The Best Wide Angle Zoom Lenses for Landscape Photography and More

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Wide zoom lenses will have you covered when it comes to landscapes, documentary, environmental portraits, and so many more genres of photography.

While we love our prime lenses, there’s always space in our camera bags for versatile zooms as well. If you like to have just a few lenses to cover multiple focal lengths and multiple genres of photography, wide-angle zoom lenses have you covered. Want to shoot gorgeous landscapes? Wide-angle zooms will help with that. Do you like astrophotography, documentary photography, architectural photography, and environmental portraiture? You guessed it, wide-angle zoom lenses will help you with all of those genres and more. After the break, we list some of our favorite wide zoom lenses that cover multiple platforms. Come and check out what lenses we wouldn’t leave home without.

While these lenses might be a little bigger and a little heavier than a single wide-angle prime, the versatility of these lenses outweigh any cons you can think of. All of these lenses are solidly built, which means you can hit the trails with them. Most of them have weather sealing, which means they can brave the elements with ease. They all focus incredibly quickly, too, which means these lenses will help you capture the moment with minimal fuss if you practice documentary photography or see a shot while out on the street, and they all produce razor-sharp images. We’re smitten with the wide zoom lenses we have featured below, so pull up a chair and take a look at some of our favorites.

 

Tokina 16-28mm F2.8 OPERA

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Tokina

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Feels nice in the hands
  • In most situations, it’s got fast autofocus
  • It’s dirt cheap for a constant aperture zoom lens

Cons

  • We really wish it was weather sealed
  • Sometimes there are autofocus problems with the Tokina 16-28mm f2.8 OPERA and the Canon EOS R using Canon’s adapter

Buy now Canon EF ($599): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($599): Adorama

 

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm F4 S

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Nikon

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can accept threaded filters without needing to resort to cumbersome (and often expensive) filter mounting systems
  • Ultra-wide focal length
  • Weather sealing

Cons

  • Maximum aperture of f4
  • While the retracting mechanism keeps the lens smaller when not in use, it’s an added step that gets in the way of you taking the shot

Buy now ($1,096.95): Adorama

 

Tamron SP 15-30mm F2.8 Di VC USD G2

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Fast maximum aperture of f2.8
  • Durable construction
  • Ultra-wide focal length range suitable for everything from Architecture, Real Estate, Landscape, Street, and Travel Photography
  • Includes vibration compensation, Tamron’s name for their optical stabilization tech
  • Moisture-resistant construction
  • Canon version includes an integrated filter holder on the lens mount side

Cons

  • Considerably heavy
  • Chunky in size
  • Noticeable distortion (although correctible in post)
  • Traditional filters aren’t supported, the front of the lens lacks filter threads, and the front element is also convex and protrudes significantly

Buy now Canon EF ($1,199): Adorama

Buy now Nikon F ($1,199): Adorama

 

Pro Tip: These wide zoom lenses are perfect for documentary photography. This type of photography will have you out and about in all sorts of conditions from rain, to snow, to the howling wind. This means your lens will get dirty. Nothing will ruin a shot more quickly than debris on your front element. Sure, you can remove the smudge and dirt from your image during post, but we highly recommend you clean your lens while on the go. The quicker you can take care of the mess, the better. You’ll get better images, and your gear will last longer. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good cleaning kit either.

 

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 Art DG

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Solid overall image quality
  • Autofocus works pretty damned well
  • Versatile range
  • Price is right

Cons

  • We wish that it had lens flare, that would be epic!

Buy now Canon EF ($1,199): Adorama

Buy no Nikon F ($1,199): Adorama

 

Pentax 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Fantastic colors
  • Great image quality overall
  • Great weather sealing
  • Feels great in the hand
  • The fairly affordable price point
  • When connected to the camera, it can still fit into most messenger-style camera bags
  • Fast-focusing, but it’s also a wide-angle lens, so you have to expect that

Cons

  • Shows a bit more distortion than we’re used to seeing with wide-angle zooms these days (Canon and Sony especially!)
  • Focusing and zoom ring are a bit too small

Buy now ($1,296.95): Adorama

 

Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 PRO

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Olympus

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Relatively low distortion
  • The small form factor that will make this lens almost permanently attached to your camera.
  • f2.8 is awesome for light-gathering abilities.
  • Fast-focusing
  • Weather sealing
  • Super wide landscapes and buildings at one end while street photography ready at the other end

Cons

  • The bulbous front element is easily affected by the rain or any other sort of precipitation that you take this lens and camera out into

Buy now ($1,299): Adorama

 

Pro Tip: Wide zoom lenses are perfect for architectural photography. You can easily capture beautiful images that take in the grandeur of a building, or you can zoom in a little tighter to capture fine detail. If you’re thinking about getting into real estate or architectural photography, not only will you need a wide zoom lens, you’ll also need to have a working knowledge of the genre and what’s expected. Fortunately, there are a ton of guides out there that can help you learn the ropes. They even teach new tricks to those who have been doing it a while. This guide, from Mike Kelley, debunks common myths about architectural photography and shares best practices for working with real estate agents, architects, interior designers, commercial clients, and editorial outlets. It’s also incredibly affordable.

 

Sony 12-24mm F4 G FE

 

landscape photography

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Fun to use
  • Good image quality
  • Close focusing
  • Fast-focusing
  • Slight weather sealing

Cons

  • Very difficult to use it with lens filters of any sort
  • We’re a bit puzzled as to why this isn’t an f2.8 lens to complete the professional trinity

Buy now ($1,773): Adorama

 

Fujifilm 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Fujifilm

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Solid image quality
  • Fast autofocus, which is expected
  • Lets you handhold it to very low shutter speeds due to the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds
  • Weather sealed

Cons

  • This lens is pretty darned expensive at just under $2,000

Buy now ($1,799): Adorama

 

Canon 16-35mm F2.8 L III USM

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Canon

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Weather sealing
  • A big, beefy body that feels nice in the hand
  • Fast autofocus
  • Pretty versatile range if you’re the type of shooter that aims more for the 35mm end of things

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Big and heavy

Buy now ($1,899): Adorama

 

Pro Tip: As mentioned above, wide zoom lenses are perfect for capturing environmental portraits. The whole point of an environmental portrait is to portray your subject in their favored surroundings. All of the lenses listed here are perfect for this genre as their focal range will allow you to capture a wide scene that will help tell their story. If this type of photography interests and excites you, and you want to master it, you should check out this guide from Dan Brouillette. This tutorial will teach you how to confidently create environmental portraits, light any portrait indoors or outdoors, and compose strong environmental portraits. Go and check it out.

 

Sony 16-35mm F2.8 G Master FE

 

Wide Zoom Lenses Sony

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • f2.8 is nice for low light situations
  • Good autofocus, as expected from a wide-angle lens
  • Weather resistance
  • Feels good in the hand

Cons

  • Pretty darned expensive

Buy now ($2,198): Adorama