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  Recommended Nikkor / Nikon 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 27mm, 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 FX bodies I'm referring to full-frame models like the D600 and D800. When I mention DX bodies, I'm referring to cropped-frame models like the D3200, D5200 and D7000. 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!



 
Nikkor AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Specifications

Focal length:
10-24mm
Aperture: f3.5-4.5
Lens mount: DX
Equiv on DX: 15-36mm
FX compatible: No
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 24cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: HB-23
Optics: 14 el. / 9 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 460g
Size: 83x87mm
     
The Nikkor DX 10-22mm is a great-quality ultra-wide-angle lens designed for use on DX-format bodies only. Mounted on a DX body, the equivalent range of 15-36mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscapes, cramped interiors, large buildings or big group shots, and it’ll also autofocus on all DX bodies including entry-level models. If you own a DX body and want a quality ultra-wide zoom, this is the one to go for.


 
Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED review

Specifications

Focal length:
14-24mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: F-mount
Equiv on DX: 21-36mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 28cm
Filter thread: N/A
Hood: Built-in
Optics: 14 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 9
Weight: 970g
Size: 98x132mm

     
The Nikkor 14-24mm is a superb ultra-wide lens designed for use on either DX or FX format bodies. On the latter, the coverage is spectacularly wide, but the quality remains excellent right up to the edges, while the constant f2.8 aperture allows it to gather plenty of light. The lens may be relatively large, heavy, pricey and have less than a 2x total range, but the optical and build quality are unrivalled. One of the best wide-angle lenses available today which causes owners of rival systems to weep with envy.


 
Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR review

Specifications

Focal length:
16-35mm
Aperture: f4
Lens mount: F-Mount
Equiv on DX: 24-53mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: Yes
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 28cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: HB-23
Optics: 17 el. / 12 groups
Diaphragm blades: 9
Weight: 680g
Size: 83x125mm
     
If you want a high quality ultra-wide Nikon zoom, but can't stretch to the 14-24mm above, then consider the 16-35mm. It costs almost half the price, zooms almost as wide, but is more flexible as a general-purpose wide lens by reaching almost 50% longer. The sacrifice is one stop of aperture (f4 vs f2.8), but the 16-35mm enjoys the advantage of Vibration Reduction, giving up to four stops of compensation, allowing you to handhold three stops slower than the 14-24mm when both are using their maximum apertures. It's also one of the only ultra-wide zooms from any company with optical stabilisation.



 
Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED review

Specifications

Focal length:
18-35mm
Aperture: f3.5-4.5
Lens mount: F-Mount
Equiv on DX: 27-53mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 28cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: HB-66
Optics: 12 el. / 8 groups
Diaphragm blades:7
Weight: 385g
Size: 83x95mm
     
Nikon's not short of wide zooms and of them all, the AF-S 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 looks one of the least exotic. But don't be fooled, this affordable wide zoom for full-frame cameras punches above its weight in terms of optical quality. Indeed in some respects it out-performs the more expensive 16-35mm f4G above, so if you don't need the slightly wider coverage, constant aperture and VR of that model, the 18-35mm could be a great choice. So while it was launched to complement Nikon's budget full-framers like the D610, it could be as compelling for owners of the higher-end bodies who want a good, solid wide zoom.



 
Nikkor AF-S 20mm f/1.8G review

Specifications

Focal length:
20mm
Aperture: f1.8
Lens mount: F-mount
Equiv on DX: 30mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 20cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Hood: HB-72
Optics: 13 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 355g
Size: 72x82mm
     
The AF-S 20mm f1.8G joins Nikon's increasing range of f1.8 primes and is a long-overdue replacement for the 25 year old 20mm f2.8. It's designed for use on full-frame FX-format bodies where it delivers an ultra wide field of view, and even mounted on a cropped DX body it's still fairly wide at 30mm. As a prime lens a lot of people hoped the 20mm would out-perform the 14-24mm zoom in its mid-position, but they're actually close at f2.8. Where the 20mm scores is lighter weight, smaller size, lower price plus the chance to shoot at f1.8 if necessary. So while not a no-brainer, it is a compelling alternative. PS - if you are weighing it up against the 14-24mm, there are lots of comparisons in my review.



 
Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.8G review

Specifications

Focal length:
28mm
Aperture: f1.8
Lens mount: F-mount
Equiv on DX: 42mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 25cm
Filter thread: 67mm
Hood: HB-64
Optics: 11 el. / 9 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 330g
Size: 73x81mm
     
The 28mm focal length delivers classic wide angle coverage on a full-frame body that's neither too extreme nor too long. The Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.8G is a great option for anyone who wants this coverage from a single prime lens that's much brighter and better quality than a zoom. It may be fairly wide, but the f1.8 aperture allows you to achieve a nice shallow depth of field with attractive bokeh especially when the subject is reasonably close. Stop it down a little and the image quality becomes very sharp across the frame. Sadly it is a little pricier than Nikon's other f1.8G primes, but it's worth it for anyone wanting a nice, bright, prime wide angle. Pop it on a DX body and you'll also have a nice standard lens that's ready for use on FX bodies should you ever upgrade in the future.




 
Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G review

Specifications

Focal length:
35mm
Aperture: f1.8
Lens mount: F-mount
Equiv on DX: 53mm
FX compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: SWM
Closest focus: 25cm
Filter thread: 58mm
Hood: HB-70
Optics: 11 el. / 8 groups
Diaphragm blades: 7
Weight: 305g
Size: 72x72mm
     
The AF-S 35mm f1.8G is one of five f1.8 full-frame primes in the Nikkor catalogue sitting between the 20 and 28mm at the wide end and the 50 and 85mm at the longer end. Mounted on an FX body it delivers general-purpose semi-wide coverage, that becomes standard when fitted to a cropped DX body. Indeed it's a great choice for DX body owners as it gives them a standard lens, yet is future-proofed for an upgrade to full-frame in the future if desired. It's also superior in pretty much every regard to the old Nikkor AF 35mm f2D, albeit at a higher price tag.



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