These Ultra Wide Angle Zooms Will Make You See the World Differently

fall landscape photography sony

Ultra wide angle zooms make you see things in a unique way, and while tricky to use, they can help you create mesmerizing images.

Ultra wide angle zoom lenses seem to have become very popular again as of late, and this is really no surprise: they are so fun to shoot with. While many photographers like to stick with more standard focal lengths, photographers who venture into ultra wide angle territory are routinely blessed with images that really capture people’s attention. While ultra wide angle zooms can be tricky to use, once you learn how to get them under control, you can create immersive images that look like nothing else out there. After the break, we have rounded up some of the best wide angle zoom lenses for various platforms. Should you be brave enough to step into the UWA world, these are the lenses you really need to take a look at.

Captured with the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 Pro and the Olympus E-M1 III

As mentioned above, ultra wide angle zooms can be hard to pick up and use. These lenses force you to find a way to fill the frame with a key subject, and if you cannot manage to do that, you end up with an empty image devoid of soul. If, however, you know how to compose pictures that have a subject that fills the frame, you can create larger than life pictures that will really make people’s jaws drop.

Captured with the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 Pro and the Olympus E-PL10

You can, of course, use ultra wide angle zooms for landscapes that show off stunning vistas, or you can get up close and personal with a foreground object that helps fill the frame and tell a story. If you have the creativity, you will be amazed by what you can create with ultra wide angle zooms. The great thing with these zooms is, should you find yourself in a position where you need to have a more standard focal length, you have that versatility available. Below are eleven ultra wide angle zooms that we have tested and raved about.

Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Five stops of image stabilization that works really well
  • Plenty of weather sealing
  • Wonderful overall build quality
  • Focuses very quickly
  • Images are ridiculously sharp
  • Great color reproduction
  • Silky smooth manual focus ring

Cons

  • A fair amount of vignetting at f2.8 and when set to 15mm
  • A little more distortion than we would like to see, but easily fixed in post
  • The zoom ring is just a little too stiff
  • The price is up there with other RF mount glass ($2,299)
  • While the build quality is great, the plastic feels a little cheap
  • No gap between the zoom and focusing rings means you’ll turn the wrong one often

Buy now: $2,299

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f4 S

nikon z mount lenses 14-30mm

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

Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 PRO

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Relatively low distortion
  • 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 you take this lens and camera into

Buy now: $1,199.99

Pentax 15-30mm f2.8 ED SDM WR

ultra wide angle zooms

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
  • 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 for my liking

Buy now: $1,296

Captured with the Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 L IS USM

Pro Tip: Ultra wide angle zooms, like all other lenses, are not immune to dirt, dust, debris, or watermarks. So, to ensure you get the best possible images from them, you need to clean your glass! Not only will this save you time during post, cleaning your lenses will also help prolong their life, and it will ensure they perform at their very best. You don’t need an expensive lens cleaning kit either. This one will do just fine!

Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master FE

ultra wide angle zooms

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

Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2

ultra wide angle zooms

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 during post)
  • Traditional filters aren’t supported

Buy now Canon EF: $999

Buy now Nikon F: $1,199

Sigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art DG

ultra wide angle zooms

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 it had lens flare: that would be epic!

Buy now Canon EF: $1,099

Buy now Nikon F: $1,180.86

See also the DN version of this lens for Sony E and L Mount Alliance: Review – Amazon: L Mount: $1,394.80 – E Mount: $1,369

Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR

ultra wide angle zooms

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

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

Cons

  • This lens is pretty darned expensive

Buy now: $1,199

Captured with the Fujifilm 8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR

Pro Tip: As we mentioned at the top of this roundup, using wide angle zooms can be a little challenging. But, with a bit of knowledge and a little practice, you will be able to create immersive masterpieces. There are some excellent guides out there on how to get the most out of ultra wide angle lenses, and this is one of them. Snap up this tutorial, have a read, and then head on out. You will master your ultra wide angle zooms in no time.

Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD

ultra wide angle zooms

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealed
  • Sharp image quality
  • Fast autofocus – nearly on the same level as Sony’s
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Overall pretty useful

Cons

  • Honestly, not much

Buy now: $849

Panasonic 16-35mm f4 PRO

ultra wide angle zooms

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small
  • Amazingly lightweight for an L mount lens
  • Sharp optics
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice feeling in the hand

Cons

  • We wish it had a faster aperture, but understand why it doesn’t
  • $1,497.99 is sort of high, and higher than Sigma’s pricing

Buy now: $1,497.99

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f4 OSS

ultra wide angle zooms

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super sharp from edge to edge
  • Excellent color rendition
  • Overall distortion is kept down as well we possible, but at times was a bit too much for us to handle
  • Fairly compact body
  • Solid build quality
  • Image stabilization will prevent even the most jittery coffee fiend from getting a blurry shot

Cons

  • Only f4

Buy now: $1,348