Best ultra wide-angle lens for Nikon DSLRs: 8 tested

Ultra wide lenses to help you see the big picture

Best ultra wide angle lens for nikon dslrs 8 tested

Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X124 PRO DX II - £580/ $600

The Nikon-fit version of Tokina's original 12-24mm lens lacked an autofocus motor. So, on bodies that didn't have an internal AF drive, it could only be used in manual focus mode. The updated Mark II edition puts that right with a built-in motor, so autofocus is available with any Nikon body. Other improvements include new multi-coatings that aim to reduce ghosting and flare.

Like the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens, this has a constant aperture, so the maximum aperture of f/4 is available throughout the zoom range. However, the shortest equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras is 18mm. Most competing lenses offer a 15mm effective focal length.

Performance

Whereas the Samyang, Tamron and Tokina 10-17mm lenses all have a tendency to overexpose images, this lens often underexposes by a third to a half of a stop. Autofocus is fast but noisy, based on an electric motor. There's no full-time manual focus override, but you get a push-pull action for switching between auto and manual focus quickly.

Sharpness

Best ultra wide angle lens for nikon dslrs 8 tested

Sharpness at the centre of the frame is particularly good at the largest available apertures down to f/11.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at 12mm: 2079
Sharpness at 15mm: 2159
Sharpness at 24mm: 2433

Fringing

Best ultra wide angle lens for nikon dslrs 8 tested

Chromatic aberration is well controlled, and fringing is much less evident than with the original lens.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at 12mm: 0.14
Fringing at 15mm: 0.17
Fringing at 24mm: 0.14

Distortion

Best ultra wide angle lens for nikon dslrs 8 tested

Barrel distortion is only modest at the 12mm focal length. There's practically no distortion at 24mm.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at 12mm: -2.55
Distortion at 15mm: -1.18
Distortion at 24mm: 0.04

Image test verdict

Best ultra wide angle lens for nikon dslrs 8 tested

See full res image

It's quite an expensive lens to buy and lacks a little width in its maximum angle of view. Image quality is good in every respect though.