The kit lens that comes with any DSLR camera is the first lens used by most amateur photographers. And as they learn how it performs, the benefits and disadvantages it has, they start searching for a new lens that can satisfy their creative needs. Every lens performs differently. Each lens has its own set of pros and cons. Each lens performs differently in the same scenario and each lens conveys varied aspects of the same location.
Having a good collection of lenses is a must for any photographer. Here we will be discussing a very specific type of lenses called the wide-angle lens. We will also cover the best wide-angle lenses for Nikon cameras. But before we jump into that let’s see what a wide-angle lens is and what are the factors you should be considering before you buy one for yourself.
What Is A Wide-angle Lens?
A lens that has a short focal length and has a wide field of view is considered as a wide-angle lens. It can help you capture more of the scenery compared to normal lenses as it captures more area in front of it. It’s generally used for landscape and architectural photography or any other kind of photography that needs you to cover more of the background.
It basically allows you to go close to your subject without losing details of the background which gives the viewers a feeling of themselves being present on the scene. But you should keep in mind that the sensor size of your Nikon camera also decides the resultant focal length of your lens. There are two types of sensors in any camera, namely full-frame and APS-C sensors. For Nikon camera, they are called FX and DX respectively.
The DX sensor generally elongates the actual focal length of your lens. For example, you are using a 35mm lens on your Nikon D7500 (which has an APS-C sensor with a 1.6x crop factor), then your resultant focal length will be (1.6 x 35) 56mm. The FX sensor is full-frame which means the resultant focal length will be the same as the lens itself (i.e., 35mm in this case).
So for a full-frame camera, 35mm or wider is considered as wide-angle lens whereas 24mm or wider is considered a wide-angle lens for an APS-C sensor camera. In this guide, you will find lenses that can be used as a wide-angle lens no matter your sensor size.
Factors To Look For While Buying A Wide-angle Lens
1. Focal Length
To find the best Nikon wide-angle lens focal length is important. Focal length will decide the kind of shots you can take and in ways, it defines the mood of the photo as well. If you are considering doing photography in places where there are space constraints (like house interior photography etc) you need a wide or an ultra-wide-angle lens. I you are into landscapes then again go for wide so that you can capture most of the scene. Wildlife photography needs lenses with long focal length coz you can’t go near most of the wild animals.
Aperture is basically the opening in the lens through which light enters. Now aperture of any lens is represented using an f-stop number. The lower the f-number the bigger the opening and hence the more amount of light it can allow onto the camera sensor. For example, f/1.4 can allow more light than f/3.5. Hence you can use the f/1.4 lens in significantly low light conditions compared to the f/3.5. Another advantage of having a wide aperture lens is that you can have a faster shutter speed to get the same exposure (so the images will be sharper). You can also use low ISO value (so that your images have less noise).
3. Focus Modes
There are essentially two types of focusing modes, namely Auto Focus (AF) or Manual Focus (MF). In AF, as the name suggests, the camera will control the lens’s motor to focus on the subject automatically, whereas in manual focus you have to do it by hand, rotating the focus ring on the lens. So you should check if the lens you are considering has AF feature or not. As the technologies are advancing, the AF systems in today’s cameras are amazing and can give you astounding results. You can always switch to MF if you want (in the same lens) but it is nice to have options.
Wide-angle lenses are popularly used with filters. Because ultra-wide-angle lenses, especially fisheye lenses, have bulging glass in front of them so that they can have a near 180° field of view. But if you want to use filters like Polarizer or Neutral Density (ND) filter then you might have to think about your choice again. Wide-angle lenses are compatible with such filters but ultra-wide-angle lenses are not (of course you can get a filter for the ultra-wide-angle lens but it has to be a completely different filter system). Polarizer help you take the landscape shots with a wide-angle lens, to produce a beautiful saturated sky.
5. Weight, Cost, And Size
These constraints also help decide which lens to buy. If the weight of the lens is too much and you have a job that needs you to do a lot of running around (like in concerts or weddings) then that’s not the best choice. According to your lens budget, the cost also becomes an important factor. So you need to search for a lens that can satisfy your creative needs, and at the same time, doesn’t cross your budget. Same goes for the size of the lens (but in some cases, you have to go for it as smaller lenses can’t perform, for example, in wildlife photography you need big lenses with a long focal length)
6. Intended Use
Which type of lens you want to settle with also depends on the intended use of the lens. For example, you can’t use a wide-angle lens for wildlife photography as the subject would be very far away. But a zoom lens can easily handle that. Hence, this becomes an important aspect for your lens selection.
7. Projection And Distortions
This generally happens wildly with ultra-wide-angle lenses, but you will be getting distortions in wide-angle lenses too. This is because the lens tries to capture so much of the scene in front of it that it bends the image around the corners. These distortions can also be used in an artistic manner to convey a specific message but it’s worth considering before land on any lens.
8. Additional Features
You must also look for various new features that come with the lens. These will help to take better quality images. Image Stabilization (IS) helps stabilize the movements in the image to get a sharper and crisper image.
Coming to the actual lenses, check out these wide-angle lenses built for Nikon cameras.
Top 10 Best Wide-angle Lens For Nikon 2021
1. Sigma 10-20mm F/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens
This is a zoom lens. The great thing about this product is that it has an aperture of f3.5 for the entire zooming range. This lens can perform well in areas with low light, which is a huge bonus. The wide-angle lenses from sigma help you in enhancing the relationship between the subject and it’s environment, as you will be able to capture more of your scene.
The fast speed fixed aperture lens gives the photographer the creative control as the photographer can precisely choose the depth of field. This lens will also allow you to shoot without any flash. This lens has a multilayer coating inside the lens barrel which cancels out any kind of flare or ghosting. It has got four aspherical lenses that cancel out any distortions and the rotation of the front lens is eliminated by the internal focusing system and also makes it ideal for using polarizer filters.
This lens best shoots architecture, landscapes, weddings, photojournalism, interior photography and much more. It weighs a little over 18 ounces, and you can carry it anywhere without any extra effort. The dimensions are within 4 inches, so it won’t be taking much space in your camera bag (a small compartment and you are good to go). Talking about the camera bag, this product contains a carrying case for the lens along with lens hood, rear, and front cap. This lens produces sharp and crisp images without any peripheral vignettes but with high contrast.
The lens uses the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) which makes the lens silent while autofocusing, while at the same time, having high speed. This Nikon lens has a mount that is compatible with D60, D40X, D40, D3000, and D5000. As this is an aspherical lens, it helps in complete elimination of coma aberration.
This lens is ideal for cropped sensor cameras. You can use this in full-frame cameras as well, but the resulting image will be have heavy vignetting. Also, this is not a fisheye lens and the horizontal lines look fairly straight.
2. 52mm 0.43x Altura Photo Professional Wide Angle Lens
The performance of this lens is amazing and it is arguably a perfect alternative to a professional and high-end lens. It has a very striking feature, that is, you can mount this lens on the front end of your other prime or zoom lens (of course it comes with an extender or adapter). This helps you to capture a wider field of view which makes it ideal for real estate photography, interior photography, family photos, and landscapes. Also, it can be used by a wide spectrum of photographers, from beginner to advanced.
This lens also has a hidden feature (it’s more like a minimalist design). The bottom part of the lens can be unscrewed and detached to get a macro lens. Macro lenses are great for close up photos of tiny subjects (you must see pictures of ants or insects where you can literally see each hair on their body, those shots were likely taken using macro lenses). If you want the option of having both the features of a wide-angle lens and a macro lens but you don’t want to invest in these lenses separately, then this lens is best for you.
The glasses used in this lens have multi-coating, which reduces any flares and vignetting. It comes with a front end attachment for you to attach this lens onto your existing lenses. It makes your normal lens behave as wide-angle by expanding the view by a factor of 0.43x (for example, a 50 mm lens will act as 0.43 x 50 = 21.5 mm lens.). The durability of the lens is also remarkable as the barrel is made up of steel. This lens nails the focus as well as exposure.
Word of caution, you must check and verify the size of your lens’s thread before ordering, as this lens is compatible with the 52mm lens thread only. The lens thread of your camera must be mentioned on the lens barrel or under the cap. Apart from that, the lens weighs only 11.2 ounces, making it really portable. Overall, this is a great product with a wide range of utilities, and also comes at a very affordable price.
3. Altura Photo 8mm F/3.0 Professional Ultra Wide Angle Aspherical Fisheye Lens
This is one of the latest additions to the professional lens series for Nikon by Altura photo. It’s an ultra-wide-angle 8mm fisheye lens which has an impressive built quality. The performance is pretty good and it’s really easy to cope with no matter where you stand as a photographer, experience-wise.
It’s a hybrid lens as its glasses have multilayer coating which ensures that you get very sharp and crisp images. It also helps to eliminate flares and ghosting. Adding to that, it has an aspherical element which means you can view the world around you through various unconventional angles which makes your photos that much more unique. This lens helps you achieve exaggerated perspectives and dramatic angles, especially when paired with an APS-C sensor camera. This is one of the best wide-angle lenses for Nikon DX. And in full-frame cameras, it will get the circular image floating in the frame, which is pretty eye-catching.
The lens has been redesigned to enhance its capability and durability by using highly advanced optics and a robust body. The complete barrel is made up of metal. Hence, the Altura Photo AP-8MM f/3.0 is probably one of the best fisheye lenses in the market. The lens also has amazing low light capabilities, as its aperture can be wide open till f/3.0. This product comes with a protective case for the lens along with a removable lens hood.
It has aperture control so that you have two options to vary the aperture, one through camera setting and the other through the lens itself. The aperture has 6 blades which will give you nice round Bokeh in the background. Coming to compatibility, all the Nikon F-Mount APS-C sensor cameras are ideal for this lens. Along with that, it is also physically compatible with full-frame cameras but it will create a circular vignette at the edges of your image. Hence, it’s not the best option if you have a full-frame camera.
It weighs 1.14 pounds which is expected from a fisheye lens, as they have multiple glasses arranged to produce stunning images. The only drawback of this product is that it has manual focus but doesn’t have autofocus. The 8mm lens generally keeps everything in focus but it’s good to have those options.
4. Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 If Ed Umc Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Lens W/ Built-in Ae Chip For Nikon
Now, this lens is a prime lens and not a zoom lens, which means it’s focal length is fixed. But prime lenses have several advantages over zoom lenses. They are generally more compact, produce sharper images, weigh less and can perform better in low light conditions compared to the zoom lens. As the focal length is fixed, fewer design compromises are made, and the performance turns out to be the best. Also, they don’t have any complications that come with extra glass and zooming mechanics of a zoom lens.
Now coming to our lens, the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 wide-angle lens provides dramatic effects in your images because of its 115° angle capture (for a full-frame camera). This makes it ideal for astrophotography, landscape photography, interior photography, etc. On an APS-C sensor camera, the field reduces to 94° but it can still capture stunning images. The lens has a top of 14 glasses arranged in 10 groups which helps it produce images that are distortion-free (as it has 2 ED elements along with a hybrid aspherical element, 3 elements that have high refractive index, all of which work together to create rectilinear images without any distortions) and also eliminates chromatic aberration.
This lens too has multi-coating glasses which helps it avoid flares and ghosting. A lens hood comes with the package and Nikon F mount. Also, it has a maximum diameter of 3.4 inches. It’s one of the best lenses for taking pictures of the night sky as it has low coma and crisp sharpness. It is ideal for full-frame FX cameras as it will capture more of the scene in rectilinear way. Rokinon has been known for its superior glass quality and integrity and ability to keep its products affordable. The durability of these products is amazing too. Its advanced design allows you to go as close as 0.9 ft to your subject without losing focus. The package includes the lens along with rear and front lens caps.
5. Tamron AFA012N700 SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Wide-Angle Lens For Nikon
This is a zoom lens with a minimum focal length of 15mm and it can zoom in all the way upto 30mm. It offers you a pretty fast aperture of f2.8. The most exciting feature of this lens is that it is equipped with vibration compensation which helps you capture sharper images at pretty slow shutter speed. The lens has a maximum diameter of 98.4mm and the front end of the lens has a convex profile which makes it impossible to use with any kind of filters. The subject should be at least 11 inches away from the lens to be in focus.
The lens has USD ultrasonic silent motors which are really fast, improving the speed of response at autofocusing and makes the process much quieter. The aperture diaphragm opening is made up of 9 blades which gives the blurred background a nice Bokeh effect. This lens is designed keeping Nikon full-frame FX cameras in mind. Hence you can get the maximum results from this lens if you are using a full-frame camera. As it is a wide-angle lens for the FX sensor, the field of view varies from 110.5° to 71.6°.
The performance of this lens is amazing and the image quality it produces is superior to other lenses in the same price range. Coming to the construction part, it has 18 pieces of glass arranged in 13 groups along with XGM (expanded glass-moulded spherical), which is placed with the front group, helping to reduce any kind of chromatic aberrations or geometric distortions. The lateral colour is compensated effectively thanks to the several LD (low dispersion) elements present in the lens. And because of this superior build quality, it produces stunning and sharp images from corner to corner.
In the first use, the lens’s front element has a fluorine coating that prevents any kind of dirt or water from entering the lens, while also making it easier to remove if it any dust does enter it. Another jaw-dropping feature of this lens is that it has a full-time manual focus mechanism, which allows you to do finely adjust the focus even when the lens is in the AF mode. It weighs 2.5 pounds and is 5.6 inches long, making it easier to carry.
6. Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 DI-II VC HLD Wide Angle Zoom Lens For Nikon
This lens is pretty compact despite being a zoom lens. This lens is primarily designed for APS-C sensor DSLR cameras (hence it becomes more like a 16-37mm lens). It produces stunning landscapes with exceptional resolution all thanks to its superior optical performance. This lens has 16 elements arranged in 11 groups along with large aperture glasses and elements designed to produce high-resolution images throughout the entire zoom range. This lens is really good at eliminating distortions and it also ensures your images don’t have any transverse chromatic or comatic aberrations.
The lens also has a unique coating called BBAR (broadband anti-reflection) that reduces any kind of extra internal reflection in the lens, and hence, improves light transmission. Its design is completely reinvented to cancel out ghosting and reduce fares in the images. This Tamron lens comes with vibration compensation technology that helps you cancel out vibrations especially when you are shooting handheld. So the images become sharper, and also, this enhances the low light capabilities of the lens.
That’s not all! This lens also comes with HLD (High/Low Torque-modulated Drive) AF drive system. This is a superior grade autofocusing system that ensures you achieve precise focus easily. Also, it has full-time manual focus mechanism that helps you finely adjust the focus even with AF switched on. The length of this lens is just 3.2 inches, making it really compact and easy to carry. It weighs about 15.5 ounces.
In addition to all these features, it also has a fluorine coating that repels oil and water from the front of the lens. It is resistant to dirt and moisture due to its robust construction, and also comes with an electromagnetic diaphragm system.
7. Opteka 15mm F/4 LD UNC AL 1:1 Macro Wide Angle Full Frame Lens For Nikon
This lens works only on manual focus mode. It works well for both APS-C sensor and full-frame Nikon cameras. It has infinite focus. The lens consists of 12 elements arranged in 9 groups and it also comes with 3 aspherical elements having high refractive index and has one LD element. The LD element helps in achieving crisp sharpness in edges and centre of the image. The barrel is designed to minimise distortions. The lens also has a whopping 14 aperture blade that gives a really smooth soft background. The lens is made up of metal that enhances its durability. The glasses have multilayer coating making it anti-reflective which helps in eliminating glare and ghosting.
Now coming to the 2-in-1 feature of the lens, it can also be used as a macro lens. You don’t need any kind of extension to convert it into a macro. This lens helps you explore macro wide-angle photography, which opens up new avenues as general macro lenses have long focal lengths, limiting their use. Here you can go really close to your subject, and yet get all the background information, giving the viewers a sense of environment. It has a maximum aperture of f/4 and a minimum aperture of f/32. It has an angle of view of 115° and this lens is suitable for both FX and DX sensor Nikon cameras. The subject should be placed at least 5.5 inches away from the lens in order to be in focus. The size of the lens is very small too, making it very portable, especially at only 14 ounces.
Now coming to the drawback, this lens doesn’t have an AF system which makes it a challenge for the user to nail the focus every time. As a matter of fact, this lens doesn’t have any electronic parts whatsoever, making it difficult for beginner photographers.
8. Sigma 10-20mm F/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens For Nikon
It’s a fixed aperture zoom camera, which means that for the entire zoom range your aperture can be kept at f3.5. This is a huge bonus when shooting in low light conditions. This helps you take amazing shots inside your house or in other dimly-lit areas. This lens is a great creative tool to have if you want to enhance the relationship of your subject with its environment. The fixed aperture also helps you have total control over the depth of field. The angle of view varies from 102.4° to 63.8°. Its aperture opening consists of 7 blades, giving you smooth round Bokeh. The subject should be kept at least at a distance of 9.4 inches to be in sharp focus.
The lens has a multilayer coating which reduces any flares and ghosting. It even has four aspherical elements that cancel out any distortions towards the edges and its internal focusing system eliminates any lens rotation during zooming, which makes the use of polarized filters easier. The aspherical lens helps in eliminating chromatic and comatic aberrations completely. This is ideal for shooting landscapes, weddings, interior photography, architectural photography,l etc., where you need to capture as much of the scene as possible.
It also comes with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures high-speed AF response while keeping it silent. This makes it ideal for shooting videos where there is no sound produced by the lens. Another advantage of this lens is that it’s not a fisheye lens, which means you won’t be getting any kind of bending towards the edges (the image remains fairly rectilinear). It is a very compact size, with the length being 3.5 inches. You can carry it anywhere without any problem as it weighs only about 1.15 pounds. And it’s versatility allows you to keep other lenses at home, reducing your overall carry weight.
9. Tamron AFA012N700 SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Wide-angle Lens For Nikon F(Fx) Cameras
The performance of this lens is unparalleled considering its cost, which is much less than its competitors. It is primarily designed for full frame FX cameras by Nikon. This 15-30mm gives you versatility of shots and creative control that allows you to take stunning images. This lens consists of 18 elements which are arranged in 13 groups. The front group contains XGM (expanded glass-moulded spherical) element and several LD elements that are attached to this system helps in the elimination of lateral colour and geometric distortions. This allows the lens to deliver outstanding rectilinear photos from corner to corner. One downside of this lens is that you won’t be able to use any protective filters because of its large diameter and its prominent convex glass in the front end.
The lens comes with a fluorine coating on the front glass which not only repels dust, oil and water but also makes it easier to wash it off if it sticks. It has USD (ultrasonic silent drive) that helps you get tack sharp images because the response is high speed (as it has high torque), yet it is silent. Hence there is very little lag time. Another advantage of this lens is that it comes with a full-time manual focus mechanism which allows you to fine-tune the focus even when the lens is in the AF mode. So you can focus on the exact point you want without any problem. As it has a wide f2.8 aperture, it can give you a natural and smooth blur in the background, making the subject emerge prominently. Also, it has a 9 blade diaphragm aperture, so the Bokeh effect is really smooth and round.
It also comes with in-built image stabilization which allows you to take better handheld shots. It’s a bit heavier compared to other lenses in this list weighing about 2.5 pounds. It’s also 5.6 inches long. But its versatility makes it worth the extra weight.
10. Rokinon 10mm F2.8 Ed As Ncs Cs Ultra Wide Angle Lens For Nikon
This is the only lens in this list that has an NCS (nanocrystal coating system), which helps it to increase the light transmission through the lens and also reduces internal reflection. It is a very versatile lens as it offers a wide-open aperture of f2.8 as well as allows the subject to come as close as 9.5 inches for proper focus. It is basically designed for APS-C sensor camera, giving an edge to edge coverage of 110°. Optical quality of the lens is optimised for maximum results. The superior image quality comes from the fact that it has 3 high precision elements (1 ED and 2 aspherical elements). The focusing system of this lens is internal, hence, there won’t be any rotation of the front element.
It is great for astrophotography and landscapes. Because of the f2.8 aperture, its low light capabilities are just brilliant and the wide perspective makes an ideal travel photography lens. It has got 14 high grade glass elements arranged in 9 groups to produce impactful images. Because of this, it also eliminates ghosting and reduces the flare to a great extent. It also eliminates any type of comatic or chromatic aberrations, making images sharper.
Best Wide Angle Lens For Nikon – Your choice?
So now you know so much more about wide-angle lenses and how they work. With all this information, you can now choose the lens that best suits your needs and creative desires.