Best wide-angle dslr lenses: 8 tested

Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II - £360

When launched, the Tamron 10-24mm lens had the biggest zoom range of any wide-angle lens on the market, though this has since been matched by Nikon. Available in a wide range of mounts, it's one of Tamron's SP or 'Super Performance' class of lenses, claimed to have high optical and mechanical quality. Even so, the build feels a bit cheap and plasticky compared with some of the competition - but it's little more than half the price of equivalent Canon and Nikon lenses.

There's no hypersonic autofocus motor, as is fitted to Tamron's newer 70-300mm USD and 18-270mm PZD lenses. Autofocus is still pretty quiet though, with its only real letdown being slowness on tricky targets or in dull lighting.

Best wide-angle dslr lenses: 8 tested

Combining the shortest 10mm focal length with the widest aperture, centre sharpness is decent, though corners lack detail. Reducing the aperture to f/5.6 offers a marked improvement, but sharpness is good rather than excellent, and at f/16 it ranks about fifth in this group. It's just a little sharper than the Canon 10-22mm though. At least the Tamron delivers very consistent levels of sharpness and reasonably low distortion throughout its entire zoom range.

Vignetting is minimal and colour fringing only slightly apparent at the shortest focal length. Both drop off almost completely around 15-18mm, and fringing only returns slightly towards 24mm. The cheapest lens in the group, the Tamron performs well at a budget price.

Resolution sharpness test

Best wide-angle dslr lenses: 8 tested

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Centre sharpness is consistent at all focal lengths, with top performance at 18mm. Sharpness drops towards the edges at all focal lengths.

Fringing test

Best wide-angle dslr lenses: 8 tested

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Signs of red fringing are apparent at 10mm towards the edge, but at the mid and centre frame at all focal lengths fringing is minimal.

Distortion test

Best wide-angle dslr lenses: 8 tested

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At all focal lengths there are visible signs of barrel distortion, which is still apparent at the lens's narrowest focal length.

Image test verdict

Sharpness results are consistent at all focal lengths with a drop towards the edges. Distortion and fringing are minimal on the Tamron.

Score: 4/5