Looking to expand your lens collection, and the amount you can fit in frame? One of the best wide-angle lenses can be an essential addition to your kit bag, allowing you to fill the frame with your subject. You can produce a wide perspective that's perfect for landscapes, cityscapes and architecture. Wide-angle lenses are also often nice and small, making them ideal for travel and for shooting situations where space is limited. For example if you’re shooting indoors and constrained by walls and other obstacles, a wide-angle lens can be a massive help.
Get close to your subjects and a wide-angle lens can also let you exaggerate perspective to give your shots more visual impact. With so much to offer, a wide-angle lens is one of the best Sony lenses you can get if you're still building your lens collection. But whatever kind of lens you’re buying, it always pays to get a good one. Thankfully you don't have to pay over the odds, and many great lenses are available for discounted prices.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that a lens's focal length does depend on the camera you pair it with. Full-frame lenses (with 'FE' in the lens name) are designed primarily for Sony A1-, A7- and A9-series cameras, but can also be fitted to A6000-series E-mount APS-C cameras. However, the 1.5x crop factor of an APS-C camera will extend the lens's focal length by 50 per cent. So, for example, a Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master lens mounted on an A6000 body will produce an 'effective' focal length of 18-36mm, meaning the lens won't fit as much into frame as it could if fitted to a full-frame camera.
In this guide we've included FE-mount full frame lenses lenses, followed by a specific section for E-mount lenses designed specifically for Sony APS-C cameras.
Here’s our guide to the best-buy wide-angle lenses for Sony cameras available right now, with lenses from Sony as well as respected brands like Sigma, Tamron and Samyang/Rokinon...
Best wide-angle lenses for full-frame Sony cameras
These are the best Sony wide-angle lens options for full-frame mirrorless cameras: Sony A1, A7, A7 II, A7 III, A7 IV, A7R, A7R II, A7R III, A7R IV, A7S, A7S II, A7S III, A7C, FX6, FX9, A9, and A9 II…
Following on the heels of Sony’s FE 12-24mm f/4 G zoom, the new G Master edition delivers the same ultra-wide viewing angles but goes an f/stop wider in aperture. The f/4 lens is still on sale and a lot cheaper, so don't rule it out. By necessity, the front optical elements of this f/2.8 version are considerably larger but the lens is reasonably lightweight and easily manageable. It certainly goes large in terms of performance, with outstanding image quality and rapid autofocus, making it well worth the typically high asking price for a G Master lens. Before, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master was the widest f/2.8 G Master lens in the Sony range, but the new Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master has stolen its crown.
Featuring exotic glass that includes two ultra-high-precision XA (Extreme Aspherical) elements, the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master was Sony’s top-quality wide zoom until the arrival of the even wider Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. Having said that, many might find the 16-35mm range just a little more usable, and it does take conventional filters where the 12-24mm lens does not.. Other highlights include nano-structure coatings, a keep-clean fluorine coating on the front element, and extensive weather-seals. There’s a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture and, when stopping down, the aperture remains extremely well-rounded thanks to an 11-blade diaphragm. The DDSSM autofocus system is incredibly accurate and the lens also features a customisable focus hold button on the barrel. For outright quality, this is the best Sony lens for landscapes, interiors, travel and other subjects where space is tight.
Neatly picking up the baton from Tamron’s 28-75mm standard zoom, this 17-28mm lens takes you into ultra-wide-angle territory. It very much follows suit, with the same high-end, weather-sealed build quality, fast and constant aperture rating, quick and virtually silent RXD (Rapid eXtra silent stepping drive) autofocus system and, best of all, the same terrific image quality. Corner-to-corner sharpness is particularly impressive for an ultra-wide-angle lens, even when shooting at the widest aperture. It doesn’t quite match Sony’s 16-35mm lenses for maximum viewing angle but it comes very close, and it’s great value at the price.
There’s a raft of 20mm ultra-wide-angle prime lenses for E-mount full-frame cameras but for a long time, they’ve only been available from independent manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Samyang/Rokinon and Tokina. Sony finally joined the fray with its own rather fabulous 20mm f/1.8 lens. It has a tough, weather-sealed construction and a top-grade optical path. High-speed autofocus combines with excellent handling, helped by the inclusion of a high-precision manual focus ring, a customisable autofocus hold button and an aperture ring with a de-click switch. Image quality is absolutely phenomenal in all respects, with stunning sharpness, gorgeous colour rendition and absolutely minimal coma, distortion and colour fringing. It’s a pricey lens, but you get what you pay for.
Tamron offers a trio of wide-angle primes for Sony full-frame E-mount cameras, with 20mm, 24mm and 35mm focal lengths. But if you're going to go wide, it may as well be the widest of the bunch. All three lenses share a common aperture rating of f/2.8 and a filter size of 67mm. The primes have a tough act to follow, as we’ve been hugely impressed with the Tamron 17-28mm and 28-75mm constant-aperture f/2.8 zooms. Keeping in step, this 20mm lens is very lightweight in build and price tag, but goes large on performance with sumptuous image quality.
Smaller and lighter than Sony's 20mm f/1.8, yet almost as fast, Sigma's 20mm F2 is a simply superb wide prime. Despite being such a lightweight lens, it features a robust, full-metal construction and high-quality optical path. Intuitive handling combines with impressive image quality: the Sigma delivered very good levels of sharpness in our real-world tests, right out to the corners of the frame even when shooting wide-open at f/2. Vignetting is quite severe at apertures wider than f/5.6 but in-camera corrections are generally available for this as well as for distortion. Autofocus is fast and near-silent, based on a stepping motor. Overall, this is an ideal ultra-wide-angle lens for architectural interiors, sweeping landscapes, astrophotography and more besides.
Read more: Sigma 20mm F2 DG DN | C full review
Small and lightweight for a 24mm f/1.8 lens, this Samyang lens nevertheless feels strongly built and incorporates weather-seals. It also packs a real punch, with fast, virtually silent and consistently accurate autofocus, as well as excellent image quality in all respects. Handling is enhanced by a customizable autofocus hold button and a customizable dual mode switch, while the neat LED illumination makes infinity focusing easy for use as an astrophotography lens. The combination of a wide viewing angle and fast aperture rating further enhances the appeal to astrophotographers, but this lens is just as useful for everything from sweeping landscapes to architectural interiors. As usual, this Samyang lens is also available under Rokinon branding in North America, as the Rokinon 24mm F2.8 AF Sony E.
While the Sony Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 has been around for a while now, Sony's now got another fast 35mm prime in the shape of the FE 35mm f/1.4 G Master: a premium option that sits above the older optic. A mix of an ultra-fast maximum aperture and modest wide-angle focal length mean it's a very versatile lens, suited to anything from portrait and weddings, to landscape and astro photography. As you'd expect, it isn't cheap, but it delivers a spectacular optical performance. It's not the smallest 35mm prime we've seen, but the handling really impressed, with a perfectly weighed ‘de-clickable’ aperture ring, to the smooth and light focus ring. A lovely lens, but it inevitably comes at a hefty price.
Best wide-angle lenses for E-mount APS-C cameras
These are the best Sony wide-angle lens options for APS-C-sensor mirrorless cameras: A6000, A6100, A6300, A6400, A6500, and A6600…
There aren't too many ultra-wide zooms out there for Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, but this offering is conveniently compact and lightweight while still packing a punch with good overall performance, a constant f/4 aperture rating throughout the zoom range, and 3-stop optical stabilization. The latter is quite rare on an ultra-wideangle zoom lens, and very useful if you have one of Sony's un-stabilized A6000-series cameras. In terms of image quality, centre-sharpness is excellent throughout the zoom range but corner-sharpness is relatively lackluster at 10mm, even when stopping down the aperture. Thankfully, color fringing is pretty negligible at any combination of focal length and aperture setting, even towards the corners of the image frame, and distortion is quite well controlled.
Read more: Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS full review
Given that Sony's A6000-series APS-C cameras are built for speed, it makes sense to get a lens that can keep up with them. Step forward, Samyang's AF 12mm F2.0 E, a highly capable Sony E-mount lens with super-snappy autofocus, and enough image quality to make the most of those APS-C sensors. The previous 12mm f/2 from Samyang was manual-focus only, which doesn't really suit the vibe of the A6000 series, so it's good to see this new optic correcting that issue.
Images from the Samyang AF 12mm F2.0 E look fantastic, with excellent sharpness even when shooting wide open. You might notice some lateral chromatic aberration throughout the aperture range, but this can be easily corrected in-camera; same goes for the minor vignetting and fringing that can crop up occasionally. This lens really punches above its weight for an optic at this price, and is a tremendous addition to the kit-bag of any Sony APS-C user.
There is an older Sony Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS which is cheaper and lighter than this lens and has optical stabilization, but the maximum aperture is f/4, so the new Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G is, we think, the best 'pro' lens for Sony APS-C cameras. As a standard lens with a classic zoom range, the Sony E 16-55mm f/2.8 G ticks nearly all the right boxes. It delivers sumptuous image quality with fabulous sharpness and contrast, along with pleasant bokeh. Handling is very refined, with the addition of a customizable focus hold button, strong build quality and weather-seals. Autofocus is super-fast and deadly-accurate. The only downside is the lack of optical stabilization.
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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