Wide and Extreme Wide-Angle Lens Roundup

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One of the broadest categories of lenses we sell at B&H is wide and extra-wide-angle lenses. As for defining the parameters of wide and ultra wide, the safest definition of a standard wide-angle lens would be a lens with an angle of view between 62° and 84° (35mm to 24mm on a full-frame 35mm DSLR) and anything wider residing in the ultra-wide group. With few exceptions, most wide-angle zooms have angles of view that include both camps, which is one of the attributes that makes them so desirable.

The widest optics in terms of field coverage are fisheyes, which can display up to 180° of whatever lies before your camera. Fisheyes come in two varieties—circular, in which the scene is rendered as a sphere, and full field, in which the full 180° image field is displayed across the entire image frame. Although fisheye images are inherently chock-full of linear distortions, there are a number of OEM and third-party software applications that can correct a large number of these distortions at the cost of a few degrees of the image’s original field coverage.

Depending on what you need, our current crop of wide-angle lenses includes fixed primes with maximum apertures as fast as f/1.4, as well as a broad selection of wide-angle zooms. The maximum apertures of the fastest wide zooms top out at f/2.8, though most wide zooms are of the variable-aperture variety that open up at most to a more modest f/3.5 to f/4.5. These slower wide zooms tend to be less costly, though not necessarily less sharp than their pricier brethren.

Wide-angle optics are available from all of the key camera manufacturers and are equally represented by third-party manufacturers, whose wares are invariably (though not always) less pricey than their OEM counterparts.

Nikon

Nikon offers a choice of 15 fixed and zoom wide-angle lenses for Nikon FX (full-frame) and DX (APS-C) format DSLRs. The widest Nikkors are the Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8G ED DX and Nikkor 16 f/2.8D, both of which capture full-frame 180° imagery for FX and DX format Nikon DSLRs, respectively. In addition to four rectilinear ultra-wides (14mm f/2.8, 20mm f/2.8, 24mm f/2.8, and 24mm f/1.4), Nikon also boasts a 14 to 24mm ultra-wide zoom, which is indispensible for shooters working in tight quarters with little time to swap lenses. Nikon also offers a choice of wide zooms with fast (f/2.8) fixed maximum apertures, slower variable-aperture wide zooms, and several wide-to-short telephoto zooms.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Nikon AF DX Fisheye Nikkor 10.5 f/2.8G ED DX 

APS-C No 180° (Full-frame) 5.5" (0.14m) Rear Gel Slot 10.8 oz

Nikon AF Fisheye Nikkor 16 f/2.8D

Full frame / APS-C No 180° (135° APS-C) 10.2" (0.259m)  None 10.08 oz

Nikon AF Nikkor 14 f/2.8D ED

Full frame / APS-C No  114° (90° APS-C) 8" (0.2m) Rear Gel Slot 23.6 oz (670 g)

Nikon AF Nikkor 20 f/2.8D

Full frame / APS-C  No 94° (70.5 APS-C) 10.2" (0.259m)  62mm  9.28 oz

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24 f/1.4G ED

Full frame / APS-C No 84° (61° APS-C) 9.84" (0.25m) 77mm  21.9 oz

Nikon AF Nikkor 24 f/2.8D

Full frame / APS-C No 84° (61° APS-C)  12" (0.3m) 52mm 9.28 oz

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

APS-C No  109-61°  9.6" (0.24m)  77mm  16.2 oz

Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24 f/4G IF-ED

APS-C No 99-61° 11.8" (0.3m)  77mm  17.1 oz

Nikon AF-S 14-24 f/2.8G ED

Full frame / APS-C No 114-84° (90-61° APS-C) 11" ( 0.279m) None  35.2 oz

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

Full frame / APS-C Yes  107-63° (83-44° APS-C) 11.4" (0.289m) 77mm  24 oz

Nikon AF-S 16-85 f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX

APS-C Yes  83-18.5°  14.96" (0.38m) 67mm 17 oz

Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8D IF-ED

Full frame / APS-C No 104-62° (78-46.5° APS-C)  11" (0.279m) 77mm 26.56 oz

Nikon AF 17-55 f/2.8G ED-IF

Full frame / APS-C No 79-28° (59.25-21° APS-C) 14.2" (0.36m) 77mm 26.59 oz

Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 18-35/3.5-4.5D IF-ED

Full frame / APS-C No  100-62° (75-46.5°  APS-C) 13.2" (0.335m) 77mm 12.96 oz

Nikon AF-S 24-70 f/2.8G ED

Full frame / APS-C No 85-35° (63.75-26.25° APS-C) 14.4" (0.366m)  77mm 32 oz

Canon

Canon currently offers a dozen wide and ultra-wide EF and EF-S lenses for their full-frame and APS-C format DSLRs, the coolest of which is undoubtedly the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye, which on a full-frame DSLR covers the range of a circular 180° fisheye to a full-frame 108° angle of view. When used on an APS-C format camera, you get full-frame 180° image coverage at the lens’s widest setting, which narrows down to a merely ridiculous ultra-wide-angle view as you zoom in. In addition to a stepless selection of fast and really fast fixed focal length primes, Canon also offers a range of wide and ultra-wide zoom options for their compact and full-size DSLR lineup.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Canon EF 8-15 f/4L Fisheye USM 

Full frame / APS-C No  180-108° (135-81° APS-C) 6.2" (0.16m) Rear Gel Slot 19.04 oz

Canon EF 14 f/2.8L II USM

Full frame / APS-C No 114° ( 88° APS-C) 7.9" (0.2m) Rear Gel Slot   22.75 oz

Canon EF 20 f/2.8 USM

Full frame / APS-C No 94° (68° APS-C) 9.84" (0.25m)  72mm 14.24 oz

Canon EF 24 f/1.4L II USM

Full frame / APS-C No  84° (59° APS-C) 9.84" (0.25m) 77mm 22.9 oz

Canon EF 24 f/2.8

Full frame / APS-C No  84° (59° APS-C)  9.84" (0.25m) 58mm 9.44 oz

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

APS-C No  107.5-63.5° 9.5" (0.063m) 77mm 13.6 oz

Canon EF-S 15-85 f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

APS-C Yes  84-18° 13.78" (0.35m) 72mm 20.28 oz

Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM 

Full frame / APS-C No 107-63° (80-42° APS-C) 10.8" (0.27m) 82mm 22.39 oz

Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM

Full frame / APS-C No  104-57° (78-37° APS-C) 11" (0.279m) 77mm 17.5 oz

Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM

APS-C Yes  78-27° 13.77" (0.35m)  77mm  22.75 oz

Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 

Full frame / APS-C No  84-34° (59-22° APS-C) 14.96" (0.38m) 77mm 33.5 oz

Canon EF 24-105 f/4 IS

Full frame / APS-C Yes  84-23° (59-14° APS-C) 17.7" (0.45m) 77mm 23.6 oz

Sony

From Sony we have a choice of seven wide-angle offerings, two of which are fixed focal length—a 16mm f/2.8 full-frame fisheye (180 °on full-frame DSLRs, 110° FOV on APS-C format DSLRs) and a real tasty-looking Carl Zeiss 24mm f/2.0. The Carl Zeiss nameplate can also be found on Sony’s 16-35mm f/2.8, 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 and the favorite of many Sony users, the 24-70mm f/2.8 Vario-Sonnar T*. In addition to these fine hunks of glass, Sony also offers a DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 ultra wide to wide zoom and a longer-reaching DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 wide to medium telephoto zoom, both of which are designed for use on Sony APS-C format DSLRs.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Sony 16 f/2.8 Fisheye

Full frame / APS-C In camera 180° (110° APS-C) 8" (0.2m) None 14.1 oz

Sony / Carl Zeiss 24 f/2

Full frame / APS-C In camera 84° (61° APS-C) 7.5" (0.19m) 72mm 19.58 oz

Sony Carl Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8

Full frame / APS-C In camera 108-62° (83-44° APS-C) 12" (0.28m)  77mm 30.3 oz

Sony DT 11-18 f/4.5-5.6

APS-C In camera 104-76° 9.6" (0.25m) 77mm 12.7 oz

Sony DT Carl Zeiss 16-80 f/3.5-4.5

APS-C In camera 83-20° 13.8" (0.35m) 62mm 15.5 oz

Sony AF DT 16-105 f/3.5-5.6 D

APS-C In camera 71-15°  15.7" (0.4m)  62mm 16.57 oz

Sony SAL 24-70 f/2.8 Vario-Sonnar T*

Full frame / APS-C In camera 84-34° (APS-C 59-22°)  13.77" (0.35m) 77mm 35.2 oz

Pentax

We have a quartet of wide-angle zooms for Pentax and a pair of fixed focal length ultra wides, each of which is designed for use with APS-C format DSLRs (Pentax does not currently produce full-frame DSLRs). The fixed primes include a rather compact smc-DA 15mm f/4.0 ED AL Limited, which weighs in at a scant 7.47oz (212g) and has an 86° FOV, or the equivalent image field of a 23mm lens on a full-frame DSLR. The faster (and heftier) ultra wide from Pentax is the SMCP-DA 14mm f/2.8 ED IF, which takes in a full 90° FOV, or the equivalent image field of a 21mm lens on a  full-frame 35mm DSLR. The four zooms range from a super wide SMCP-DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED IF to a faster, narrower-range SMCP-DA*16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL IF.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Pentax SMCP-DA 14mm f/2.8 ED IF

APS-C In camera 90° 6.72" (17cm) None 14.8oz

Pentax smc-DA 15mm f/4 ED AL Limited

APS-C In camera 86° 7.1" (18cm) 49mm 7.47oz

Pentax smc DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED IF Fisheye

APS-C In camera 180-100° 5.6" (0.14m) None 11.3 oz

Pentax smc DA 12-24mm f/4 ED AL (IF)

 APS-C In camera  99-61° 12" (0.8m) 77mm 15.2 oz

Pentax smc DA 16-45mm f/4 ED AL

APS-C  In camera 83-35° 11.8" (0.3m) 67mm 13 oz

Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM

APS-C In camera 83-31.5° 12" (0.8m) 77mm 19.9 oz

Panasonic

Panasonic offers two ultra-wide-angle lenses for Lumix G series Micro Four Thirds format cameras, the first of which is the Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 fisheye that delivers a full-frame 180° angle of view. Panasonic’s fisheye features ED glass elements, close focusing down to 4", and a rear slot for gel filters. Their second offering is the Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4 ASPH, a Zeiss designed ultra wide with two aspheric surfaces, four ED elements and an FOV range of 114° to 75°, which is equivalent to a 14 to 28mm lens on a full-frame 35mm DSLR.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Micro Four Thirds No  180° 3.96" (0.1m) Rear Gel Slot  5.82 oz

Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f/4

Micro Four Thirds No 114-75°  9.84" (0.25m)  None 10.58 oz

Olympus

There’s a choice of four flavors of wide zooms and a fisheye offering from Olympus to complement Olympus’s Four Thirds format cameras. Like its Panasonic counterpart, the Olympus 8mm f/3.5 Zuiko Digital ED fisheye delivers a full frame, 180° FOV. The remaining four offerings are wide zooms that range from an ultra-wide to wide Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/4 (114-75°) to a more traditional range of wide-to-wide and wide-to-medium telephoto zooms with maximum variable apertures in the f/2.8 to f/4 range. Each of these lenses features ED glass for optimized image quality.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Four Thirds  No 180° 5.3" (0.134m) None 16.1 oz

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/4 

Four Thirds No  114-75°   4" (0.1m) None  27.5 oz

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 

Four Thirds No 100-62°  9.8" (0.248m) 72mm  9.7 oz

Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 11-22mm f/2.8-3.5 

Four Thirds No  89-53°  11.02" (0.28m) 72mm  15.6 oz

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ED SWD 

Four Thirds No 84-20° 9.8" (0.248m) 72mm 20.2 oz

Tamron

In addition to the selection of OEM wide-angle lenses described above, there is a number of third party wide-angle optics designed for use with almost all of the major camera brands. If you own an APS-C format DSLR from Sony, Canon, Nikon or Pentax and you’re looking for an ultra wide to wide-angle zoom, you might want to look at Tamron’s SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DI II. Featuring aspheric-surfaced elements and micro motors for fast and smooth focusing, the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II takes in an FOV range of 108° to 60° (approximately 16 to 35mm equivalent). And for those seeking a faster lens with a longer zoom range, we have the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II, which has an FOV range of 78° to 31° (approximately 25 to 80mm equivalent) and is also available in mounts for compact DSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II LD ASPH (IF)

APS-C  No 108-60° 9.4" (0.24m) 77mm  14.3 oz

Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II 

APS-C  No 78-31°  10.6" (0.27m) 67mm  15.3 oz

Sigma

It’s hard not to notice the fact that four out of the nine wide-angle lenses Sigma offers are fisheye lenses; two for APS-C format cameras only (4.5mm and 10mm) and two for full-frame and APS-C format DSLRs (8mm and 15mm). The Sigma 4.5mm f/4.5 EX DC HSM is exclusively for Sigma DSLRs while the faster 10mm f/2.8 EX DC fisheye is available for Canon, Sony, Pentax and Nikon APS-C format DSLRs. For those using full-frame DSLRs from Sony, Pentax, Nikon and Canon, there’s an 8mm f/3.5 EX DG circular fisheye lens with an FOV of 180°.

The zoom offerings from Sigma include extreme wide zooms starting with an 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6, followed by a 10-20mm f/3.5 and a variable aperture 10-20mm f/4-5.6, each of which is designed for use with compact DSLRs from Pentax, Nikon, Sony, Canon, Pentax and Sigma. For full-frame (and APS-C) DSLRs, Sigma offers an ultra-wide 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 (122 to 84.1° FOV) and a longer 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 DC Macro zoom (72.4° – 20.2° FOV).

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Sigma 4.5mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye 

 APS-C No  180°  5.3" (0.134m) Rear Drop-in  16 oz

Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Fisheye 

Full frame / APS-C No  180°  5.3" (0.134m) Rear Drop-in   14.1 oz

Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye

APS-C No  180° 5.3" (0.134m) Rear Drop-in     NA

Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Fisheye 

Full frame / APS-C No  180°  5.9" (0.149m) Rear Drop-in     11.7 oz

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM 

APS-C No  114.5-75.4° 9.4" (0.238m) None 19.6 oz

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM 

APS-C No  102.4-63.8° 9.4" (0.238m) 82mm  18.3 oz

Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM 

APS-C No  102.4-63.8° 9.4" (0.238m)  77mm  16.4 oz

Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPH HSM 

Full frame / APS-C  No  122-84.1°         (91.5-63° APS-C) 11"   (0.279m) Rear Gel Slot 21.69 oz

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM 

Full frame / APS-C    Yes 72.4-20.2°        (54.3-15.15° APS-C) 8.7"    (0.22m) 72mm 18.87 oz

Tokina

Tokina has a trio of zooms: a 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ultra-wide fisheye zoom (180-100°) 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Zoom (108-84°) and a 12-24mm f/4.0 (99-61°), both of which are available in mounts for compact DSLRs from Nikon and Canon.

  Format Image Stabilized Field of View Min. Focus Filter Size Weight

Tokina AT-X AF DX 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 Fisheye 

APS-C No  180-100°  5.6" (0.142m) None  12.3 oz

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX

APS-C No 104-82°  11.8" (0.229m) 77mm 19.8 oz

Tokina AT-X 12-24mm f/4 Pro DX II 

APS-C No  99-61°   11.8" (0.229m) 77mm 20.1 oz

In addition to the abovementioned wide-angle lenses, it’s also worth mentioning that there are several extremely affordable manual-focus fisheye, 13mm and 14mm ultra-wides, and fast 35mm f/1.4s from Vivitar, Rokinon, and Bower. For further information see our Manual Lens Roundup.

Items discussed in article

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The Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX Autofocus Lens and the Tokina 12-24/4 AT-X 124 Pro DX (not the II, but the first version) are missing from the list.

Good catch, great input, and thanks for taking the time to send in your comments. This lens has been added to our Wide-angle Roundup.

That 12-24mm f/4 Tokina lens on a Nikon D90 is simply an outstanding combination. The lens is reasonably priced, solidly built and has excellent optics. Hard to beat.

I don't see Canon's wide tilt shift lenses, another great creative option.

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM  is not FULL FRAME as it is DC , It would have DG for full frame.. Plz update