Last Updated on 09/02/2018 by Mark Beckenbach
Fall is perhaps the best time to get out and shoot landscape photos. Cooler temperatures make it easier for us to stay out for longer periods, and bright oranges, reds, and yellows make photographs pop. But it can be hard to find a true wide angle lens if you are an APS-C shooter.
The seasons are changing and that means beautiful colors will soon be all around us. Fall is perhaps the best time to get out and shoot landscapes. Cooler temperatures make it easier for us to stay out for longer periods, and bright oranges, reds, and yellows make photographs pop. It can be hard to find a true wide angle lens if you are an APS-C shooter, so which lenses should you use or consider buying? If you are a APS-C user and are looking for some cheap but amazing lenses to take your landscape photography to the next level, this article is for you. Lets take a look at the best cheap, APS-C wide angle lenses for landscape photography.
Rokinon 14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens
The Rokinon 14 mm f2.8 ultra-wide angle lens has been a staple in many landscape photographers bags for a while. For those in the industry, Rokinon is a well known and respected brand. For those new to photography, don’t let the fact that this isn’t a mainstream lens fool you; it’s quite amazing. The ultra-wide 14mm focal length (22.4mm on APS-C bodies) is perfect for capturing stunning vistas and landscapes, while the maximum aperture of f2.8 means you can shoot in the harshest of lighting conditions. This particular Rokinon is a favorite of many who shoot astrophotography, and nightscapes.
In our review we said:
“For the price you really can’t beat it. Canon and Zeiss’s options offer either autofocusing or assistance, but this lens offers essentially the same quality at a much more affordable price.”
The Rokinon is a manual focus lens, and it does have a manual aperture control ring, but do not let this deter you. The lens is incredibly easy to use and very forgiving. The six diaphragm blades and 14 elements ensure that this lens produces pin sharp images, even wide open at f2.8. Color reproduction is great, and images are contrasty and saturated. There is some distortion when using the lens (which is expected with ultra wides), but newly released camera profiles in Lightroom and Photoshop correct this easily. The fact that this lens can be used on both full frame and APS-C bodies just adds another feather in its cap. This is one of the best, cheap landscape lenses money can buy. Available in Nikon and Canon mounts.
Rokinon 14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens Sample Images
Pro Tip: Don’t be caught out by mother nature while shooting landscapes. Be prepared for bad weather by putting a camera and lens rain cover in your bag.
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Sony E
The amount of lenses that can fit into the wide angle category for Sony crop shooters is a little bit smaller than for Canon and Nikon shooters, but the available lenses are excellent. The Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary is one of those lenses. Featuring a large maximum aperture of f1.4, this lens will make shooting landscapes, and nightscapes incredibly fun. Featuring 16 elements in 13 groups, and nine rounded diaphragm blades, the images produced from this lens are very sharp from corner to corner. As with all new Sigma lenses, focusing is fast, and the build quality is outstanding, even in this cheaper contemporary model.
In our review we said:
“If you’re the type of photographer who shoots wide, does documentary style work, and needs a reliable lens in their bag, this is one of the best options you’ve got if you’re a Sony shooter.”
The Sigma 16mm f1.4 will have a effective focal range of 24mm on your Sony Alpha body (a6000, A6300, a6500), and your Sony full frame when used in crop mode, but 24mm is plenty wide enough for landscape photography. If you are a Sony crop shooter looking for a cheap yet well made lens that can deliver outstanding results, the 16mm from Sigma is the lens you have been looking for.
Buy it now for $445. Amazon
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary Image Samples
Pro Tip: Be sure you have a camera bag that can carry all of your equipment and can withstand all the elements.
Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD
Over the last few years Tamron have been producing some really good lenses, and this 10-24mm lens designed for APS-C shooters is one of them. With an effective focal range of roughly 16mm-38mm, the Tamron is perfect for landscape photography. While it’s not the fastest lens on this list aperture wise, do not let that bother you because when shooting landscapes you will generally use a smaller aperture anyway.
In our review we said:
“The Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD is a very good lens overall for the price point. Whatever this lens doesn’t give you right out of the box you’ll be able to fix in post-production. It should be praised for its build quality, light weight, overall pretty decent image quality, fast autofocus performance and compact size. Tamron is filling a niche that has been needed to filled for a while”
With seven circular diaphragm blades, and 16 elements in 11 groups, the Tamron is a well built lens that can produce some stellar images. The lens also has Tamron’s VC (Vibration Control) which will help you get nice, sharp images when you are hand holding the lens. Color rendition is great, and chromatic aberration is kept to a minimum which always helps in post. Thanks to a special coating on the lens, lens flare is also kept under control, and it also helps produce more contrasty images. For Canon and Nikon APS-C shooters looking for a fast focusing, really wide option, the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD is a great option.
Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Image Samples
Pro Tip: Keep your APS-C sensor clean with these easy to use sensor cleaning swabs.
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di-II VC LD
The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 is a slightly older lens, but it’s still a great option for those who shoot with APS-C bodies. While the focal length is not as wide as the Tamron listed above, what you loose in width you make up for in aperture. The maximum aperture of f2.8 means that this lens is great for daytime landscapes, and also nightscapes and astrophotography.
In our review we said:
“This lens is tack sharp; providing your subject is in perfect focus. But even when stopped down, the lens is still also very sharp and resolves lots of detail”
Generally speaking the faster the lens in terms of aperture the more expensive it is. The Tamron 17-50mm is slightly more expensive than it’s wider brother listed above, but for a wide angle zoom lens with an fstop of f2.8 the asking price is still quite low. The autofocus motor might not be as fast as some newer lenses, but if you are using this for landscape photography this will be a minor issue. With an effective focal range of roughly 27mm-80mm, 16 optical elements in 13 groups, 7 diaphaghm blades, and vibration compensation, the Tamron 17-50mm can produce some really beautiful images. While not the widest lens in this list, it is certainly one you should consider if you want a lens that is suitable for landscapes and other genres of photography.
Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Sample Images
Pro Tip: Be sure to take a sturdy tripod along with you when you shoot landscapes.
Sigma 18-35 F1.8 DC HSM Art
The Sigma 18-35 f1.8 is perhaps one of the best lenses Sigma has ever made, and there is no way in good conscience I could leave this particular lens off of this list. The 18-35mm is perhaps one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used personally, and while it is the most expensive lens on this list, it is still incredibly cheap when you consider just how much lens you are getting. The Sigma 18-35 will have an effective focal length of 28-56mm on APS-C bodies, so not the widest lens on the list, but the maximum aperture of f1.8 across the whole focal range is the killer feature here.
In our review we said:
“We’ve got absolutely nothing but respect and love for the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM. If you’re an APS-C DSLR user, this should be the lens that is a high priority item on your list to get. It’s sharp, contrasty, has beautiful color that is true to life, focuses quickly, and stays compact due to its internal zooming and focusing design.”
The Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM Art series lens is built like a tank. The body is made from metal, and the focus and zoom rings have a premium rubber on them. Images produced offer excellent color reproduction, and are nice and contrasty. The images are also some of the sharpest you will ever see. The Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 is arguably the best APS-C lens ever made. If you want one of the best landscape and astrophotography lenses for APS-C bodies you must buy this lens. Period. The Sigma 18-35mm a little steeper in price compared to others on this list, but it’s cheap when you look at just how amazing this lens is. Available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony A mounts.
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art Image Samples