We help you pick the best Canon wide-angle lenses for travel photography, landscapes, interiors or architecture. These lenses will (literally!) broaden your horizons.
While your camera may have come with a kit lens, which provides a useful all-purpose focal range, even its widest setting won't necessarily squeeze everything into the frame that you want to capture. You'll notice this especially in travel photography, where it's often hard to get far enough away from tall landmarks or do proper justice to an amazing interior.
So we've pulled together the best Canon wide-angle lenses – but these aren't only good for cramming more into your compositions; they can also be put to great creative effect by enabling you to exaggerate perspectives, receding the backdrop while dramatically separating a subject in the foreground. And of course, since such short focal lengths introduce a huge depth of field, you can keep the fore-, mid- and background planes simultaneously sharp in your scene.
The range of lenses for Canon's EOS M and RF mirrorless cameras still isn't quite as great as for its EOS DSLRs, but for EOS M cameras we've added in the brilliant Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. We've also had to wave farewell to one of our old DSLR favorites, however – the ultra-wide Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM is no longer available, alas.
There is one specific thing to be aware of with wide-angle lenses – if you have an APS-C format, you need an APS-C wide-angle. If you use a full frame wide-angle lens, the crop factor of the smaller sensor will mean you lose the wide-angle effect. So, for example, a 17-40mm full frame EF lens becomes a 27-64mm lens on an APS-C Canon, so you won't get the full benefit.
With all that in mind, here are the best Canon wide-angle lenses for both APS-C and full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras…
Best Canon wide-angle lenses in 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.