aperture using the aperture ring on the lens.

For those who prefer lenses with all the latest technology, look elsewhere. But for those interested in good image quality at a great price, the Rokinon is an excellent choice.

What I Like:

  • Good center sharpness
  • Reasonable price
  • 14mm focal length is good for ultra-wide shooting
  • f/2.8 aperture is good for low light photography

What I Don’t Like:

  • Photographer must set focus and aperture
  • Single 14mm focal length is restrictive

Check Latest Price & Reviews


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