For reliable, consistent, top-quality results in practically any conditions, the Nikon 10-24mm is a clear winner.
Sharpness is excellent even at the largest aperture, and images have bags of contrast, even when lighting conditions are flat and gloomy. The ring-type AF-S autofocus system is superbly fast, practically inaudible in operation and comes complete with full-time manual focus override.
The only sticking point with the Nikon is that it's by far the most expensive lens in the group. For a more modest outlay, both Sigma 10-20mm lenses offer advanced features, but the older Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 version is particularly good value.
The Tamron 10-24mm is the cheapest zoom lens in the group, but suffered from exposure inconsistencies in our tests and lacks the Sigma lenses' ring-type ultrasonic autofocus.
For maximum wide-angle coverage, the Sigma 8-16mm is a tempting proposition, but image quality isn't quite as good as with the two Sigma 10-20mm lenses. Another alternative is the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, which gives the widest angle of view in the group.
But the fisheye effect is more of an oddity than something that will appeal on a regular basis. At the other end of the scale, the angle of view offered by the Samyang 14mm and Tokina 12-24mm lenses are disappointing, and the Samyang's distortion is pronounced, especially given that it's a prime lens rather than a zoom.
Best ultra wide-angle lens for Nikons
If you've got a bigger budget, the Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX ED can't be beaten in terms of image quality.