Best wide-angle lenses: 8 tested

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

Canon's EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens is relatively disappointing in terms of sharpness, and given that using a lens hood is often essential for outdoor shooting with a wide-angle lens, it's a source of frustration that Canon doesn't supply one.

Choice of wide-angle lenses for Four Thirds cameras remains limited. With its 2.0x crop factor, the shortest effective focal length of the Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4-5.6 lens clocks in at a disappointing 18mm. But this lens is still decent value, especially considering Olympus's wider 7-14mm lens will set you back a colossal £1,500.

The Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II is a very attractive budget lens for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony users, but both the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM and Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM lenses are noticeably more refined, with HSM autofocus. The 8-16mm lens is unbeatable for wide-angle coverage, while the 10-20mm has the advantage that you can fit filters to it at any focal length, as well as having a fast f/3.5 maximum aperture that remains constant throughout the zoom range.

The Sony DT 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 lens has a relatively limited zoom range, and while image quality is pretty good, it doesn't quite offer enough to justify its price tag, especially when compared with the Sigma and Tamron lenses.

The Tokina 12-24mm f/4 AT-X 124 AF PRO DX II lens also lacks width at the all-important wide end of the zoom range, but it's a good performer with impressively solid build quality.

The Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens ticks all the right boxes for build quality and advanced features, such as its Silent Wave autofocus. Best of all, it's sharp right where you want it to be - at the shortest focal length - even at its widest aperture. This makes it our favourite wide-angle DSLR lens.

Best for Canon APS-C format users:

Sigma 8-16MM f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

What's good: High-quality build and optics.
What's bad: inability to mount filters apart from when shooting at 16mm.

Our verdict: Seriously wide, even with Canon's higher 1.6x crop factor.

Best for Pentax users:

Sigma 10-20MM f/3.5 EX DC HSM

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

What's good: advanced features and all-round quality at a sensible price.
What's bad: Sharpness at mid-zoom.

Our verdict: gives a wider-angle view than the Pentax lens and is a lot less expensive.

Best for Nikon DX users:

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

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

What's good: Sharp at wide-angle settings.
What's bad: Sharpness drops considerably in the middle of the zoom range.

Our verdict: expensive, but well worth the money for Nikon landscape shooters.

Best for Olympus Four Thirds users:

Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

What's good: all-round optical performance.
What's bad: widest angle of view is a bit limiting, due to the 2.0x crop factor.

Our verdict: despite some shortcomings, it's the obvious choice for four thirds cameras.

Best for Sony APS-C format users:

Tamron SP AF 10-24MM f/3.5-4.5 Di ii

Best wide angle dslr lenses 8 tested

What's good: optical performance is impressive considering the price.
What's bad: plasticky, with sluggish autofocus.

Our verdict: wider angle of view than Sony's own lens, and much cheaper.