Best Canon Wide-angle Lenses

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.

Best Canon Wide-angle Lenses

Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM review-so-far

Canon's EF-S 10-18mm IS STM is a lightweight and affordable ultra-wide zoom for its cropped-frame / APSC format DSLRs. The coverage takes over where most kit lenses start, but zooms so much wider, capturing vast landscapes, huge buildings, or just large group shots when you can't step back any further; indeed this also makes it invaluable for vloggers who hold their camera at arm's length. The build quality is basic, and it may lack the extra reach and slightly brighter aperture of the earlier EF-S 10-22mm, but the optical quality remains very respectable, and the presence of image stabilisation and smoother STM focusing makes it much preferable for movie shooters. Considering the low price, it really is one of the bargains in the Canon catalogue and a must for any owner of a Canon APSC DSLR who fancies getting into ultra-wide-angle photography.

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Sigma 12-24mm f4 Art review

Sigma's new 12-24/4.0 zoom is a very competent lens: Its optical performance is up there with the reference 15-30mm zoom from Tamron, it has only minor distortions and finally offers a constant f4.0 focal ratio - although f2.8 would have been even nicer. Most importantly it goes down to 12mm focal length offering a whopping 122 degrees angle of view which is only surpassed by Canon's 11-24mm f4.0 lens at almost twice the price. So although the new Sigma is not exactly cheap it earns a Highly Recommended rating.

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Canon EF 11-24mm f4L USM review

Canon's EF 11-24mm f4L USM is one of the most exciting lenses in the EF catalogue: a true exotic with an impressively bulbous front element, it delivers wide to extremely wide coverage with impressively sharp details and minimal distortion across the framer and throughout the range. Sure there's some coloured fringing and vignetting, but both are easily corrected digitally (whether on in-camera JPEGs or in RAW later) without compromising the ultimate image quality with pixel-wrangling. Filter lovers will also need to employ cumbersome third party mounting systems and avoid the widest focal lengths - or accept some vignetting. Then there's the size and cost: it's a large, heavy and expensive lens, but there's literally nothing else like it, that zooms as wide and performs this well. Luckily there's plenty of cheaper - and smaller - alternatives, but if you're a wide-angle aficionado, the EF 11-24mm f4L USM is your dream lens.

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Sigma 24-35mm f2 Art review

If you're looking for a wide-angle lens on a full-frame body you may consider the Sigma 24-35/2.0 DG HSM Art the ideal candidate: It covers three customary focal lengths (24/28/35mm) in one bright f2.0 zoom that performs as you would expect from a member of Sigma's highly acclaimed "Art" series: It's sharp at all focal lengths, has relatively little vignetting for such a wide-angle lens and shows only little longitudinal CAs and moderate coma. The build-quality supports Sigma's claim to have developed and manufactured a lens to professional standards although there's no weather sealing at the lens-mount. But other than that the Sigma 24-35mm f2.0 DG HSM Art plays on a very high level and as such earns our Highly Recommended rating.

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Sigma 20mm f1.4 Art review

The Sigma 20/1.4G Art is the latest lens in Sigma's line-up of wide-angle "Art" lenses. You can produce shots with image quality that were impossible at a wide open aperture of f1.4 not long ago. It has relatively little vignetting for such a wide-angle lens and shows only little longitudinal CAs and moderate coma. Plus its resistance against flare and glare is pretty good which is quite important for such a wide-angle lens. The build-quality and the new design support Sigma's claim to have developed and manufactured a lens to professional standards. Only the occasional misses of the AF (when using phase-detect autofocus on my D810) made me a bit nervous. But this may be an individual problem of my copy, or an issue when mounted on a D810. Regardless of the body though, you'll have to make do without a standard filter-thread plus there's no weather sealing at the lens-mount which seems a bit out of place for a lens targeted at professionals. But other than that the Sigma 20mm f1.4 DG HSM Art plays on a very high level and as such earns our Highly Recommended rating.

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Sigma 24mm f1.4 Art review

The Sigma 24/1.4G Art is another winner in Sigma's line-up of wide-angle "Art" lenses. You can produce shots with image quality you might think were impossible at a wide open aperture of f1.4. It has low distortions, normal vignetting, little longitudinal CAs, plus a fast and reliable AF (after some tuning with the USB-dock). And the build-quality and the new design support Sigma's claim to have developed and manufactured a lens to professional standards. I was quite impressed to see this lens surpass the optical performance of the venerable Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.4G in almost every aspect. Except for this dip in APS-C/DX corner performance at close distances. And I miss the weather sealing at the lens-mount which seems a bit out of place for a lens targeted at professionals. But other than that the Sigma 24mm f1.4 DG HSM Art plays on a very high level - and it does deliver this impressive performance at a price that is much lower than the 24mm f1.4 models from Nikon or Canon. This clearly earns the new Sigma lens our Highly Recommended rating.

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Tamron 35mm f1.8 VC review

The new Tamron 35/1.8 VC is a very versatile and interesting lens: It offers a fast f/1.8 aperture combined with image-stabilization that is good for two stops in my tests. That makes this lens hold out longer in dimly lit situations. It produces sharp images right into the corner of a full-frame sensor and can focus close up to a magnification of 1:2.5 which is ideal for capturing small subjects. On top of that it's relatively small and light. The only thing standing against a Highly Recommended are the color aberrations of this lens which can be pretty nasty at times. But the Tamron 35/1.8 VC clearly earns a Recommended. Regarding the performance the price of this lens seems okay although compared to the Sigma 35/1.4 Art and Tamron's own 24-70/2.8 VC it looks a bit on the high side.

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Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 VC review

Tamron's 15-30/2.8 Di VC USD has a lot going for it: The range is very practical for a wide-angle zoom, and starting at 15mm it almost never leaves you wanting. And a constant f2.8 aperture plus very good image stabilization makes it a very attractive proposition for those that don't carry around a tripod all day and need to take images indoors or under low light. Top this off with an image quality that surpasses the once king of the hill, the famed Nikon AF-S 14-24/2.8, in almost every aspect at a lower price and you have a lens that clearly earns a Highly Recommended. There are only two downsides in my view: the bulk/weight and that you cannot use filters. But still: For me this is the new reference in the ultra-wide-angle full-frame zoom class. Just make sure that you get a well-centered copy.

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Canon EF-S 24mm f2.8 STM

The EF-S 24mm f2.8 STM is a 'pancake' prime lens for Canon's cropped-frame DSLRs with APS-C sensors. It delivers 38mm equivalent coverage which makes it an ideal walk-around lens, roughly similar in length to the classic 35mm options on full-frame or 35mm film bodies. The f2.8 focal ratio gathers more light than a typical kit zoom, and the STM motor ensures smooth and quiet focusing for movies on the latest bodies. But the real selling point of the EF-S 24mm is its size: as a 'pancake' lens it's tiny, transforming your DSLR into a much more portable system. The relatively low price also makes it an ideal second lens for owners of budget DSLRs who fancy trying a general-purpose prime lens instead of a zoom.

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Canon EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM

Canon's EF 16-35mm f4L IS USM is an ultra-wide zoom that's compatible with full-frame DSLRs. It's the successor to the EF 17-40mm f4L USM, losing a little on the long-end, but gaining a tad on the important wide-end, while also adding the benefit of image stabilization. Crucially it matches the coverage of the EF 16-35mm f2.8 USM models, at a comfortably lower price which will make it a popular choice for those with lower-cost full-frame bodies or those who don't need an f2.8 aperture. But don't let the lower price fool you: as a modern optical design, it performs very well even with the highest resolution bodies.

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Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM

Canon’s EF 16-35mm f2.8L II USM is the second 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. Compare against the latest Mark III version.

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Canon EF 14mm f2.8L II USM

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. Compare closely with the EF 11-24mm f4L zoom though.

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Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art review

The Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM is a very exciting lens. You can produce shots with image quality you might think were impossible at a wide open aperture of f1.4. Plus the build-quality and the new design support Sigma's claim to have developed and manufactured a lens to professional standards. I was quite shocked to see this lens surpass the optical performance of the venerable Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G with respect to sharpness. But in other respects it slightly lags Nikon's flagship: rendering of out-of-focus subjects in the background is a bit more nervous than from the Nikkor which also shows a higher resistance against flare and glare. There's also no weather-sealing which seems a bit out of place for a lens targeted at professionals. But mind you even in these aspects of lens-performance the Sigma plays on a very high level - and it does deliver this impressive performance at a price that is much lower than the 35mm f1.4 models from Nikon, Canon or Sony.

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Canon EF 8-15mm f4L Fisheye USM review

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.

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

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.

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