Lens Roundup: 15 Great Wide-Angle Lenses for DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras
March 20, 2017
From zooms to primes, these lenses help you swallow your scene.
IRIX 15mm f/2.4
This 15mm manual focus prime lens should please pixel peepers with its minimum focusing distance of just under 11 inches and Neutrino Coating to reduce flare and ghosting. The lens has a focus lock so you can lock the focus ring into a desired position. The focus ring also clicks when you hit infinity, giving you a tactile indication of your focus reach. The lens accepts 95mm filters and is weather-sealed. The Blackstone model has engraved fluorescent markings on the lens body and has a weather-sealed front lens element. Its body is scratch proof with an all-metal focus ring. The Firefly edition is lighter—the lightest lens in its class, according to Irix—but doesn’t have the weather-sealed front lens element. Its markings are printed, not engraved, and you’ll have a rubber focus ring.
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
This wide-angle prime is Canon’s first lens with Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR Optics for short), which uses a lens coating made of organic material that refracts blue light. According to Canon, BR Optics will lead to significantly less chromatic aberration. The lens also uses Canon’s proprietary Sub-Wavelength Structure Coating (SWC) to help combat flare and ghosting. You’ll enjoy a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches and a magnification of 0.21x for tight close-ups. You can manually focus the lens even when it’s set to autofocus. It’s dust and water resistant, with fluorine coating on the front and rear elements to make them easier to clean.
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM
The full-frame 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM uses both FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) and SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements to keep aberration and distortion at bay. It has a nine-blade aperture and stops down to f/16. You can focus on objects as close as 9.8 inches away with a magnification of 1:5.3. A hyper-sonic motor ensures smooth, quiet autofocus while a manual focus override feature allows you to dial in small focus adjustments manually after the lens has auto focused. It’s available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts.
Ricoh HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm f/2.8
Owners of the Pentax K-1 full-frame DSLR can use this wide-angle zoom in inclement weather and enjoy a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. It features HD Coating to reduce chromatic aberration, distortion and coma. The built-in SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) provides quiet, high-speed autofocusing. There’s a Quick-Shift Focus System so you can easily move from autofocus to manual focusing by holding the shutter-release button halfway down and turning the focus ring after the subject is in focus. There’s a nine-blade aperture that stops down to f/22.
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
The first lens in its class to offer image stabilization, the full-frame SP 15–30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD features Tamron’s three-coil anti-shake technology, which moves the lens via three ceramic ball bearings to compensate for movement. The Sony variant of this lens doesn’t contain vibration compensation, as Sony already provides it in their camera bodies. There’s also an ultrasonic silent motor on hand for quiet focusing, and you can fine-tune focus manually while still in AF mode. Ghosting and flaring are kept at bay with Tamron’s Broad-Band Anti-Reflection coating, and fluorine coating on the front lens element helps repel water and dirt.
Olympus M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm
This weather-proof zoom has a minimum focusing distance of 7.5cm so you can get some striking close-ups alongside your wide shots. You’ll have an image magnification of 11x and the ability to stop down to f/22. There’s a dedicated function button that you can program with your Olympus camera for quick access to lens settings. The 7-14mm delivers a 14-28mm equivalent focal length and maintains a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. Like the Olympus OM-D camera series, this lens can withstand dust, splashes and freezing cold temperatures.
Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15
Zeiss released a new slate of Milvus manual focus prime lenses for Canon and Nikon DSLRs at Photokina 2016. The lineup includes a 15mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens which delivers a magnification of 1:9 and stops down to f/22. It boasts an all-metal design and a detachable lens hood, and accepts 95 mm filters. The Nikon mount (ZF.2 mount, in Zeiss parlance) can have its aperture de-clicked for smooth exposure adjustments during filmmaking. The Milvus 15mm is sealed against inclement weather and dust.
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4
With a 24mm equivalent focal length, this Micro Four Thirds lens uses Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus technology for speedy autofocusing. There’s a nine-blade aperture, two ultra-extra low dispersion elements and an extra-low dispersion element to keep images free of flare and ghosting. It’s splash- and dust-proof and has an aperture ring for those who like to exercise manual control over their exposure from the lens. This speedy prime stops down to f/16 and accepts 46mm filters.
Rokinon 20mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC
This full-frame manual focus lens boasts a pair of aspherical and three extra-low dispersion elements to minimize optical maladies. It can focus on objects as close as 8-inches away and has a seven-blade aperture that stops down to f/22. Rokinon makes versions of this lens for Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon AE, Pentax K, Canon M, Fuji X and Micro Four Thirds camera bodies. Mounted to a full-frame camera, the lens provides a 94.8-degree angle of view. Crop sensor cameras will have a more constrained angle of view—from 56.1 degrees for Micro Four Thirds bodies to 70.3 degrees for Sony A or Nikon DX format cameras.
FUJI Film FUJINON XF23mmF2 R WR
Fuji’s latest wide-angle lens for its X-series cameras offers a weather- and dust-proof build and a 35mm equivalent focal length. It uses an inner-focusing system with a stepping motor for speedy-yet-silent autofocusing. When paired with the X-Pro2 or X-T2, the lens can focus in as little as 0.05 seconds, according to Fuji. This metal lens has both an aperture and focus ring for manual control and a nine-blade aperture to deliver round bokeh. You’ll enjoy a minimum working distance under 9 inches, and there’s Super Electron Beam Coating on the lens elements to reduce flare and ghosting.
Sony FE 28mm f/2
Sony a7 owners can get a speedy prime in the FE 28mm f/2. You’ll have a nine-blade circular aperture, three aspherical lens elements —including one advanced aspherical element —and two ED glass elements that work together to deliver sharp images out to the corners. The lens also employs multi-coatings to reduce flare and ghosting. There’s an inner focus mechanism that’s driven by an advanced linear actuator for quiet autofocusing during video recording. The lens’ length stays constant during focusing, too.
Venus Optics LAOWA 7.5mm f/2
China’s Venus Optics is quickly making a name for itself as a purveyor of unconventional focal lengths, as its latest Micro Four Thirds mount lens demonstrates. The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT is, as of this writing, the widest f/2 rectilinear lens ever designed for Micro Four Thirds Cameras. It weighs a scant 0.37 pounds and delivers a 110-degree angle of view.
Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED
The PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED is Nikon’s widest tilt-shift lens to date with 97 degrees of coverage. You can tilt the lens to sharpen focus throughout a scene or create a miniature effect. Alternatively, you can shift the lens to adjust perspective in-camera, create panoramas or eliminate converging lines. The 19mm is also Nikon’s first lens that lets you operate the tilt direction either parallel or perpendicular to the shift without having to lock and unlock the lens to make adjustments. It boasts Nano Crystal Coat to combat ghosting and flare, an electromagnetic diaphragm for consistent exposure during continuous shooting and fluorine coating to make the lens easier to clean.
Tokina FiRIN 20mm f/2
Sony’s FE mount has seen a flurry of activity lately as lens makers try to ride the coattails of Sony’s full-frame mirrorless success. The new FiRIN line from Tokina will give Sony shooters a lens that’s equally at home shooting stills or recording video. The first model, a 20mm f/2 manual focus lens, has a wide focus ring and an aperture ring that can be de-clicked for quiet and smooth exposure changes during video recording. It has nine aperture blades and stops down to f/22.
Voigtlander Super Wide 15mm f/4.5
This lens got its start for Leica rangefinders but has now arrived in a Sony E-mount so Alpha aficionados can enjoy its manual focusing goodness. There’s an aperture ring alongside the focus ring so you can get hands-on with your exposure control. The lens stops down to f/22. While it’s a manual lens, it does transmit EXIF data to your image file. It also supports focus assist modes so you can confirm focus on your camera’s display before committing. It has a ten-blade aperture and a built-in, non-removable lens hood.