Recommended Canon wide-angle lenses for landscape and architectural photography

 
Wide-angle lenses capture bigger views than normal, allowing you to squeeze very large subjects into the frame. They can prove invaluable whether you’re trying to photograph a large building, cramped interior, sweeping landscape view, or even just a big group shot.

 
 
They’re also ideal when you literally can’t step back any further, and are the standard kit of estate agents and realtors who want to make a room look bigger than it really is.

Most kit lenses include basic wide-angle coverage equivalent to a focal length of 28mm, but this is just a starting point in the world of wide-angle photography. Ultra-wide lenses allow you to squeeze even more into the frame and can deliver spectacular results.

So if you’re into landscape or architecture photography or regularly find yourself having to step-back to squeeze-in the desired shot, then get yourself an ultra-wide lens. The models below are all ideal.

Note when I mention full-frame bodies I'm referring to models like the EOS 5D Mark III and 6D. When I mention cropped-frame bodies, I'm referring to models like the EOS 1000D, 650D, 60D, 7D and the entire range of Digital Rebels. If you’d like to learn more about lens specifications, from focal lengths to f-numbers, please see my lens guide. If you find the information here useful, please support me by shopping at the stores below and if you have any questions about lenses, feel free to ask in the forum!



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

Specifications

Focal length:
10-22mm
Aperture: f3.5-4.5
Lens mount: Canon EF-S
EF-S equiv: 16-35mm
FF compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
Closest focus: 24cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: Optional EW-83E
Optics: 13 el. / 10 groups
Diaphragm blades: 6
Weight: 385g
Size: 84x90mm

     
Canon’s EF-S 10-22mm USM is one of the best quality ultra-wide-angle lenses in its range. As an EF-S model, it will only work on cropped-bodies, but the equivalent range of 16-35mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscapes, cramped interiors, large buildings or big group shots. The USM focusing is also quick and quiet, and again the optical quality is excellent. If you own a cropped-body and want a quality ultra-wide zoom, this is the one for you.


   
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Specifications

Focal length:
16-35mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: Canon EF
EF-S equiv: 26-56mm
FF compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
Closest focus: 28cm
Filter thread: 82mm
Hood: EW-88
Optics: 16 el. / 12 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 635g
Size: 89x112mm

     
Canon’s EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM is the latest version of its professional ultra-wide lens. It delivers huge views on a full-frame body and is so wide it’s also usable as a standard zoom on a cropped body. It’s pricey, but features a constant, bright f2.8 aperture, quick and quiet USM focusing, and as an ‘L’ lens the build quality and manual focusing are superb. A desirable ultra-wide zoom for full-frame owners or those looking to upgrade in the future.



   
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM review

Specifications

Focal length:
17-40mm
Aperture: f4
Lens mount: Canon EF
EF-S equiv: 27-64mm
FF compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
Closest focus: 28cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: EW-83E included
Optics: 12 el. / 9 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 500g
Size: 84x97mm

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_1

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_2 Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_3
     
Canon’s EF 17-40mm f4.0L USM is a more affordable ultra-wide lens which still boasts the ‘L’ badge of quality. As an EF model, it’ll work on full-frame bodies where it delivers a huge view, and like the model above, is so wide it can also work as a standard zoom on a cropped body. The f4.0 aperture is constant and the USM focusing quick and quiet. If you don’t need the f2.8 aperture of the 16-35mm, it’s a much more affordable alternative.



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

Specifications

Focal length:
8-15mm
Aperture: f4
Lens mount: Canon EF
EF-S equiv: 12.8-24mm
FF compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
Closest focus: 15cm
Filter thread: n/a
Hood: EW-77 included
Optics: 14 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 540g
Size: 79x83mm

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_1

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_1 Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM_1
     
The Canon EF 8-15mm f4L Fisheye USM is a unique lens which delivers 180 degree Fisheye images to all three of its sensor formats: APS-C, APS-H and full-frame, while owners of the latter also get to enjoy full circular Fisheye images too. This makes it a very flexible option for owners of multiple Canon bodies employing different sensor sizes and the optical quality is excellent. The build quality is also a big step up from the discontinued EF 15mm f2.8 Fisheye and now boasts weatherproof construction, although the focal ratio is one stop slower and the starburst effect at the smallest apertures isn't quite as attractive. It's also worth noting there are multiple Fisheye primes available from third parties like Sigma if you're only using one body and don't need both full and circular images from one lens.



   
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

Specifications

Focal length:
14mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: Canon EF
EF-S equiv: 22.4mm
FF compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
Closest focus: 20cm
Filter thread: Filter-holder
Hood: Built-in
Optics: 14 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 6
Weight: 645g
Size: 80x94mm

     
The widest prime lens in the Canon catalogue is a real gem: the EF 14mm f2.8L II USM, now in an improved Mark II version, delivers ultra-wide coverage without any of the distortion of a fisheye. This is the lens to go for if you want to capture big skies, large buildings or expansive landscapes with superb quality. It's also a valuable lens in cramped situations. Put it on a cropped body and it's still pretty wide, but much less exciting. I wouldn't recommend it to APS-C owners unless they were thinking of upgrading to full-frame in the future. But full-frame owners who love their ultra wide angle coverage will quickly become smitten, and it's well worth spending the extra on the Mark II version.



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