Here, we've picked out the best Canon wide-angle lenses for all mounts. Whether you use Canon DSLRs or mirrorless cameras with EF-M or RF mounts, we've collated the lenses that will give you superb results when you want a wider perspective. Wide-angles tend to be used for architecture, landscape and interior photography, but really they can be useful in all sorts of capacities.
A wide-angle can be great for travel photography, for instance, allowing you to accentuate the drama and scale of tall landmarks or dazzling interiors. They can be used to great creative effect, letting you recede the backdrop of an image and dramatically separate the main subject in the foreground. Short focal lengths also introduce a large depth of field, which lets you keep the whole image plane as sharp as possible.
We've picked out the best wide-angle lenses for all Canon systems. Naturally, DSLR users with the EF and EF-S lens mounts will have the most choice, as the ranges for EOS M and RF mirrorless cameras are a lot less expansive. Also, users of EOS M or APS-C DSLRs (EF-S) should be aware that the crop factor will affect the perspective of the lens, and if you use a full-frame wide-angle lens on an APS-C camera, you'll lose some of the effect; a 17-40mm full-frame EF lens will behave like a 27-64mm lens on an APS-C camera.
For this guide, we've made sure to pick out lenses for a range of budgets. So, while you've got some of Canon's premium optics in the mix, there are also plenty of more budget-friendly alternatives from third-party manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and Laowa. So, here are the best Canon wide-angle lenses for both APS-C and full-frame DSLRs, EOS M mirrorless cameras, and the flagship EOS R series…
Best Canon wide-angle lenses
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This is a big lens that feels less well matched to a slim-line mirrorless camera body, but the Canon lens certainly goes large on features and handling. The main reason for its price and size is that it’s an f/2.8 constant aperture zoom. As usual for a Canon L-series lens, it has tough, weather-sealed build quality of a pro-grade standard. Handling bonuses include a 5-stop optical stabilizer, a customisable control ring and a detachable hood, which enables the fitment of 82mm filters or filter holders. Image quality is gorgeous, although corner-sharpness could be a little better when shooting wide-open at the short end of the zoom range.
The Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM offers up a wide viewing angle for RF users without the hefty cost of Canon's L series glass. There are of course some compromises, with the aperture being quite narrow, which restricts its use in low-light situations.
However, the benefits massively outweigh this with the lens being light and compact, while still offering 5.5-stops of stabilization, which is expanded to 7 stops when used on a compatible body. The lens can also act as a pseudo-macro lens, with 0.52x magnification at 15mm, opening up new creative opportunities. And with Canon's quiet and fast STM motor, this lens is perfect for vlogging and video making.
There aren't a lot of budget options for RF users (yet), so if you're looking for a relatively low-cost lens, this manual-focus optic from Laowa is worth a look. The Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 has no image stabilizer, or any ability to communicate with a camera at all (its 'dumb' design means you're on your own), but it does provide an effective wide-angle perspective at a much cheaper price than Canon's own-brand RF lenses. Also, its moderately convex front element means you should be able to attach regular filters, which is not exactly common for wide-angle zooms.
In our review, we found the Laowa 12-24mm f/5.6 to be optically somewhat lacking. It does well at the widest settings, producing images that are crisp and clear, but when we zoomed in to 24mm, we noticed a distinct lack of sharpness. The f/5.6 maximum aperture can be a little restricting too. As long as you are aware going in that you're not going to get the crystal-clear sharpness of a lens with a four-figure price tag, this is a solid budget choice.
A major revamp of Tamron’s original 10-24mm wide-angle zoom, this edition has a new optical design with enhanced aspherical and LD (Low Dispersion) elements. It also gains a new HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive) autofocus system and VC (Vibration Compensation) stabilization, which were absent in the original lens. Autofocus is faster, quieter and more accurate, and offers improved handling – this is because the focus ring no longer rotates during autofocus, while there's also now full-time manual override. Build quality is very good, with a full set of weather seals and a keep-clean fluorine coating on the front element. Sharpness is excellent across the entire image frame, throughout the whole zoom range, which is always a challenge for ultra-wide zooms, and there’s very little barrel distortion at the shortest focal length. All in all, it’s a star performer.
We prefer this new Canon STM lens to the veteran EF-S 10-22mm, and not just because it’s only about a third of the price. The 10-18mm is wonderfully compact and lightweight for a wide-angle zoom – it’s actually less than half the weight of the competing Sigma APS-C format lenses, so ideally suited to travel photography. The weight saving is partly due to the mounting plate being made from plastic rather than metal, but the lens still feels reasonably robust. The STM (Stepping Motor) autofocus system is fast for stills and ideal for video capture, delivering smooth focus transitions and being virtually silent in operation. Another advantage over the Canon 10-22mm is that this lens adds image stabilization, which is great for indoor or twilight shooting.
Tokina’s first ATX 11-16mm was something of a trailblazer, bringing ultra-wide viewing to APS-C format Canon DSLRs, coupled with a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture. It came with a solid construction, typical of Tokina’s high standards of build quality. The Mark II edition of the Canon-mount lens had minimal changes to the multi-coatings, but the latest ‘atx-i’ edition looks and feels rather different. The ‘i’ stands for ‘interactive’ mutual communication between photographer and lens. It certainly looks more modern but retains Tokina’s usual ‘One-touch Focus Clutch’ mechanism. This gives you the option of switching between autofocus and manual focus modes simply by clicking the focus ring forwards or backwards. It works well on the whole, but you have to be careful not to nudge the focus ring accidentally. As with the previous editions, image quality is very good in all respects, although the overall zoom range is pretty modest.
This Sigma has a constant-aperture design, although it’s a modest f/3.5. Even so, it has the same advantage for manual exposure mode shooting, in that the aperture remains fixed throughout the zoom range. Optical attractions include two ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion) elements and an SLD (Special Low Dispersion) element – considering the budget price, the inclusion of posh glass along with a fast and whisper-quiet ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is a very pleasant surprise. Sharpness is excellent throughout the zoom range in the central region of the frame, but drops off a little more than usual in the corners. Barrel distortion at the minimum focal length is fairly minimal, as is colour fringing throughout the zoom range. This lens has been on the market for almost a decade now, and predates Sigma’s ‘Global Vision’ lineup, but it’s unbeatable value at the price.
Sigma has really gone to town with wide-angle zooms in its Global Vision lineup, but this lens is the latest and greatest. It has a slightly more modest maximum viewing angle than the 12-24mm Art lens below, but a faster aperture rating; both are practically identical in size and weight. High-tech glass includes an ultra-high-precision moulded glass aspherical front element, combined with three FLD (Fluorite-grade Low Dispersion) and three SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements. The lens is immaculately engineered and has a full set of weather seals instead of just a sealed mount. A fluorine coating is applied to repel muck and moisture, while the built-in lens hood gives physical protection to the protruding front element, as well as helping to reduce ghosting and flare. Sharpness and contrast are very impressive even when shooting wide-open at f/2.8, and this lens is virtually distortion-free. Colour fringing is also negligible, even around high-contrast edges towards the extreme corners of the frame. It’s an absolutely stellar lens in every respect.
This lens from Canon is a rectilinear rather than a fisheye lens, which means that it controls distortion to make lines within photos straight, rather than that curved effect. This full-frame compatible zoom takes viewing angles to the extreme, no Canon first-party lens gives you a wider field of view.
The price tag is significant, but Canon’s EF 11-24mm is something of an engineering feat and has impeccable build quality, along with excellent all-around performance. At the end of the day though, the competing Sigma 12-24mm f/4L DG HSM almost matches the Canon for viewing width, delivers superb image quality, and only costs about half as much to buy, making the Canon look relatively poor value.
If money’s no object, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM is an f/stop faster than this lens, and a darling of the most demanding pro photographers; however, it’s bigger, heavier, lacks image stabilization and costs twice the price. For an own-brand Canon wide-angle zoom for full-frame cameras, this lens is our favourite. It’s relatively compact and lightweight, has a highly effective 4-stop image stabilizer, and maintains a very high standard of build quality and performance throughout. Like most L-series lenses, it’s robust and weather-sealed, with excellent handling. Optical highlights include two UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements and Super Spectra coating. Fluorine coatings are also applied to the front and rear elements. Centre-sharpness is spectacular, although it drops off a little more towards the extreme edges and corners of the frame. Colour fringing is controlled particularly well, and there’s fairly little barrel and pincushion distortion at the short and long ends of the zoom range respectively.
The upgraded ‘Art’ edition of Sigma’s 12-24mm lens goes head-to-head with the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM (not listed here because it costs so much!), but only costs about half the price. It has a constant-aperture design, generally preferred by enthusiast and professional photographers, and the optical path incorporates an extra-large-diameter aspherical element and five premium FLD (Fluorite-grade Low Dispersion) elements. Fluorine coatings are applied to the front and rear elements, and the mounting plate is weather-sealed. The uprated ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is faster than before, though this Art lens is rather bigger and heavier than the older edition. Sharpness and contrast are excellent, and sharpness doesn’t drop off too much even at the extreme corners of the frame, despite the ultra-wide maximum viewing angle. Overall, it’s the best-buy zoom on the market for full-frame DSLRs, if you want maximum viewing width.
This Tamron gives a maximum viewing angle that’s midway between that of the Canon 16-35mm and Sigma 14-24mm. It shares the fast and constant f/2.8 aperture of the Sigma, while adding the bonus of a highly effective 4.5-stop optical stabilizer, so it's a great all round compromise. One drawback is that the Tamron is nearly twice the weight of the Canon 16-35mm, but that’s the price you pay for the faster f/2.8 aperture rating. High-quality optics include a specially developed XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) element and several LD (Low Dispersion) elements, and the G2 features a newly developed coating, which is used in addition to the previous lens’s mix of nano-structure and conventional coatings. Image quality and handling are highly impressive and, even though the G2 is a third more expensive than the original edition, it’s still good value at the price.
Think ultra-wide-angle zooms and you’re probably thinking of big, hefty lenses that are expensive to buy. This lens for EOS M-series mirrorless cameras is the polar opposite. Just a couple of inches long and weighing in at just 220g, it’s extremely compact and lightweight, with a retractable design and a 55mm filter thread. With an ‘effective’ zoom range of 17.6-35.2mm in full-frame terms, it has a generous maximum viewing angle, along with an impressively short minimum focus distance of 0.15m. This enables you to get in really close and create exaggerated perspective effects. The lens boasts 3-stop optical image stabilization but, while build quality feels very good, it’s not weather-sealed and the petal shaped hood is sold separately.
How we test lenses
We test lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.
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