Filmmaking Best Wide Angle Lens: 8 Top Wide Angle Lenses

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  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    A quality wide angle lens is a must have in any kit bag. This article will list some of our top contenders for what we consider the best wide angle lens. We’ll also cover some tips and strategies for getting the best out of your wide angle lens.

    When we look at something, we are initially primarily interested in the overview. Only later we zoom in more on the details.

    For such a broad overview, a wide-angle lens is indispensable. And nowadays zoom lenses are becoming more and more fashionable.

    A History of Wide Angle Camera Work

    The shooter who opts for a wide-angle zoom chooses flexibility. You are aware of what you do and do not want to allow in the picture.

    With such short focal lengths, a millimeter more or less makes a big difference. You can always cut off a portion of the image afterward, such as an excess of a foreground. You do this because the aspect ratio is linked to the 3: 2 ratio of the sensor.

    The wide angle lens is a staple of photography and videography, no matter what type of work you’re doing. Wide angle shots have been used in traditional narrative filmmaking for decades. Think of the classic master shot, before the filmmaker punches in for a close-up.

    Let’s take a look at some of the top wide angle lenses out there.

    Best Wide Angle Lens

    Here are our 8 favorite wide angle lenses. We’re going to feature lenses here that are affordable to the average filmmaker / photographer / videographer.

    These lenses can also be found easily and aren’t old relics of a bygone era collecting dust somewhere. All of these lenses are modern pieces of equipment that make your life and work easier.

    1. Canon EF-S F3.5-4.5 / 10-22 mm USM

    This super wide-angle zoom lens dates back to 2005. It is perfectly built on an APS-C reflex (like an EOS 60D) and it works comfortably. The lens is delivered without a lens hood, but Canon does include a manual on CD in addition to the lens caps.

    Three aspherical lenses and one lens of precious SUD glass (Super Ultra-low Dispersion) are included in the system. This helps in eliminating the chromatic aberration.

    The sharpness is very high on the wide-angle side but decreases in the direction of 22mm. However, this quality is very good up to the corners. In the blur we sometimes see, for example between branches, that the blur forms a hexagon – that should be improved.

    The vignetting is decidedly favorable with one and a half stops at the maximum opening and half a stop. This applies even more to the distortion: less than 2% barrel-shaped at 10 mm, going straight to 22 mm. A strong asset!

    Minimum focal distance: 24cm

    Filter size: 77mm

    Length: 89mm

    Weight: 385g

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

    • 10-22mm wide-angle zoom lens with f/3.5-4.5 maximum aperture for EOS digital SLR cameras
    • Superior AF performance and speed, with full-time manual focus with the turn of a ring
    • Close focusing to 9.5 inches; fills the frame with subjects as small as 3.6 x 5.4 inches
    • Circular aperture design produces natural highlights
    • 1-year warranty
    $649.00 - $50.00 $599.00
    Buy on Amazon
    2. Nikon AF-S F3.5-4.5 10-24 mm

    This wide-angle zoom for APS-C cameras comes with lens cap, lens hood, and a soft bag. The dimensions fit well with the Nikon D7000, which served as a test camera.

    The lens has a rubber sealing ring around the bayonet. The focus window also excludes dust and moisture, something we also see applied to the professional Nikkors.

    You can switch to autofocus when the M / A selector is on autofocus.

    This is a nice sharp wide-angle zoom. Two ED glass lenses and three aspherical lenses contribute to an undeformed and brilliant display.

    At full aperture, there is one and a half stop vignetting at 10mm. The contrast suffers somewhat, but the detailing remains good in the corners.

    The lens is very well coated, so the backlight shots retain much detail. The angle of view is very strong at 109 to 61 degrees: ideal for large (indoor) spaces, landscapes, and city shots.

    Minimum focal distance: 24 cm

    Filter size: 77mm

    Length: 87mm

    Weight: 460g

    Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

    • Ideal for landscapes, cityscapes, interiors, architecture and more.
    • Focal Length : 10- 24 mm, Close focusing to 0.8 feet
    • Renders a picture angle of 109 degrees through 61 degrees, equivalent to focal lengths of 15-36mm.
    • SWM enables fast, accurate and quiet autofocus operation., For superior sharpness and color...
    • Aspherical lens elements virtually eliminate coma and other types of lens aberration, even when used...
    $899.95 - $103.00 $796.95
    Buy on Amazon
    3. Nikon AF-S 12-24mm F/4

    This compact, decent Nikon lens works on an APS-C reflex like an 18-36mm zoom at full frame. With manual lighting, the fixed brightness is pleasant.

    In terms of execution, the whole thing fits in the line of the DX-ED lenses. You can feel the distinction between the wide zoom ring and the narrow focus ring. Because the focus part is behind a visor, this somewhat older model is well sealed.

    At f/4, the display is somewhat darker due to vignetting that extends over almost the entire field of view. At 24mm, f/4 is somewhat soft. At 12mm you see a better contrast display.

    The wide-angle position has a slight, corrected barrel-shaped distortion. On the long side, it is only 1% pincushion-shaped: not exactly values to lose sleep over.

    The full aperture has a good angle to very good center resolution, so that f/4 is really usable. The seven diaphragm blades provide a soft blur that is likely to occur at a wide angle.

    Minimum focal distance: 30cm

    Filter size: 77mm

    Length: 90mm

    Weight: 485g

    Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

    • 12-24mm autofocus zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture for Nikon digital SLR cameras
    • 2 Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements and 3 aspherical lens elements for superior optics
    • D-type design provides precise distant information for flash and ambient light exposure
    • Rounded diaphragm makes out-of-focus elements appear natural; 11.8-inch close focus distance
    • Measures 3.2 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches long; weighs 1.07 pounds; 5-year warranty
    $1,146.95 - $200.00 $946.95
    Buy on Amazon

    4. Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM

    This new Sigma lens is suitable for full frame and crop cameras, equipped with the silent and fast HSM autofocus and available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and of course Sigma reflexes.

    The version of this lens is splash-proof and has pretty good water resistance all round. With a weight of 670 grams and a tough 12-centimeter length, it fits well with reflexes like a Nikon D700 or D800.

    The lens hood is permanently mounted to protect the convex front lens. With APS-C use, the included round metal adapter ring can be slid over the lens hood for more effect.

    The Super Multi-Layer coating works fine: when the sun comes into view, a minimal green circle can be seen on the opposite side.

    Because we can focus up to 28 centimeters close by, dynamic close-ups are feasible. The detailing is high, the sharpness continues into the corners and the not so bright full aperture is also very useful.

    We don’t discover errors that usually appear at these kind of settings, and that is pretty special for this kind of lens. At full aperture and 12mm the vignetting is one and a half stop and at 24mm one stop. Making this lens very attractive!

    The extreme wide-angle position shows a fairly strong barrel distortion of 4%. At 24mm this is 1% pincushion-shaped. The retail price is extremely reasonable for this type of ultra-wide-angle zoom.

    Minimum focal distance: 28cm

    Filter size: no

    Length: 120mm

    Weight: 670g

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

    • It allows photographers to enjoy the world of zero distortion that is ideal for landscape or...
    • Continuing the tradition of the ultra wide angle range with incredible perspective, this new lens...
    • With F4 throughout the zoom range, it is one stop brighter than the previous model, allowing...
    $1,599.00 - $100.00 $1,499.00
    Buy on Amazon
    5. Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM

    Once upon a time, Sigma had a full-frame 15-30mm lens that drew top recommendations from experts. This is the APS-C variant, but the bar has been raised above all in this kind of focal distance area.

    The lens construction with four aspherical lenses (counter distortion, more compact construction), two ELD elements and one SLD element (higher sharpness, reduction of chromatic aberration) indicate this.

    The light intensity of f/3.5 is quite high for such an ultrazoom.

    The lens is solid and beautifully executed, like the 12-24mm model, but then for the APS-C reflexes.

    At full aperture, the center sharpness is very good, but the outer corners remain clearly behind, especially at 10mm.

    In the blur, we still see some chromatic aberration, but it is of little significance.

    The distortion always ends straight, but bolts at 10mm in the middle to 3.5%. At 13mm, straight lines are straight and at 20mm only slightly pincushion-shaped: quite an achievement.

    Whilst this lens might not be appropriate for some uses, it’s a good choice for reportage and journalism photography and videography, among other uses.

    Minimum focal distance: 24cm

    Filter size: 82mm

    Length: 88mm

    Weight: 520g

    Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

    • Super-Wide: 10-20 with maximum aperture of F3.5 throughout entire zoom range
    • Includes: Petal-type Hood supplied
    • Filter Size: 82mm
    $649.00 - $250.00 $399.00
    Buy on Amazon
    6. Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

    This third ultra-wide angle zoom from Sigma delivers spectacular viewing angles. At 8 mm the image covers 115 degrees.

    For architectural and landscape work, this means that foreground details are displayed relatively large. The distances are insignificant.

    Cloudy skies, tall trees, stepped waterfalls…it’s all there, comparable to a 12-24mm full-frame zoom. The downside is that you can not use filters.

    The corners often get a stretched view: no lens error, but a perspective consequence of those very wide angles of view.

    Be careful shooting people at the really wide angles of view, because circles (like heads) become elongated ovals!

    The distortion is wavy on 8mm and is 2%. At 16mm, that distortion is smoother and with 1% pincushion shape is negligibly small.

    The image quality is beautiful. As working aperture, f/8 is an excellent starting point.

    Minimum focal distance: 24cm

    Filter size: no

    Length: 106mm

    Weight: 545g

    Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF Ultra Wide Zoom Lens for APS-C sized Canon Digital DSLR Camera

    • Front & Rear Lens Caps
    • Lens Hood
    • Lens Pouch
    • Limited 1-Year Warranty
    • Limited 3-Year U.S.A. Extended Warranty
    Buy on Amazon

    7. Sony DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Aspherical ED Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens

    This ultra wide-angle zoom from Sony was tested on a Sony SLT-A77, an DSLR with a 24-megapixel sensor. This makes the possibilities and qualities of the lens stronger. Unfortunately, ditto with the issues, however.

    The lens is very compact and light. The zoom and focus ring (front) have the same ribbed rubber profile, so the distinction is not immediately clear.

    The lens is solidly built and equipped with, among other things, a metal bayonet. It is delivered with a flower lens hood.

    The full lens aperture is a little softer but still scores well over the entire range. The sharpness is high in the image center but decreases in the (extreme) corners.

    At 11mm, the barrel distortion is overcorrected and therefore slightly wavy edge lines are created. The 18mm position is at least pincushion-shaped.

    Unfortunately, the lens is sensitive to flare. When the sun comes into view, yellow and orange discs appear as ghosts. Such lens errors can be difficult to correct in post-production.

    Minimum focal distance: 24cm

    Filter size: no

    Length: 106mm

    Weight: 545g

    Sony DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Aspherical ED Super Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera

    • DT lens design for optimum performance
    • Maximum Magnification ratio (x): 0.125x.Delivers excellent wide-angle and long telephoto shots
    • Mount : Sony A-mount
    • Aspherical lens elements for wide-angle accuracy
    • ED glass elements for sharp, accurate colors, 35mm Equivalent: 165 to 27mm
    Buy on Amazon
    8. Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Wide Angle Zoom Lens

    This Tamron wide-angle zoom looks a bit like a Nikon lens because of the gold band. We tested this lens (also available for Canon, Pentax, and Sony Alpha) with Nikon bayonet, so that we can compare it with the corresponding Nikon zoom.

    The lens is easily designed with beautiful wide zoom and focus rings. The built-in AF motor works slightly audibly but not disturbingly.

    Sometimes the autofocus has to search and that produces some vibrations.

    During the test, this lens appears to be very well conditioned against flare and ghosts: always very useful for such a wide-angle zoom!

    There is also surprisingly little vignetting to see. On the full aperture, the view is somewhat woolly and overblown. The corners are out of focus at 10mm, but nothing can be seen on f/8.

    Thanks to seven slats in the diaphragm, the background blur looks pleasant. Because the distortion is very low, this lens would be highly applicable for architectural work.

    Minimum focal distance: 25cm

    Filter size: 77mm

    Length: 81mm

    Weight: 360g

    Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon APS-C Digital SLR Cameras (6 Year Limited USA Warranty)

    • VC (Vibration Compensation)`
    • HLD (High/Low torque-modulated Drive)
    • Moisture-resistant construction
    • Fluorine coating repels water and oil from the lens surface
    • Electromagnetic diaphragm system
    $499.02 - $0.02 $499.00
    Buy on Amazon
    Wide Angle Lens – Different Apertures

    The lenses tested here have various apertures, such as f/4 (fixed) and f/3.5-4.5 (variable).

    Some are still less bright with large openings such as f/4.5, while two lenses offer a higher aperture of f/2.8. These kind of apertures are good for low light environments.

    A wide-angle lens with fixed focal length can be brighter – think for example a f/ 2.8 24mm for full frame.

    However, the consumer is not waiting for such an expensive lens. Moreover, for crop cameras, there is no comparable f/2.8 16mm for sale.

    A fixed brightness, such as with the f/4 12-24 mm lenses from Tokina and Nikon, has the advantage that the exposure remains constant when zooming in and out.

    That advantage only works with manual exposure (M). In the other, automatic exposure modes, the shutter speed is adjusted by the camera at a variable light intensity.

    If you’re still unsure about focal lengths, this chart from Travel Hungry Souls is really helpful:


    Best Wide Angle Lens – Conclusion

    So what should you consider when buying a good wide angle lens? As ever, some things are universally important. You should always:

    • The reason for purchasing the lens.
    • Your budget.
    • The project requirements and style.
    • The camera(s) you have already.
    • The kind of mounts your cameras take.
    • If you have any adapters.

    Overall, you want to look at the kind of project you’re working on and why you need the wide angle lens.

    There are lots of great wide angle lenses out there and we hope this article has helped you decide what the best wide angle lens is.

    Ultimately, everyone’s requirements and reasons for buying are different. And lenses are pretty subjective after all – some people like Canon, some like Nikon and others like Sony, etc.

    There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to lenses and you should do your due diligence to find the right wide angle lens for your particular circumstances and needs.

    Did we miss out your favorite wide angle lens? Let us know in the comments just below.

    The post Best Wide Angle Lens: 8 Top Wide Angle Lenses appeared first on Filmmaking Lifestyle.