If you’re a Sony shooter on the hunt for great quality wide angle lenses that won’t scare your wallet but will produce excellent results, you’re in luck. As photographers we are really fortunate there are so many options on the market when it comes to lenses. Just a few short years ago it was hard to find budget lenses that really performed as well as first party glass. Now, thanks to advances in technology, increased market competition, and lower prices, you can indeed find budget wide angle lenses that perform exceedingly well.
We’re going to take a look at four affordable, budget friendly wide angle lenses that work fantastically well on Sony Mirrorless cameras. These lenses are perfect for a wide variety of photography genres, from landscapes to street, and environmental portraits to documentary photography. If you have an itch that only a sub $500 wide angle lenses can scratch read on and see what fantastic options are out there for you.
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary
The 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary is a beautifully engineered lens designed to be used on APS-C Sony cameras like the A6300 and A6500. On these cameras it will have the equivalent focal length of 24mm thanks to the 1.5x crop factor on Sony APS-C bodies. The lens can also be used on Sony Full Frame cameras in crop mode too. The outstanding overall performance from this lens and its price point make this one of the best, cheap, wide angle lenses on the Sony platform.
In our review we said:
“It’s sharp, has nice bokeh, contrast, manageable fringing, and autofocuses at a fair speed. Plus it has weather sealing. There isn’t a whole lot to hate with the Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary. 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.”
Inside the premium feeling plastic body of the 16mm f1.4 contemporary you’ll find 16 elements in 13 groups, and nine rounded diaphragm blades. The images this lens can produce are very sharp from edge to edge. Colors rendered are nice and have very natural looking tones to them. There is some evidence of color fringing, but this can be fixed in two seconds in both Capture One and Lightroom. For a wide angle lens the Sigma 16mm f1.4 can produce some really nice bokeh too. Sure it’s not the creamiest you’ll ever see, but it’s certainly not distracting in any way.
The maximum aperture of f1.4 means this lens is a low light beast. It really doesn’t matter what lighting situations you’ll find yourself in; the Sigma 16mm f1.4 handle them with ease.
Focusing is incredibly fast with this lens, and the build quality is outstanding, rivaling that of many Art series lenses. The Sigma 16mm f1.4 feels really nice in the hands. It weighs in at 0.89 lbs and it easy to use for long periods of time. The 16mm f1.4 is also weather sealed which means you can shoot to your hearts content out in the elements.
Sigma makes some really excellent wide angle lenses and the 16mm f1.4 contemporary is one of them. When it comes to wide angle lenses the Sigma 16mm f1.4 is really hard to beat. It’s well built, it’s weather sealed, and produces some incredible images.
Buy now ($438.99): Amazon
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN Image Samples
Pro Tip: No matter what camera and lenses you use they are bound to get dirty. Make sure you keep an affordable lens and camera cleaning kit in your camera bag at all times. One of the worst things is having to deal with dirt, dust, and grease smears on your images when you are trying to edit, so make sure you have the means to keep your gear clean.
Rokinon 20mm F1.8
Rokinon lenses have come a long way over the last few years and they now make some really great lenses that are very affordable. The Rokinon 20mm f1.8 is one of the company’s newer wide angle lenses for the Sony platform, and like Rokinon lenses before it, the 20mm f1.8 is capable of producing some remarkable images.
In our review we said:
“Though I’m sure that this crowd of photographers doesn’t care much about bokeh, you should know that it’s there. Coupled with the very close focusing abilities of this lens, it’s also very creamy due to the wide f1.8 aperture.”
Rokinon has always been known for creating lenses with amazing optics, and the 20mm f1.8 continues that tradition. Inside the plastic body you’ll find 13 elements in 12 groups, and seven rounded aperture blades. Images are super sharp when shot wide open at f1.8, bokeh rendered is very smooth and creamy, and there is little to no fringing or distortion thanks to the Ultra Multi-Coated Glass that makes up the elements.
The colors produced with this lens are very neutral, so if you’re coming from a lens that produces very saturated colors you may be surprised. This however is not a problem as you can easily adjust colors in Capture One 12 and Lightroom. If your main genre is landscape photography this is just fine as most landscape photographers fix all of the colors in their images in post anyway. Just know that you may be spending time tweaking colors to your liking in post regardless.
The Rokinon 20mm f1.8 is a manual focus, manual aperture control lens. Use this lens with focus peaking on your Sony Mirrorless camera and you’ll have no issues at all obtaining super sharp shots. The focus ring is nice and smooth and feels great thanks to the large grip. The overall build quality is good. You’re certainly not getting a premium lens here, but the plastic body has a nice texture to it, and it will stand up to daily abuses. One thing to note is the size of this lens. It looks huge up against Sony camera bodies, and can make the camera front heavy. Overall though it still feels just fine in the hands.
Rokinon has been making optically great, affordable wide angle lenses for a long time, and the 20mm f1.8 is a solid option for those who want a 20mm lens on a budget. It can be used on both Full Frame bodies and APS-C bodies too. On cameras like the a6500 the equivalent focal length will be 35mm. For the price, the 20mm f1.8 is a solid wide angle option.
Buy now ($449): Amazon
Rokinon 20mm F1.8 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Not all lenses and cameras are weather sealed so you have to be careful when you use your equipment. However, if you keep a few weatherproof camera and lens covers in your camera bag, or on your person, you’ll be able to keep on shooting no matter what mother nature decides to do. Be prepared this winter and carry some with you.
Sony 28mm F2
Sony make some really great, affordable lenses too and the 28mm f2 is one of them. This prime lens is small and balances well on the companies Mirrorless cameras. It can produce images that will please the masses for sure. On crop sensor/APS-C cameras this lens will have the equivalent focal length of 42mm which takes it out of the wide angle category, but for Full Frame users, 28mm lenses are in a sweet spot.
In our review we said:
“The Sony 28mm f2 has incredible image quality, and it goes to show that folks that tend to snub their noses at Sony lenses should give them another look. The Sony 28mm f2 is not only sharp, but offers very good color, beautiful bokeh for a lens this wide, and very little in the way of image quality issues.”
This Sony prime lens is targeted at street photographers, documentarians, architectural photographers, and even landscape/cityscape photographers. The lens is well built, small in size, and weighs just 0.44lbs. For many this may be the type of lens that stays on their camera all the time due to its compact nature.
Inside the lens body you’ll find nine elements in eight groups, and nine aperture blades. Build quality is very good overall. You shouldn’t have any issues with this lens standing up to the rough and tumble of every day activities. The Sony 28mm also features weather sealing which is always a major plus.
You’ll be really happy with the quality of images you can produce with this lens. The Sony 28mm f2 is razor sharp, and is arguably sharper than the Zeiss 35mm f2; no small feat. In the right situations the lens can produce really nice bokeh. The nine aperture blades help create some smooth out of focus rendering that’s really pleasing to the eye. The colors rendered are true to life and aren’t over saturated. You’ll find no color fringing or any other distortions either.
Autofocus performance is just fine. While it won’t set any records, it’s certainly no slouch either; it will handle most situations with ease. This is just a solid little lens.
If you like the idea of your wide angle lenses being first party offerings, the Sony 28mm f2 should be one of the first you take a look at. It’s a great performer and it’s under $500.
Buy now ($423): Amazon
Sony 28mm F2 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Making sure you’re comfortable for a long day of shooting is really important. Nothing can make a day of photography worse than your gear taking a toll on you. Use a nicely padded, affordable camera sling instead of the camera strap that came packaged with your camera. You’ll be amazed at just how much more comfortable you’ll be.
Rokinon 35mm F2.8 FE
Another Rokinon lens making the list really speaks volumes about the quality and affordability of their lenses. The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE may be the cheapest lens on this list, but it’s high in quality and performance. For under $300 you will be getting a lens that will produce sharp images, and unlike a lot of Rokinon lenses, this one has autofocus.
In our review we said:
“The Rokinon 35mm f2.8 FE comes in at a significantly more affordable price point than what Sony’s offering is–and the only major difference is its lack of weather sealing vs it’s Sony counterpart.”
As mentioned above you could opt for the Sony 35mm f2.8 which has weather sealing, but it’s significantly more expensive. In terms of performance though, these two lenses are neck and neck. The Rokinon features seven elements in six groups, and has seven aperture blades. The optics are capable of producing incredibly sharp images with really nice saturated colors. Focus nice and close on your subject at f2.8 and you’ll find the lens produces some really creamy bokeh as well. When we were testing the lens we could not find any issues with chromatic aberration or distortion; fantastic for a sub $300 lens.
The autofocus performance of the Rokinon 35mm f2.8 is good overall. In good lighting you will have no issues whatsoever. Autofocus was fast and snappy in most situations, but you will begin to notice some hunting in low light situations. The build quality is just fine. Like the Rokinon 20mm f1.8 above, the 35mm f2.8 is made out of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap at all. This is one of the Rokinon lenses that may really help people see just how far the company has come in terms of build quality over the last few years.
For the price this lens is really hard to beat. Rokinon has always made optically excellent wide angle lenses, and now the build quality is beginning to catch up. The 35mm focal length is a classic one that is loved by many, and for the price this one should be a no brainer for the budget conscious photographer.
Buy now ($259): Amazon
Rokinon 35mnm F2.8 FE Image Samples