Just as a painter uses a variety of brushes to fully realize a work of art, a photographer relies on a range of different lenses to get the perfect shot. For a photographer who is just starting out, the complex terminology and countless accessories can be kind of overwhelming. One of the most important early investments for a beginning photographer is a wide-angle lens.
What to Consider Before Buying a Wide-Angle Lens
While a lot of photography jargon is kind of confusing, the definition of a wide-angle lens is pretty intuitive. Wide-angle lenses have shorter focal lengths, so they take photos with a wider field of view. So, what is the purpose of using a wide-angle lens?
If you need to photograph an interior, and want to capture as much of the space as possible from a close distance, a wide-angle lens will be the tool you want to use. They’re also great for capturing landscape photos or creating dimension between a near object and its background.
These lenses produce a certain amount of distortion that’s often part of the appeal of shooting wide-angle. However, this distortion can be unflattering when taking portraits. Just like any tool, using a wide-angle lens is about applying it in the right place.
How We Chose the Best Wide-Angle Lenses
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite wide-angle lenses. Many of these options work with or were designed for the major camera brands, Canon and Nikon. There’s also an option directly from Canon. Plus, since even photographers use their phones to snap pics, there’s an option here that’s designed for smartphones. Check out our picks below.
1. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
If you’re looking for an option for your Canon camera, this Canon EF-S lens is a great option to get. This wide-angle lens has a focal length and aperture of 24 millimeters 1:2.8, with a maximum magnification of x0.27. This is a great compact option as well for any roving photographers. From this listing, you can ensure this lens will fit using the Amazon Confirmed Fit feature.
Pros: Economical option from a top brand. Compact size. Available with a polarizer or UV filter from this listing.
Cons: No image stabilization.
2. Xenvo Pro Lens Kit
These days, smartphone cameras are really, really good. So there’s no harm in treating your smartphone as if it was a professional camera. This lens kit is designed to be compatible with iPhones, Samsungs, Pixels and other smartphones — it simply clips onto your phone, and the lens creates a wide-angle shot. It’s super compact, so it’ll be easy to take on the go. There’s even a quick-release lanyard for on-the-go photo shoots.
Pros: Widely compatible with different smartphones and tablets. Easy clip-on design. Includes lanyard and carrying case.
Cons: May not work with some thicker phone cases.
3. Rokinon Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Lens
Sometimes regular wide isn’t enough. This fixed lens from Rokinon is an ultra-wide-angle lens with an aperture range of F2.8 to F22. It’s designed to low flare, low coma and low distortion for clearer photos, and it can be a suitable option for astrophotography. Like other camera lenses on this list, you can ensure this lens will fit your camera by entering your camera’s brand and model.
Pros: Works with a variety of cameras. Good for astrophotography or photographing interiors.
Cons: No zoom.
4. Altura Photo Wide Angle Aspherical Fisheye Lens
Because of the blown-out effect, a fisheye lens isn’t the kind of thing you’re likely to use every day. That’s why it can be worth getting a modestly priced option, such as this one from Altura Photo. This economical camera lens is available for Canon or Nikon cameras, and it comes with a custom-fitted carrying case for safe storage. A lens cap and hood are also included.
Pros: Available for Nikon or Canon cameras. Included accessories like hardshell carrying case.
Cons: No auto focus.